Scuderi Previews Europe Trip
Kings veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi previews the club’s upcoming trip to Europe and he takes a look at the club’s chances overall in 2011-12
Scuderi: I think it’s important just to spread the game. I know that Europe certainly has its own brand of hockey but NHL hockey is a great game and I think it’s important that we spread the game and try to grow it, whether that is domestically here in North America or internationally overseas.
Q: You’ve played in Europe before, in 2008 with Pittsburgh, when you guys were in Sweden. What were your experiences with the European hockey fans and what do you expect in Hamburg?
Scuderi: I expect much of the same. I had a great experience there. Not that I didn’t think the hockey games were important but, having never been to Europe myself, I thought it was pretty important that I see what there is to see. Stockholm was beautiful, a real nice place, and now I get to go to Hamburg and Berlin. I think that should be something that we should take advantage of. It’s not every day you get to go there and see what there is to see. As far as the hockey goes, I thought the fans were just as ravenous as they are in the United States.
Q: Have you ever been to Hamburg?
Scuderi: No, I’ve never been. I haven’t seen our exact itinerary yet but, if we have some free time, it’s nice to get out and see the town and to at least experience that part of life.
Q: You guys are going to be there for a few days, so, if you have time, do you think you’ll be able to explore the sights of the city?
Scuderi: Absolutely. It might be a little touristy but that’s part of the experience of going over there. Maybe we’ll ask someone who knows the area or grab a pamphlet to see what’s close and what you could be able to do without stressing your own time or schedule because you are there to play hockey. But certainly if we have the time it’s part of the experience of going over there, seeing what there is to see in another country and having an appreciation for their way of life.
Q: Do you expect playing the Hamburg Freezers themselves to be a real tough test for your team?
Scuderi: I think so. We played one game in Helsinki, Finland, a few years back. Even though we may be stacked as far as the talent side goes, it’s a different game. And to try to play their type of game in their rink is a different experience. It took us awhile to adjust but it certainly wasn’t a blowout and it certainly wasn’t an easy game. I would expect the same thing playing Hamburg. You know on the roster side we might have an advantage but as far as the game is played and the strategy I think the advantage is theirs.
Q: Looking at the Freezers roster, there are many Americans and Canadians on the team. Do you like the idea of players coming to Europe to jumpstart or to finish their careers?
Scuderi: Sure. It’s obviously up to each individual and it is their call as to what they decide. I’ve had some friends in the past who decided their window had passed for making the NHL and decided to continue their careers on in Europe. And it was a way to make a living without having to get a “real job.” It’s a nice way of life. They got to see different places and maybe they did it for three or four years before they decided to come back and settle down, have a family and enjoy a more stable lifestyle. A career is short so if you decide to take your career over there I think it’s good for those guys and I wish them a long career
Q: There’s one player on the Freezers you might know: John Curry. Do you remember him when you played in Pittsburgh?
Scuderi: Yes. Actually, my brother-in-law was his classmate so they played at Boston University together.
Q: What do you remember about him?
Scuderi: I just remember he played bigger than he looks. When you first see him you think to yourself, ‘He’s kind of small to be goalie.’ Like I said, the perfect thing to say is that he plays bigger than he looks and he certainly gives 100 percent effort on every puck. The few games he played for us in Pittsburgh I thought he did real well and gave us a chance to win a couple of those games. That’s really all you can ask of your goalie and I thought he did a great job, having been his first experience in the NHL.
Q: The Kings have been pretty aggressive this offseason, adding players like Mike Richards and Simon Gagne to an already potent lineup. Do you think this is a “let’s win now” approach?
Scuderi: I hope so. I know, as a player, you’re sad to see some of the guys you play with leave, especially guys that you believe in. But at the same time, it says something from management that they believe this team can win now. Management sent a strong message to us that they believe this is our time and that our window has officially opened. It’s time for us to put up our side of the bargain
Q: You won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh a couple years ago. What was the main reason for Pitt’s success back then and do you think this year’s Kings team can have the same attributes?
Scuderi: There’s no secret to winning the Stanley Cup. You have to work hard. You have to have the whole team on board. Its cliché but it is true. I see a lot of similarities—we have talent on the top six lines. We have a lot of grit with the bottom six of our forwards. I think our defense is complete and has veterans and young guys, offensive guys and defensive guys. We have two outstanding goalies. The roster is a complete roster but it’s still a long way to our goal, which is to win the Stanley Cup. I see a lot of similarities as far as the way the team is put together. I think we do have a good team attitude. I think the guys are on the same page. We have good coaching and I like where we’re headed. I like our chances.
Q: Last question. Do you think the Kings can win the Stanley Cup this year?
Scuderi: I think so. You look at the roster and there’s certainly no reason why not. And I think it’s up to us now. I think the window has opened for us to win. I don’t know what the Vegas odds are but I certainly wouldn’t count us out.
Special contributions: Nic Reiner and Jeremy Zager