At what age did you start playing hockey?
I believe I was 5. We had a pond behind our house in Elk River, Minn., and that’s where I got started.
Who was your first coach?
Mark Louricas, Miles Plude and Dale Droogsma.
Who was your favorite coach growing up?
There were too many to name.
What other sports did you play?
I also played football, baseball and soccer.
Do you have a pre-game routine?
I have a pre-game meal at Forte’s Italian Eatery, then a little nap with some television. At the rink I’m pretty relaxed, listen to some good music and stay loose.
Do you have a favorite band/music to listen to before a game?
I like to mix it up, Tool, Led Zeppelin, The Tragically Hip and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Who are the toughest players to defend?
I would say Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Scott Gomez (New York Rangers).
Do you like the shootout?
I think shootouts are great, and it would be even better if New Jersey let me participate once in awhile.
How often do you get recognized in public?
Not too often in New Jersey, but I’m not out and about too much there. I get recognized a little more in Minnesota because I grew up there, played hockey there, and still work out on campus at the University of Minnesota. So I see more people that know me here than I do in New Jersey.
"I want to play as long as I can until
Who was your favorite player to watch when you were growing up, and who do you think is the best player in the league now?
I enjoyed watching Neal Broten and Brian Leetch, and right now the best in the game is probably a toss-up between Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. You can’t forget about guys like Joe Thornton and Henrik Zetterberg, but I’d probably go with Ovechkin.
What do you do in the offseason?
I enjoy golfing and going to watch baseball games. I get to see the Minnesota Twins every once in a while. When I have some time, I like to go up north to do some fishing, although I wasn’t able to this summer. I’d say those would be the Top three.
What is your favorite all-time hockey-related movie? What is your favorite all-time movie overall?
I’m sure everyone says Slapshot, but I’m going to go with Youngblood. For all-time movie I’ll go with The Usual Suspects. Old School is another one I watch a lot.
What has been your all-time favorite concert?
Too many come to mind. I saw Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood last year at Madison Square Garden, and that was great. I saw moe. two years ago at Radio City, which was solid. I’m a big Neil Young fan, but I’ve never seen him live. I’m also a fan of Phish.
What’s your best advice for being able to break up a one-on-one?
Be patient and make the forward come to you. Try to get your stick on their stick so they can’t get a shot off.
Do you like to keep any of your equipment from over the years?
Typically hockey players wear the same stuff until they can’t wear it any more. I don’t have any problem hanging on to stuff, but most of my equipment was new within the last couple of years. I’ve had the same shoulder pads since high school, so that would be the oldest piece of equipment that I still use.
What goal or goals would you like to accomplish before your NHL career comes to an end?
I want to play as long as I can until I can raise the [Stanley] Cup. I don’t have individual goals that I set for myself, really just the team as far as getting into the Finals and winning the Cup.
In The Bag