Maine Hockey Journal

Q&A with Geoff Peters

I had a chance to catch up with Pirates’ forward Geoff Peters. After missing almost a year due to an injury, he’s back on the ice and ready to go.

Q: So, how do you feel? Is everything starting to come together for you in regard to your physical health?

A: “I feel good. I feel a lot better than I did this time last year when I came back. I feel pain free right now. Right now, this is my training camp. The coaches have been skating me and want to see what I’ve been doing at home, how the rehab has been going. So right now, I’ve missed almost eight or nine month’s worth of hockey and before that, I was playing with pain. It’s nice to get on the ice and be pain free. My New Year’s resolution is to stay healthy. I’ve got to earn the respect of the coaches again and that’s my number one priority here. I love playing for Dino, it’s my third year here and I’m one of only a few guys here two years ago. It’s not what you did you do for me yesterday, but what can you do for me today and tomorrow. That’s where my heads at, so right now I’m trying take it like I’m 20-year-old kid going to my first training camp. That’s how I’m dealing with it. Physically, I feel fine. It’s more of the mental game now. Like everyday, I go on the ice I’ve got to be ready to participate at a hundred percent. Hopefully, between now and when I step on the ice for a game, there’s no set backs.”

Q: You speak about this being a mental game. Was this your lowest moment, did you feel any sort of depression?

A: “Oh yeah, that’s when I’d go see a doctor and he’d say four-to-six months and I’d start to say to myself, maybe I’ll never get back to playing at that level again. Maybe, this isn’t going to work, but that was only for a second and then you’d say to yourself. I’ve got a lot of will. I’ve been knock down before. I’ve have had surgery before. I’m 29, but I also feel like if you just get rid of this injury I feel like I’m 22 or 23. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life and I’ve kept myself in great shape and that’s the difference between last year coming back and this year. I feel like I could step into a game and play well as oppose to taking that five to 10 games to get back, get comfortable and deal with that. I feel like now I’ve got to be ready to go when called upon. There are no excuses. This is it. This is my third surgery in a year, so I’ve got to be ready.”

Q: What was the actual injury; it’s been described as a sports hernia?

A: “No, it wasn’t. See that’s what it was described as last year and I had the sports hernia surgery and I came back, but I still had pain in the groin. So, I came back and played til the middle of March and I then I just couldn’t deal with the pain anymore. I decide to go back and see the surgeon, who did the surgery, he said rest, so I rested. Anaheim asked how it felt over the summer and I said it was still sore so I went to see the doctor in Philly, had a full MRI, CT scan, full everything. They found two tears in my hip and some inflammation in my groin so I had a surgery this summer in August on my groin and a surgery on my hip, called a debridement, which they clear out all the inflammation and stuff like that. I feel loose, I feel like I was two years ago.”

Q: Do you know when this happened? Was it one game or just due to the style of game you play?

A: “You know what; I can’t tell you what it was because it wasn’t like I was skating on the ice and felt a pop. I can tell you that in 2006 in Anaheim at training camp, I was tight in my hip and I pushed through it and didn’t say anything, kept playing and the next thing you know, my groin is killing me and then it went up into my stomach area. That’s really all I can say. It wasn’t a specific injury. It wasn’t a specific time. It was just an overall period of time where it developed. It just got to be where I couldn’t skate anymore without chronic groin pain.”

Q: How has your brother (Andrew Peters of the Buffalo Sabres) helped you through this?

A: “He’s been there. We’re best friends. I did my rehab in Buffalo, I’d see him everyday, and he would basically give me his ear. He was someone I could talk too when I need it and someone who would push me when I was slacking rehab wise a little bit. He knows you go through the ups and downs and there are days that are better then others and he would give me that shot in the arm or he sit there and talk to me and he’s say, get this done with and then you’ll be back playing.”

Q: This is the last season of your contract with Anaheim. Do you feel that it’s important to play well the final half of the season?

A: “To me, it’s not about that. I don’t care what happens or where I am. I don’t care anything about that. That doesn’t matter to me. It’s about what’s in my head and I haven’t felt better in two years. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says, no matter what happens to me this going to be a situation where I come back and come back as strong as I can because I’ve learned so much throughout this about how to keep myself physically and mentally fit. I’ve learned a lot. Not too many people have three surgeries in the same area in year and a bit, so this has taught me a lot. Just the preparation to come back, it’s been the most important thing. The diet and the weight training, the will to want to come back and I think I’ve followed the guidelines pretty closely.”

Q: Has Anaheim been fair with you?

A: “They’ve been good. I’ve dealt with (Pirates’ Athletic Trainer) Rick (Burrill) all year. The doctors that I had the surgery with and Rick have been in close contact, and the guy who I did the rehab with Walter Brown, back in Buffalo, spoke (to Rick) pretty much on a regular basis. I think everything is in order and it just a matter of time before I can play, hopefully that’s sooner than later.”

Q: So you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

A: “I’m so close, just skating a couple days on the ice and that was my biggest fear driving here. I left Buffalo at 1pm on Friday and I know I’m skating (the next day). I just want to hope I look good to (the coaching staff). I’ve been skating with the university team back in Buffalo at Niagara University, and the first thing that crossed your mind is maybe I’m not gonna have it. Maybe I’m just going to get out there and it going to be like last year when I came back. I’m gonna have a little bit of pain, maybe I’m not going to be in as good of shape as I thought I was, but honestly, I can tell you that I felt light, I felt great and those two practices they put me through were pretty intense. It was a lot of skating and other then a little bit of stiffness there’s not that same pain. I’m pretty excited about that.”

Q: Have you had much contact in practice?

A: “No contract yet, but I don’t think it’s the contact that’s going to bother me. I think it’s the constant skating over and over. The constant grind of the night in and night out hard skating, I’m a skater, that’s my role. I’m suppose to get up and down the ice in a hurry. It was never a hit that got me in this position. It was just the wear and tear. I feel like I’m right there with these guys. That’s the best I’ve felt (health wise) since Hershey in 2006 when we lost in game seven, that been a long time.”

Q: It’s a whole new group from the last time you played. How do you feel you’ll adapt to the new team?

A: “For some reason, I feel that’s better for me because I feel like nobody knows what I’m about. There are a few guys from last year, but nobody knows what I’m about. So, when I come back here I’m almost excited to show them, like holy (crap), this guy’s been off the ice for so long and he looks so good. I’m anxious to get back, anxious to show these guys and leave a whole new impression. It makes you want to work that much harder; it makes you want to go as hard as you can everyday because it’s all about impressions because you have to fit into a line up at some point.”

Q: The roster is pretty tight right now. If the Pirates/Ducks assigned you to Augusta, would you be against that?

A: “It’s something that’s been mentioned. I’ve been there (in that situation) and I’ve dealt with that. You have to do what you have to do as a professional and you have to be professional about it, so if that’s something they feel they need to do with me, then that’s something I’ll think about seriously. But, then again, if I go there it’s just for a short stint and I can show I can play pain free. I’m not going to take it as a kick in the butt. I’ve got to make sure that I’m pain free. I think that’s the most important thing is to stay pain free and be able at this level consistent everyday.”

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