Patzöld prepared for NHL challenge with San Jose

Originally published in Eishockey News in 2007

By Lucas Aykroyd

When the San Jose Sharks traded Vesa Toskala to Toronto at June’s NHL Draft, it meant a chance for a new goalie to back up starter Evgeni Nabokov. Dimitri Patzöld won the job at this year’s training camp, beating out Thomas Greiss, a fellow former member of the Kölner Haie. Patzöld earned a 3.35 GAA and .888 save percentage last season in 24 games with the AHL’s Worcester Sharks. Eishockey News spoke with the 24-year-old from Kamenogorsk after Nabokov led San Jose to a 3-1 opening-night win over Vancouver at GM Place on October 5.

Eishockey News:
What do you need to do to succeed in the NHL after four years in the minors?

Dimitri Patzöld: I’m pretty glad I made the team this year. My main goal is to meet the goals I set before the season, like reading the play better and working on my focus every day, every practice. The speed is different here than in the AHL, and I’ve got to match that. My ability to skate is good enough to play here. I’ve just got to anticipate a little better.

EH: What was it like to compete for the backup job at training camp with Thomas Greiss?

Patzöld: It was a good, healthy competition. We are pretty good friends. It’s always tough to compete for a job against somebody you really like. We meet up in the summer. I visit him and he visits me. Even during the training camp, off the ice we were always together. The main focus was just to do your best and see what happens.

EH: What’s enabling the Kölner Haie to produce top-quality goalies?

Patzöld: They have a pretty good facility with two rinks, and a strong youth program. They have a good goalie coach in Rupert Meister as well. He helps the young guys a lot with their techniques.

EH: What help did you get from San Jose’s legendary goalie coach Warren Strelow before he died earlier this year?

Patzöld: Warren was simply the best. We still use the same goals he set in our training now, just with Wayne Thomas and Cap Raeder. Last season, he was in Worcester a lot, and he helped me to get more patient and mentally prepared.

EH: With yourself and Nabokov, this is the first time ever an NHL team has used two goalies from Kamenogorsk. Have you gotten much attention from the Kazakh or Russian media?

Patzöld: Yesterday in Edmonton, I did an interview with a Russian sports paper. It’s pretty funny. It doesn’t happen too often like this in the NHL, with two goalies from the same hometown. We are really happy about it. I knew Nabokov already when I was a kid. I think it’s a plus for me because he can help me a lot on the ice.

EH: How many games do you hope to play this year?

Patzöld: I haven’t thought about that. My goal is just to provide good-quality goaltending in the games I get. Digg it Furl iFeedReaders Netscape RawSugar reddit StumbleUpon Yahoo MyWeb YardBarker

Leave a Reply