Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An Interview with Alain Berger

Following up on the Player Spotlight we ran about little-known Habs prospect Alain Berger, today we bring you an interview conducted with him this off-season by the Swiss Ice Hockey Association.

Berger, signed to a three-year deal this past April, seems to have a good attitude when it comes to his future professional hockey career. The 20-year states that multiple teams were interested in his services, including the Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars, but he felt he had the best chance by choosing the Canadiens.

Though Berger attended the Canadiens development camp in June, he says he hasn't seen much of the city, but does admire the new and state-of-the-art training facilities in Brossard. While Berger was here, head coach Jacques Martin made an impression in holding an individual meeting with the 6'4" Swiss native by having an understanding of his game.

"I'm not putting pressure on myself," Berger told the Swiss Association. "My objective is to make the NHL, but I have to take it one step at a time. Of course I want to make it as soon as possible, but I have to remain patient."

In what will be his third season in North America, Berger knows his first task is to establish himself with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. He knows that to reach the next level, he'll need to have full confidence in his abilities and remain hungry, because, as he says, "if you don't want it and make it, then your neighbour will."

In describing what he brings to the table, Berger says he enjoys being a leader on a team. He sees himself as a powerforward who can play an energy role, but acknowledges the area where he must most improve is his skating. He tried to model his game after that of Peter Forsberg.

As we've mentioned before, in signing Berger, the Habs likely took another stab at acquiring a player of the type they thought Ian Schultz could be. A big body who can play a physical game and go to the net a la Tomas Holmstrom. Schultz struggled in his rookie season in Hamilton due in part to his poor skating ability, so it will be interesting to see how Berger fares in his pro hockey debut.

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