Defending Big D recently caught up with Dallas Stars prospect Devin Shore, who shared his experiences as a freshman with a big role at Maine and what it's like as a Dallas Stars prospect.
If you could just take us through your thought process finishing up in your last league, what drove you to decide to go on the college route rather than maybe major Junior. [Shore played last season with the Whitby Fury of the OJHL, scoring 29 goals and 29 assists in 41 games]
Yeah it's something like, especially being where I'm from in southern Ontario, I flip flopped back and forth a lot, but the biggest thing is probably that I was a late bloomer as far as phyiscally developing so I think these extra years in college keeps the window open. If you go major junior you have one year, your 18 or 19 year old season and then the window kind of closes. With this I can kind of extend it; we work out in the gym in season so I'll get a lot stronger. And playing for a college like this, the hockey experience is awesome.
What was maybe the biggest adjustment or surprise that you faced coming in and being relied upon almost immediately to be a first line center at Maine, as a Freshman?
Yeah, definitely just the depth of the programs you're playing against. Every player you have to be careful with because everyone can make plays. Obviously there's the speed and the strength, but the thing I noticed is that you've got to be careful because there's a lot of slippery guys in this league and on defense you have to really take care of your own end because there's a lot of really talented players in this league.
What would you say is your best asset?
Probably my smarts, my hockey IQ. I like the puck on my stick in the offensive zone, I like making decisions and just kind of being one step ahead of guys because I'm not the fastest guy so if I can kind of out-think them it helps me a lot.
It's probably my skating I've been working on the last couple summers. I got in with a skating coach back home (Ajax, Ontario) and she's awesome. And just working in the gym, obviously, and just getting quicker. When I get to top speed I can kind of hold my own but my first three strides need some work. So that's something I'm working on.
And I saw you actually play on the point on the powerplay a little bit; is that new or is it something your used to?
Yeah, yeah that's new; but it's fun, it's different but it's the same game you've been playing your whole life. My game is making plays with the puck and just because I'm up there doesn't mean I have to change my game I just kind of look for the open man, make plays, and take shots.
Do you have free license when you're doing that to sneak down for an opening or does your coach ask you to stay up.
I think it's all just reading and reacting; just letting your hockey sense take over. Sometimes you can sneak in and sometimes you gotta stay back. If you just kind of relax and just play, the rest takes care of itself.
University of Maine is a historic team, perennially a contender; what was it like having that rough start just as you came in?
It was probably a blessing in disguise I guess. It's not just this year but my career ahead at Maine. I learned a ton of lessons and I learned how strong a team can stick together when stuff isn't going so well. Like our team stuck together as well as we have with the start we had, it's awesome. It makes, when things come together, it just feels that much better.
And so now you feel like the team's starting to gel more, getting more chemistry.
Yeah, yup absolutely. We're starting, like we've had phenomenal goaltending all year and we're starting to get that extra goal for Marty (Oullette), and same thing tonight. We executed on our powerplays, we started making better plays with the puck and it's a lot of fun.
Okay, and going through that adversity, how has your role or outlook with the team changed? Have you taken on maybe more of a leadership role or do you still feel like you need to take a back seat as a Freshman.
Yeah we, us Freshmen, we're pretty good, we know our roles as Freshmen but I like to talk in the room, on the bench and stuff; and I don't think the fact that I'm a Freshman changes that. You just be who you are, you do what got you here and be yourself and that goes a long way.
And what's your biggest goal, your biggest aspiration for at least the rest of the season, how do you see it playing out?
I want our team... we want to make the playoffs so bad. And once you get in the playoffs and 2, 2 to 3 game series', then if you can win 2 games and get to the Garden (TD Garden, Home of the Boston Bruins and the Hockey East playoffs), 1 game elimination then whatever happened all these months before doesn't matter. So we still have to make this huge playoff push; that was a huge point we got tonight, and just keep going.
Switching over to the Dallas side of it; how has the organization communicated with you throughout the season? Do you maintain open lines there or what?
I've talked to my adviser, Todd Rounds. He said - he does most of the keeping in contact. They're pretty good with it, they kind of let me be you know so I don't have to worry. Last year was kind of hectic with all the scouts and stuff. It doesn't have to be like that this year. I'm at Maine, I'm not a player on Dallas and stuff like that and they respect that. So yeah, they've been great and I'll cross that bridge when it comes, communicating with them, but right now - no they've left me alone. And that's almost, it's good that way, you just focus on yourself and the team and just winning games at Maine because that's all that matters right now.