BOUCHERVILLE, Thursday, February 21, 2008 In the next few weeks, the official website of the QMJHL will present a series of interviews with former players. This week, we sit down with Derick Brassard.
Brassard, a native of Hull, cracked the Drummondville Voltigeurs’ roster back in 2003. He played four seasons at the centre position. At the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, he was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the sixth overall pick.
Over the course of his major junior career, he won the RDS rookie of the year award as well as the Michel-Bergeron (offensive rookie) and Michael-Bossy (best pro prospect) trophies while earning a First Team All-Star nod.
Crippled by a shoulder injury, he missed most of the 2006-07 season. Last fall, he made his American Hockey League debut in Syracuse. Just a few weeks ago, he was recalled by the Blue Jackets. Derick is expected to suit up for his first game against the Canadiens in Montreal this coming Saturday.
<i>Have you noticed a big jump in the speed at which the play develops at the NHL level?</i>
"Absolutely. The players are faster and much more experienced since they’re usually a bit older. It’s normal. I expect that I’ll have to make a few adjustments."
<i>When you were recalled by Columbus last January, what were your first impressions?</i>
"I was actually just leaving a Syracuse Crunch practice with a friend when I got the news. Alexandre Picard gave me a ring to tell me he had read on the Internet that I’d been recalled, but I hadn’t received a phone call from the organization. I found out a bit later in the day. I was pretty excited."
<i>Were you nervous at the thought of integrating an NHL dressing room?</i>
"Everything went well; the guys were pretty friendly. Sometimes, players are a bit anxious of seeing a new guy come in since they think they’ll be taking over someone’s spot, but the veterans helped me out."
<i>How would you rate your performance so far?</i>
"Well, I’m not utilized that much and I play a pretty limited amount of minutes. But, when our line is out on the ice, we try to create some energy. If we can help, that’s just perfect."
<b>A new life</b>
<i>What’s an average day like?</i>
"For now, you can pretty much summarize it this way: I live in a hotel, eat at restaurants and travel. It’s the <i>big</i> life and I really enjoy it. I hang out with a few teammates that are about my age. They live close to the rink."
<i>What has been the most difficult for you since you left Drummondville?</i>
"In Drummondville, I had an excellent billet family. I miss them, but it’s a new chapter in my life."
<i>Do you keep in touch with your fellow QMJHL alumni?</i>
"Yes. I talk to a couple of "Q" guys, like Mathieu Carle, François Bouchard and Pier-Olivier Pelletier. In Syracuse, I played with Philippe Dupuis."
<b>The QMJHL wishes him the best of luck in his new NHL career.</b>