Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mike Heika's Q&A with Jonathan Cheechoo

Jonathan Cheechoo has seen both the big time highs and the very lows of his career of late. One of the biggest examples was the season after the lockout where he was among the league leaders in goals with 56. However, the last two seasons have been problematic for him as he's been disappointing the last two years with the Ottawa Senators & San Jose Sharks as he has scored just 43 points in 127 games the last two seasons.

He was let go by the Senators just after the season ended and hasn't had much interest from anyone until the Stars will give him a shot to make the team in training camp.

He will be looking to get back to his prime where he has at least 20 goals in every year except for last year and his rookie year back in the 2002-2003 season. Many believe that he has been brought in to challenge Fabian Brunnstrom for a roster spot who has gone down here extremely fast since his strong rookie season, can he make an impact for the Stars when training camp begins in PEI later this week, only time will tell but he has a proven past and will look to fight every possible way to get back to his best year when he scored 56 goals in the 2005-2006 season.

Jonathan Cheechoo Profile

Here's the Jonathan Cheechoo Q&A that Mike Heika asked Cheechoo yesterday on the Dallas Morning News

Heika: Do you look back at the last two or three years and wonder what happened? You were traded, demoted to the minors and eventually bought out. How did you see that progression?

Cheechoo: "I don't know really. I just have to put it behind me and move forward. I've had probably the best summer of work I have had in a long long time, and i'm feeling really good, better then I have in a long time.

Heika: You have gone through a lot of surgeries, hernia, shoulder, knee... and are you healthy now?

Cheechoo: "I haven't had shoulder surgery just some problems with looseness there. I've had double hernia surgery and then with me knees I had both my MCL's done last year in San Jose. But everybody has injuries and now it's a matter of I feel healthy now. I didn't get hurt last year at all, I didn't miss any games, so I see that as a positive step. Now, I want to get out there and play. I'm excited about the chances here."

Heika: How did you get connected with Dallas?

Cheechoo: "They contacted me and let me know how interestred they were. They've always been a team that i've hated to play against, so I know it's not a team that's going to miss the playoffs often. I know they missed last year, but I know it's something they want to remedy and I hope I come in and help a bit."

Heika: Do you think this is a place where you could fit? They have a need for a right handed shot and you could end up playing on a line with Brendan Morrow and Mike Riberio.

Cheechoo: "It's definitely someplace where things feel like they can fall into the right place. The opportunity is there, now it's up to me to take advantage.

Heika: How can you do that?

Cheechoo: "I feel healthier, I'm hungry. I feel strong. I feel solid out there. A lot of my game is to protect the puck and get it to the guys who make the plays. I feel like I have that strength now. A lot of it is confidence, and when you lose confidence, you struggle to get it back. I'm just working hard on that and finding my shot. I built a shooting structure in my backyard and worked a lot of there. I'm just hoping it all pays off."

Heika: You had to really battle to get into the NHL the first time. Does that help you at a time like this?

Cheechoo: "Sure. I do feel its just a matter of putting your head into the right head to the grindstone and going at it, and I do feel I have done that this summer. Hopefully, I can prove people wrong and mainly just prove to myself that I can do it."

Heika: They're looking at you possibly getting a spot on a line with Mike Riberio. You know Riberio game pretty well. Do you think they could be chemistry there?

Cheechoo: "I think the coaches are looking for anything that works, so whoever works the best together, it will have to be natural. You can't force it. He buys so much time and gives you that extra second, and when you get that extra second, you have a chance to look to see where you want to put the puck. I know Joe Thornton did that, and he did that mostly with size, but Mike does it mostly with quickness. But it definitely could work. We'll see."

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