The Boston Bruins announced yesterday that they had come to terms with Martins Karsums, their second round pick in 2004. After an ankle injury limited him to just 30 games last season and into this year, the native of Riga, Latvia came back in 2005-06 and had 65 points in 49 games. During the Moncton Wildcats current QMJHL playoff run Karsums continued to play well and had 15 goals and 11 assists in 21 games. Seven of those 15 goals were game winners and following the Wildcats defeat of the Remparts in the finals Karsums was awarded the Guy Lafleur Trophy as the most valuable player in the Quebec league playoffs, the first European player to do so. Last season, Sidney Crosby received the honor.
Karsums’ strong play has continued into the MasterCard Memorial Cup and in the Wildcats first game versus the Vancouver Giants he scored the goal that gave the Wildcats a 3-2 win. The 20-year-old winger is known as a physical agitator with good offensive instincts and that has clearly been on display during the current postseason.
Hockey’s Future caught up with Karsums following practice the day after the Wildcats improved their Memorial Cup record to two wins and no losses after defeating the Peterborough Petes 4-2.
HF: Tell me about your reaction to getting signed by the Bruins yesterday.
MK: For sure I’m happy because I signed, but on the other side I’m not really thinking about it right now because I’m kind of focusing on the Memorial Cup.
HF: Did your agent say your strong play in the playoffs and into the Memorial Cup made reaching a deal a lock?
MK: I would say yeah because I had a pretty good playoff run and I think so yeah, a little bit.
HF: You said you’re not really thinking about the contract, but was it a distraction for you last night?
MK: It could be a little bit I’d say. I don’t know why but I was kind of thinking about it a little bit and maybe that’s why I didn’t play that good.
HF: You’ve scored eight game winners in this playoff run like the one the other night against the Petes, have you always been a clutch player like that?
MK: (laughing) That’s a good question but I don’t know if you should ask me. I really try to go out there every shift and just do my best, I don’t really thinking about winning goals, I just try to go out there and score a goal.
HF: Why did you first decide to come to North America to play?
MK: Well I heard it was one of the best junior leagues here in North America and it’s the best way for junior players to go to the NHL
HF: Do you feel if you would have stayed overseas you maybe wouldn’t have been drafted or signed by now?
MK: I would say yeah I wouldn’t have been signed, I don’t think I would have been drafted too because Latvia is a small country and it’s different than here.
HF: When (Wildcat teammate and fellow Latvian) Oskars Bartulis (PHI) first came over last year did you help him get accommodated in Moncton?
MK: (laughing) Yeah I helped him at the start, about his English and stuff, but after that I kind of told him he had to do it on his own and he had to learn English.
HF: Your injury troubles, are they behind you now?
MK: Oh yeah, everything is good now. After [ankle] surgery [last summer] I’m feeling very good now. Excellent.
HF: What are you going to work on this summer to make sure you have a good training camp for the Bruins?
MK: Everything. You can work on everything, like skating, going to the gym. Probably the most I’ll work on is my cardio. I’ve had a little problem with my cardio.
HF: Did the Bruins themselves suggest anything to you to work on?
MK: When I first came to the Bruins camp I had that problem, I had too much fat on me (laughing, patting belly).
HF: You’re undefeated in the Memorial Cup, you just signed your first NHL contract, can life get any better for you?
MK: (laughing). Of course it’s nice to sign a contract and play in the Memorial Cup. I don’t know, it’s just nice to be in my position right now.
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