Q&A with Patrick Dwyer

By Holly Gunning

Pat Dwyer was drafted by Atlanta in the fourth round, 116th overall, of the 2002 Entry Draft. He has spent the last three years with Western Michigan University and will be a senior there this fall. In 2003-04, Dwyer had 26 points in 35 games. The 21-year-old native of Spokane, Washington stands 5’11, 175 pounds.

Hockey’s Future spoke to Dwyer at the Thrashers annual Prospects Development Camp, where he’s getting his money’s worth of souvenirs, with marks already under both of his eyes.

HF: Who cut your face?
PD: (smiling) Sharrow did it today and I’m not sure who got me yesterday.

HF: How do you think camp is going versus last year for you?
PD: This year it’s going good, it’s a little bit tougher. They kind of went back to a more training camp atmosphere, so a little bit tougher. But I’m doing good, I think I developed throughout the year.

HF: What do you mean by a more training camp atmosphere specifically?
PD: More intense workouts. Last year we were done by about 3:00 in the afternoon. Power skate in the morning, skate in the afternoon. This year we’re going two hard skates and lifting.

HF: What do you think is the most useful part of camp?
PD: Obviously you come out of here and get the speed and intensity that sometimes you miss throughout the season as it goes along and you bring it back. It helps you prepare for what’s going to come in the future. It’s more intense here, kind of gives you an idea of what it’s going to be like.

HF: How would you describe yourself as a player and have you changed over time?
PD: I’d describe myself as an up-tempo player, I’m not really going to do anything flashy, I’m just going to get in the corners and work my hardest, try to use my speed. I’m not the biggest guy. Yeah, I’d say I’ve changed over time, in juniors I was more of a skilled player and as I got to college I was too small to really be that finesse player so I had to learn to grind it out.

HF: So you wouldn’t consider yourself a goal-scorer, that’s not your thing?
PD: It’s not my thing exactly, I mean I do, but I wouldn’t consider myself a pure goal scorer. I’m more an around the net type of guy who is going to score off rebounds and stuff.

HF: You had the most points as a freshman in college, why do you think that was?
PD: Well, our team was a little bit better when I was a freshman, and then my sophomore and junior years I had some injuries. As a freshman I was actually healthy all year. I’d say that has to do with it.

HF: Can you talk about your injuries?
PD: My sophomore year I tore my MCL. I had to battle through that, rehab on that. Missed a couple weekends on that and I had a shoulder injury too. And then last year I had a concussion and then the shoulder injury.

HF: What do you think you need to work on the most?
PD: I don’t know, it’s hard. I think my game as a whole needs work. It’s hard. I don’t really have anything specific I’d want to work on the most, it would be my all around game.

HF: Is there anything that a coach has told you to work on?
PD: More consistency. I think I need to be more consistent throughout the year. I’ll have weekends where I’ll play awesome and then weekends where I won’t play too good so my consistency needs some work.

HF: How would you rate your progress over the years, do you feel like you’re on the right track?
PD: Yeah, I absolutely feel like I’m on the right track, I’m developing. I might not be putting up the points I did my freshman year, but with injuries and stuff like that, but I think development wise I’m going fine, I’m doing well.

HF: How would you describe your role on your Western Michigan team, special teams, etc.?
PD: I penalty kill, I’m on the power play, I’m used in defensive situations, offensive situations. I’m kind of out there all over the place. I do a little bit of everything.

HF: Do you always play right wing?
PD: I play right, I play left, it just depends. Our coach sometimes juggles the lines. My freshman year I played a lot of left wing, and then my sophomore and junior year I played pretty much all right wing.

HF: Do you feel more comfortable on the right?
PD: It doesn’t matter. I play both and feel comfortable with both. Once you get out there and start playing, you get comfortable.

HF: Who have been your linemates most of the time at school and how do you work together?
PD: My freshman year I was with (Mike) Bishai and (Jeff) Campbell. Bishai was our set-up man and me and Campbell just kind of finished there. My sophomore year I played with Campbell and Long for a bit, and then with (Vince) Bellissimo and Campbell, and then (Brent) Walton and Bellissimo, a little bit of all of those. Campbell and Walton and I were more of a cycle/high energy line, we were all pretty small. And then Bellissimo got in there and he was more of our set-up man again. And then last year I played with Walton and Szczechura and that was more of an up-tempo line, the center Szczechura as our set-up man. And then I played with Bellissimo a little bit again with Walton.

HF: What happens when two Thrashers prospects meet during the season?
PD: It’s just like any other game, you’re enemies on the ice, but afterwards you shake hands and talk a little bit, maybe meet after the game. You’re playing for the team you’re with so it’s war. Maybe it makes you try a little harder against each other.

HF: Next year you’ll be a senior, how are you going to approach the year?
PD: Well I’ll be a senior and I’ll be captain, so I’ve got to approach it as a leader. Kind of get our team ready to play, along with myself. And try to play a more consistent game going throughout the year, because if I play more consistent, hopefully it will lead to the team being more consistent.

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