Friday, 25 May 2012

Q&A with Garret Sparks,Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect

PuckCentral: Overall, how do you feel the season went for the team and you personally?
Garret Sparks: I feel we over achieved as a team, which is what you always strive to do. On a personal level I thought I played well but could've been better at times. It was a good season but next season will hopefully build on that and be even better.

PC: You obviously made a big jump from playing 19 games to 59. Was it a challenge at all to play so many more games?
GS: It was a challenge but it was something that I was ready for going into the season. I worked all summer to put myself in a position to succeed and this summer is going to be more of the same as I hope to reach, if not pass that number of games played again next year.

PC: You were drafted really late last year, was it nerve racking at all having to wait?
GS: It wasn't really nerve racking just because I didn't really expect to go. For me I just felt fortunate getting drafted.

PC: Does being picked so late give you any extra drive to succeed?
GS: I've had the same drive to succeed since I first started this dream. Being drafted is just another step along the way. I would say it makes me work harder, realizing that my dream is getting closer and closer, but where I was taken doesn't have any influence on my work ethic.

PC: I know the season just ended but what are some of your goals heading into the offseason and next season?
GS: I just want to continue to get better. Next year is a big year for our team and a big year for me personally. I just want to come in and be in the best shape of my life and play every game I can. My main goal is just to return in the best shape of my life.

PC: I get the vibe that being in great shape is very important to you? Would you say thats true?
GS: It's the one thing that I really need to do to take my game to the next level. It's been my main focuses for years now.

PC: I've interviewed a lot of goalies lately but this is a question I haven't asked yet. You play in a league that's highly regarded for its skill and talent. Who are some of the toughest players to stop or play against?
GS: That's a good question. It isn't like I pay attention to who's shooting, but you play teams enough and you know when guys are out there. Tobias Reider and Michael Catenacci on Kitchener as well as Stefan Noesen, J.T Miller, and Mitchell Heard on Plymouth are all great players and good guys. Gregg McKegg may have given me the toughest time out of anyone in this league though.

PC: Well luckily for you he'll most likely be your teammate in the future rather then opponent ha-ha. Growing up what was your favourite team?
GS: Well as much as I'd like to say the Blackhawks, they weren't very good for many years. My team was the Dallas Stars. Loved the jerseys and guys like Eddie Belfour, Mike Modano, Derian Hatcher and the rest were great. Dallas beating Buffalo is the first Stanley Cup I remember.

PC: Dallas, that's interesting! Who was your favourite player growing up?
GS: My favourite player had to be Mike Modano. But my favourite goalies were Nikoli Khabibulin and Marty Turco.

PC: What aspect of your game do you take the most pride in?
GS: I wouldn't say I care about one thing I do more than the other, I look to keep the game as simple as possible. Focus and patience are two things that are very important to me.

PC: This one i meant to ask earlier but forgot. What was it like being drafted to a team like the Maple Leafs?
GS: It has been great. I originally just wanted to get drafted, but after that happened and I got to go to the rookie camps and such, I realized how fortunate I was to be drafted to a team like the Leafs. The resources, facilities and coaches are 2nd to none in the league and they really care about and look after the guys they bring in. It's been a great experience so far and I'm extremely happy with where I ended up.

PC: Sounds like a great organization. Alright, so last question. We ask this to everyone. Who do you try to model your game after or do you just to and be "Garret Sparks"?
GS: Well there's a lot of great goalies out there and I don't think it's beneficial to model your game solely on another person, but I take a lot of what I like from everyone and I try to incorporate it into what I already know works for me. My game is ultimately my game though and it's constantly changing and evolving. I don't like to be defined by one thing I do or have one weakness or strength. In the end all I can ask of myself is to compete to no end and try to keep the puck out of the net.

This Q&A was conducted via Twitter Direct Message.

I'd like to thank Garret Sparks for taking the time to do this with us. You can follow him on twitter at : @GSparks40 and please give us a follow at: @PuckCentralHQ

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