The Montreal Canadiens selected Cory Urquhart 40th overall in the 2003 draft this summer, from the PEI Rocket of the QMJHL. Urquhart was 2nd on his team in scoring last year, and had a very strong playoff run last year for the Montreal Rocket before they moved to PEI, where he will looked upon to carry the team this season. With ex-Habs coach Alain Vigneault starting his first season as coach of the Rocket after coming over to coach last season, Cory should get a lot of instructions from his newest coach.
HF: What was it like attending the rookie camp for the Montreal Canadiens? Did coach Vigneault give you any pointers?
CU: It was a great experience to play against a higher level of talent and get an idea of what is expected from the Habs management. I felt I responded well and competed well. Coach Vigneault said to relax and play my game, he also helped me to get into shape for the camp.
HF:What would you say are your main assets, what do you bring to the organization?
CU: My offensive abilities. It's always been my offense and my games not going to change. My abilities to score goals and set up plays plus being a
HF: What area or areas of your game do you feel need to be improved to make it to the next level?
CU: Quickness. My skating quickness needs to be improved, my defensive zone coverage, and to get physically stronger.
HF: What was your reaction to being drafted by the Canadiens, did you have any idea they were interested in you, and what was your reaction after finding out teammates Lapierre and Bonneau were also drafted?
CU: Speechless. To be drafted by the most historic organization in all of sports was unbelievable. I did have a meeting with the Habs but they didn't show any more interest than the other NHL teams. I was with Maxim [Lapierre] in Nashville, so it was great to see him and Jimmy get drafted by the Habs.
HF: Since Alain Vigneault took over as coach of the Rocket, what impact has he had on your game?
CU: He's shown a lot of confidence in me, and I've gotten more ice time as well. Plus he put me on the PK, which is something I hadn't done before.
HF: After leaving the Habs camp, did management give you any instructions as to what they would like you to work on?
CU: Yes, I talked with Trevor Timmins, Bob Gainey, Andre Savard and Claude Julien, and they gave me some pointers. They would like to see me improve my quickness, physical strength and defensive zone coverage.
HF: Since being drafted, has management put you on a workout program?
CU: Yes, after the draft they gave us some info and coach Vigneault requires us to work out often. The assistant coach is part owner of a gym, so he helps out the players as well.
HF: What are your thoughts on the CHL rule that doesn't allow players under 20 or less then four full seasons in the CHL to play in the AHL?
CU: I do think in certain situations it holds players back. I can't say I understand why an 18-year-old can play in the NHL, but a 19-year-old can't play in the AHL.
HF: What was it like playing in Montreal in the Bell Center where the Habs play? And what effect has the change of cities have?
CU: Even though the crowds were small, it was a great feeling playing in the best facility in juniors. It wasn't hard to get pumped up for a game in the locker room. As for the change of cities, being in PEI you don't have the distractions that are in Montreal, the players can focus more on hockey.
HF: What do you like most about playing hockey?
CU: Victory. I like the head to head competition, going against a certain player and outplaying him. The feeling of winning after a hard fought game where your legs are tired and your body hurts, you don't feel it when you've won the game.
He certainly looks to me like a brillant and knowledgeable guy. He knows he has to work hard in order to improve, and is willing to work to reach his goals. Let's hope head coach Vigneault will continue teaching him strong two-way play. I liked his comments about the CHL rule, that's how I see it too.
Hopefully he won't be affected by this CHL rule by making the big team out of camp next year...