German defenseman Sascha Goc was traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Tampa Bay Lightning organization in the fall of 2001. In what has been a bit of a whirlwind season, Sascha is currently playing with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL, thus wearing his fourth different jersey in this season alone. He was kind enough take some time to answer some questions.
Hockey’s Future: Sascha, you played a handful of games in the NHL last season and had a very nice plus/minus statistic in the process. You were also summoned to duty as an extra body by the New Jersey Devils during the playoffs and you even gave an interview with Germany’s Premiere World cable system. You began this season in the NHL with the Devils which the German audience got to see as you logged a great deal of ice time in a 4-6 loss to the New York Islanders. At this point in the season, did you think you had finally made it to the NHL for good?
Sascha Goc: Well, more or less, I had a good feeling about it. The coaching staff (Robinson and Fetisov) also let me know that they were pleased with me and I should just keep up the good work. Even Scott Stevens said that I had earned myself a spot on the team. Since all three are Hall of Fame defensemen, I was feeling pretty sure of myself. However, in New Jersey as elsewhere in the NHL, the general manager makes the decisions and he (Lamoriello) obviously had a different opinion.
HF: Did you get along well with Hall of Fame defenseman and, at the time, Devils head coach Larry Robinson, and were you surprised by his being fired?>
SG: In my opinion, both coach Larry Robinson and Slava Fetisov played a very big part in the Devils winning the Stanley Cup and partaking in the Stanley Cup final last season. So yes, I was a bit surprised to see them get fired.
HF: You were then traded to Tampa Bay along with Josef Boumedienne and Anton But for Andrei Zyuzin. What was going through your head when you were informed of the trade and how were you informed of it?
SG: I was very surprised…. none of us had expected it. We were on a road trip and were then informed by the GM per telephone.
HF: Seeing as how Tampa Bay has struggled defensively in recent years, it seemed only logical that they had made this trade to give you and Josef some quality ice time. Now, many voices around the hockey world are mumbling that you were only acquired as future trade bait. Has Tampa Bay informed you about what their plans are and what they expect from you?
SG: When we arrived in Tampa, 2 defensemen were injured. Nevertheless, the coach decided to go with only 4 defensemen. Boumedienne and I each played roughly 6 minutes. Right from the beginning, we didn’t really get a chance to prove ourselves.
HF: After leading the Albany River Rats defensemen in scoring last season with 10 goals and 38 points, you have played a rather low-key role for the Springfield Falcons of the AHL up to this point this season. If I may ask, what’s the reason for this?
SG: This has been a rather chaotic season for me. At the beginning, I spent 2 weeks in a hotel in New Jersey. I was told by the coaches that I was playing well, but then I got sent down to Albany. I then stayed in a hotel there for a few weeks before I was allowed to find myself an apartment. One night after I had moved into my new apartment we started on the road trip on which I was then informed of my being traded. I then spent 6 weeks in Tampa Bay but barely played. Nevertheless, the GM told me he was very satisfied with me and that I’d spend the rest of the season in Tampa Bay and could find myself an apartment there. On the day my furniture arrived from Albany, I was sent to Springfield. I’ve now been here for two months. After spending about the first seven weeks in a hotel, I now have an apartment. With all this moving around, it has been fairly difficult to concentrate on hockey.
HF: Swedish defenseman Josef Boumedienne has pretty much shared the same fate as you this season. Are you guys fairly good pals or do you at least feel yourselves to be bound together after having both played for the same 4 teams this season?
SG: Yes. In addition, we’ve been playing together, and thus know each other, for two years already.
HF: The Olympics are currently going on. Many hockey folks in Germany are a bit surprised that you weren’t invited to play for the National Team, especially since Mirko Luedemann was out in the first round and Joerg Mayr had his jaw broken in the first game against Slovakia. Coach Hans Zach has said before that no German player currently playing in North America who hadn’t become a regular in the NHL would be asked to play for the national team. Are you disappointed?
SG: Yes, I’m very disappointed, but not surprised. I haven’t spoken a word with Hans Zach ever since he became the coach of the national team, so I kind of thought he wouldn’t include me in his Olympic plans.
HF: Germany started off real hard going up against Slovakia, which was considered the favorite. Will you use this break to come home for a visit or will you remain in North America, and root for the team there?
SG: I’ll be staying in the States and I’ll watch the games from here on out.
HF: Your younger brother, Marcel, was a first round draft pick by San Jose last season and will be heading to Salt Lake City. He also recently tranferred to the Mannheim Adler of the DEL. Do you follow his career and the happenings in the German ice hockey scene, and do you even have much of a chance to communicate with him at all?
SG: We talk with each other on the phone almost every day.
HF: You have quite a hockey oriented family, which originates in your father’s Czech heritage. Other than Marcel, are there any more Goc siblings that we’ll have the pleasure to see on ice surfaces in the near future?
SC: My youngest brother Nikolei plays for the Schwenningen youth program and in the U-16 national team.
HF: Just for clarification for North American and European fans alike, is the name Goc pronounced:
A) G – O – C – K
B) G – O – T – S – C – H
or perhaps none of the above?
SG: B) G – O – T – S – C – H
HF: Do you keep in touch with your family regularly?
SG: As with Marcel, I talk with the rest of the family (via telephone) almost every day.
HF: Now to my last question. It is still your goal to become a full-time NHLer and you are a player who seems to be right on the cusp of making it. German hockey fans are naturally rooting for you to be successful. However, do European or DEL clubs come knocking on your door to see if you might play in Europe next season?
SG: I would very much like to stay here and make it in North America, but after this season I’ll be spending a good amount of time thinking about and considering all my possibilities.