What was your reaction when you got the news you’d be returning to the Wolves?
I was so excited we got it all done. The process really started at the end of last season, when I met with (General Manager) Wendell Young and started discussing next season and the upcoming affiliation change. It seemed like such a good fit, so I let my agent take over handling the details and went from there. It felt great knowing the team wanted me to come back right away.
Was Chicago your first choice to land with, or were you talking with other teams as well?
Chicago was definitely my first choice all along and the place I wanted to play most. It’s such a good organization and we’re well taken care of. You want to be playing there if you can.
Looking back on last season, what have you taken away individually?
You know, last season was a little strange. It’s hard to know what to make of it because of the lockout and how many players we had coming and going. Overall, I feel that I grew a lot as a goaltender though. We faced a lot of adversity and not everything went our way. There was an opportunity to grow and gain a lot from the experience and I think I did that.
You went from a backup to starter early on last season, going on to set a club record for most road shutouts (5) and earning a consecutive scoreless streak of 173 minutes, 57 seconds. Was it daunting to transition into the spotlight?
Not really. I carried the load with the San Antonio Rampage (during the 2010-11 season) and took over as the starter in Texas (in 2009-10). Whatever your role is going into a season, you always want to have the chance to be a starting goalie and if you do get the opportunity you run with it. I want to be the starter. I want to be the guy.
How has your approach to goaltending evolved?
To be honest I have always approached it the same way. The game of hockey is so quick and you never know what’s going to happen. Eddie Lack got injured last season and I was playing more but it doesn’t change how I handled my role. I’m always going to try and leave everything I have on the ice.
The Wolves signed a new partnership agreement with the St. Louis Blues, which means a lot of new teammates next season. Excited?
Absolutely. Sometimes change is good. Being able to have a fresh start next year with new faces also means new competition. Any time you have new people coming in and competing for ice time, it’s a good thing. From the meetings I’ve had, and knowing what the tradition of Chicago Wolves hockey is, we’re going to do whatever it takes to build a championship team.
What’s your No. 1 goal for the offseason before you come to camp in the fall?
First things first, and that’s getting myself ready. Whatever it takes to be in shape and put myself in the best possible position to be the starter and help the team win games, that’s what I’m going to be focused on.