Friday, May 9, 2008


How does it feel to sign your first NHL contract?

"The first step is to sign and it feels great. Plus I’m European so it’s even bigger… It’s just a dream come true.

"This is a big thing. I just have to keep working hard and see what happens in the next few years."

You started your career in the Canadian Hockey League. What factored into leaving Germany to play in North America?

"It’s hard playing in the pro [league] when you’re young in Germany because there are a lot of good players and they are old. When you are 16, 17 years old it might be better playing in junior somewhere- you get the ice time.

"After talking to a few guys and my agent, they thought it was best for me to go over there and try it, and it was. It was a really good experience."

What was the most difficult transition for you leaving home?

"The hardest part was first learning English. I couldn’t speak a word of English when I got there. My billet, friends, teammates helped me out. I talked to my billet the whole day and the hockey players too.

"The small ice, the intensity is different in Europe as well. Just everything took some adjusting to."

You had some experience playing for Germany in the World Junior Championships. Talk about participating in that and whether you have followed any of the action this year.

"I think it’s some of the best hockey out there. You play against guys your age at the top level and it’s fun to play in, a great experience.

"I haven’t followed much of it this year, but I tried to watch some. I watched Germany play a little bit and they did well I guess so next year they are back in the A [Group]. And I also watched the US / Canada game. That’s a really good hockey game every year."

You also attended Sabres training camps the past few years. Who helped you adjust?

"Jochen Hecht is German and he came over the first day of camp and said hi and said if I needed any help that I could ask him. Some of the younger guys helped me out too, but pretty much everyone was really great, a bunch of good guys.

"I did keep in touch [with Hecht]. And there is another guy, [Phillipe] Gogulla, and we were hanging around and talking German at camp."

How would you describe your style of play?

"I’m fast, I’m small, not the biggest player. But I think I can handle the puck well."

What are your expectations for training camp and what do you think you have to improve on?

"Like everyone else you just have to work hard, get stronger and faster and work on the quick feet. You’ve just got to be smarter and make less mistakes."

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