Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Insider Interview - Nathan Perrott

The hard-hitting right wing talks about getting back on the ice; boxing and his role as an enforcer

Brahmas fans have been wishing for an enforcer to fill the role vacated by Nathan Saunders after the championship win. They got their wish on Wednesday night with the addition of Nathan Perrott to the roster. Perrott, who played the last two seasons in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League (their NHL equivalent) has done some heavyweight boxing on the East Coast as of late but has returned to the ice to help the Brahmas defend the President's Cup.

He scored a power play goal in his first game as a Brahma and overall, made a good impression for a guy who hasn't played for a while. It shouldn't take long for Perrott to get acquainted with the CHL and his new teammates and especially those players on other teams who think they can push the Brahmas around. Are you listening Brandon Straub?

I spoke with Nathan in the locker room last night after the 4-3 shootout loss to the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. Here is part of our conversation.

Q: How was your first game as a Texas Brahma?

A: It was good. Fast paced; guys worked hard. The skill level was good – it was fun. It’s too bad that we kind of let up in the third period. We had a two-goal lead going into the period but you know, those things happen. You’ve got to learn from them and move on and don’t let it happen again.

Q: Was this your first game since playing in Russia?

A: Yeah.

Q: And how did it feel scoring a goal in your first game back?

A: Oh, it was nice…I hadn’t scored in a couple of years (laughing). Since last time I was in Dallas (laughing). I was playing with the Stars the last time I scored. It was nice, you know…I can score goals, but I’m not a goal-scorer, you know (laughing). My job is to be the first guy on the fore-check, you know, get your hits, try to run around and hit guys (laughing) and be intimidating.

Q: You delivered some brutal hits tonight. You’ve played in several different leagues. What do you think of the competitive level here?

A: Oh, it was good, really good. I can’t say it’s as good as the American League but it’s really close, right on par with that. There are a lot of good players here. Most of the guys here could play in the American league if they were given the chance but that’s just the way it goes; there’s only so many guys you can have on a team, right? But I was really impressed with them, speaking of the game.

Q: You came back from Russia to do some boxing. How did you come to join up with the Brahmas?

A: Dan and I played together in Junior B and he had talked to me a couple of years ago. I had a contract to go back to Russia, so I told him I was going back to Russia in the KHL. He said if you’re ever interested, give me a call. I talked to him this summer a bit and I told him I was boxing. I really enjoy the boxing and I wish I could still do it but it’s hard, really hard. Financially, it was really hard on me. I was living in New Jersey, so it was hard being away from family all the time and you know, I’m a hockey player – I like to fight on the ice (laughing).

Q: Let’s go back in time a little bit – you’re 15 years old and you’ve taken up boxing. In fact you’ve said at that time, your two loves were boxing and hockey. Then at 18, you make the decision to go play with the Oshawa Generals. How did you decide which path to take?
A: Well, it came down to time…I played all sports – I was really good at Lacrosse. I played junior Lacrosse in Canada and that was easy because you could do that in the summers. But boxing, it’s really serious. You go in there well-trained and you can get hurt bad. If you’re kind of doing it half (the time) it’s a tough business. It’s the same thing with hockey, you’ve got to be fully committed. And I grew up in Canada right? (laughing). I liked to box too, but obviously in Southern Ontario, hockey is number one, right?

Q: Growing up, were there any particular role models for you in hockey?

A: I always enjoyed watching Rick Tockett and Cam Neeley…they played a good game. I always tried to play like that…I liked their physical style and their skill…

Q: You put up some pretty good numbers when you with Oshawa and in various pro seasons. At some point the physical side of your game overtook and you were eventually labeled an enforcer. How do you feel about that role?

A: I scored some goals too, while in the minors. I think the most I had was 16, when I was in the AHL. I’d score 14, 12, somewhere around that number but I mean, it’s part of the game. Guys are playing hard; it’s intense, and it happens. I have always enjoyed it, you know what I mean? I’ve always been somewhat of an honest player. I don’t always try and fight guys that don’t want to fight. If you’re going to do stupid things, you’re going to be held accountable. It kind of polices itself sometimes. It’s good. If you take that out of the game, sometimes guys get stuck doing cheap, dirty plays…so you out that element in there and guys are a little more aware of what they do if they’re going to be held accountable. The alternative is taking a beating or at least having to fight.

Q: Do you think you can use some of your background in boxing and hockey fights to pass on some of the boys who may be interested in learning how to better defend themselves and each other on the ice?

A: Oh, I’m always willing to help out a teammate anytime, they just have to ask. Fighting on ice – a lot of it’s experience. You work on core strength, balance and that kind of stuff, which really helps. There’s little tricks you can learn, but really, you develop a style after you fight so much. You get more comfortable, the more you do it.

Q: So you’re coming in nearly halfway through the season. What do you think you’ll be able to do for the team?

A: Just work hard every night…hopefully get my skill level back quickly. I haven’t played in a while, so, I mean, I haven’t played a lot of hockey in the last two years.,,you have three lines and you’re going to get ice time, so I’m going work hard to get back to where I was when I was younger (laughing); maybe get back to those OHL days and put up some big numbers (laughing), who knows? I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win.

Photo Credits: Robert Keith

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