Fireside Chats: Jamie McGinn

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Jamie McGinn was chosen by the San Jose Sharks with their second selection (36th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Before starting his professional career this season with the Worcester Sharks, he played with the Ottawa 67's in the OHL, leading his team in points during the 06-07 season with 46 goals and 43 assists.

Since then he has bounced between San Jose and Worcester the last two seasons, taking part in the Worcester Shuttle that saw multiple entry-level players sent back and forth on a daily basis during the 2009-2010 season. McGinn currently has 20 points in 24 games played for Worcester (7 G 13 A), and 8 points in 40 games played (7 G 1 A) for San Jose. More Worcester Sharks information can be found at their official site.

Plank and TCY would like to thank Jamie McGinn and Worcester Sharks Director of Public Relations Eric Lindquist for making this interview happen. Enjoy.

How did you first learn the game? Were you an avid pond hockey fanatic or did you play competitively in indoor rinks from a young age?

My parents got me on skates when I was two years old, I had a backyard rink growing up. Every winter it would be my mom and dad up late flooding the ice. It was definitely my parents who got me into it at a young age.

Who was your favorite team and player growing up?

Favorite team would be the Toronto Maple Leafs, I grew up about an hour outside of Toronto. My dad was a big Leafs fan, so I was kind of born into it. My favorite player was Gary Roberts when he played for the Leafs as well.

Did you try and model your game after Gary Roberts?

Absolutely. He was one of the hardest workers on the team I have seen play, an honest player who played with a lot of heart. He had a lot of character and elevated his game to a higher level, especially in the playoffs. That's what I want to be like when I get established as a NHL player.

With the Olympics currently underway have you had some time to check the Games out? What are your feelings on the tournament thus far?

We've been watching a lot of it in Worcester here. Most of us are Canadian and we were watching the game last night. Our hearts are kinda broken right now, it was a tough game. At the same time it's also been a lot of fun and some good hockey, we love watching it. Thankfully it was just the round robin and Canada can still come through here.

What do you think about Canada's chances going forward?

They have a ton of firepower and you gotta believe in them. I hope they pull through, but at the same time it's one of the toughest tournaments to win. I'm wishing them all the best-- they have the roster to do it and I know they are going to come out strong tomorrow against the Germans.

How much has playing with those Olympians-- guys like Marleau, Thornton, and Heatley-- helped to progress your game when you have been in San Jose.

It's really amazing because if you're ever in a rut or anything like that you can always go to them for advice. They've been through it all before, and now they're playing for their country. They help you out as much as they can. On the ice you just and watch and learn from their work ethic and try to do the same things to get yourself to be a better player.

What's the biggest thing the San Jose Sharks organization has taught you the last two seasons?

It's huge learning the systems. It makes the game a lot easier when you know the systems, and everyone on your team is on the same page. With Todd in San Jose he's really strong on his system, making sure everyone is doing the right thing. You can tell by the record in the last few years. We have a great team who has been winning a lot of games. That is the biggest thing.

Any difference between the system of Roy Sommer versus Todd McLellan?

It's pretty similar. They talk a lot with one another and know what the other one is doing. On the power play and penalty kill it's nearly identical up there and down here. I think that's a big thing because anyone can be called up from Worcester at any time, and that helps out when you are playing in San Jose.

In the AHL you're usually on the first line, while in the NHL you play primarily on the third and fourth line. When you get called up does the coaching staff ask you to change some aspects of your game to fit that role, or is it similar to what you are asked to do against Norfolk for example.

I try and do the same things at both levels, but you do play a little different on the first line than you do on the fourth. You just do your best to adjust. It's pretty easy to do because I would do anything to play in the NHL... (laughs) Sorry, there's a couple guys in the car just yelling here.

(laughs)

It may not always be easy to adjust, but you know you have to. You're always just happy to be there.

This season it appears as if playing on the third line has brought a physical edge to your game, more so than last year. Do you feel that is a valid observation to make?

I think so, I definitely want to be a tough player to play against. That's one of the things they have talked to me about. Teams across the league want that type of player, and San Jose wants that type of player out of me, so I'm trying to be as physical as I can out there. At the same time, if I'm around the net, I want to put the puck in as well.

Earlier this season we calculated you could have flown round trip to Australia three times with all the air miles you have logged. Has this changed how you usually prepare for games?

(laughs) I had no idea it was that much. I think it has changed my preparation, you get in bed a lot earlier and try to catch as many z's as you can. It gets tough sometimes to fly across the country and play in the best league in the world, but you get it done. You play on that adrenaline and do anything you can to stay up there for as long as you can, hopefully forever.

Does it help more when you are able to practice with the team you are playing games with?

It affects playing with your linemates, and being able to know where they are when we're skating together. That's the only thing, it kinda gets tough when you're not practicing with the same guys everyday and getting to know them. But when you are playing in a game you react to them and try to gel real quickly. You make sure you're doing the right things and getting pucks in deep.

You've played with Logan Couture a lot in the past. Does the chemistry you established with the Ottawa 67's translate to the AHL, and how so?

Yeah it does. We played together a lot in Ottawa, and before he got injured we were playing a lot together here in Worcester. It didn't take long to get the chemistry back. He is one of those guys where I seem to know where he is on the ice at all times, and he knows where I am. He just seems to be able to put the puck in the net and be able to put it on my stick and vice versa. It's nice to have that.

On January 29th the Worcester Sharks had a guaranteed win night and you broke a 2-2 tie in the second period with a goal-- Worcester eventually won. Was that the first time you've been with a team that had that type of promotion?

(laughs) I had never heard of that before, it was pressure at it's best. That was kind of the locker room talk right there, we were saying, "What are they thinking, that's giving the other team some firepower." (laughs) We have a strong team down here and... (addresses teammates in the car) Can you guys shut up please?

(laughs)

(laughs) Sorry guys. But yeah, it was good to be able to pull that one off because we definitely didn't want to lose.

Going forward we have you slated on the NHL roster and think you would be a good fit on that third and fourth line. Has the coaching staff in San Jose communicated to you what their plans will be when the NHL resumes play? You were called up for the Buffalo game and were wondering if there has been any dialogue between you and the organization since then.

Nope, it's pretty much, "You're going down to Worcester." I know that there is nowhere I can go right now, and I know that I have to play hard. They don't really say too much, everything is kind of in the dark. You'll be rewarded with how you are playing so I take every game really seriously and play the best that I can. San Jose is where I want to be at the end of the day, and there's an opportunity now to make it there. It is where my heart is. We make sure, all the guys that could be called up, that we work really hard down here and keep winning games.

Provided you do make the playoff roster, what do you see your role being on the San Jose Sharks?

Definitely be an energy player. I have to make sure I am a plus player and not in the minus because every goal in the playoffs could be a momentum shifter. I need to be throwing my weight around and keeping pucks in the opposition's end so you can give the top two lines some rest and give them some energy; go out there and draw a penalty so we can go on the power play and put one in the net.

Time for the lightning round. Worst in-flight movie you have seen this year.

(laughs) I don't remember what it was called, but I remember putting the iPod on and looking away. It was that painful. I don't remember what it was called though, I don't want to bash any movies (laughs).

Do you remember who was in it?

It was that one I think Drew Barrymore directed with girls on roller skates. You guys remember which one I'm talking about?

(laughs) Yeah, I remember seeing previews for it. [Ed. Note: "Whip It" was the film]

Definitely not one of my top favorites (laughs).

Window seat or aisle seat.

Depends. If I'm pretty tired I want the window, but otherwise I'd go with the aisle.

Top corner wrist shot in tight or a slapshot above the circles. How would you rather score a goal?

Top corner in tight for sure.

Your greatest weakness as a player.

My greatest weakness? Joslin just said it was my brain so we'll go with that one (laughs).

Your greatest strength.

Work ethic.

Take us through this situation. You're on a bus headed to Bridgeport when you get called up to Buffalo-- what happens next.

So I was sleeping with my headphones on when all of a sudden I was awakened by a water bottle in the face (laughs). Frazer McLaren was shaking me around to wake me up so I was kind of in shock there. Then I get dropped off in a parking lot, didn't really know where I was. I ended up going to what I thought was a shoe store but it was a lighting store, and I didn't want to sit in there. Then I went to a Holiday Inn and just waited about a half hour for Wayne Thomas and Michael Mudd to come pick me up, they told me I was near Hartford so we drove to the airport and got on a flight to Rochester, touched down. There was seven people on the plane and we all had to sit near the back to keep the weight at the rear (laughs). Caught a flight to Buffalo and took a cab to the hotel.

Yeah we heard you were piecing together your suit, wearing Brad Staubitz's shoes and somebody else's tie (laughs).

Staubitz's suit, Ryane Clowe's shoes, and Dwight Helminen's belt. Then after the Buffalo game everyone was taking off so I got stripped back down to my track suit (laughs).

Drew actually pondered on air wondering whether you were wearing underwear under your track suit. He said he wouldn't be.

I actually didn't have underwear on, I had shorts (laughs). When I'm on the bus I like to be comfortable.

Besides that situation, what's the biggest thing you have forgotten or left behind in San Jose or Worcester when making the trips back and forth.

I wouldn't say I've forgotten anything, it's mostly I overpack so I have too much stuff and have to lug all that around the airport. I've been traveling with a couple guys like Joslin and McLaren, getting helpful hints on what to pack (laughs).

Who's in the car giving you a rough time right now?

(laughs) A couple of them just got out, but it was Joslin, Demers, and Moore. Those are the guys I live with and we were just leaving dinner. I said, "Can you guys please control yourselves for this conversation" and I knew that wasn't going to happen.

(laughs)

Hey, it was worth a shot (laughs).

Thanks again Mr. McGinn and good luck with Worcester. When do you guys play again?

We play Wednesday night against Portland.

Well good luck, hopefully we'll see you up in San Jose before the end of the year.

Oh I hope so too.

Star-divide

 

Go Sharks.

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