April 15, 2005

Interview With Danny Battochio, “I have to look forward and keep stopping pucks for the team.”

A wonderful interview with Danny today on the TEAM 1200/Dean Brown and Gord Wilson. Some notes [paraphrasing]:

*Update 3 (4.16.2005 1315h) by Sid: A great article by Don Brennan in the Sun today on Battochio, Quick Hits with 67's goalie Danny Battochio (via Ottawa 67s' playoff page [link].)

*Update 2 (4.16.2005 1130h) by Sid: I pulled this post when Battochio started struggling in net last night! Superstitiousness - I didn't want to jinx him. I'm putting it back up now that the game is over.

*Update (4.15.2005 1900h) by Sid: They re-aired the interview, so I added stuff that I didn't catch the first time.

(On how much fun he’s having) Having a lot actually. Keeping everything simple. Enjoying hockey, you know, playing with a great bunch of guys right now. The attitude is that everyone wants to win.

(On being in the zone – the puck must look pretty big) Yeah, the puck looks pretty big. I’ve been getting a lot of help from my defensive core. It’s just a matter of getting more goals. I’ve had my ups and downs, but basically I’ve settled in. This is my first playoffs in a couple of years and I’m really looking forward to it. Sometimes I’ve had some lucky breaks, you know lucky to be good and good to be lucky.

(On this being the best he’s played) No not really (chuckles). It’s not a matter of playing better but just a matter of being consistent as a goatender. The challenge for every goaltender. Mentally to keep their game at that peak for as long as possible. I know some go on a hot streak but can only last for 2-3 game, some for 10, 11, 12. It’s a matter of being consistent, and there’s no better time than in the playoffs.

(On the collarbone) Got a good shot there. Got me right through the equipment the night before. It’s just a little bruise and a little sore. But nothing that . . . put a little ice on it.

(On goaltending coach Tom Dempsey) Tom has been there all year long for not just me, but Guads and in the later stages Spezza coming in. He’s been there, even last year beginning with my whole OHL career. You’ve got to give a lot of respect to a guy like that. He’s coached a lot of good NHLers, goaltenders. Everyone knows Fleury, Brathwaite, a lot of semi-pro guys. I give him a lot of respect. You just got to listen to what he says.

He comes in on games days and tells me what I have to do. Tells me to battle hard and never give up on a play. Lets me go out there and play my game. He doesn’t criticize my style, whatever I do out there. Anything he sees wrong he’ll let me know.

(On Tom’s being precise; game day rituals) When he comes down for game day he’ll come down and see me to see if I’m alright, to see if I’m good, to see if I’m ready to go for tonight. I usually say yes obviously (chuckles). After that, about 7 minutes before warm up he comes in again, and he’ll let me know to go out there and warm up and get a feel for the puck, just little things like that. After every period he lets me know what’s going on with the good plays and the bad plays and assesses the game, and anything that needs to be changed he’ll let me know. It helps in the long run because I can learn from my mistakes. It’s a chance for reassurance, like that play you did there was perfect, so if it happens again you know what to do.

(On Tom allowing Danny to improvise) That’s so true. You got a lot of goalies that come up and there’s teachers out there that go by the book, that it has to be this way or no way. Tom doesn’t do that. He lets you play your game. Whatever’s comfortable for you he’s fine with that, as long as you stop the puck.

It’s great because you don’t have to worry about someone yelling at you after the game. If there is an error he’ll assess it and we’ll see how we can improve it, or how to do it better next time.

(On playing in home town Sudbury) Yeah, I’m back in my home town and obviously it’s another game and another night. I’m just going to try to go out there and do what I’ve been doing all along in the playoffs. It’s great to be in front of family and friends but we don’t want to play any more games than we have to play. If we can wrap it up tonight that would be just perfect for us. We will rest up for the weekend because I know some of the boys have been beaten up and we need some time to rest, rest our scars and our bumps and bruises.

(On the team thinking about being 5 wins away from the Memorial Cup) Yeah some guys have thought about it. We know we have to take it one game at a time. We want to walk into this game tonight and eliminate it so that we only have to worry about one more team to beat. The rest will be history.

(On playing this pivotal game for Sudbury – facing elimination at home) I think that we’re really just going to have to really focus and stay disciplined tonight. In their barn they’re going to have the upper hand. I think that if we play our game they’re going to have a hard time keeping up with us. We skate well, have strong defence. If we get some offence going early in the game and we can stick with them in first period, I think we’ll be set for the second and the third. If they want to take dumb penalties then let them. It will only hurt them. We have to stay five-on-five hockey.

(On all the attention you’ve received lately) I try not to let it bother me too much. It’s real flattering I’m getting all this attention. I was used to some but not this much. It’s flattering to hear everyone talk so highly about yourself and hear your name everywhere. But there’s still a job that has to be done and the people out there go on the basis of ‘what have you done for me lately’ and I can’t look back on what I’ve done. I have to look forward and keep stopping pucks for the team.


Oh, he’s great. Just great.

Battochio [2.18.2005]

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