From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
Rickard Wallin online Q&A session
Aeros center Rickard Wallin recently answered questions from www.aeros.com users. Check www.aeros.com in the coming days for your opportunity to chose the next Q&A subject.
Q: First let me tell you congratulations on your goal on the 7th - it was beautiful!! I'd also like to say that we very much enjoy having you in Houston again this year - it's the only reason I'm glad there's a lockout, because if there wasn't one I'm sure you'd be up in Minnesota!!! We got to watch several of your games in Minnesota on Center Ice last year and we were very impressed with your play!!
My question is: How do you find the level of play this season, considering the lockout and compared to your time with both Houston and Minnesota last year - are there any changes or differences this year that you especially enjoy or dislike. I noticed at a pre-season practice session that you seemed to be having a lot of fun with the guys.
Thanks for your time,
Staci from League City, Texas
RW: I think that all the teams are obviously stronger teams. Some teams only had one good line in the past, now its more like they have at least two or three really good lines. Theres always good people to play against, no weak teams.
Some of us have been together for parts of two seasons ahead of this season. All of the new guys really fit in. This year, there are only great guys here. Its usually like that, but it started off even better and we got together faster as a group.
Q: Who is the best player that you faced during your career
RW: I would have to say Peter Forsberg. Im kind of biased because he was my idol growing up in Sweden. He is a total package. Hes good both defensively and offensively, and he can play both the tough and a finesse games.
Q: Välkomnande rygg till Houston! (How's my Swedish?)
It is nice to see that you decided to stay with the Wild organization during the NHL lockout in lieu of playing overseas this season. Your integrity, a well as your amazing skills, makes you a real asset to the team.
My question is, where would you like to see yourself in five years in terms of your career and personal goals?
Best of luck!
Dominique from Houston
RW: Thats not too bad. Thank you. (Note: Translation is Welcome to Houston)
In five years I obviously would like to have made it to the NHL. I hope that Minnesota can get some of us young guys up together to challenge for the Stanley Cup eventually, but right away to make the playoffs and make some noise in the next five years.
Q: I'm so glad I got to meet you last spring. I just made the Junior Aeros team and I'm going to be #15. My question is what was it like growing up in Sweden? Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Patrick, age 8, West University
RW: Congratulations for making your team!
I have a younger brother who is three years younger. Its hard for me to say what the difference is. We used to play all sorts of sports, hockey and soccer. We played sports every day. It was basically my childhood.
Q: Have you ever trained on inline skates?
Jim from Houston
RW: I have. I actually play inline hockey in the summer in a league in Sweden. We have a pretty good team. We won the championship this summer. My old junior team comes together and plays. All my old buddies. Its a lot of fun.
Q: I'm a WILD season ticket holder who just saw her first AHL game this past Saturday in Milwaukee. It seemed like an extremely physical/scrappy game. Do you think the playing level in the AHL has been turned up because of the lockout? Or is there a bit of a team rivalry with the Milwaukee Admirals?
P.S. It was great to be able to see such an entertaining hockey game! We miss it TERRIBLY in Minnesota.
Deb from Northeast Minneapolis
RW: I think theres definitely a rivalry there because we won the Calder Cup two years ago, then they won it last year. We both wanted to show who the better team was this year. They got the best of us last year so we wanted to get them back. When you play teams 10 times a year, theres going to be some rivalry. Theyve got some players who have been around for awhile, and us too.
Q: Mr. Wallin,
What is your opinion and the general consensus concerning the new blue lines?
Kevin from Kingwood, Texas
RW: I havent really noticed anything negative about it. Its good if it can make the puck stay in the zone a little bit longer. Theres nothing negative about it in my opinion.
Q: What observations/comparisons can you make on your life in Houston and growing up in Sweden? Do you have any idea what percentage of foreign players remain in the US or Canada after their playing careers?
RW: I think when you live in a different country, you know what the good part about the new country is. You also start appreciating what you have back home too. Most of the Swedish players go back when its over unless theyve been here for a really long time and adapt to the lifestyle. Its hard to tell. I always go back in the summers and I always enjoy it.
Q: With America's Thanksgiving next week, I was wondering will you be doing anything to celebrate that holiday or will it be like a normal day for you?
Jen from WBL, Minn.
RW: Well be on the road traveling. We dont have Thanksgiving back home so its not that big of a deal. Ill try to eat some Thanksgiving turkey at least.
Q: How have you tried to help younger European players like Marius Holtet adjust to being in North America?
Rich in Rosenberg
RW: Obviously hes a bit younger than when I first came over, so its harder for him. Im trying to help him out. Hes got a lot of questions. Im doing my best to answer all of them. You know all the European guys come over, and I know what theyve been through. Its the same thing with Mikko (Koivu). You just know its easier if someones been through what youre going through. When you get comfortable off the ice, its easier to get comfortable on the ice.
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