German 2004 Prospects: Q&A with Thomas Greiss

By KH Ehelechner

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Thomas Greiss, born January
29th, 1986 in Fuessen, Germany, is a 6’1” tall goalie who played at
his home town team Fuessen for 10 years from 1992 until 2002. Last year he
played with the Cologne Sharks Junior team for 24 games. He played 1286 minutes
and finished with a 2.61 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.

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Greiss played with the German
team at the U-20 World-Championship Div. I Group A where he played one game and
was promoted with the U-20 team to the highest level. He did the same with the
German under 18 team and they were promoted as well.

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CSS ranked Greiss fourth on
their European goaltenders list, and the best German goalie, for the upcoming
draft in Raleigh. Hockey’s Future
recently spoke with Greiss.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: What
else are you doing right now except relaxing?

TG: Like all year long; I am going to school and work toward
my graduation. Aside that, I am already preparing for the new season at the
gym. School and training keeps me busy so there isn’t that much time to relax.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: You
can look back to a quite successful year with the Cologne Sharks
style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'> Junior
program in the DNL, the German Elite Junior League. What were the highlights?

TG: Well, one of the highlights was the win against
Mannheim, for sure. One could see the potential of the Cologne Sharks Junior
team when they act and play as a team. The year before, we couldn’t win against
Mannheim. At second sight we played quite good at the playoffs, except for the
finals. Especially against Krefeld, where we weren’t expected to win this series,
we played very well and could succeed in this series.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: Too
bad that you couldn’t win the DNL championship. What do you think was the reason for it?

TG: Apparently some guys were content with reaching the
finals and weren’t hot enough and didn’t show the necessary work ethic which is
essential to win a series. That made Mannheim’s victory all right.

style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: In the
meantime, you had your first deployment in the DEL the German elite league.
What were your impressions to play senior hockey?

TG: My impressions were very positive. The team supported my
very well and it was a lot of fun to play there. In both games it was quite an
atmosphere and the home crowd supported me well.

style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: What
was the big difference?

TG: The biggest difference was the serenity and the routine
of most of the players. It is very impressive how relaxed a Marco Luedemann
plays.

style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: With
Hans Zach you have the best German coach, what is of most importance to him?

TG: In my opinion, Hans Zach favors a 100 percent attitude
towards your sport. He wants you to give everything at each practice. This is
very important, because it’s the only way to improve.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: You
were in Berlin with the German under 20 team at the world championship Div. I
Group A and with the German under 18 team at the world championship Div I B and
succeeded with both to promote to the highest division again. style="mso-spacerun: yes"> Which tournament was more difficult?

TG: Both were difficult, to promote to the highest division
you can’t lose one game. This year we were successful twice which made me very
happy. In Berlin it seems to me it was more difficult because we tied one game
and had to rely on the help of other teams to be promoted.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: At the
U-18 tournament you were not the No. 1 goaltender, were you injured?

TG: I wasn’t at my best ability for sure because I broke my
hand before the tournament and just came back shortly before. But we took turns
so both of us had enough ice time. At the end it just counts that you succeed
and promote.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: CSS
ranked you fourth in the upcoming NHL entry draft in Raleigh as best German
goalie at their European goalie list. Did you decide to go there already?

TG: No, I haven’t made up my mind yet, it will be a short
term decision.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: Could
you imagine playing in North America this coming year, or do you have other
plans?

TG: Basically I could imagine to play there, but for
the new season I signed a contract in Cologne and I will stick to it.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: Is
there a favorite franchise you would like to be drafted by?

TG: No, I don’t have a favorite NHL club, I just hope to be
drafted as high as possible, and where I might play then is less important.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: Who is
your favorite hockey player and why?

TG: I never had a favorite player; I always played my style
which I will continue to do.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: What
will you have to work on most in order to improve?

TG: There would be so many things to answer this question
that it would exceed the size of this interview. There are some deficits in
puck handling I have to work on.

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style='font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>HF: What
is your personal goal for the new season?

TG: I would like to jump at the chance Hans Zach will give
me and of course hope to play for the German under 20 team.

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