Sunday, June 8, 2008

NHL draft guide interview: Chet Pickard

By Rick Morris

As announced previously in this space, Sportsology and are joining up to produce HOCKEY DRAFTOLOGY, a comprehensive guide to the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and offseason as a whole. The issue will be released online, for free, at these two websites and on June 10. Until then, the features to be contained in the guide will be released here individually in serialized form.

Today, we provide an interview with Chet Pickard, the # 2 ranked North American goaltender in the upcoming draft according to Central Scouting. He has played the past four seasons for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. His team the U.S. Division regular season championship for the first time this past season and he almost led his team to the Memorial Cup (they lost in Game Seven to Spokane, who won the tournament). He boasted a 1.78 GAA with a .937 save percentage and he won the ADT Goaltender of the Year Award. HOCKEY DRAFTOLOGY had a chance to chat with him about his hockey career.

Q: What’s on your mask?

A: We had a contest with the fans on the website to design my mask. They came up with Captain America on top and the autism logo on the side since that is Ollie Kolzig’s charity and he is the owner.

Q: What’s it like to talk to Ollie?

A: He’s cool but he’s not normally around very much. It’s pretty special when you can talk to a player who has had that kind of career. I had a poster of him up in my room since I was 4 or 5.

Q: How tall are you and do you use your height to your advantage?

A: I am a hair under 6-3. I think I do, for sure. I always play deeper in my net and manage the crease and set up for my second save.

Q: Do you give up a lot of rebounds?

A: You can’t always control every rebound. I think I have good rebound control.

Q: Do you slash players in the crease?

A: No, I’m not big on hitting them with my blocker or in the ankles with my stick. You can’t do much about the player in front of you. You pretty much have to deal with it.

Q: Is your save percentage important to you?

A: Stats aren’t something that I put too much thought into. They were good. I liked looking at them. I consider them a reflection of the team.

Q: You had great playoff numbers. Do you like to play with the pressure on like that?

A: This year was a big year for me. I was probably the most complete guy on the team. I played 62 of 74 and I’d play all 72 if I could. Why not play every game? It’s only 60 minutes of hockey. It’s not a daily job of 8 or 9 hours in an office.

Q: How old were you when you started to play?

A: I was pretty young when I started. I think was a forward when I was 6 or 7.

Q: Do you want to score a goal in your career?

A: I think so. There were a couple of chances where I went for it. It would be a pretty cool accomplishment. (He made fun of himself for missing completely.)

Q: Do you play better in the playoffs?

A: I feel like our whole team did; it was a real team effort in the playoffs. We had a lot of pressure on us since we came in first. I think we had a good run.

Q: Do you care where you place in the draft?

A: I have no idea how high or when I’m gonna go. I’d be more worried about going where the best scenario is -- whoever has less young goalies. Every player wants to go to a team where they can make the jump.

Q: Do you mean the AHL when you are old enough?

A: Yeah the AHL or you never know these days, maybe to the big club. I’ll be in juniors one more year.

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