Methot 'pretty passionate' about suiting up for Sens
Ottawa native calls trade to hometown team 'surreal,' eager to play in front of family
|Ottawa native Marc Methot is ready to handle whatever pressure comes along with playing for his hometown team. He was obtained from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a Canada Day trade (Ottawa Senators Hockey Club).
Even two days later, the enormity of it all has yet to truly hit home.
But as he stood in front of a throng of cameras and media at Scotiabank Place earlier today, Marc Methot got an early glimpse at how much his hockey life is about to change.
"It's certainly a lot different here," the Ottawa native said about the Canada Day trade that brought him to the Senators from the Columbus Blue Jackets. "I'm not used to seeing this many cameras in front of me. It's a big change but in terms of pressure and all that, it's just something you've got to get used to and handle ... it's a new experience."
And one that Methot, a 27-year-old Mooney's Bay resident who has spent his entire career in Columbus, will happily warm up to in the weeks and months to come. He was at a family reunion just outside the capital on Sunday when the deal went down — the Senators sent forward Nick Foligno back the other way — and the phone calls and messages that have been sent his way via Facebook and Twitter have yet to slow down.
"I'm pretty passionate about playing here in my home city," said Methot, who smiled easily and often during his session with the media. "It's really, really exciting. It's very overwhelming right now and it still hasn't sunk in. Hopefully, over the next few days, I'll be able to relax and have some time to think about it.
"It's a real surreal feeling for me and my family. I'm just really pumped about the opportunity to play here. Growing up (in Ottawa), it's always been a dream of mine to play in the city and just walking in the dressing room today kind of gave me that weird feeling in my stomach."
Methot is also ready to handle whatever pressure goes along with playing for his hometown National Hockey League team in front of family and friends on a regular basis.
"It's good pressure, though," he said. "It's a pressure that I'm willing to accept. You get up for all your games here, for sure. You're playing in front of your family and friends and you don't want to let them down and, certainly, you won't want to let your teammates down."
He's also very much aware of the hockey hotbed he now finds himself in. With the Blue Jackets missing the playoffs in all but one season during his time in Columbus, he often had a front-row seat for the post-season fever that grips the nation's capital with the Senators are in the mix.
"Every time we came back (to Ottawa), I'd watch them in the playoffs," said Methot, who is signed through the 2014-15 season. "I know the buzz around the city when these guys do make the playoffs and how exciting it can be. We always have people over to the house and watch them pretty carefully.
"They're a hard-working team and they've got a pretty good work ethic here. I think I fit in pretty well with that."
With only seven goals in 275 career NHL games, Methot comes to Ottawa with a reputation as more of a stay-at-home blueliner. But he believes he brings more than that to the table.
"I've always been a defensive defenceman, but what I think what separates me from a lot of guys is that I'm a pretty mobile player for my size," said the 6-3, 227-pound Methot. "I'd like to think that I rarely ever get beat, at least 1-on-1. I take pride in playing D and staying back and covering for my players, but I like to jump in once in awhile and I like to use my speed as much as I can.
"I know what I'm capable of. I'm capable of shutting down lines. I can really use my size and my speed to defend and play against those top lines. Whatever (my role) is, I'm ready for it and accepting of it."
Some have already suggested he might make an ideal replacement for Filip Kuba alongside Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, who led all defencemen in scoring by a wide margin in 2011-12 with 78 points.
"If I played with Karlsson, yeah, I'd probably give him the puck most of the time," Methot said with a grin. "He's an exceptional defenceman. Right now, I have no control over that or what's going to happen, (but) I'm prepared for that role, for sure. I've played that similar role before. As of right now, that's up to the management and coaches and we'll see how things work out at training camp."
Methot's own 2011-12 campaign was limited to 46 games after he was struck in the face by a slap shot during a Feb. 9 game against the Dallas Stars and broke his jaw in two places. Another bone was also displaced.
"That's what caused me to miss most of the season," he said. "It wasn't a fun time. My mouth was wired shut and I lost a lot of weight. But I managed to get the weight back up and still played for Canada (at the 2012 world championship). I take pride in my training and how I take care of myself off the ice, so that wasn't a problem."
Neither will getting used to the thought that, after enduring a season in which the Blue Jackets were the NHL's worst team, he's back on home soil with a team on the rise. He's got a bit of a head start on meeting his new teammates — he and Senators centre Jason Spezza, with whom he exchanged messages on Canada Day, have played together at the worlds and he's skated during the summer with Ottawa winger Chris Neil.
"I've never been anywhere else," said Methot of switching teams. "All in all, this is a new experinece, having to meet new players and guys like that, but I'm usually good at making neew friends, so I'm excited for that opportunity.
"It's great to be back here, especially in a big-time hockey market. It's always a dream of a player to be involved with that kind of team and finally, I get that opportunity."