The start of the 2012-2013 hockey season placed a lot of focus on the talent in the AHL while the NHL was locked out. Now that the NHL has been back for a month, the AHL players are even more eager to show off their talent. The Manchester Monarchs, affiliate of the 2012 Stanley Cup winning LA Kings, are a team lead by a lot of young talent. One such example is Linden Vey. The 21-year-old out of Wakaw, Saskatchewan is in his second year with the Manchester Monarchs. Currently leading the team in points and assists, he is searching for his first NHL call up and is sure to impress when he gets the chance. Vey recently took some time to answer some questions for us here at the Pink Puck.
Pink Puck: You were the leading scorer your last two seasons with Medicine Hat and are now leading the Monarchs. What has been the biggest key to that success?
Linden Vey: My last few years in Medicine Hat and then now with Manchester is consistency. Something the coaching staff here in Manchester told me I needed to work on after last season was being consistent. So that’s something this season I’ve been trying to work on game in and game out.
Pink Puck: Now being in your second professional season, has anything gotten easier from last season when you were a rookie?
LV: I don’t the game ever gets easier. You just start to know what to expect. My first year in the league, I had never watched an American League game. When I came to Manchester, I didn’t know a whole lot about what to expect about the coaching staff, the guys or the league. Coming back this year, I have a full year under my belt, had some success in the playoffs, and I had some good learning experiences that helped me coming into this year.
Pink Puck: What part of your game do you feel like playing in the AHL has helped with most?
LV: I think the biggest improvement that I’ve had is the defensive part of my game. If you want to play at the next level, you have to be able to play in all three zones. Like a lot of skilled players coming out of juniors, I had the tendency to not pay as much attention when it comes to your end. That’s something I’ve been working on the last couple years.
Pink Puck: What do you feel you need to do to get a call up to LA this year?
LV: Playing in all three zones is important. If you look at the guys up in LA or around the league in the NHL, everyone can play in all the zones. You want to be a guy that can be on the ice in any important situation. Whether you’re up a goal or down a goal, you want to be a guy that can be put in that position. You want the coach to be able to trust you.
Pink Puck: You’re obviously a natural scorer, but how would you describe your style of play?
LV: I’m just a guy that works hard every night and creates opportunities for myself and for my line mates. I think the best thing that I do is pass the puck well and I think I have good vision to be able to find my line mates.
Pink Puck: Who has had the biggest influence on your style of play whether it’s a coach or a player you watched growing up?
LV: I look up to my older brother. He’s four years older than me. I watched him a lot when I was growing up. I think he’s a guy, even to this day, that I take into account what he has to say because he watches a lot of my games. When I was younger, I grew up watching him. He’s had the biggest influence on the way I play.
Pink Puck: When did you first get started skating and playing hockey?
LV: I was pretty young because of my brother. I started skating when I was 3 years old and started playing when I was 4.
Pink Puck: What would you say is the best advice you’ve been given?
LV: My grandfather always told me that no matter what happens, you have to follow your dreams and not let anyone or anything get in the way of that. He said that life was short enough and you should make every day like it’s your last.
Pink Puck: When you’re not playing hockey, what do you like to do?
LV: In the winter, we don’t have a lot of free time with games and our schedule. But in the summer, I like to golf with my brother and my dad a couple times a week. Anything to do with sports is something that I like to do.
Pink Puck: If hockey had not worked out, what would you be doing instead?
LV: This is something that I feel like someone always asks me and I don’t usually have a good answer because I’m so focused on hockey. I haven’t ever really thought about it a lot. But, I grew up on a farm and in the summer I go back there. I do like working on the farm with my dad and my brother. So I guess I would be a part of that.