Alex Chiasson on joining the Senators
Alex Chiasson spoke to the media for the first time as an Ottawa Senator on Wednesday and offered his thoughts on joining the club after Tuesday's trade with the Dallas Stars. He discussed the ups and downs of his rookie season in the NHL, the transition to Ottawa and more.
Here's what he had to say...
On his reaction to the trade:
Obviously I was a little shocked, I didn't really expect that coming. I think after a little while it sets in and you realize you're going to play for a Canadian team and obviously being from Quebec we all know how much hockey means here. I'm really excited for this new opportunity that's coming to me. It's definitely a new challenge and I'm really looking forward to the new experience and it should be a fun year coming ahead.
On his slow second half of 2013-14:
I got a bad food bug around Christmas and lost about 10-15 pounds so with the schedule last year, with all the games, we had a lot of back-to-backs, a lot of traveling and it was hard for me to put the weight back on. I think also it was my first year in the NHL and there was a lot of learning and things I didn't know but I learned a lot last year, I was around some really good people, some really good guys in Dallas, and I think with that experience I gained it'll definitely help me in the future.
On the hot start to his career:
The way I started and the way things were going it was fantastic. Every kid dreams of playing in the NHL and I feel the way I started really boosted me to reach a different potential and try to get better. I know there are expectations that come with that but for me, all I can do is focus on my game and try to get better every day.
On his condition ahead of training camp:
I feel great, I've been training for about six weeks now. Actually, it's just kind of how things work out, we had just finished working out — I train with Antoine Vermette here in Quebec and as you know obviously he played for Ottawa for quite a few years. I talked to him a little bit this morning about his experience and he only had good things to say about the organization and the city and the people. I'm really looking forward to this new experience and this summer it's up to me to put the work in, in the gym and on the ice, and it'll be my job to be ready from day one of camp.
On playing in Canada:
It should be different. I can only imagine, being from Quebec, how much hockey means to the people here. It's definitely going to be a big change for me coming from Dallas where there's about two or three reporters every day to being a totally different virtue every day in Ottawa. I think it's going to be a bit of a learning experience at first just to get used to the new setup and new everything for me but I've been away from home for a little bit. I think I'll be fine, it comes with the job of being from Quebec and being French and to be a professional athlete and to play in a Canadian city, it's all part of the job.
On the opportunity playing top six minutes in Ottawa:
Talking to Bryan Murray yesterday it looks like I have a good chance to step in and, like I said, I think the opportunity is there for me but at the same time I've never taken anything for granted. I think I've always worked for the things I've gotten so far. It's really exciting. You look at the players and they have a really good group of guys at forward and a lot of talent, a lot of speed. Their defencemen — Karlsson is one of the best defencemen in the league. I'm really looking forward to the challenge and it should be exciting.
On his expectations for his first year in Ottawa:
I think for me I've had a few phone calls and talked to people in Dallas for a bit and I think my end of the year meeting that I had with Lindy was to try to focus on being a more consistent player. Sometimes you'll have downs and things won't go your way, it's just part of the business. Like I said earlier about the whole learning experience, you have to understand that every day you have to bring it. Regardless of it's in Dallas or Ottawa I think I learned a lot last year. For me I think that's the main thing is just trying to be as consistent as I can throughout the year. I'm not going to be setting expectations for goals and points but I know what kind of player I want to be and that's for me to show up and prove it to people.
On being traded for a player of Spezza's calibre:
I kind of sat down yesterday and thought about that, it's pretty neat when a team goes and trades a big name and a big player like he is to a different team and they're looking for you. It definitely means a lot. As for pressure, I'm not too worried about that. It's part of the game regardless of what team you're on. I know what kind of player I am and I'm going to be the same player and try to bring it to Ottawa. That's really my mindset.
On if he knows anyone on the current Sens roster:
Yeah, actually it was nice, yesterday Eric Gryba gave me a call. I played my first year at Boston University, he was a senior and one of the captains so I know him a bit from playing the year with him. It was really nice of him to give me a call and see how things were going. We actually exchanged a few texts last night with questions I had. He's really the main guy I know and I'm sure it will be a lot easier for me just to get used to things and having him. It's nice to see a familiar face around the team. Someone you can relate to and ask questions when needed.
On if he's familiar with Ottawa as a community:
Not really, I think the last time I went I was probably 14 when I was playing bantam or my first year of midget. I haven't been in a while but I know it's a real good city, it's nice, it's a good hockey community. I couldn't be more excited for this new experience.
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