On September 16, ex-Toronto Maple Leafs’ and new Edmonton Oilers’ forward Zach Hyman joined Tim & Friends to talk about why he chose the Oilers, about both his new and old teammates, and about what it was like to play with some of the most elite hockey players in the world. In this post, I shake out and share five thoughts from his interview.
Thought One: The Lure of Edmonton
The lure of Edmonton was huge from a hockey standpoint because Hyman could see a potential to win a Stanley Cup. Hyman said he spoke to his wife and together they really wanted to go and visit this city. One key issue was if Edmonton would be a place that fitted their needs and the needs of their young son (Theo, who’s eight months old). Both he and his wife wanted to make sure that it was a place they both felt comfortable having him grow up in. As soon as they visited, they fell in love with the city. They’e really were happy with their choice.
Thought Two: His Fit with the Oilers’ Players
Hyman admitted that he’d had the good fortune of playing with great players like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. However, he’s excited to play in Edmonton with guys like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and with the other great players they have there. Hyman thinks it’s going to be seamless fit; and, that’s definitely one of the reasons that he chose Edmonton.
Thought Three: Playing with High-Skilled Players
Hyman agreed with his interviewer that it’s a skill to understand how to play with the highest-level players and even to think at that level. He admitted that it was a little bit of a learning curve at the beginning of his career; however, he thought that he found a way to (as they say) really “just play his own game” and not to change his game based on who you’re playing with. Still, Hyman admitted that it was important to adapt and learn the tendencies of what certain players do on the ice.
Thought Four: On Believing in His Own Abilities
Further to playing with the highest-level players, Hyman said that he found the most success by just going out and playing his game. That included thinking about who he was playing with, where they wanted the puck, and how he could get them the puck in those areas.
Hyman also admitted that he’s always had the fortunate of playing with elite players who wanted the puck all the time. Sometimes he admitted that he second guessed himself; however, he believed he had to be really confident in his own abilities and to just go out there and play.
Thought Five: On What His Role Is with Great Players
Hyman noted that all those elite players demanded the puck by their actions. That is, they went to areas where you almost had to give the puck to them. That’s what great players do, according to Hyman. They want the puck at all times; and, they’ll put themselves in position to get it.
When Hyman gives the puck up, his job is to know how to play away from the puck. For him, that means going to certain areas where you can create secondary-scoring opportunities for those guys; or, go to the net to get a scoring chance yourself; or, to go into the corner and try to strip somebody and win a puck battle so you can get the puck back. Then, the task is to just get the puck into those guys hands as much as possible.
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