Getting to know ... Senators forward Erik Condra
Second-year forward shares thoughts about growth into impact player in Ottawa
His keen hockey sense has gone a long way toward making the native of Trenton, Mich., into a valuable member of the Ottawa Senators roster — most notably on the penalty-killing unit. Those same strengths were front and centre a year ago, when Condra helped the Binghamton Senators win the first Calder Cup in the American Hockey League franchise’s history.
Not bad for a guy who wasn’t picked until the seventh round (211th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. But the 22-year-old right-winger honed his game during four years of NCAA hockey at Notre Dame and has continued to progress since then.
Condra made his National Hockey League debut Feb. 15, 2011, against the New York Islanders and produced a pair of two-goal games in 26 games in Ottawa last season after his callup from the farm before starting the current campaign with the big club. He's produced seven goals and 17 points this season and ranks second on the team with a plus-12 rating.
Condra talks hockey and more in this visit with ottawasenators.com:
Q: Who was your hockey hero growing up?
A: Steve Yzerman. I’m a Detroit boy, so I grew up loving him.
Q: Talk about your favourite minor hockey memory.
A: Winning the Quebec peewee tournament with Detroit Honeybaked. I scored the overtime winner in the final. That was probably my best memory.
Q: Your favourite memory of the Binghamton Senators’ Calder Cup run last season?
A: It had to have been when we came back and had that parade in downtown Binghamton. It was really a big part of what we had there.
Q: How did your four years at Notre Dame accelerate your growth as a player and as a person?
A: I matured a lot as a man and learned a lot of things. Time management, just a lot of things like that. Coach (Jeff) Jackson was a great coach and I learned a lot of things about the defensive side of the game that have helped me as a pro.
Q: How does a Michigan man end up at Notre Dame?
A: (Laughs) You don’t get recruited by Michigan in time. That’s what happened. Notre Dame had more interest in me at the time and that was it.
Q: What’s the football game experience like at Notre Dame?
A: It’s huge. The experience is unbelievable. You tailgate all day and hang out with friends and family. Everyone you know comes to town to see the game, and the atmosphere inside the stadium is unbelievable. It’s actually fun to have a tradition of football at your school and a big football (program). You can go back and meet up with your friends and go to games. It’s something to be proud of about your school.
Q: What did you study there?
A: Pre-med in psychology.
Q: What do you remember about your first NHL game?
A: Probably my nerves in the pre-game skate. You’ve got to try to stay calm, but that’s tough to do in your first NHL game.
Q: Name three people, living or dead, you’d like to have dinner with.
A: I would probably say Wayne Gretzky, maybe Barry Sanders (former Detroit Lions running back) and Gandhi.
Q: If you’re the one doing the cooking, what’s on the menu?
A: I’m grilling, definitely. Either steak or chicken or salmon … anything on the grill.
Q: Your favourite music?
A: I like country. I like them all.
Q: Your favourite TV show?
A: I’ve gotten into a bunch of TV shows lately, but I would say Modern Family is definitely my favourite.
Q: Your favourite movie?
A: It used to be Tommy Boy when I was younger. But lately, I would have to say Inception.