Friday, January 29, 2010

Tomas Fleischmann at ESPN Zone

photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Last night, in one of those breaks between several back-to-back games, I headed down to the ESPN Zone in downtown DC with 2 friends to see Tomas Fleischmann speak and have an autograph session. Fleischmann is one of those players that rarely has primetime interviews and that you don't often see at these meet-and-greets. In his first full season with the Capitals, he had arguably been a secondary player - scoring every now and then, but for the most part not very noticeable on the ice.

Since then, he has surged to the forefront of the Washington Capitals team to become one of their most valuable players. Making the recent switch from wing to center, he now is part of the second line with powerhouses Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin - and he is making a name for himself even among talents like Semin, Laich, Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Green. He has 17 goals so far on the season, whereas he had 19 in the whole of the 2008-09 season. He leads the team in shooting percentage with 21.5% - the next Capital who's even close is Eric Fehr with 16.9%. Clearly Fleischmann has settled into a groove on the team, and his skills are continuing to improve.

During the Q&A last night led by host Steve Kolbe, Fleischmann also proved that he was very humble, honest, and surprisingly witty. He noted that Bruce Boudreau "talks a lot" (no big surprise there for someone whose nickname is "Gabby") and that he's enjoying playing with his linemates. He's looking forward to playing in the Olympics as part of the Czech national team, but will be focusing on that only once the Olympic break begins. Once he gets to Vancouver, the Czech team will have only 2 days to practice together and try to establish some chemistry before playing on the international stage. However, he'll be in good company with talented players like Martin Havlat, Patrik Elias, and goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

He also said he definitely hears the fans in the Verizon Center during games, and is "very proud" to have such great fans.

It's obvious that Fleischmann not only has growing confidence, but also a sense of humor. When a young boy asked him, "How many goals do you want to get this year?" Fleischmann responded, "How many do you want me to get?" Kolbe told the kid to pick a large number, and he came up with 45.

Fleischmann then responded, "Well I'd better start tomorrow!"

1 comment:

Dana said...

This blog #needsmoremorrison. ;D