Kevin Gravel, a 6-foot-4 defenseman drafted by the Kings in 2010, is getting ready to skate in the Frozen Four for the first time. We had a chance to catch up with him last night as he and his St Cloud State teammates prepare for perhaps the biggest weekend of their lives.
In the first of a two-part interview we’ll share what he had to say about several of the Kings’ other college hockey prospects…
- On forward (and teammate) Nic Dowd: “Dowd came out hot for us. I think he scored…I don’t know how many games in a row, but he came out hot for us. That was a big reason our team got off to the start we did and not off to a slow start like in years past…He may have slowed down points-wise in the second half, but I can tell you he’s there for us every night. Nobody works harder than Dowd. Nobody wants to win more than Dowd. He’s a great guy. In the locker room and away from the ice. He’s a true leader. He’s a guy you want on your team. He’ll put everything into the team that you’re on. As far as our relationship goes, Dowd’s my roommate. So we see a lot of each other whether we’re at the rink or away from the rink. He’s a really fun guy to live with. He’s a really great guy. We have a lot of similarities too which makes things easier. He’s a great student and everything. So it’s been a good relationship we’ve had over the last three years.”
- On who’s the messier of the two: “I’d go with me. Not that I’m dirty, but Dowd tries to clean up a little bit more than I do, but yeah, we’ll just leave it at that. (Does he run the vacuum at 6AM?) No, it’s not that bad. I don’t think we have anybody doing that, but he probably runs the dishwasher and takes out the garbage a little more than I do. I’ll give him that credit…We both do our own laundry. We lucked out. We have a laundry machine in our apartment. So when we have laundry, we just throw it in.”
- On defenseman Derek Forbort (University of North Dakota): “I think he’s taken a big step this past year. Obviously I don’t get to see him as much as a lot of people, but I did play him I think four times this year, and I think he was solid every time we played them. I know he had like a career high in goals and points this year too. Which just shows that he is making a step, and adding that offensive game that everybody thought he could have. No, I thought he had a great year. Obviously it showed with him signing last week. Which is good for him. Congratulations to him. He’s earned it. I think it’s just the next step of his career. Which I just think he’s going to keep improving.”
- On if he compares himself to Forbort: “Not really. I think that’s more on the media side. I don’t really compare myself to him. We might be similar a little bit in playing style. I think he might have a little bit more of an offensive side of his game, but for the most part I don’t really compare games. I think he’s a solid player. I think that just because you’re taken in the same draft, I don’t think you necessarily compare yourself to him.”
- On forward Michael Mersch (University of Wisconsin): “I don’t like playing against him. He knows how to score. He kind of made me look silly too when we played them in Wisconsin. He came down. He had a 2-on-1 and toed right around me, and I think he went bar-down on me too. So he got the last laugh on that one. He’s a great player. I think he made great strides this year. He had over 20 goals. So anytime you’re getting 20 goals in the WCHA, you’re doing something right. (So he might get a nice run into the boards in camp later this year?) Yeah, you could say that.”
- On forward Nick Shore (Denver University): “He also had a great year. He was hot out of the gate. He had I think 12 points in their first four games or something like that. Denver kind of goes as he goes. He’s a very smart player. He’s really good offensively, and I think he also took strides this year. I think he had a little more of a leadership role. I think he excelled at that. You have to take notice every time Nick Shore is on the ice with you.”
In the second part of the interview we’ll look at Gravel’s development this season, what it’s like being thrust into the national spotlight, preview the Frozen Four, what factors will impact his decision to turn pro or stay in school, plus much more.
In the meantime, here’s more on the Kings’ college prospects…
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