This is the last of a four part series of interviews taken after a prospects practice on Thursday, July 10.
Michael Leighton recently signed a two year deal with the Hurricanes. He had a tremendous season for the Albany River Rats last year, setting franchise records in many different categories. He was also voted as goaltender of the year for the entire AHL.
Michael volunteered to help out at the prospects conditioning camp and was available to the press after practice, along with the prospects. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really as prepared as I would have liked to have been to interview the goalie, but the opportunity presented itself so I gave it a shot. This is my first ever NHL player interview.
CC- Can you tell me about that wild five overtime game against Philadelphia in the playoffs last season when you made 98 saves? Were players on oxygen in the dressing room during the intermissions or what?
ML- It was pretty crazy. Players were exhausted by the third OT and it got to the point that when someone gained possession of the puck, they would just dump it in and make a line change. We had plenty of energy bars and drinks between periods and some fruit. They ordered some pizza for us for after the fifth overtime period, but unfortunately we lost in that period and ended up eating the pizza at the end of the game.
CC- How does it feel to have the stability of a two year contract?
ML- I couldn’t be happier. I was really hoping to be able to work something out with the Hurricanes this off-season, and for them to have the confidence in me to offer a two year deal is very satisfying.
CC- Stephanie, from Eyecandyair sent me an email informing me about the new mask they airbrushed for you toward the end of last season. Do you have any plans to get another new one?
ML- Not really, I hadn’t thought much about it. Although, I am kind of waiting to get word back from ITECH so something might be coming up. I’m not really sure.
CC- Who has the toughest shot that you faced in the AHL last season?
ML- The AHL? That’s tough. I really don’t think about recognizing the players too much, I am concentrating primarily on the puck.
CC- What has been the proudest achievement in your career so far?
ML- Well, my very first game in the NHL was with Chicago and we were playing against Phoenix. The game went to the end of regulation in a 0-0 tie. We ended up losing, which was very disappointing, but I was very proud to have a shutout in regulation in my first ever NHL game.
Michael offered to shake hands after the interview which was pretty classy. Hopefully, I’ll have another opportunity with him sometime down the road when I have some better questions.