February 27, 2012
Schultz good to go with Oilers
By ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency
Overjoyed is probably not the best way to describe the reaction from Nick Shultz when he discovered he’d been traded.
Crushed is more like it.
But once the shock wore off, he was good to go.
“It’s tough to find out right after practice, when guys are still around the room and you’re looking at a lot of faces that of guys that you played a lot of years with, it’s a different situation, a different feeling,” said the 29-year-old defenceman, whose move to Edmonton for Tom Gilbert is the first trade of his NHL or WHL careers.
“But you go from ‘This Sucks’ to looking forward to getting to Edmonton.”
Starting in Minnesota as a teenager and having to leave 10 years later as a veteran is tough. He loved it there and they loved him.
“Just the guys on the team that I’ve become really close to was toughest,” he said. “Guys I’ve spent a lot of years with, great teammates and friends, and just Minnesota in general. It’s a great community, the fans were great, it’s a great hockey market. They appreciated it when you went out and worked hard.”
But once he got past the “this sucks” he was looking forward to Edmonton.
“It’s exciting young up and coming team with great talent and great veteran guys,” said the 6-0, 207 pounder from Saskatchewan. It’s exciting to go there and be part of a team on the verge of being really good. I want to fit into that puzzle. Growing up as a young kid I rooted for the Oilers. My first jersey was an Oilers jersey. Getting a chance to put in on for real is exciting.”
Kids don’t grow up dreaming about being stay at home defencemen, but having been tutored as a kid by Jacques Lemaire, Schultz grew into the role rather quickly.
“It was an expansion team, so I had the chance to play at 19 and the coaches really understood defence,” he said. “It was great to learn from those guys, they were great teachers. From a teaching standpoint (Lemaire) is one of the best when it comes to the little details. He was aware of so many little things about the game that he’d always be showing you in practice.”