Future Fridays – Interview w/ Brandon Glover

In yesterday’s Thursday Throwback article we spoke with former Kings goaltender Robb Stauber about the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993.

Today we go the other direction, eyeing the future.  In fact, this kid hadn’t even celebrated his first birthday back when Blueline and Hrudey were dueling it out between the pipes at the Forum.

Brandon Glover is a 17 year-old netminder standing 6’3″.  He played last season with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL (one of Dean Lombardi’s favorite leagues), where he saw action against several of the Kings top prospects – like Martin Jones, Jordan Weal and Brandon Kuzon to name a few.

After not being selected at the NHL Draft a few weeks ago, he was invited to the Kings Developmental Camp held in El Segundo.  In the interview below Brandon talks about coming to camp, the influence of Bill Ranford, some of his teammates, the best prank he’s pulled, college hockey vs. junior hockey, the Olympics and what the future may hold for him.

Growing up in Western Canada who was your favorite team?

I’ve always cheered for Montreal, probably because my dad was a Habs fan too.  My favorite goalie has always been whomever was in net for the Habs.  So, right now it’s Carey Price.

That raises a good question…Halak had such a good playoff run for them this season and then he was moved in a somewhat controversial trade…what do you think about that?

I think they’re both really good, young goalies.  You can’t go wrong with either of them.  But, with Price’s size and skill in the net, he probably has the bigger upside.  I think the Habs made the right decision there.  I’m sure the finances had a large part to do with it also, as Halak just signed for more money.

Are either of those guys the type of netminder you try to emulate when playing?

I actually think I have a similar style to Carey Price right now.  He’s calm in net and he uses his size well.  He doesn’t try to move around too much.  He’s efficient in net.  That’s something I try to emulate in my game.

Was it your dad that got you started in hockey then and how did you end up as a goalie?

He certainly got me started.  He was a goaltender too.  But, it wasn’t really his choice for me to become a ‘tender.  I made the Island Select team as a defenseman when I was about 10 years old.  Our goalie was sick one day for an exhibition game.  I had already been named to the team and my dad was the manager at the time, so he had an extra set of equipment.  I threw on the pads and have never played another game at a different position since.

Why the WHL instead of the college route?

That’s sort of the way you’re taught to go here in Canada.  It’s the easiest way to get to pro hockey.  I think it’s works both ways for guys though.  You obviously have the plus side of a college education and guys seem to have a good time playing college hockey in the states too.  But, really, before I made my decision I hadn’t explored NCAA schools.  Basically, nobody had been promoting it to me until it was essentially too late.  I had already signed when I was 16 to go to the WHL.

You got into a couple of the playoff games this year when Moose Jaw took on the Calgary Hitmen, a team that featured a few of the Kings prospects - like Martin Jones and Brandon Kozun.  What can you tell us about that playoff series and playing against those two guys?

Well, we had their team – the number one ranked team in Canadian Junior hockey – we were up 3-1 on them in the series.  Those two guys were really key for their team, to show the character to come back from that type of deficit.  It looked like we were going to steal the series from them.  It looked like Jonesy - I’m sure he’d be the first to say - he struggled a little bit early in the series.  However, he was clearly the difference maker for them in the later games of that series.

Although the final outcome of the series was disappointing for you, was it something you spoke with those guys about when you were all together in Los Angeles a few weeks ago or were you too focused on other things?

We got to talking about it a little bit.  They were both as shocked as we were that the Warriors had taken a 3-1 lead in the series.  If we would have known going in that we’d have a 3-1 lead against that Calgary team, we would have taken it any day.  And taken our chances at winning one of the next three games.  There was a turning point in that series though and it was probably game 6.  Both Jonesy and I agreed that after they took game 6 all the momentum had swung back in Calgary’s favor.

On a lighter note, hockey players are known for pulling some good pranks.  What’s the best prank a teammate played on you or you played on somebody else this season?

Around deadline time a couple of the guys and I decided to pack up the bag of one of our teammates.  He was a little worried about getting dealt.  We put all his gear in his equipment bag and moved it to the other side of the room.  Then, we took one of the name plates of an older player, some guy who played three or four seasons ago – that we had never heard of…we put it in his stall.  The look on his face when he came to the rink was just priceless.  We couldn’t help but laugh.  So, he knew right away we were playing a joke on him.  It was hilarious!

That’s a good one.  Has he served his receipt yet or are you still waiting for him to get you back?

I wouldn’t be surprised if something is coming my way.  With the competition in camp next year things might get a little tense.  Perhaps another prank will lighten the mood.  I’ll be expecting it though.

Let’s talk about the Kings Development Camp and the events leading up to it.  You were ranked #22 among goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting and you ended up going undrafted.  Were you in town for the Draft that weekend?  How did the whole thing come about?

No, I never went to the draft.  My agent and I talked about it beforehand and we both agreed that maybe it was better for me not to go in the draft this year.  It might work out better for me to consider other options, see if I could get invited to a camp and show off my skills.  As a player, it was disappointing not to get taken though.  But, within two minutes of the draft ending my agent called and said “Listen, you’re going to LA and you need to make an impression down there.”

So, it literally was that quick…it was Saturday afternoon when you got the call?

Right.  I was with my family driving up to a party for my grandparent’s wedding anniversary.  We had agreed not to focus too much on the draft.  But, I couldn’t help but have the live feed going to my phone.  When it ended I told them I wasn’t taken.  We were talking about it and a minute later I got the phone call from my agent.

Obviously, I was shocked to hear from a team that quickly.  But, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.  It was really exciting to me and after not being drafted, getting invited to a development camp was huge.  It was an honor.  Every kid wants to play in the NHL some day, so it was a big step forward.

Had your agent been talking to anybody or did the call come out of thin air?

Well, things were a little different because I wasn’t a super highly touted prospect.  My agent had been talking to a few teams.  He never really specified which ones.  Yet, we knew that if I was going to be selected, it would have been in the later rounds.  And if I didn’t go, I may or may not get invited to some team’s summer camp.  I was thankful for getting the opportunity to go to LA and try to make an impression and maybe work my way into the organization as a free agent.

You didn’t have a lot of time to think about things, you get get the call Saturday and you’re in LA a few days later.  However, what expectations did you have prior to coming and was it what you thought or was it radically different?

I didn’t really know what to expect.  I didn’t know if we would be training in the Kings arena or their practice facility.  I didn’t know if there would be older prospects there or just younger players.  I’ve had the privilege to play with pro guys before.  I skate with some pro guys here (in Victoria, BC Canada) quite regularly.  So, I knew what to expect on the ice, as far as the skill level from the players.

Off the ice, I wasn’t expecting to be treated so well by the coaches and the staff there.  First thing they asked me when I walked into the rink was “What do you need?  What can we do for you?”  I felt right at home and felt like part of the organization by the time I left.  I had a great time.

In such a breif time, were you able to make any sort of a connection with one of the coaches?

For sure.  I worked with Bill Ranford, the goalie coach.  We were on the ice twice a day together towards the end of camp.  We did video sessions together too.  I thought we got along quite well.  He gave me a few real good pointers for my practice habits – which is an area I’ve struggled with at times.  He showed me a new way to go about some shooting drills that aren’t necessarily geared toward goaltenders.  Things that will help me develop good habits.  Right away when I got home that was something I started focusing on and was one of the key things I took home from the camp.  I had never been exposed to some of those concepts before.  It really helped me.

You played the last half of the first scrimmage game at camp (Wednesday, June 30)…and didn’t let in a goal.  Does anything from that game stand out to you?

I looked up to Martin Jones this season.  He was one of the elite goalies in my league and was the goaltender for Canada at the World Jrs.  When my team played Calgary this season I was usually on the bench.  I studied him in those games and would try to incorporate some of the things he did into my game as well.  I wanted to see how he would handle things in LA too.

He was on my team for that scrimmage.  As the older guy, he started the game and played the first half.  I was a little worried about going into the game cold.  When you go in cold you’re just focusing on making the next save.  You never really have to worry about being over prepared or not being ready.  By just focusing on making the next save it made the game go by real quick.  Before I knew it I was out of the net.

I was excited to be on the ice with a lot of really good pro prospects though.  I fit right in.  I felt right at home in net there and thought I played really well throughout camp.  I was the youngest goalie there, so perhaps I surprised a few people with my performance in the scrimmage.

Down at the other end of the ice Sean Bonar seemed to have a real tough time following the puck in that first scrimmage.  Do you remember anything the coaches said or the other players said when you guys got back in the room?

Actually, Bonar was my roommate.  We got along great.  After that first game I think he bounced back, maybe only letting in one or two more goals in the next few games.  As a goaltender there is a lot of scrutiny on your position and he had a bit of a tough time…as well as his whole team in that game.  I thought he played really, really well in the next two games.  It was good to see him bounce back that way.

When we talked about it we both agreed that he struggled in the first game and I said “You have to be able to rely on your defenseman out there.  They’re all really good.  You have to focus on playing the shot and being aware of what the shooter’s options are at the time.  When you can, you need to gain a little more depth.”  That’s why he was getting beat by straight shots.  He made an adjustment and I don’t think he was beat by straight shots in another game.  I thought he played really well in the next two games.  Obviously he struggled in the first one, but hey – that happens.

For sure.  Let’s not make too big of a deal out of a scrimmage in the month of July, right?

Exactly.  When does the season start, September or what?

From your perspective, as a guy who was on the ice with most of the players in camp, can you share your thoughts on a few of the Kings prospects…

Derek Forbort (1st round, ’10 NHL draft) – He was on my team for the scrimmage.  I would love having on my team in the winter.  He’s really reliable, always make the right first pass, very mature guy off the ice too…he looks like a solid defenseman.

Tyler Toffoli (2nd round, ’10) – I was impressed with his shot.  He was on my team, so I saw him in practice and I thought he had one of the best shots in camp.

Jordan Weal (3rd round ’10) – I grew up playing against him.  My Island teams would go over and play against him on the mainland.  He’s always impressed me and I’ve always been a big fan of his game.  I see him a lot in the winter time with him in Regina and me in Moose Jaw.  What can I say about him…he’s got it all, except for being a smaller guy…he’s really speedy, a smart play maker, has a good shot…even though it was his first pro camp, it looked to me like he fit right in with all the older guys.  He scored two or three goals too.  Some people might say the only reason he was a 100-point scorer was because he played with (Jordan) Eberle last season.  But, I feel next year he’ll be back among the top scorers in the Western League again, without Eberle.

Kyle Clifford (2nd round, ’09) – He’s a good guy and you can tell he likes to get into the dirty areas.  He likes to play “net front” on the power plays.  He does a really good job of making it difficult on goalies to defend the net.  I’m sure he’s not an easy forward to play against at all.

Oscar Moller (2nd round, ’07) – We didn’t spend too much time together because he was on the other team.  But, I did get to talk with him about the goal he scored on me.  We both agreed he was trying to go high blocker on me.  But, he just kinda fanned on it and he squeaked it through my arms.

JF Berube (4th round, ’09) – I got along with him pretty well.  He wasn’t able to skate at camp.  We spoke a little bit about what it was like when he was in Manchester last season…what it’s like to be around the guys and stuff.  He said it was a really good experience, however he said he’s going back to juniors this year, if I’m not mistaken.

When camp was over what did the Kings tell you and where do you go from here?

To be honest, there wasn’t an exit meeting at the end or a “this is how you did” meeting.  So, there wasn’t a whole lot of feedback that way.  But, there was a lot of instruction over the last three days, on the development side.  I learned a ton from the whole development staff there.  Like the video stuff I did with Bill Ranford, I’ve been looking at them since I’ve been back home.  I’ve taken in a lot of the pointers he gave me.

What’s next?  Maybe I’ll be at fall camp. I haven’t really heard anything one way or the other.

You’re Canadian…so, who is the better Canadian goalie – Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur or Roberto Luongo?  Are you going with Roy because you’re a Habs fan?

Martin Brodeur is up there.  I think he took a little too much scrutiny for having one average game against the US in the Olympics.  I’d say that if Brodeur would have stayed in net, he could have won the gold medal this year too.  Now he and Luongo both have one.  But, I’d say Brodeur is the best Canadian goaltender.  He has the most impressive resume, in my mind anyway.

Canada-US had several epic battles this year, not only at the Olympics, but at the World Junior Championships too.  I’m still amazed how both teams pulled their goalies in the gold medal game.  Several other players I’ve interviewed have noted they’ve never seen anything like it before.  Have you ever seen a really big game where both guys get replaced?

I’m trying to think…I doubt it.  That game was crazy, it’s still such a blur to me.  Jake Allen (of Team Canada), I felt so bad for him…and the American goaltender too.  A huge game like that, on such a big stage…and both goalies kinda crumbled a little bit.  From the Kings perspective, I thought Martin Jones came in and made a few key saves to give Canada a chance to win that game.  Both goalies that came in in relief did a great job for their teams and you can’t feel anything but sympathy for the starting goalies in a situation like that, where the game kinda opened up.  The goalies really couldn’t do much about some of the goals that were going in.  But, you still feel bad.

All four Canada-US games this year, two in the Olympics and two at the WJC…they were all were such great games…

It seems like every time that Canada and the US meet in hockey it’s an instant classic.  With Eberle scoring two goals at the World Jrs helping Canada come back, there were parallels with Parise scoring late in the Olympic game.  With Canada losing in OT at the World Jrs and then winning in OT at the Olympics…it’s all just so dramatic.  And then you think back to Salt Lake in ’02.  I just can’t get enough of international hockey.  I wish that I could have gone to the Olympics this year with it being right in my backyard.  I’ve heard it was an electric atmosphere throughout the city.

What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever said to you after a game in the WHL?

I had been beat pretty hard and was pulled in Everett this year, which is one of the toughest buildings to play in.  I was on the bench, but I couldn’t help but laugh when one of their fans called Kendall McFaull “McFail” – I couldn’t help but crack up.

Finally, I’m not sure if you’ve been following this or not…but, all the hockey headlines in LA have been dominated with the Ilya Kovalchuk situation…

Well, I couldn’t help but follow it when I was there.  I saw the reports that maybe LA was targeting him and obviously, he’s a star caliber player so any team would be fortunate to have him.

So, bold prediction time…where does he sign?

With the Kings!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Could he be the next goaltender to develop into a blue chip prospect as a member of the Kings organization?  Only time will tell.

One thing is for sure though…you have to love a netminder with the last name Glover….sure beats Tweener.

All (bad) joking aside, Brandon seems to have a real good head on his shoulders, he’s funny, mature and is passionate about the overall game of hockey.  Just the type of player the Kings need in the years to come.

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/Mayor119
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

OTHER ARTICLES OF INTEREST:

Development Camp 2010 – Day One Recap

Development Camp 2010 – Day Three Wrap-up

Tuesday’s Tidbits – NHL Draft Wrap-up

INTERVIEWS w/ OTHER WHL PLAYERS:

Colten Teubert – Regina Pats

Cam Fowler – Windsor Spitfires

Tyler Aronson – Portland Winterhawks

Brandon Underwood – Kamloops Blazers

Luke Moffatt – drafted by Kelowna Rockets, now at Univ of Michigan

.

Awards:

MayorsManor Best Sports Blog per LA Weekly

12:

MayorsManor Best Sports Blog LA Weekly 12

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