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Q & A with John McCarthy
Special to LetsGoSharks
4/14/09 - By DJ Powers -
HockeysFuture NCAA Men's Ice Hockey contributor

Boston University senior co-captain and San Jose Sharks prospect John McCarthy helped to guide his team into the Frozen Four this year and win their fifth National Championship title on Saturday night. In this special one-on-one interview that took place at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. after Boston University's wins in the Frozen Four semi-final game on Thursday and after the National Championship game on Saturday, McCarthy shared his insights on himself and his Boston University team, and the possibility of signing with the Sharks this off-season.

Q: You guys were obviously really familiar with Vermont coming into the Frozen Four. How was it different facing them here compared to facing them during the season?

JM: They did exactly what we thought they would do. They worked hard, were very unselfish and block a lot of shots. Not to mention, they're a hard team to play against. That's what they brought and they played a great game too, but it was just that we got the upper hand tonight. But they played exactly like they had all season.

Q: So now you're a National Champion. So how does it feel?

JM: It feels unbelievable. Coming back like we did, nobody giving up, everyone kept skating and hitting, it feels great.

Q: You guys were down two goals late in the third period, what was going through your minds in terms of trying to pull it all together to still try and win this game?

JM: Well, we knew that we had to chip away at it and that it was going to be one goal at a time. We had a big penalty kill to start us off and give us a little momentum. Then we got one down low and then Nick (Bonino) had a great one-timer. It got us back in the game. It was unbelievable.

Q: When Colby (Cohen) scored that game-winner in overtime, you being one of the seniors on the team and having gone through the grind the last four years, it had to have felt very gratifying to say the least.

JM: Oh, it was our goal at the beginning of they year to get here and win. When we were down 3-1 everyone still believed, and that just shows what kind of character that we had this year.

Q: Being one of the captains on the team and knowing the importance of leadership, especially with a group of guys like that of your team, how has your role evolved, especially as one of the leaders?

JM: I like to be doing the right things all the time. We have a lot of young guys on our team this year. I think we have something like ten freshmen, so it was my job and all of the seniors' jobs to make sure that they know how to play the way that a Boston University hockey player plays. So I think that the whole senior class did a good job with that by setting a good example for them and they've picked it up right away. I think that's a big reason why we've had so much success.

Q: I know that you guys have been to the NCAA Tournament before but didn't get this far. How is this year's team different compared to those NCAA Tournament teams in the recent past?

JM: I think right now it's our confidence level. We know that if we work hard, things will go our way. And that's the only thing that we can control, is how hard we work for the game. So I think we've done that throughout the National Tournament so far. As far as the biggest difference between this team and those teams it's just confidence.

Q: You guys have such a talent-laden team all up and down your roster. As one of the leaders on the team, has it been easy for you to sort of get them to put aside their egos for the sake of upholding the Boston University hockey tradition?

JM: Yes. Everyone's kind of bought into the system. If we play as individuals then we're not going to have a lot of success. So we need to have guys playing to win the game and not worrying about playing for themselves. I think for the most part our team has done a fantastic job with that. Most guys are making the right plays at the right time, and I think that's also a part of why we've done so well.

Q: Boston University's hockey team obviously doesn't rebuild they simply reload. Having said that, there's always going to be that matter of re-establishing that team chemistry at the beginning of each season. Has that been easy or difficult for you and the other captains on the team, especially with so many freshmen in this group, to establish that?

JM: We do have a lot of young guys on this team. They all came in during the summer for workouts and it started at that time. Then in the fall, we made sure that it continued. We had a golf tournament for the whole team and that was a team-building activity, so we made sure that everyone was being included to get that camaraderie going off the ice first. It then translated pretty well onto the ice as well and has continued the whole year.

Q: Obviously when you first came to Boston University, you were educated on the history and traditions of Terriers hockey. Has the freshmen guys been able to follow the examples that have been set by you and the other seniors as far as not only being good players each and every game, but also to respect and represent the jersey properly?

JM: I learned a ton of lessons for the captains that I played for in my first year like Brad Zancanaro and Sean Sullivan. I looked up to them and kind of emulated what they did. I'd like to think that's what the (younger) guys are doing this year as far as looking up to us seniors and playing the way that we play. So it makes it that much more important that we play the right way every night. It's worked out so far with the guys having bought into the system.

Q: I know that you're a prospect of the San Jose Sharks. So are you hoping to sign with them as soon as possible?

JM: Oh, I'd love to. I've got to talk to them about it and I had told them that I would deal with that when the (college hockey) season was over. So I look forward to talking to them and hopefully we could work something out.

Q: Have you been keeping in touch with them throughout the year?

JM: A little bit. They'd check in with me from time to time. They knew that I was focused on what I was doing at BU this year and they respected that. They knew that I was here (at Boston University) to win a National Championship.

Q: So I'm sure that they're going to be delighted that you accomplished that goal.

JM: Oh yeah, I'm sure they will. But they've been very supportive of what I was trying to do and acknowledged the fact that I was here to win a championship.

Q: How would describe yourself as a player and what does it mean to you to be a Boston University Terrier?

JM: I always think that I'm a two-way player, and like to do the little things. I like to lead by example too. I play defense well and block a lot of shots. I'm not in this for my own points, I'm in this to win, and I also think that that is what really defines a Boston University hockey player. It's about guys being unselfish that want to win championships. So I think that I fit in pretty well as far as that mold is concerned. I think a lot of other guys have seen that and have stepped into that role as well.

Q: Finally, with your playing career at Boston University now officially over, what would you like to be best remembered for while with the team?

JM: The National Championship game. This game just showed what kind of character that this team had. It was unbelievable. Being a National Champion is what I want to be best remembered as and that came true tonight.


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