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Palmer Sits With Jamie Tardif
SCOTT PALMER March
Jamie Tardif of the Peterborough Petes should fit in quite well if he finds himself in the NHL one day with the Calgary Flames, the team who drafted him in 2003. According to his team's official website, the 6'0 210lb. centre's favourite musical act is Tim McGraw and his nickname is Party-boy (although the nickname this interviewer heard his teammates call him was 'Turds'…).
The chances of the Welland, ON native making it to the Saddledome look better this year than ever. In 58 OHL games so far, he has 34 goals surpassing his previous high of 31 in 2002-03 and is just one point shy of his career high of 60. Furthermore his team is one of this season's OHL elite, a vast improvement from the disappointing team that failed to make the postseason last year.
Calgarypuck.com caught up with Tardif before his Petes shutout the Kingston Frontenacs 1-0 on the road in late February.
CP: Let's talk about your team, Peterborough. You guys are currently 1st in the OHL's Eastern Conference but looking at the overall standings it appears as though the top teams are mostly in the West this year. How do you view your chances at an OHL title this season?
JT: I say we've got a really good chance. We played London twice this year and we came out of that series 1-1. We played Owen Sound and same thing, we came out 1-1. So those are the top teams right there and we know we can beat them. In a seven game series who knows what can happen.
CP: Personally, you are currently 4th in OHL goal scoring [34 goals]. Is this the kind of offensive year you expected from yourself?
JT: Definitely. Points-wise it's right about where I'd like to be right now and I've had a really good year goal-wise. I owe a lot to my linemates Jordan Morrison and Greg Stewart; they've done a great job and that shows in our play.
CP: You were drafted by the Flames and Flames fans may not know much about you, other than the stats they can find on the Internet. What kind of player are you? What type of player do you like to model your game after?
JT: If I had to pick a guy from the Calgary Flames I'd have to say a guy like Marty Gelinas. He's a grinder type player and last year in the playoffs he proved it. A grinder, but he got a lot of big goals and big overtime goals. So I would say something like that, the type of player who can do everything and accepts any role that he's given.
CP: You were selected in the 4th round, 112th overall in 2003 and you played on the same team as Eric Staal that year [who was drafted 2nd overall]. Do you feel you may have been overlooked in the draft a little bit because you played on the same team? Or do you feel like you might have been scouted a bit more because you played on the same team?
JT: I think you could look at it both ways. I think we both helped each other out. We both had great seasons that year and unfortunately we lost game seven in the first round of the playoffs. But like I say, we both had a good year and scouts know what they're doing so they look at each type of player and we're two different styles of players. He's definitely an unbelievable player and I loved playing with him.
CP: What do you look forward to most when you think of playing for the Calgary Flames?
JT: I was there a couple times this summer for camps with the Flames. That city is unbelievable. Working, and having Darryl Sutter as a coach means a lot; he's a great guy, I've met him a couple times now. So I'm really looking forward to getting the opportunity to have a chance to play in Calgary.
CP: What was the best part of the Flames' prospect camp last summer?
JT: I think it was just to be around the city. The fans treat you good wherever you go. As soon as they hear you're with the Flames its Number One treatment right away. All the staff in Calgary make it so much easier on you so you don't have to worry about anything. Just all around, I love Calgary.
CP: Who else at the camp impressed you a lot?
JT: For other players obviously I would say Dion Phaneuf. I've known Dion for quite a little while now, we played under-eighteen together a couple years ago and we keep in touch over the internet. I say that's one of the guys who stood out in my mind the most.
CP: What kind of NHL career do you see yourself having?
JT: I'm going to hope for the best. Everyone wants to have a long NHL career. With the strike right now who knows what's going to happen but I just try to worry about my game, worry about where I'm at right now and making sure my team does well this year.
CP: What parts of your game do you feel like you can improve upon?
JT: I can always improve upon my cardio. My cardio's been the biggest thing; it's made improvements and that's what I always work on. You can never be in too good of shape.
CP: Have the Flames told you any areas of your game to work on?
JT: I'd say my skating and my cardio. My cardio's number one and if you want to be a big time player in the National Hockey League you've got to have the best of cardio so that's what I'm going to keep my focus on.
CP: How much contact do you have with the Flames? Do you talk to members of their staff regularly?
JT: Not so much this year. Last year we had a guy by the name of Jamie Hislop who kept track of all the drafted prospect players. But this year with no season we leave it up to our agents to do most of the talking at this point.
CP: You mentioned Martin Gelinas. Are there any other Flame players that you like a lot?
JT: The first impact player I think of is definitely Jarome Iginla. My first pro camp Jarome sat right beside me and that was quite the treat; I sat in between Jarome and Craig Conroy. To sit beside a player like that and then watch him go all the way to the Stanley Cup finals and score some huge goals is unbelievable.
CP: Have you gotten the chance to watch some of the classic Battle of Alberta games? Do you hate the Oilers yet?
JT: I hate them a little more than I used to. We played them in an exhibition game in training camp and even with just the prospects playing it was quite the battle.
CP: Now here's a loaded question: would you play for a $42.5M salary cap?