Q&A with Eric Gryba

By DJ Powers

Rugged junior defenseman Eric Gryba has been an integral part of Boston University’s excellent and talent-laden defensive corps this season. Gryba has played in all 45 games, tallying six points (all assists). His 106 penalty minutes were among the most in the nation.

Hockey’s Future spoke with Gryba after the National Championship game on Saturday night at the Verizon Center in Washington DC.

HF: So how does it feel to be a National Champion?
EG: It’s surreal. I can’t believe that this is happening right now. I can’t believe that we came back from a two-goal deficit and scored that game-winner. It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s unbelievable.

HF: I see that you’ve lost the (playoff) beard already. What’s up with that?
EG: I couldn’t take it any longer. I was itching at it 24/7 for like the past two or three weeks. I brought my trimmer to the rink, so I knew that I was taking it off as soon as this was done.

HF: Miami was up two goals very late in the third period. What was going through the minds of everyone on the bench at that very moment?
EG: It was definitely a controversial time for us. I mean we had our backs against the wall and we needed to respond and we did. We kept saying on the bench have faith, have faith. It’ll happen. I even said a little prayer. So it worked out, thank God.

HF: I saw that you spent some time in the penalty box tonight. So were the referees after you, being the tough player that you are?
EG: I’m not sure why. (Laughs) I had a couple of penalties in the first period. I thought that they were a little controversial, but the refs have the final say in that. I just try to play a physical game and use my size to my advantage, and it worked out pretty well for the most part.

HF: How has your role developed on the team this year and how has your game matured?
EG: I’ve come to understand my role a lot better. I started to learn that this past year. I know that I’m not going to be a power play guy and I’m not going to be a points guy who makes the front page in the press every day. I’m going to be a solid, physical defenseman that can make a breakout pass and kill penalties. Basically it’s just doing the behind-the-scenes stuff that you don’t get the glamour for. But someone has to do it, so I’ve got to do it. I’ve accepted that role and I’m doing the best I can with it. And I’m fine with that.

HF: Being an Ottawa Senators prospect, have they kept tabs on you throughout the year?
EG: Yes. I have talked to them throughout the year and I know that they’ve been out to see some of my games. But I haven’t really talked to them about anything else other than what I’m doing at BU. I’m just going to enjoy the Championship right now and whatever happens, happens. I’ve still got another year left here and right now I’m planning to come back.