Suspended for three months for an undisclosed student-conduct violation, senior right wing Derek Patrosso will practice today for the first time since he suffered a high-ankle sprain in late November and will join the Tigers in the locker room for the first time since he was suspended in late December.
Here are some of Patrosso's comments that didn't make the story:
Q: What have you been doing to stay in shape?
A: I'd wake up and have an intense bike workout. Then, I'd skate with that midget team (Detroit Little Caesar's AAA) if they were skating. If there was open ice, I would just skate myself. I also did some power skating with a former figure skater. At the end, she'd condition me as well. I tried to do as much skating as I could and I think it's helped a lot. ...I lifted too.
Q: For those of us who aren't into ice skating (maybe if I'd tried it with padded shorts and knee pads, I'd feel differently), can you explain power skating and the purpose of the workouts with the figure skater?
A: She works with a lot of hockey players in the Detroit area. She corrects your skating and your form. She watches you skate and looks at your form to make some corrections. It's an hour-long conditioning skate. At the end of it, my legs are just killing. It's a lot of one-legged skating and that one leg gets really tired. Basically, it's designed so you can push off stronger and so you can recover quicker when you're skating. That's the stuff that gets the legs and the lungs going. I've had help from her in the past, but it's the first time for a conditioning reason.
Q: How long do you think it will take for you to regain "game shape"?
A: I think all of the conditioning will help me get there much quicker. You've got to be realistic with yourself, too. I haven't played in three or four months. I definitely think all of the stuff will help me be able to compete and play and help the team when I get out there. It's probably going to take a game or two.
Q: Was it hard to miss senior night (last Saturday) and the presentation of the MacNaughton Cup?
A: Yeah, it was tough. But I've just tried to focus on the positives. I get to join the team again (today). All I've done is concentrate on preparing myself to be the best I can for that, rather than sit and dwell on what I'm missing.
Q: How much did you follow the team while you were home in Michigan and what do you think of how they've done?
A: Not too much really. I didn't really talk to any of the guys. I kind of did my own thing. I'd listen to a few games here and there. I had a good idea 10 games into the year that we'd be able to compete for the national championship. It was hard to listen to. It made me focus on negative things. I just chose not to. I tried not to dwell on what I could have done differently and what I was missing out on and watching them made me do that. I chose to worry about myself and think of the positive things. If the team was 5-25, I still would have joined them (today).
Q: So, final thoughts before practice? Nerves? Excitement?
A: I'm just excited to join the team. The team's done so well. I'm excited to get back in the locker room and be around the guys and try to be an older guy. I've been there. I haven't been in this position exactly before, so I'm a little bit nervous too. But for the most part, I'm excited to be back for the most exciting time of year. ...I'm just trying to make the most of it while I can.