I had the chance to speak with Rochester Americans’ defenseman Luc Theoret following the Amerks 12/14 game vs. Cleveland. Luc signed a contract with Buffalo in ’99, but he is only now getting his first AHL action due to injury or illness the past 2 seasons. Prior to turning pro, Luc spent most of his junior career with Lethbridge of the WHL, while seeing only limited action the past 2 seasons with South Carolina of the ECHL.
The following is a transcript of our conversation, with “HF” referring to the interviewer, and “LT” being Luc.
HF: Luc, you’ve finally gotten the chance to play in the AHL this year. Any thoughts on the games you’ve played in so far?
LT: Well, I haven’t played in too many, so far. It’s definitely an adjustment from the ECHL, as the ECHL was from junior. I’m sure it would be a little bit more fun if the team was doing better, but we’ve had kind of a rough start here. I think it is a good experience, and I’m trying to work as hard as I can to get better this season, and hopefully stick around for a few more years.
HF: What are the differences between the ECHL and AHL? Is it mostly speed?
LT: I think it’s the speed and the skill. I think there is a lot more skill and better goaltending (in the AHL). Everything is just a notch better. The size of the players is not much different, but definitely the work ethic is better. There are a lot of younger guys that are trying to work their way up to the NHL, so it’s definitely a tougher league.
HF: As far as your own performance, is there anything that Buffalo wants you to work on? I know you haven’t played in a lot of games…
LT: Yeah, I’ve had kind of a rough going the first couple of years. I wanted to get my strength up again, and get back into game shape, then take it from there. Like you said, they haven’t had much of a chance to evaluate me.
HF: Yeah, you’ve had kind of a rough time with injuries and such so far…
LT: Yeah, they (Buffalo) haven’t said much yet. You always want to improve your game, every little aspect of it.
HF: You spent most of your time in Lethbridge during your junior career. Was that a good experience for you?
LT: It was unbelievable. I made a lot of great friends there. We had a good team my first couple of years, and went all the way to the Memorial Cup my 2nd year, but lost in the finals. But, yeah, I’ve definitely got some roots there, and some good friends there. I tend to go back every summer for a month or so to enjoy the desert heat up there (chuckles). The golfing is beautiful-there’s nice golf courses up there. I still keep in touch with everyone I know up there- definitely some memorable experiences.
HF: Is golfing a hobby, then?
LT: I like to get out there and hit the ball a few times- there’s definitely some good courses up (in Manitoba).
HF: I’d ask you what the differences were between junior and pro, but it’s the same thing, pretty much. There is more speed and skill as you keep moving on from one level to another…
LT: Yeah, you’ve got all the better players rooted out from all the (junior) teams. It’s the best of the best here- definitely a competitive league. You’ve got guys all working towards the same goal, so it is definitely challenging.
HF: Would you characterize yourself as being more of an offensive defenseman?
LT: I try to be. I like to jump in, make the simple play. Keep it simple, chip it off the wall, and maybe jump in if there is an opportunity. Just play solid, and try to get a chance to play, that’s all.
HF: What player did you admire growing up?
LT: Growing up, Dale Hawerchuk, probably. I’m a native of Winnipeg. He was a good player when I was younger, and I idolized him a lot. I grew up watching the Jets, and they moved, so I didn’t have a favorite team for the last 8 or 9 years.
HF: You didn’t root for Phoenix, huh?
LT: No, no, didn’t follow them. Yeah, so Hawerchuk was my favorite.
HF: We were able to see him in Buffalo, for a few years, anyway.
LT: Yep, he was a good player.
HF: As far as this season goes, for the team, kind of frustrating?
HF: It seemed like tonight (6-2 loss) was a perfect example, (the Amerks) played well for 2 periods, but…
LT: I thought we had some chances. They had some chances, too, but we’re having trouble scoring goals.
HF: Is that a function of being a young team?
LT: Sometimes you get the bad breaks, but it seems like we’re getting them all the time. We know the guys here aren’t going to give up, and I think we’ve got a very good chance of turning it around and being at the top of the league…
HF: As some of the younger guys kind of come along during the year?
LT: Exactly. Maturity is a big thing. We’ll see, time will tell. It’s frustrating, it’s tough going to practice everyday when you’re losing…
HF: You did have a good streak recently, though.
LT: Then we come and do this tonight. It’s kind of weird how this season has been going. We got 5 out of 6 points last week, then nothing tonight. We got pretty much shutdown, so it’s frustrating.
HF: What’s the next game?
LT: We play in Cleveland on Thursday, so another road game.
HF: Do you think you’ll get an opportunity to play in that game?
LT: It goes game to game, really. I’m just waiting for the chance. Patience!
HF: Luc, I appreciate it. Thanks, and good luck.
LT: Thank you.