John Albert is a centerman who excels at puck distribution and is defensively responsible as well. The best passer on Ohio State’s team, he has increased his production from .51 points per game as a freshman to .70 points per game as a sophomore. Albert can dish a perfect feed, but wanted to score more goals this year, and already has half of last year’s total in only a quarter of the games. Hockey players are not immune to the “freshman 15” and losing body fat has only helped his game this year.
Waiting until the very last second to go to the dot, he was 10 and 7 on faceoffs this past weekend, in OSU’s two-game sweep of Michigan State. He played on a line with Sergio Somma and Zach Pelletier, a change from earlier this season.
In August, the former USNTDP player attended USA Hockey camp, a tryout for the 2009 World Junior Championships, but didn’t play in the exhibition games.
Hockey’s Future talked with the Concord, Ohio native in the OSU training room after Saturday’s win over MSU. He was getting cold water compression treatment for a mild injury a week prior against Michigan.
Albert, an avid bowler, talked about things like playing the point, fellow Thrashers prospect Daultan Leveille, and his new ‘do.
HF: What’s going on with your hair?
JA: I was bored on Monday night and decided to trim my hair or shave it – I decided to shave it – but thought I’d cut it into a mullet before I shave it. But it looks like I have to keep it going for next weekend considering we won both games.
HF: You’re playing the point on the power play, is that new this year?
JA: Yeah, I’ve never played the point before on the power play. I don’t mind it, it’s extra ice time. It’s good for me. I’m trying to move the puck around to the open guy and hopefully we can get some scoring opportunities.
HF: You seem to be doing very well on faceoffs.
JA: I started off really slow and wasn’t doing too good. But I’ve been practicing a lot with the coaches and these past couple games I’ve been doing really good. So I’ve got to keep on practicing, make sure I keep that up.
HF: This weekend against Michigan State you were up against another Thrashers prospect, Daultan Leveille. What did you think of him?
JA: He’s a good player. Obviously he’s drafted by Atlanta same as me, and hopefully I’ll be seeing him in the summer camp next year. He moves his feet well, gets to the open space well.
HF: You lost weight over the summer, what brought that on?
JA: At the end of last season my body fat was up a little bit so the coaches wanted me to get that down. In the process of losing body fat I lost some pounds, and I’m trying to work that weight back on [to 175]. But I kind of like where I’m playing now, I feel more agile.
HF: Do you feel faster?
JA: Yeah. I feel good out there. Before, by the end of the third period, I’d get a little tired. I think I’m a lot better conditioned this year.
HF: At Team USA camp in Lake Placid, you didn’t have the best camp. What do you think went wrong?
JA: I don’t know. I went to a camp [of my family advisor] before that, just to make sure I was prepared – I think I may have tired myself out a little bit. I mean, you can’t blame it on that, I didn’t have the camp I wanted to. After camp I really focused on working hard the rest of the summer and bringing it to the season because I was really disappointed with my play.
HF: Being a sophomore, do you feel like you have to speak up more in the locker room?
JA: Yeah, we don’t have many upperclassmen – two seniors and three juniors – so being a sophomore on this team you have to speak up a lot and help the freshmen out. It’s tough but you have to do it.
HF: You seem pretty naturally quiet, is that accurate?
JA: I’m naturally quiet. Once I get to know people I bring out my outgoing side. Before that, I’m a little naturally quiet.
HF: Have you had the same linemates pretty much all year?
JA: No, I’ve been with Sergio Somma all year. Before this week I was with Peter Boyd. They just changed the lines this weekend and they worked out well so we’ll see if they keep them together next weekend.
HF: Do your parents make it to all the home games?
JA: Yeah, actually they make it to all the away games too. My dad, I can’t even remember the last time he missed a game. My mom tries to come as much as she can. I think she’s only missed a couple games a year. But yeah, it’s great support for me. My dad owns his own business, he’s a CPA, so he can take off when ever he wants to. My mom works for him.
HF: Are you able to bowl during the season?
JA: I tried to go the other night, I think it was Wednesday night, but it was really crowded. I bowl whenever I can. I really haven’t yet this year but last year I did probably once a week. I’m sure I’ll go next week – I love bowling. Get away from hockey for a couple hours.
HF: Who do you go with, teammates?
JA: Yeah, I go with teammates. I take my girlfriend sometimes, she goes to school here. It’s fun.
HF: She must be a good bowler to keep up with you [180 average]. What’s her average?
JA: She’s pretty good actually, she bowls around a 130. I have to give her a couple pin lead, but it’s alright (laughing).