Welcome To the Second Edition of the Cub Report. In this segment, we’ll look at Bruins prospect Chris Berti.
Chris Berti Erie (OHL) 6'5", 215 lbs. Left Wing, Shoots Left Born: Oct 6, 1981 in Scarborough, On GPGAPTS+/-PIM 611522372172
The only Canadian born player selected by the Bruins in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Chris Berti missed his first training camp that year due to a torn MCL in his knee. He was traded in January 2001 from the Sarnia Sting to the Erie Otters for Riley Moher. Last fall was his first appearance at training camp. He made a good first impression at the rookie tournament in Kitchener, Ontario.
A good skater for a behemoth player, Berti is versatile and can play all 3 forward positions. An obstinate hitter and fierce competitor, he will earn his way to the NHL by his intense physical play. A true teammate, he always puts the teams’ needs above his own interests. Some nights he plays like a scorer and other nights he’s a monster on the ice. He needs to simplify his game and focus primarily on physical play. He has the potential to be a legit NHL heavyweight if he realizes his true potential and remains focused. He needs to bulk up his 6’5″ frame.
Hockeysfuture correspondent Ken McKenna caught up with Berti for this exclusive interview.
HF: How do you feel about your progression from the beginning of the season? Do you feel like you’ve improved your game since then?
CB: I think my game has improved a little bit. I’ve gotten more opportunities to play, and I’ve gotten to show my offensive side a little bit. I just try to be a crash-and-bang type of player, forecheck, play physical all the time, and protect my teammates.
HF: Boston drafted you in 2000, so this would be your year to sign. Have the Bruins indicated to you at all whether or not they intend to sign you?
CB: I really haven’t talked to them much during this season. I don’t have that on my mind right now; I just want to go out and help my team win some games, and possibly go deep into the playoffs.
HF: What’s with the blonde hair thing?
CB: Actually, I was one of the last guys on the team to do it, but the whole team dyed their hair blonde as a team unity thing. I don’t really look too pretty right now (laughs), but I’m part of the team, and I guess it’s something that motivates us.
HF: I was thinking I was interviewing a boy band. When you’re playing your best, what things do you do well that make you a NHL prospect?
CB: If I’m on my game, I’m probably involved in the play a lot, like leading the forecheck. If I go to the next level, I don’t think I’ll be an offensive-type player, but I’ll be a player that sparks the team with a big hit, or takes a hit to make a play.
HF: Boston had the reputation in their past as being the “Big, Bad Bruins”. Is that something you look forward to reviving?
CB: Obviously, it would be a dream come true to play in the NHL, but I probably am a long ways from that. But hopefully, if I just keep working on my game, keep going hard and working out in the summer, and keep working hard on the ice, hopefully I’ll get my opportunity one day.
HF: What types of things do you do in the off-season to keep yourself fit? Is it dry land training, or do you stay on the ice?
CB: I mostly do dry land stuff in the weight room, a lot of plyometrics and stuff. It’s usually at the end of the summer that I start skating, just before camp gets going.
HF: What are plyometrics?
CB: It’s just a bunch of workouts designed to quicken your feet, get your legs stronger, and get yourself quicker, like agility stuff.
HF: Where are you from?
CB: Oshawa, ON.
HF: Did the Oshawa Generals ever consider drafting you, or wasn’t playing there an option?
CB: I was 16 when I was drafted, and it was kind of a new thing for me and my parents. I was kind of skeptical of whether I wanted to go to the OHL or go to school. Then Sarnia (Sting) drafted me on a guess- they didn’t know if I was coming or not- but they convinced me to come and play for them. So, that’s why Oshawa didn’t draft me, I guess.
HF: Were you considering the NCAA?
CB: I just didn’t know if I was ready to leave home yet; that was the main thing. I was young and everything. But I thought it was a better choice for me to come to the OHL, because it’s more suited to my style of play.
HF: So, growing up, I assume you were a Toronto fan?
CB: Yeah, I was a big Leaf fan growing up.
HF: Who were your favorite Toronto players?
CB: Wendel Clark. He was hard working, crashing and banging, scored some big goals, fought a little. So, he was good.
HF: Were there any non-Maple Leafs that you admired?
CB: Keith Primeau was one of my favorites. He’s from around (the Toronto) area; he’s a good player, probably a better player than I would be. Brendan Shanahan is another good player- I like their style of play.
HF: Do you try to style your game after anybody in particular, or do you just play your own style?
CB: I try to play my own game, just try to stay involved in the play all the time, and try to be a presence on the ice.
HF: Erie is tied with London 1-1 (Erie now leads 2-1) in this series. What does Erie have to do better to beat this hard-working opponent?
CB: London is a hard-working team, and they’re never going to stop working. As long as we match their effort, keep banging them, working hard and doing the little things, we’ll get the job done and win the series.
HF: You’ve been through a couple of training camps with Boston. What are some of your thoughts on your camp experiences?
CB: Actually, I missed my first one because I tore my MCL just before camp.
HF: I didn’t know that. How was the experience of playing in this past camp with players like Joe Thornton, Sergei Samsonov and the other Boston stars?
CB: It was pretty overwhelming, I thought. I think my first intrasquad game, I lined up with Bill Guerin. Once you get playing, they’re great players, and playing with them just helps to improve my game, hopefully.
HF: Once you got into it, did you feel like you were able to keep up pretty well with the NHL guys?
CB: I think my speed and skill level is down below theirs. I stayed in there, I don’t think I looked that much out of place. But it was definitely a good experience.
HF: Chris, thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
CB: Thanks, nice meeting you.