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Bryhnisveen: "Coventry has been very good to me"

Southam Agricultural Services sponsored Norwegian defenceman Nicolai Bryhnisveen has made a strong start to his Genting Casino Coventry Blaze career, registering a total of 8 points in the 12 total games played so far, whilst regularly keeping opponents' best players off the score-sheet.

Following a split-weekend against the Manchester Storm, which saw the 26-year-old make the 5-3 home win secure with a trademark slap-shot, he caught up with Adam Partoon to discuss how things are going in Coventry and help us find out a bit more about the popular number 33.

AP: Thanks for giving up your time to speak to us Nico. We'll start off the ice and speak about something you've attracted a lot of attention for - your fantasy football skills! Your team is second in the Blaze league with over 200 players, you must be pleased so far?  

NB: I was doing quite well at the beginning but I have had a bad few rounds, so it's not looking quite as good as it was. It's going ok though!

AP: The Blaze have offered a team signed football as a prize for the team on top at the end of the hockey season, you might end up presenting it to yourself?!

NB: There are a lot of teams playing so that’s cool. I'm hoping my team Coventry Vikings get back to the top, but I don't really mind about winning. I mean, it kills time, and it's fun watching games when you have some of your players playing. It's more of a past time for me.

AP: Talking of killing time, in between training and games, how do you fill your time?

NB: Really as much as everyone else does – watch TV and movies, and shows. Play a lot of Playstation. I study Law from back home and also hockey techniques. But yeah, Playstation and schooling – that’s about it.

AP: So, tell us more about your studying? You study Law?

NB: Yeah, so I study Law from back home – but it's something to do, fills up a little time and will hopefully help me later in life.

AP: Whilst this is the first time you have played in the UK, have you visited the UK before?

NB: I’ve been to London once on vacation, and then to Dublin a couple of times to play golf. Whilst I am here, I am trying to get out more on our off time and go to some other cities.  

AP: Overall, how would you say Coventry is treating you?

NB: Coventry has been very, very good to me. Part of the job means we are hanging out a lot, especially when you aren’t playing, you are tired, so it's just hanging out and chilling with the guys. So when we do go out it's been great, really enjoying my time here. So far so good!

AP: You've grabbed a couple of goals in recent weeks against Manchester and Belfast using your big shot from the blue-line, is this something you particularly focus on?

NB: I’m not as great as some other guys in offensive possession of the puck, so my bread and butter at that end of the ice is to shoot the puck. It's something I work on in practice. My shot has always been what I work with to get the puck on net. Hopefully I'll keep getting some pucks in there, you know, doing what I can.

AP: Have you ever had your shot speed measured?!

NB: Ha! Need to get the cops down there with a radar gun! No, I have never even thought about it! With people trying to block shots, it's got to hit the net so I think it's more about accuracy than speed to be honest.  

AP: What differences have you found in the UK league coming from the Czech Extraliga and before that the Scandinavian leagues?

NB: Well it is a little different style of play, I think here it is a little bit more back and forth, quite North American and Canadian style. Other than that, its similar everywhere now. There is a lot of ice out in Scandanavia, so everyone skates very well.  

AP: Your signing announcement was one of the many excellent announcements by the Blaze team this year, how did you come about announcing your own through the Twitter account? How did that feel?

NB: It was Craig from the media team who messaged me and asked if I wanted to do it, and it sounded like a great idea, so I said yes! It was a different experience. The team are very creative with all the signing stuff – very popular stuff.  

AP: Talking of your signing Twitter take over, you were asked during this how you were preparing for the league and you said you were putting in the work over summer to be ready for pre-season – what was your summer prep?

NB: The normal stuff, concentrating on your physical stuff, running, upper strength. Mainly conditioning and strength. Just prepping yourself for a long season. Just got to put in the work over the summer, so your body can hold out over a long season. I have my routine that I do. But of course, I rest and have a good time as well.

AP: On signing, you said you rely on your skating and hockey sense more than physical play in the defensive zone, but noticeably, you certainly don't shy away from that side. Has the UK game meant you've had to play that way more?

NB: I have never really been a big hitter, I just don’t have the size. I just get on running around chasing the puck! The rinks are a lot smaller here than across Europe, so for that reason I have been playing a lot more physical than I would usually. There are a lot more battles in the corners which I am involved in. I just try and get out there and play my best. Sometimes its hitting hard and sometimes making the play. I just try and do a little bit of everything.

AP: Speaking of physical, how it playing with Justin Hache, you seem to make a good pairing?

NB: Yeah, he is great. Very physical. Playing with a good guy like that certainly helps! We have a good status quo I think.

AP: The team has had some excellent wins at the Skydome, but seem to be finding it hard to get the win on the road. What do you think is the missing key?

NB: I don’t think we have been playing bad on the road at all, it’s just the lack of scoring ability. Such as when we played Nottingham, it was maybe as good as we have played all season, in one of the hardest rinks in the league. I just think it might be a bit of a confidence thing, we are a lot more relaxed at home. I think we need to just do what we keep doing, I am not too worried about it really. I think it's just a matter of sticking with it.

AP: You mention when you are at home that you feel relaxed. Obviously you are familiar with the surroundings, and I assume the fans help too?

NB: We get a good following at home. It's a good rink with a good atmosphere, and I think all the guys agree. It makes it easier for you – sure. When you play in front of your own fans, it is good, we love it. Though as you say, we need to find a way to win on the road.

AP: Danny (Stewart) mentioned post-game Sunday that you would be doing a lot of “video” [training] this week. Talk us through how that training goes? Presumably, very beneficial?

NB: So yeah, we were given 2 days off. I think the boys needed that. It was a bad weekend for us I think, maybe the worst we have played so far, even though we had the win on Sunday. We have looked at video to see what we did well and not so well, and we will get it sorted before then. I think Sunday was a decent game, but we still have some space to improve. We have a big weekend coming so want to be fully prepared.