Here’s some of a conversation with Matt Gilroy today:
On his summer, after sitting out the end of last season:
“I just worked on my confidence a little more, and definitely my work down low and closing people out, using my skating in the defensive zone. Offensively I can jump into plays, but I can also use it to my advantage (on defense). I put 10 pounds on and it didn’t effect my skating at all. It just made me stronger. I feel stronger. I feel quicker. So it all worked. It is practice games, and we won’t see until real games start, but I feel comfortable.”
On this camp, compared to last year’s:
“The only thing you control is yourself. The coaches want me to play. They told me what they want of me, and I think they’re starting to see that I learned and keep improving every day, and just get in their good graces again and go from there.
“I think we all have a clean slate. Torts was pretty adamant about that. Everyone’s got a clean slate and go from there … start off right and show them I’m here to compete and here to contribute. That’s what I was brought here for, to be an offensive defenseman and I’m going to do that this year.”
On his serious approach this year:
“It’s my job. I have the best job in the world and why not take it seriously. I come to the rink for three hours a day and it’s not that hard to be serious for three hours a day. I can goof off when I’m away from the rink, but when I’m coming here I come to work and come to compete.
“I’m taking it as I want to take other people’s jobs, guys who played more than me last year. I’m challenging for those spots. I want to be a contributor to this team and I want to be a big factor.”
Disappointed that they brought in some veteran defensemen for tryouts?
“No. It’s the New York Rangers. Everyone wants to play here, everyone wants a shot here. I wasn’t surprised at all. Just more guys you have to compete against. It does affect me but I’m not going to worry about that. Just worry about myself.”
Lesson from last year:
“Be prepared. Physically it was fine, but it’s the mental aspect of the 80-game season coming out of college .You’ve got ups and downs and you’ve got to roll with it. I took it too hard if I didn’t play a lot, and took it (to heart) too much. You’ve got to roll with it, and I certainly learned the hard way. But that’s motivation to turn it into good this year.”