Two minutes with Leafs prospect Morgan Rielly

After Game Six of the Subway Super Series in Victoria, I got a chance to talk to Morgan Rielly for a couple of minutes. For my article on Team Canada’s defensive prospects at the World Juniors (including where Rielly stands), click here.

What would you say is the main reason for there being so many good defencemen in your age group?

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That’s hard to say. I think every team these days is in a hunt to have a good two-way defenceman, there’s a whole group of them playing right now in pro hockey with Kris Letang and whatnot. I think there’s a whole lot of great blue liners in our league and our age group and I’d say that’s great for hockey.

How old were you when you made the switch to defence and who was your primary influence?

I was in atom and all the way up until atom I was kind of all over the map, and I had a chat with my Dad and he told me that if I played ‘D’ I’d have a whole lot more ice time and so after that we made the switch and haven’t really looked back. He’s taught me a whole lot about the position and the game as well. I think I’ve come a long way from atom.

At the draft I overhear you telling Brian Burke “I love it”, and I guessed he was asking you about media attention. Have you been getting a lot more of that as a Leafs draftee this year?

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Yeah, I think so. Playing junior hockey there’s been quite a few people calling from Toronto, but you know I try not to concentrate on it too much but it’s hard to get away from as a draft pick but I don’t have any problem with it and I’m enjoying it a little bit.

About your game tonight, it looked like you came in on a pinch from the blue line and you sort of tripped over yourself and you looked to limp a bit back to the bench. Were you feeling alright at that point?

It’s hockey, you’re going to get injured a few times. And that’s kind of what happened.

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You have two cuts on your lip.

*Yeah, I got this one on top in the game last night though. The one on the bottom is tonight, so it’s been a long one.

There was one play tonight when you brought the puck from zone-to-zone-to-zone and it really got the crowd into it. Do you prefer the offensive side of the game to the defensive side?

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I think they’re equally important, I know I have to play in all areas of the ice but I think that in terms of… I enjoy trying to create opportunities to score.

If you could play on a pairing with any guy, who would it be?

I’d like to play with Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, I think he’s an amazing player and I enjoy watching him and I think playing with him would be an honour.

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