Wed Oct 06 07:37pm EDT
Last year, Mason Raymond(notes) of the Vancouver Canucks announced his presence as one of the team's offensive weapons with a 25-goal, 28-assist season. He enters the 2010-11 season a vital part of Vancouver's second line, expecting to play with Ryan Kesler(notes) and Raffi Torres(notes) to start the year.
"He can create some room for Ryan and I," said the 25-year-old left wing
We spoke with Raymond on Tuesday about his expectations for this season, as well as those placed on the Canucks as a Stanley Cup contender; the departure of defenseman Shane O'Brien(notes); how annoying Kesler and Alex Burrows are; the Chicago Blackhawks; the Green Men; whether he can tell the Sedins apart; what he's driving and what he's drinking; as well as perhaps his most famous moment as a professional hockey player: Getting name-checked on "How I Met Your Mother."
Q. How much are you guys hating the salary cap these days?
RAYMOND: It's tough. It's tough to see guys sent to the minors or put on waivers for that reason. But it's part of the game. It is a business. It is what it is.
You talk about it amongst each other. Guys are fully aware of how it works and how it goes. Again, it's tough when you come down to these final days and you don't know how it's going to shape [the roster]. It's out of our hands.
Does life get a lot less interesting without Shane O'Brien in your locker room?
[Chuckles] Shane was a fun guy, and I enjoyed playing with him. Darcy Hordichuk(notes) is another guy that got moved out due to cap reasons and others. You miss those guys. You make good friendships with them and then you wish them the best.
You jumped from 11 goals to 25 goals last season. What do you attribute that to?
The big part is experience. Feeling older, knowing some of the tricks of the trade, and what you have to do. But I was also playing with some great players. I want to build on that this season.
Do you ever sit back and marvel at how annoyingly effective Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows can be?
You know, it's kinda neat: You go through the summer and all your friends are asking about those two guys ...
They're good at what they do. It's a big part of our game. They contribute in so many ways, and that's one of the ways. They're great guys off the ice. I room with Alex Burrows, and I've grown close with him.
I'm glad I played with them and not against them.
It's all part of the game. You have to do what it takes to win. These last two years, getting knocked out by Chicago, we keep learning and learning. And I hope by now we've learned enough to go further to what we hope will be the Stanley Cup this year.
You mentioned expectations. Seems like in the last two years, more and more people are picking Vancouver as a Cup team. Is that an odd feeling? Do you pay attention to it?
I guess it's flattering. They think we have a good team on paper. But at the end of the day, we have to go out together as a team, a club, a unit and do the work. I don't know any other way to put it. We have to prove that we're the team they think we are.
With the way the Chicago Blackhawks had to shed talent this summer, is there a sense in the Canucks' room that they're vulnerable?
We'll see. I don't know. They've had a great club the last couple of years, and they've done very well. We've had some good battles with them, a good rivalry. Hopefully now we can get their number and come out on the winning end.
First of all, I still look at Roberto as a leader. A lot of the guys do. Being a goalie, they have a lot of pressure to perform. Roberto's a top guy, arguably the best goalie in the world. He gets a lot of media attention already. He's a guy who leads by example.
It was a tough thing for him to do, but he went ahead with it. We still look to him as a leader. Whoever our next captain is, I'm sure we'll all jump on board.
Alright, let's get to an important topic here, which is when you were name-checked on "How I Met Your Mother" ...
... did you ever find out why they chose to drop your name on the show?
There wasn't really any rhyme or reason. There was some kind of connection between the show and a woman in our office. I enjoyed it.
We thought they were going for obscurity.
[Laughs] Right. "What's the opposite of name-dropping?"
Can you give us your favorite "oh my god, I mixed up the Sedins" story?
You know what's funny? I could distinguish those guys ever since Day One. It's the features in the face; I think Danny's a little thinner through the jawline. I've had some fun with some other guys, putting them on the spot and asking who's who. But I think I've been pretty good with them since Day One. It's weird. I know some guys struggle.
Who was your favorite
player growing up?
It seemed like, back in the day, you were either a Sakic or an Yzerman guy. How did you choose Sakic?
For one, I liked the Avalanche's jersey. [Laughs] I don't know what the reason was, but I've always idolized him.
Speaking of jerseys, what's your favorite one in the history of the Canucks' franchise?
The Green Men of Vancouver: Your thoughts?
[Laughs] They've certainly made a name for themselves, haven't they? The fans enjoy it and the players ... we're focused on the game, but we definitely notice them over there, doing their thing.
Have you ever considered putting yourself in a green Lycra bodysuit?
No, never. Not even for Halloween.
Are there any rules you'd change in the NHL?
It's not really a rule, but TV timeouts ... you get the flow, you get momentum and then, boom, "take a timeout." But on the flipside, sometimes you're a little too tired and you're like, "Good, a TV timeout."
What are you driving these days?
Cadillac Escalade. Ridin' in style.
No it's charcoal color. Trying to be a little different.
What is the movie you couldn't live without?
I enjoy funny movies like "Wedding Crashers" and "Superbad." But the movie I'll always remember from being a kid was "Happy Gilmore."
Finally, your adult beverage of choice, sir.
[Laughs] If I understand this correctly, you mean an alcoholic beverage?
I'm a farmer boy. Just a good cold beer. Nothing specific.