New York Rangers young phenom Jimmy Vesey caught up with Jake Weingarten of ESNY to discuss hockey and life in the Big Apple.What a long off-season it was for New York Rangers phenom Jimmy Vesey. After parting ways with Nashville and Buffalo, the Boston product was one serious fish in the hockey sea.
He drew interest from more than 10 different teams, but, much to the dismay of the rest of the hockey world (especially the Bruins), he chose the Blueshirts.
I caught up with Vesey and spoke to him about life wearing the blue sweater, his long off-season, and playing in the Big Apple.
Jake Weingarten: What is it like to finally be playing in the NHL after such a long wait?
Jimmy Vesey: It was kind of like a long time coming for me. I went through four years of school, and then free agency this summer, but the first game was kinda everything that I had worked for my whole life, and to do it at MSG and get a win against the Islanders at home, it was just unbelievable.
JW: What’s it like to be playing on an Original Six team like the Rangers?
JV: Putting on the jersey, you’re playing for a lot more than yourself, and there’s so many people that played for this team before me and invested a lot into the organization and the team. It’s the 90th season this year, and we have the patch on our jersey, so it’s pretty cool to be a part of history so to speak. It’s just an honor to wear the Rangers crest.
JW: What did it feel like scoring your first NHL goal?
JV: Probably the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. Definitely, a little bit of relief, because sometimes it takes people a while to get the first one, so I’m lucky that I was able to do it in the third game. I was just ecstatic.
Jimmy Vesey, his first NHL goal. The first of many. Zuccarello made the play. 5-3 #NYR lead. #NYRangers pic.twitter.com/XnZBAhW3XH
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) October 18, 2016
JW: What’s life in the NHL like now that college is behind you (Harvard)?
JV: It’s definitely different. My whole day is hockey now when I come to the rink, whereas in school the first half of my day was academics, and then I went to the rink and I had to kinda split my time between the two. But now it’s all hockey, and I can really focus on playing and getting better. And also no more bus rides. There are no charter flights in college.
JW: Thoughts on playing with Kevin Hayes?
JV: It’s been awesome. Anytime you have a friend on the team, it makes it a little easier, and for me as a rookie, coming to a new team, having him has been unbelievable.
JW: What’s the chemistry like with your linemates?
JV: I started off with Step (Derek Stepan) and Zuc (Mats Zuccarello), and now I’m with Step and Nasher (Rick Nash). I think we’ve been getting better every game. Those guys have played a lot more games than me so they’re always teaching me and communicating with me, so it’s been easy for me.
JW: A player you would compare yourself to.
JV: I’ll go with Rick Nash.
JW: A player you idolize.
JV: Joe Thornton. I grew up in Boston, he was the captain of the team, and I was a big Bruins fan, and he wore No. 19 and I actually wore 19 for a long time before this year.
JW: Thoughts on Alain Vigneault.
JV: He’s been really great for me as a rookie, putting me in all situations, and communicates well with me, and lets you know what I have to do every night.
JW: What’s it like to play at MSG?
JV: It’s a great environment for hockey. It’s always packed and really loud, and I think our goal song is one of the best in the league, so it’s pretty amazing when we score a goal.
JW: Thoughts on NY Rangers fans?
JV: Extremely loyal, passionate and loud. And, definitely, don’t like to lose.