Q&A with Rich Peverley

By Holly Gunning

Rich Peverley played for four years at St. Lawrence University, where he was the top scorer for three seasons. In 2003-04 he had 42 points in 41 games and earned an All-ECAC Honorable Mention.

In the fall of 2004, the Guelph, ON native attended camp with the AHL St. John’s Maple Leafs, then signed a contract with the Portland Pirates. The 6’0 185-pound, 22-year-old forward was assigned to the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays, where he has scored 12 goals and 12 assists in 33 games, third on the team and placing him in the top 20 rookie scorers.

In a battle of two quick, skilled teams on Friday night against the Gwinnett Gladiators, Peverley was voted the first star of the night, scoring two goals and one assist. Hockey’s Future spoke to him after the game.

HF: You had a four-year college career, where you were captain, then you come in here and you’re a rookie again — what’s that like?

RP: Yeah, it’s definitely an adjustment, getting used to the guys, getting used to the pace of the hockey. Pro hockey is a lot different than college hockey, that’s for sure. You have to be able to be counted on defensively and offensively. Things are starting to pick up and I’m starting to play a lot better.

HF: Yeah, it seems like your numbers have really been picking up lately, do you feel like you’ve been playing any differently?strong>

RP: I think I’ve just been getting a little more confident. The coaches have put a lot more confidence in me and just that confidence has helped me score a few more goals.

HF: Were there any surprises turning pro for you?

RP: Not really, no, I’ve had a lot of friends who have played pro and they’ve told me about it. It’s been an adjustment with the hockey, but the lifestyle, I’ve been living on my own for four years already so that’s not much of a difference.

HF: How would you compare the style this team plays with your college team?

RP: Not much difference, maybe just in the defensive zone. There’s a little more emphasis on zone play. Not too much of a difference. But definitely the guys are bigger and faster and stronger and that’s something you’ve got to get adjusted to.

HF: You’re –3 [now –2], but on your team that’s pretty good. Is that something you take a lot of pride in?

RP: Yeah, definitely. My plus/minus is important to me. I don’t like being scored on against and hopefully if I start scoring more goals I’ll start getting on the plus side. But yeah, definitely.

HF: (Jonas) Johansson was the new guy on your line tonight, but who were you playing with before he came down?

RP: It was different. I had been playing with (Robin) Gomez for a while. But it’s been different every game.

HF: Your contract is with Portland, but you went to the St. John’s camp this year. Have you ever actually been to Portland?

RP: No (laughs), I haven’t. Hopefully soon, if I keep playing well, but I’m happy that I’m here and I just want to continue to improve.

HF: So once you were released from St. John’s, you got a call from Portland? Is that how it worked?

RP: (Portland) had offered me a contract earlier in the summer, but I was going to try to go in and make St. John’s. They showed a lot of interest in me too. But then Portland and Washington showed interest so I signed with them.

HF: What would you say you’re still working on in your game?

RP: Just keeping things simple. In college we had a line where we were allowed to do pretty much anything we wanted. Now, it’s keeping things simple, getting the puck out, getting the puck in, and playing a really good defensive game. That’s something I’m putting a lot of time into, a lot of effort into because that’s what helps you move up.

Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.