Powered by quiet strength, TJ Brodie knows what it takes

Patrick Johnston
January 14 2013 12:11PM

 

'Speak softly but carry a big stick'; Theodore Roosevelt once said that. Whether or not TJ Brodie is a student of presidential history or not, Roosevelt's motto is a perfect fit for the young defenceman. 

Following his 54 game season last year, Brodie was shipped off to the AHL for the duration of the lockout. His puck skills have been clearly NHL-calibre on the farm, but his overall dominance while on the ice for the Heat is what is really worth noting. 

A 'young' 21 when he made his debut, the now 22-year-old Brodie looks set to step forward for the Flames. We caught up with him after Friday night's 3-1 loss to Chicago, before he shipped off to Calgary for training camp.

Patrick Johnston: Since the beginning of the season, you've had tonnes of ice time thrown at you - almost 25 minutes tonight - that must feel good to know you've got the confidence of your coaches?

TJ Brodie: It’s definitely nice, it’s nice getting out there that much. It’s easier to get a rhythm going out there, hopefully that helps me out. It just depends how camp goes.

PJ: What is the thing you find toughest in preparing for a new season? Some guys have told me getting in the gym, or particular workouts...

TJB: I don’t mind going to work out, I know that that’s part of the job. We always do a ‘skate test’ at camp; so the last month of August, we always practice that, it gets pretty tiring. Doing that every other day – it takes its toll. 

PJ: You got a particular memory that stands out as number one in your career?

TJB: There’s so many…between the draft and the first nhl game. Both were good experiences. It’s a dream come true when those sorts of things happen.

PJ: When things are tough, what do you do to get yourself mentally re-set?

TJB: Stay calm, play the way I can play. Sometimes when we get up there, you get some jitters, you get too tight, and don’t make the plays that you would normally make. That happened to me my first year and a couple times last year. It’s about relaxing and taking a breath, playing the way you’ve always played.

PJ: So it's about just letting things flow and being relaxed?

TJB: You’ve got to be relaxed to certain extent I guess, you don’t want to be forcing stuff. Sometimes if you wait that extra half a second, a lane opens up or a guy gives you tape, you can make a better play than if you try to make a quick play. It’s knowing when to move it or when to hold it.

PJ: Ahead of camp, is there a tough memory you look back at to help with your motivation?

TJB: Throughout my whole life, I've never been really looked as a 'that' calibre of player. Growing up, I was never on any allstar teams. I played Junior B my first year of OHL eligibility; I had to work there. Even in the OHL i was never on the all star there. It's always been 'I've got to work for everything.' It's about remembering where I came from and how I love the game. It all helps.

Despite a relatively crowded blueline, Brodie should be a shoe-in to make the Flames roster this year. The real question is whether he'll crack the top-4 or not.

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Patrick Johnston is a Vancouver journalist. In addition to regular contributions here at Canucks Army, his work has appeared in The Province, Hockey Now and on the CBC. Check out his blog and other writing at http://johnstonwrites.wordpress.com or follow him on twitter: @risingaction
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#1 T&A4Flames
January 14 2013, 01:37PM
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I see TJ moving into a top 4 role by mid-season. At least I hope for this so we maybe see some moves at the deadline for picks/prospects.

I know a lot of people have questioned the signings of guys like Sarich & Stempniak, but I think they were kept around as potential trade candidates or, being useful players enroute to a playoff birth.

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#2 stephan
January 14 2013, 07:29PM
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Both of those players are has beens they were good at one point, but not anymore. As for trading to get prospects Calgary would have to give to much to land anyone. Then we would be right back to 1997 when it was one person's team. I remember the young gun years, when the local news had bright flashing letters saying the flames won. Lol nothing special about winning a mid-season game but back then when the flames won it was big news. They really sucked back then. I hope for the fans sake they don't throw away picks like Toronto. I'll never cheer for any other team but calgary. You have to admit though Edmonton has some good years ahead of them

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#3 MC Hockey
January 14 2013, 10:16PM
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Good interview, Thanks Patrick. I think Brodie has the mindset, confidence, and skill to be a Top 4 guy and will be by Game 10. I hope Flames turf Babchuk (when healthy) and likely Carson and McCarthy to the farm so real talents like him and Derek Smith can move up the depth chart. A couple other comments:

1. After reading first half of the article headline "Powered by Quiet Strength", I thought you were going to say "Snickers really satifies"...LOL. I guess Kent has not sold any "Advertorials" yet.

2. "It’s knowing when to move it or when to hold it." Sounds like he is quoting Kenny Rogers "The Gambler" song.

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