We're going to find out what we are made out of early on. It is just exciting to test things out against the best team in the country right now in Boston College. I think that we have had a lot of good practices. The team is coming together so we'll be able to find out right where we are at.
How much have you had to stress to the guys that we need to be sharp from game one?
Yeah, that has been stressed for sure. Boston College is no slouch so we need to go in, be at 100 percent because we need to expect that they're going to be at 100 percent, too. We've been trying to make every pass in practice, every detail ironed out so that we are at our best shape when we go in there.
How big of an opportunity is it to start off with the national champions right away?
It's a huge opportunity for us. We get to find out where we are at and get to go up against the best team in the country and have a chance to knock them off. I remember a couple years ago after we had a big year and they paid the favor back to us. Hopefully, we can repeat history there.
You guys have an hour and a half drive in between the Boston College and New Hampshire game. Is that going to change anything mentally?
I don't think so. We're going to take it game by game. They are two different opponents. It's just like the national tournament mentality. You've got to take your Friday night opponent in and then you have a whole new opponent on Saturday. We are going to use that philosophy to re-energize ourselves. The bus ride will give us an opportunity to refocus ourselves.
What does it mean to have that captain's ‘C' on your chest?
It's an honor. There are a lot of great players that have played here before who have worn the C. I am just going to do my best to keep that tradition going. I have been here with a lot of great captains. David Drewiske did a great job. Andrew Joudrey did a great job and Adam Burish was probably one of the best to go through here. I have lots of time to sort of look at those guys and learn from them. I am going to try and make it my own but keep on the tradition.
What was your reaction when you found out that your teammates selected you captain?
Again, a huge honor. It means so much when that is voted on by your teammates and your peers. I was real excited. It's such a cool thing to be the captain and just a great honor. I am just excited for it.
How do you change your responsibilities as the captain of this team?
Well for myself, I am going to be the player I always have been. I got voted in not by doing anything different, but the way I was doing things. My responsibilities are a little more on my shoulders but in terms of my own game, I am going to be doing the same things.
Can you compare yours and Blake's leadership styles?
I think Blake is more of a vocal guy and a lead by example guy. We just can't get in the way of each other. That has to be the biggest thing. You need to have a balancing act when you have two captains and not overdue things. When we get on the ice, we're going to lead by example the best we can.
Wisconsin is a pretty young team again. How does the experience of some of these guys playing last year help this team?
It's a big stage to be on with a lot of pressure, a lot of people watching you and a lot counting on it. This first month is going to be difficult. We're going against the number one team, a New Hampshire team (another great team) … it's going to be a tough month. These are all going to be big games so it's nice to have some experience there.
Now that the young guys have been able to practice and get their feet wet, what have you seen out of them?
Well they all look really good. We have some tough practices where the speed has picked up and they've handled it. We're going to have some guys and step in right away and some other guys kind of work their way into it. You never really know until you get into a game situation. I remember when I was a freshman, the practices seemed fast and then started to slow down a little bit. Then you got to the games and it was a whole new world. I think this will be a good test, a good month for them.
What do you think are the biggest strengths with the team as you start here?
I think we have a lot of guys that have played game. We return a lot of players and a lot of guys that have experience in some pretty big games. We played in some hostile environments so they know what that is going to be like. The guys are ready to go. We've got good leadership, good defense and good goaltending.