Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Curtis Gedig Fulfills His Promise:

This is on the Vipers website:

Curtis Gedig fulfills his promise

by viper staff Added 2010-07-06

On November 25, the Vipers’ big trade of the year sent two fine young players, Nick Amies and Drew George, to Cowichan Valley for New Jersey draft choice, Curtis Gedig. Heavy expectations were placed on Gedig, who was just two months past his 18th birthday.

In his previous experiences in the league, he had been assigned a variety of roles. He says, “When I was 16, in Merritt, they played me in all situations. The next year in Cowichan, they wanted me to be more of a steady defensive player on a pretty good team. Earlier this year in Cowichan, I was supposed to be their go-to guy. Then, when I got to Vernon I was told to play physically, to take the body.”

He had some defensive lapses as he adjusted to his new role, but he got stronger as the season progressed. He started to deliver crunching body checks and he eliminated defensive zone miscues as the playoffs went deeper.

In the biggest series of the year, he was at his best in the RBC Cup, arguably the Vipers’ best overall defenceman among a group who played very well. La Ronge’s Dustin Stevenson, who was signed to a pro contract by the Washington capitals just before the tournament, got the attention, but Curtis was one of the top D-men at the tournament and overall had more of an impact than Stevenson.

Discussing his physical side, he says “I was told to use the body more, and I tried to make some big hits, especially when guys had their heads down. I’d watch their eyes and then decide when to step up. I learned that skating agility is a big part of hitting. You’re going backward and then suddenly step into a guy. You know, I’d been a little reluctant, I didn’t want to miss a check and get caught, but it’s easier than I thought.”

He says he’s learned a lot from his Viper coaches: “Ferns and Willie have taught me a lot of techniques and little tricks. Ferns is awesome. He knows the game so well. I understand now that you have to play strong defensively if you want to win championships. It’s hard work, mostly, but that work becomes all fun when you’re winning.”

He chuckles when asked about the “immaculate deception” goal that sunk the Oakville Blades at the RBC tournament. Actually, it was his second goal of the game – an earlier goal had been credited to Sahir Gill, but the puck bounced off an Oakville skate.

Here’s how he saw the crazy bounce that eventually was the game winner versus Oakville: “I was just dumping it in. It hit the stanchion along the glass and took a funny bounce. The goalie was trying to find it against the dark background. He was looking in the corner, I think, and just lost it, and it went five-hole. I lost it too, and then saw it heading for the net and I remember thinking, wouldn’t it be crazy if this goes in. It was almost embarrassing to score like that, but it turned out that we needed the goal.”

The smooth-skating resident of West Kelowna was drafted by the New Jersey Devils at age 17. He says, “They’re just letting me play and develop. They’re happy with me going to college.”

That college is Ohio State, where he will enrol this fall. He’s not sure what he’ll study there. He admits, “Number 1, I’m going there for the hockey. I figure that college is a good place to develop at this stage.”

He does have some regrets leaving Vernon, though. In particular, he’ll miss his defence partner, Garrett Noonan. “Noons is a great defensive player and one of my best friends. When they put us together, we just started to click. He works really hard and has good instincts. I really trust him on the ice.”

Another Viper he especially likes and trusts is Graeme Gordon. “We played together in Merritt, and now we’re on the top of the heap. He’s a terrific goalie and a great guy. I wish he could come to the Buckeyes.”

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