Q&A with Marc Methot

By Jason Ahrens

Marc Methot is a 6’3, 225-pound defenseman with the OHL London Knights. He joined the team in the 2002-03 season and after a good rookie year, the Columbus Blue Jackets selected him in the sixth round, 168th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Methot is a stay-at-home defender who makes the safe play; when in doubt he puts the puck off of the glass or will ice it. Methot has made great strides with his offensive game although this did not show up statistically this season. He is carrying the puck with more confidence, he will use his partner as an outlet and his breakout passes have greatly improved. He has better awareness on the ice and has started to lug the puck out of his own end when there is some open ice. He has deceptive speed for a big man and has started to pick his spots to join the rush as a trailer and has created some scoring chances by doing so. Methot plays a physical game and uses his strength along the boards to knock opponents off of the puck. He rarely gets beat to the outside.

It’s been a great 2004-05 season for Methot, playing in the OHL All-Star game and finishing third in the Hardest Shot category in the Coach’s Poll. He ended up with 16 points in 67 games and was +52. On a powerhouse London Knights team, Methot is a top four defender and a regular on the penalty kill. He had an excellent playoff run and led the OHL in plus/minus.

London played the QMJHL champion Rimouski Oceanic in the first game of the Memorial Cup and it was a game that received much attention as both teams had dominated their respective leagues. Methot started the scoring when he held the blue line and picked off a weak clearing attempt, walked in and blasted a shot high on the short side. Methot saw a lot of Sidney Crosby and managed to hit him hard twice, knocking his helmet off once. Later in the first period, Crosby bounced off two hit attempts by Methot and threw the puck in front of the net to set up a teammate for the second goal by Rimouski. Despite being thoroughly outplayed, Rimouski led London 3-1 after one period, but London battled back and Methot picked up an assist on a third period goal by Corey Perry (ANA) that tied the game and sent it into overtime.

With the teams playing four-on-four, London capitalized on a turnover to send Perry up ice on what looked like a one-on-one play but Methot jumped into the rush to turn it into a two-on-one and took a great feed from Perry and ripped a wrist shot on the high short side to give the Knights the win. The three-point performance earned Methot the first star of the game and also a good deal of media attention.

Hockey’s Future caught up with Methot two days later after a morning practice before the London-Kelowna game.

HF: Was Saturday night the highlight of your hockey career so far?

MM: Oh definitely, hands down. It was an unbelievable game. It was a great experience to win here at home, and especially to score that overtime goal. It was a great feeling.

HF: How does it feel to become ‘Marc Methot: household name’?

MM: (laughs) I don’t know, I wouldn’t say that. You have to hand it to all the guys. Obviously I just got lucky. On the second goal Corey Perry made a beautiful pass and on the first one, someone coughed up the puck and I just grabbed it and shot it at the net. So all in all it was a team effort and it showed out there, we played really well.

HF: Can you tell me a bit about playing against Crosby, you had some good shifts against him, some so-so shifts against him, what was it like?

MM: (laughs) He is an unbelievable player, you can’t give a guy like him a lot of space, you just have to let him be out there. If you play him too hard he’ll burn you if you leave him too much space he will make a fool of you. With a guy like him you just have to watch out for him and keep your head up.

HF: How did you guys spend yesterday after the big win?

MM: We just took it easy. We just relaxed and tried to get our strength back for today’s game. We know it won’t be easy tonight. So we just had a few meals and got a lot of sleep.

HF: I know the media has been really focusing on the fact that you only scored only four goals in the regular season, but I think that you made some great improvements in your puck handling and passing this year.

MM: Yeah definitely, the numbers don’t show it. I didn’t play much on the power play, it’s hard to score five-on-five in this league but I definitely improved my game offensively this year and I was fortunate to get two the other night.

HF: One statistic that does tell the story is plus/minus and minutes played. You led the OHL in plus/minus during the playoffs and you racked up some serious minutes, especially in the Kitchener series. How hard was that to gut it out against a big and aggressive Rangers team?

MM: It was unbelievable, getting all that ice time and experience in the playoffs definitely helped me prepare for the Memorial Cup at least. It’s not something that you want to see with the injuries, but it happened and I was fortunate enough to get a lot of ice and enjoy it and not get hurt, so it turned out for the best.

HF: I assume that you were hoping that the game yesterday would keep going and that Kelowna would get banged up a bit more?

MM: Well we are playing them so we wanted them to be tired and I’m sure they are a little bit, but come game time with the adrenaline I’m sure that they will be ready to go. We are ready to go too, so it should be a great game.

HF: What was it like going home to Ottawa for the third and fourth games of the OHL finals? You had quite a few fans in the seats.

MM: It was great, I had a lot of family there, and I had around 70 tickets from what I could hear. I grew up there obviously, so it was a cool feeling to play in that building.

HF: Tell me about your status with Columbus, have you talked much with them?

MM: I’m assuming that they aren’t trying to talk to us or bother us during the Memorial Cup at least. Hopefully afterwards we get something going, but that is always under the radar for now with the CBA and everything and I can’t really help that, so we’ll see and hope for the best.

HF: How do you do in their rookie camps last year?

MM: I had a really good camp actually. I had a lot of positive feedback from it and this season I think it helped out even more. I’m just crossing my fingers and hopefully we can get something done with them.

HF: The nice thing for you with Columbus is that you have some ex-Knights that you will know. I know Rick Nash was here one year before you, but also now Danny Fritsche is a Knight.

MM: Fritsche is a good guy, we are rooming together right now, and we get along really well as he is a great guy.

HF: For you to go to the next level, what do you need to work on the most?

MM: I think a little more size, I would like to get a little bit stronger. Definitely I want to improve my skating, play a lot more physical and just maturing. That is the big thing and getting a lot more confident.

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