As the San Jose Sharks near opening night on October 9th, it appears more and more likely that 21-year-old German defenseman Christian Ehrhoff will start his first professional season in North America with the Sharks. HF sat down to interview Ehrhoff this past week after practice.
HF: How do you like San Jose so far?
CE: Have not seen too much [just] the mall and Santa Row. I’ve been once to San Francisco with Marco [Sturm] and other than that we don’t have too much time, [I try] and relax and get ready for the next day.
HF: What kind of things do you like to do outside of hockey?
CE: I like to relax with friends and stuff, stay in the hotel and watch some TV, maybe go to the internet.
HF: Do you have a favorite band?
CE: I like pretty much all music. Before the game I like harder rock like ACDC. [Away from the rink] one of my favorites is Robbie Williams, I saw him at a concert in Germany over the summer and he is excellent.
HF: Do you pattern your game off any player?
CE: I like to watch Nicklas Lidstrom, he’s my favorite defensemen, he’s the best all-around guy, I like his offensive game and I try to bring that kind of game to the way I play.
HF: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
CE: My strengths are my skating, I can join the rush and be a fourth or third guy in and get some scoring chances. Defensively I have to work on my game as the coaches are helping me.
HF: What’s the biggest difference in the North American game from that of Europe?
CE: Basically it’s time and space, you don’t have as much time you have to move the puck or you get hit. In Europe you don’t get hit too often because the ice is larger you have more time to make a play or get away [from a situation.] Here you have to make your play quickly and be ready to get hit.
HF: How do you like playing with Kyle McLaren?
CE: He’s awesome, a great defenseman [and] he helps me a lot.
HF: Do you play both the right and left sides?
CE: I am more comfortable on the left side.
HF: Any comments you would like to make to Sharks fans?
CE: Yeah, I hope I can have a good year and stay with the team the whole year.
Ehrhoff has been paired with Kyle McLaren during the pre-season. Kyle gave some analysis on his defensive partner.
HF: What’s it like playing with Christian Ehrhoff?
KM: I think Christian has played very well in training camp so far in competing in physical play, with the puck, skating he’s got a lot of offensive skill. I don’t know if he’s played 82 games in a [Physical NHL] season, he’s [certainly] held his own so far.
HF: What do you like most about his game?
KM: I’ve been very very impressed with his puck handling skills and his sense on the ice with his defensive habits. He’s only going to improve if he doesn’t try to do too much and stays in control.
HF: How do think he’s doing in the adjustment to hockey in North America?
KM: I think he’s doing well –- he needs to learn when to join into the play. The biggest advantage he has in joining the rush is his legs, he can skate! He’s faster than a lot of forwards, even if he gets caught [in the other team’s end] he gets back and into the play.
HF: Do you think he’s going to get much time on the power play?
KM: Yeah, I don’t see why not, he’ll be one of the four or five out there as long as he keeps doing what he’s doing.