Thursday, January 24, 2008

Q&A with Travis Morin

Q & A with Travis Morin

By DJ Powers

Former Minnesota State Mankato Maverick Travis Morin has gotten off to an outstanding start to his pro career as a member of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. He has played in 36 games and currently ranks tied for third in the league in rookie scoring with 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists). He is also tied for the league in shorthanded goals with five.

Travis Morin shared his insights about the pro game and his days at Minnesota State Mankato, after the ECHL All-Game at Stockton Arena earlier on Wednesday night.

Q: How were the All-Star Game festivities for you these last two days?

TM: It was good. I met a lot of guys that I play against, getting to know them a little bit and just going out there, playing some hockey and just having a good time.

Q: You scored the first goal for the American conference tonight. So take me through that.

TM: I tried to make a pass, then their defenseman blocked and it bounced right back to me. I just pulled it in quick, shot it and beat the goalie.

Q: Was there something that you took out of this event that you’ll be able to take back to South Carolina with you?

TM: It’s just something that you’re going to remember because it’s your first All-Star game. It’s a way to meet some guys that you play against all the time that you’ll see for the rest of the year and just say ‘hi’. Other than that, it’s just a little springboard to the second half of the season.

Q: I know that this is your first year as a pro. How has it been for you in terms of the learning experience?

TM: I think that it’s been pretty easy adjustment. I came down last year after my senior year and played a couple of games with South Carolina. So that was good to get acclimated that way and going down there just gave me more confidence for this season. So far, it’s been pretty good.

Q: Did you go to either the Capitals or Hershey’s camp back in the fall?

TM: Yes. I went to the Capitals camp for a couple of weeks. Then I went to Hershey’s camp and they sent me down to South Carolina.

Q: I would assume that you being Capitals property and having been in the camps that they’ve been keeping tabs on you in South Carolina.

TM: Yes. I know that our coach sends in the (player) reports every day about how their guys are doing down in South Carolina. I got called up (by Hershey) for a couple of games earlier in the season and just looking to maybe get another chance up there.

Q: So how was the experience of playing in Hershey?

TM: Everything was a little faster and quicker. But it’s good to get your feet wet in there. I’m looking forward to next year and hopefully I’ll be up there the whole time.

Q: How was the adjustment for you going from the college game to the pro game?

TM: I think the biggest adjustment for me coming from the WCHA, were the rinks. Most of the rinks in the WCHA are Olympic-sized ice. When you come up to the pros, the guys are bigger, quicker. Things happen a little bit faster and you also don’t have as much time. So I think that’s the biggest adjustment that I had to make.

Q: You played for a wonderful coach in Troy Jutting at Mankato. What were some of the things that he taught you that you’ve been able to bring to the pro level?

TM: The thing that I had to learn the most was that I had to compete all the time. I probably didn’t do that early in my college career and he’d say it. It’s just something that you learn as you get a little bit older. You learn patience and when you have to choose your times. You’ve got to come to play every day because you never know what tomorrow holds.

Q: What do you feel are some of the areas that you’ve improved in since coming up to this level?

TM: I’d say my patience in making plays and taking my time out there. You think that you don’t have a whole lot of time but you can stop it for just a split second, figure everything out and make your play. I think that’s the biggest key to having success.

Q: Has the rigorous pro schedule been a real challenge for you as well?

TM: Yeah, it’s definitely a lot different from college, where you have practices during the week and games on the weekends. But it hasn’t been bad. We’ve had a couple of long road trips, but it’s nice to be able to get away and hang out with the guys sometime. You can’t really argue when you’re playing pro hockey.

Q: What are your best memories that you’ve taken with you from Mankato?

TM: I’d say that the guys that I graduated with are probably the best memories. I still keep in contact with them. They keep up with me and I see that they’re all playing in other places and try to keep tabs on them. It’s something that you don’t forget.

Q: Well the one player that I have to ask if you keep in close touch with is David Backes because you guys were so great together when the two of played at Mankato.

TM: Yeah, he’s doing really well for himself. St. Louis is an up and coming team. They’re young but they’re showing some good signs. He’s part of what they wanted and build around. I hope that he’ll have a long and distinguished career.

Q: Are you two still in contact with each other?

TM: Yes. He was one of my grooms at my wedding and I’ll be one of his grooms at his wedding this summer. Yeah, we still keep in touch and get together on the fourth of July every year.

Q: Finally, when are we going to be seeing you with the Caps? I know that you’re still their property, so I would imagine that you have contact with them.

TM: Yeah. I’m still (property) with them this year and next year. I’ll see what I can do and finish out this year, hopefully have a good summer, and then go out there and showing them what I can do.

Q: Do you plan to attend their camp next fall?

TM: Yes. I’m definitely going to be going out there for the camp and we’ll see what happens when I get out there.