2009 Pittsburgh Penguins draft picks: Q&A with Ben Hanowski (with audio)

The Pittsburgh Penguins picked Ban Hanowski with their second third round pick, 63rd overall, in the 2009 NHL Draft.  Here's a transcript of the Q&A session after the jump (or you can listen with this link).  Keep checking back throughout the day as I add Q&A sessions with other draft picks and members of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Check back around 11:30/45ish for another installment.

Lot of years of work and it's finally a great day and you're going to remember this for the rest of your life.  It's pretty exciting.  It's kinda hard to describe what's going through my mind right now.

Hey Ben, John Shipley of the St. Paul Paper.  Yesterday, did you have a sense that you were probably not going to go early?

Yeah I mean.  You kinda get a feeling obviously, looking down the board there's still a lot of forwards that are left that are probably higher than you so, coming into it I just wasn't getting set on like, "OK, if I dont' get taken in the first round..."  A lot of things happen.  There's trades and other guys fall and other teams pick up so I was just waiting for it to happen and excited wherever I got picked by. 

Now are you the leading scorer for Minnesota?

Yeah, for all time.

Are you the only kid from Little Falls in the draft?

Yeah I'm the first one.  We got a couple guys, Jared Festler is from Little Falls, played for St. Cloud State.  He's got a chance in the later rounds but yeah, other than that I'm the first guy.

What do you think this means for you and your family and maybe the town?

I think it's big for the town.  Ya know, the last five or six years it's been really a hot bed for hockey players.  We've had three Division I guys the last three years so I just think it's big for the town to keep hockey going, keep excitement going.  Kids dreaming about being maybe where I am someday so I think it's just good for the town and the community.

What are you going to do next?

I'm going to St. Cloud State to play college develop there and kinda just get ready for the move then up to the Big Show hopefully.

Do you feel like if you had played at a larger school, other than Class A, do you think you would've been more well known?

I think the NHL knows pretty much every guy.  They've got scouts everywhere so I don't think so.  Maybe, you never know.  But it doesn't really matter to me now.  I'm with a great organization and that's all you can ask for nothing I can do about it.

That's exciting to be picked by the champs...

Yeah definitely.  It's obviously going to be getting hard to get into the lineup some day.  It's exciting.  Great organization, great city.  Just a sports city.  Couldn't ask for anything better.

What do you need to do in college?

Well actually, this summer I just need to get a little bit stronger.  Get a little bit quicker.  Quicker feet.  A big guy like me, gotta get the feed up to top speed a little bit quicker.  Just kinda work on everything.  You could never be too fast or too strong so just really kinda get used to playing in the WCHA and just get stronger and better.

Is skill your game?  Are you a crasher?

I think I'm more of a skill guy.  Good around the net, a little bit of both power/skill guy kinda mixed together.  I'm not the guy out there banging everybody but more of a skill guy thing.

Who did you talk to with the Penguins scouts?

Chuck Grillo is one of the upperend scouts and I've known him for three or four years now.  And then the director of their amateur scouting I talked to him before and talked to them at the combine and had a pretty good feeling, ya know?  They don't really tell you how you do at the combine but you kinda get a feel if they like you and how you did and stuff like that.  Definitely felt like I had a good connection with Pittsburgh.

You had a good feeling that if it got to this area it would be with Pittsburgh?

Yeah definitely.  You get a couple of teams where you can see yourself going there.  I had a good interview with them, felt they liked me so Pittsburgh was definitely one of them.

(Question regarding cracking the lineup of centers in Pittsburgh)

If you're on a line you're going to be playing with somebody good.  Malkin, Crosby or Staal.  You get on the top three lines as someone in the middle that's pretty darn good.

Is it weird to be watching them a couple of weeks ago playing in the final and now you're wearing their jersey today?

Yeah definitely.  I have a Malkin jersey at home...

So he's someone you wanna play with?

Yeah definitely.  It doesn't matter I mean, you're playing his jersey during the playoffs and then all of a sudden you're wearing the sweater he's wearing so it's a pretty cool thing.

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