The Pittsburgh Penguins top prospect [Eric Tangradi] was gracious enough to answer some questions for me to share with Pens Universe. For those who don't know he came over in the Kunitz/Whitney trade we made with the Ducks before the trade deadline last year and is currently playing for our AHL affiliate, the [Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins].
PU: Who was your hockey idol growing up? Did he influence your style of play, if so why? And if not, what player or players do you most likely compare your style to?
ET: When I was growing up I was a huge Keith Primeau fan. He was a Flyer and I really got an opportunity to learn and study his game which I believe helped me tremendously. We both carry a big frame and I tried to adapt his style of play in my minor hockey days.
PU: Everybody’s heard about the Sidney Crosby story of shooting pucks into the dryer; growing up did you have any "unique ways" of practicing?
ET: No, I didn't really do anything like that. I just thank my parents for some good genes.
PU: It’s almost been about 5 months since your wrist injury, how is the wrist holding up for you? Any problems?
ET: I'm doing well now after a long summer I finally feel like I'm back to 100%. No problems with mobility, the only setback is that I don't have any feeling in my thumb, but I'm not too worried about it.
PU: How was your experience at Pens training camp? As a “new guy” were you subjected to any practical jokes or hazing?
ET: A few jokes here and there but the guys are great in Pittsburgh and training camp was a great experience for me.
PU: Though it was only pre-season, how was it like being alongside Sid and Geno?
ET: It was unbelievable. I mean I had an opportunity to play with 2 of the best players in the world which was a ton of fun. I remember being nervous in the beginning but after that it was just hockey.
PU: What has the transition been like coming from OHL to the AHL? Differences? Similarities?
ET: The biggest difference is that I'm playing against men now instead of teenagers in junior. Previously I could get by just using my size but now its important for me to use all my tools every shift to be effective. The similarities would have to be the guys. Every day at the rink is a always a great time and that has helped me with the transition.
PU: With a new season getting under way in Wilkes Barre, what are your expectations for yourself as well as your team?
ET: I'm just going to play my game every night and try to contribute as much as I can here. We have such a good balance of players and our expectations are high in Wilkes-Barre so it should make for a great season.