Recently, fans got the chance to ask Texas Stars Defensemen Andrew Hutchinson in a fan chat earlier this week. Topics of this Fan Chat include his NHL Experience, winning the AHL Calder 2004 AHL Calder Cup with the Milwaukee Admirals, playing in OT and so much more.
Here's the Fan Q&A
How pleased are you with the success that the Stars have had this season, and in what areas do you feel in the org. still has room for growth? From Wayne in Austin
I think everyone has been pleasantly surprised with the support we have received in our first season. As far as the org. moving forward, I believe the team can be more involved in the community off the ice, growing the game in the area and expanding the fan base.
When you first breaking into professional hockey, did you try to model your game after anyone that you enjoyed watching growing up, and if so, why? From Bill in Peoria, Illinois
I don't know if I modeled my game after any specific person. I really enjoyed watching the Red Wings while growing up in the Detroit Area. I have always been a fan of Nicklas Lindstrom and Steve Yzerman. Lindstrom is one of the best D-Men of his era and Steve Yzerman was one of my favorites. I really enjoyed watching them as a kid.
Have you been able to use your previous championship experience this spring to act as a sort of teacher to some of the younger players on your team? Jared from Oxford, Mass.
I really didn't consider myself as a teacher to the younger guys on this team. I try to add my two cents when I feel I can help. More or less, I just want to lead by example. We have a great group of veterans here in Texas, so I don't think it falls on one guy. We collectively lead as a group.
Describe what it was like to be a part of a Calder Cup Winning team in Milwaukee in 2004 and then two years later, being part of a Stanley Cup winning team in Carolina? Tim from Raleigh, N.C.
They were both amazing experiences. Anytime you win a championship at any level. It is a special moment that you remember for the rest of your life. I made life long friends in both places. I fell very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time.
Has playing on a strong defensive team like Texas made this season any extra enjoyable for you? George from Austin
Our system has proved to be successful and help us win games this season. It makes coming to the rink fun everyday when you are winning games regardless of what style you play.
Has the team had to make any adjustments as this series against Chicago has progressed? Luke from Austin
You make minor adjustments as the series moves forward. We've have a lot of success with our system and we don't feel the need to make any major changes. Of course, that can always change as the series progresses.
As a fan, watching playoff Overtime Hockey is about as tense as it gets.... Describe what its like for players out on the ice during Overtime. Kevin from Boston
Playoff hockey is intense to begin with and the added element of overtime hockey adds a lot more pressure to every shift. It's actually easier being on the ice then on the bench. Watching is even harder. Everybody knows one goal can change a series and in overtime you never know when that goal is going to come.
What typically goes on in the locker room in the intermission before overtime in a playoff game, or between overtimes if the game keeps going? Is their much strategizing or is it more of an opportunity to get some rest? Julie from Austin
Everyone usually has a standard routine during the intermission break. It doesn't matter if it is overtime or just a regular intermission, it's all the same. I personally spend the time resting and trying to get hydrated. Coach may come in and talk a bit, but not always to strategize.
What was your greatest obstacle going into your professional career, and how did you get by and be successful? Daniel from Pictou County, Nova Scotia
My great obstacle is the same as what everyone else had to deal with on their path to the NHL. There are only so many roster spots and we all have to work our way into a position for a regular job in the National Hockey League. There are a lot of very good players from all over the world playing in the NHL and roster space is limited.
You grew up, went to school, and started your pro career in the midwest, but since then you've lived in several different parts of the country. What is like being moved around so much? Blake from Pflugerville, Texas
I have enjoyed everywhere that I have lived. I consider myself fortunate to have played in some great cities. I've made good friends in all the cities that I have lived in. I have particularly enjoyed my last year and a half in Texas, between Dallas and Austin. My family has adjusted well to all the moves and really become fond of the greater Austin and Cedar Park Areas.
Within a team, what kind of deomgraphic rivalries common among players? For instance, Eastern Canadian VS. Western Canadian, Canadian VS. American, North American VS. European, veterans vs. rookies? Pflugerville, Texas
Everyone is proud of where they are from and we have players from all over North American, Finland and Russia. They may be small verbal jabs that go back in fourth for fun, but when it comes down to it all we all play for the same team. On the ice, we all look after each other and play for one another.
What kind of presence has Jamie Benn brought to your lineup since he came down for the Calder Cup Playoffs after spending the entire regular season in Dallas?
He is a highly skilled player that is coming off a great rookie season in Dallas. Jamie bring confidence into our locker room and the ability to make some great plays. He has fit in really well and he only makes the players around him better.
What are some of the things you like to do in the off-season? Jim from Chicago
I am an avid golfer and love to hit the links during the off-season. During the schedule our schedules are so hectic and I try to spend a lot of time with my family during the summer months. I also enjoy traveling and visiting friends. Most importantly, I rest up and start training for the following season.
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