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The Five-minute Interview: BRENDAN SHANAHAN

Sunday, 09.09.2007 / 9:40 AM / Features
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The Five-minute Interview: BRENDAN SHANAHAN
Rangers alternate captain Brendan Shanahan, who tied for the team lead with 29 goals and became an inspirational leader both on and off the ice last season, has been working out at the Madison Square Garden Training Center in preparation for the start of the Blueshirts' main training camp on Thursday.

The eight-time NHL All-Star is one of many Rangers veterans who showed up early at the Training Center for informal on-ice and off-ice workouts. As he enters his 20th NHL season, the 38-year-old Shanahan is determined to add to his collection of three Stanley Cup rings, which he earned during an outstanding run with Detroit from 1996 to 2006.

Shanahan took time out from a workout last week for an exclusive five-minute interview with newyorkrangers.com.


NYR.com: How was your summer and what have you been up to in the off-season?

Shanahan: I stayed in New York until the beginning of July, but I have a house in Cape Cod, so we went there and spent the rest of the summer there. It's a quiet town and I'm kind of a bit of a homebody there. As much fun as it is to be in New York and enjoy all the good things about this city, out there I'm mostly just grilling steaks and playing with the kids in the yard. We have a little beach area, and the kids pretty much mastered their swimming in the ocean this year. We all enjoyed throwing seaweed at each other and burying each other in the sand.

NYR.com: Now that you play for the Rangers, did you find you were treated differently by people up there?

Brendan Shanahan chats with fellow alternate captain Martin Straka during the 2006-07 season.  At age 38, Shanahan will again be the oldest player on the Rangers roster in 2007-08.
Shanahan:
I played nine seasons with the Red Wings, and now that I'm a Ranger I get recognized way more (in Cape Cod) than during my nine years there in Detroit. I think the way I used to leave in September and come in the summer, people used to think I was a school teacher. But playing on the East Coast now and playing in New York, the secret's out among my neighbors as to what I do for a living.

NYR.com: Last year you arrived in New York as a relative outsider to the city. Do you feel a big difference in your comfort level as you return for this second season?

Shanahan: It's night and day as far as knowing the city and knowing how things work. If you've never lived in the city, you just don't know and you just don't understand. For example, how things work at the grocery store or what you do with your car when you're trying to unload your bags in a building and cars are behind you honking. And then you bring your car to garages and they wave you away because your car's too big or they're too full. All those things that you take for granted once you've lived in the city for a while and you know how things work. I remember the first time I went grocery shopping, I walked out of there with like 15 grocery bags in my arms. I had to stop and rest about 10 times on the way home. The next time I went in, the lady said that for $3 extra they could deliver it all. So I've already learned that the greatest part of New York is delivery. But,yes, I do feel a lot more comfortable that way. I know my wife likes the city and I know my kids like the city, so I don't have to worry about that stuff.

NYR.com: What went through your mind on July 1 when you heard that the Rangers had signed Chris Drury and Scott Gomez?

Shanahan: I was excited, but at the same time it put me in a different state of mind. All of a sudden, you're happy when you hear the news, but you immediately start thinking "OK, we've got to get to work here." I wasn't thinking: "Hey, we got these guys! Put the champagne on ice and plan the parade!" No, once I realized that the team had gone out and helped get the horses, now we've got to make it happen. I've played on really good teams that have won the Cup, and I've played on Stanley Cup favorites that have been swept in the first round or knocked out before the Finals. I mean, like in Detroit in 1999, if our goalies weren't hurt, we might have gone 16-0 in the playoffs that year. We were on our way. We swept Anaheim and then went into Colorado and beat them twice with before we lost the next four games.

NYR.com: Does your sense of what it takes to win a championship make it harder for you to get your hopes up on a day like July 1?

Here, Shanahan battles for the puck with Miroslav Satan of the New York Islanders.
Shanahan:
It's not even that. I was excited because I know now that it's up to us. We have a chance to do something special, and that's all you can ask for as a player that your management team puts you in a position that you're not saying "Well, we hope to be better this year." Now we're saying that we hope to win it. Every year there's probably about half a dozen or maybe eight teams that have the players to win the Cup, but only one of them can win. We're one of those teams right now.

NYR.com: How do you hope to benefit from returning to the MSG Training Center a full two weeks before the start of training camp?

Shanahan: You want to take care of all the little things off the ice, so that you're not distracted once the real camp starts. It's also just to get familiar with the ice and your equipment again. For me, it's kind of just making sure that I'm not showing up on Day One and trying to feel good. You want to already know you've kind of worked out the kinks a couple of weeks before.

NYR.com: You suffered a rather frightening concussion last season. Do you feel any lingering effects from that?

Shanahan: No, nothing. I'm pretty lucky that it was my first concussion. A lot of the symptoms that I've heard about from other guys who had concussions, well, I had none of them. I had one symptom, which was vertigo, but a lot of the neurological symptoms you hear about -- like nausea and mood swings and lack of sleeping – I never had any of those. Not even in the first week.

NYR.com: So as far as this season goes, do you feel like you never had that concussion at all?

Shanahan: Yes, that's right. I can't say it any better than that.

NYR.com: This will be your 20th NHL season. Your former teammate in Detroit, Chris Chelios, once said he never imagined he'd play this long because when he broke into the league, nobody played that many years. Back in 1987, would you have believed you would still be playing in 2007?

Shanahan: It's like the same thing that Chris said. When I started, the clock was ticking when you turned 30, and nobody played until they were 40. But guys train better and train harder today. Medicine is better and surgeries are quicker, with shorter recovery times. It's just like what a lot of people are saying about their careers in the fashion industry – 40 is the new 30! It's the same in hockey. But in the end, the game is about helping your team win. I've always done my best to not be a one-dimensional player, because I think if you package yourself as just one thing, then when that thing goes, you go. The longer you want to play, you just do your best to make sure you can still do something that helps your team win that they can't get from someone else.



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