View Full Version : Simon says he's happy Dog

01-20-2010, 12:34 PM
Simon says he's happy Dog


Posted 6 hours ago

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Simon says he loves being a member of the Niagara IceDogs.
Simon Gronvaldt had nothing against the city of Barrie or the Barrie Colts, but when the 18-year-old blueliner heard the Colts had dealt him to the Niagara IceDogs as part of the package for Alex Pietrangelo, he couldn't pack his bags quickly enough.
"I was not at all disappointed with the trade," Gronvaldt said Tuesday afternoon at Jack Gatecliff Arena before hitting the ice with his new teammates for practice. "I was excited to come here. I knew I was going to get more ice time, so I was happy for the trade.
"I like it more here. In Niagara,
hockey is pretty big and everyone talks about it."
With the Colts, Gronvaldt saw limited ice time as a fifth or sixth defenceman. That has changed significantly with Niagara. The IceDogs have paired the 18-year-old Denmark native with overage defender Reggie Traccitto and used him a good deal on the power play and in other key situations.
"I played the power play in Barrie a little, but here I have to take more responsibility," said Gronvaldt, who has three assists in four games with Niagara. "I think I can do that and it's good for me."
Gronvaldt, who played pro in his native Denmark before coming to Canada to play junior, loves the chance to be on the ice when the game is on the line.
"It gives me a lot more confi- dence," he said. "When you play more, you get the flow going a little more and obviously, it's easier to play."
IceDogs coach Mike McCourt has thrown Gronvaldt into key situations right off the bat.
"He's got good puck skills," McCourt said of his new rearguard. "He's got a little bit of moxie on the back end and he'll take an extra second to make a play when he's in traffic. That's the strength of his game.
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"He makes a real good first pass and laterally, he gets around pretty well. We're going to encourage him to keep working on the defensive side of his game so we can put him out there against the other top lines and use him in that role as well."
Gronvaldt was acquired from the Colts with centre Ryan Strome and a handful of draft picks in the deal for Pietrangelo. Strome, a former first-round pick, looks like he'll be a signifi- cant contributor for the IceDogs for years, but that doesn't mean Gronvaldt was just excess baggage in the deal.
"We were real excited to get him," McCourt said. "We don't view him as a thrown-in. He was a guy we wanted and went after."
Gronvaldt, who was a member of Denmark's entry in the B pool at the world junior hockey championships this season, caught the attention of Canadian scouts and agents playing for Denmark's junior team a couple of years ago.
He hooked on with the Kitchener Rangers in 2008-09, where he had nine points in 63 games as a rookie before joining the Colts this season.
"There's not a lot of Danish guys that get to play in this league," he said.
Gronvaldt said there are about 4,000 hockey players in his homeland, a country best known, at least from a sports perspective, for soccer.
"Hockey is getting bigger, but it's not a big hockey country," he said.
Gronvaldt, who speaks fluent English, admitted there are some adjustments to playing in Canada.
"It's not home for me, but the culture is pretty much the same," he said.
On the ice, things are different, too.
"It's a more physical league and smaller ice. You have to think faster and be smarter," he said.
Gronvaldt, who is taking some on-line courses, is expecting a visit from his family before the season is over. They visited him in Barrie for two weeks near Christmas, but have yet to see him in St. Catharines.
The IceDogs (14-26-2-3) play host to Mississauga (31-8-4-3) Thursday at 7:30 p.m. They hit the road for games Friday in Sarnia and Sunday in Windsor.

three dog night
01-21-2010, 02:50 PM
one game i saw him play live looked good stong skater