Five Questions With … Johnny Oduya

Johnny Oduya was one of three Thrashers to play every game this season. He finished with two goals and 15 assists and was a minus-15. Both goals came against the Islanders on Dec. 11.

Oduya, who started the season as an alternate captain, will become an unrestricted free agent after next season.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Oduya had to say about his season and what he will work on for next year.

Q. Overall, what are your thoughts about the season?

A. I think there was some improvement. We are still a younger group learning how to play together. Every experience is going to be vital for next year. We wanted to make the playoffs. It’s the most exciting and fun part of the game to play playoff hockey. That’s obviously something we are going to push for next year.

Q. How about personally? How would you say your year went?

A. I guess it was OK. I always think I can do better. I will take this with me and go back in the summer time, work hard and come back in good shape and be prepared for next year.

Q. How big of an adjustment was it with coach Craig Ramsay’s system?

A. It wasn’t that bad, actually. I think it is a good system. We use the capacity we have speed wise, skating wise. For sure, we are going to keep working on it and get better. I think it’s going to work.

Q. Defensively the team cut down on the shots against and scoring chances over the second half of the season, even though you weren’t winning. What was they key there and what was the change to get better in your own end?

A. It starts with having the puck. I think we put more pressure on other teams in their end. The defense was a little more aggressive trying to cut plays off. Earlier, maybe we sat back a little more. It’s something that we talked about. I think we are pretty good and will try to get better.

Q. What did Ramsay and the coaching staff tell you to work on in the offseason?

A. There are a bunch of things they want me to do. Overall conditioning. For me, I hit 30 (years old) next year so staying in shape, staying healthy is key. I played all the games this year and I intend to next year as well. The better physical shape you are in prepares you for the year. I like working out. It’s not a problem for me. That would be the biggest thing.

The series concludes this week. Coming Wednesday, Rob Schremp.

13 comments Add your comment

Yuvno Ballzerdik

May 10th, 2011
9:25 am

The obvious question should have been why didn’t the Thrashers trade you?..or how can you grow a beard in 2 periods?

Sam

May 10th, 2011
9:38 am

I don’t know if Oduya was playing hurt this year or not. He may have suffered from lack of a solid, consistent defensive partner. But I think his season was a disappointment. Being minus 15 should have any D-man feeling like crap. It’s not conducive to a winning team, for sure. Something in Johnny’s off-ice performance was lacking, apparently, from the coaches’ instructions. Oduya’s old enough to not have to be told about off-season conditioning. I don’t know…I think Johnny’s a question mark in performance right now. I always thought he was effective in New Jersey. Completing all the games in a season is one thing, but it’s the content of your work in those games that really counts.Will be interesting to see how things shake out for Oduya this summer.

Hockey Biltong

May 10th, 2011
9:57 am

Does make you wonder… -15 sucks but that doesn’t always translate to the total picture…I think coaching has to streamline how the whole defense reponds to the puck in different situations. We always had trouble clearing up ice with a good pass.. not just a dump to relieve pressure…
But shots on goal has to go down, that’s for sure.

Freak-A-Dump

May 10th, 2011
10:32 am

Why are so many commenters on these thrashers blogs claiming evry player who dropped a terd this year was hurt or playing hurt. The thrashers just dont have really great players

Dwayne

May 10th, 2011
1:04 pm

I was hurt….hurt that the Thrashers sucked!!!!

Wayne stuck in AL

May 10th, 2011
1:08 pm

Shocking that Oduya will be 30 next year…also shocking that someone who came from the Jersey Devils forgot how to play defense.

Brendan

May 10th, 2011
1:34 pm

Wayne in AL, that was hilarious. I was thinking the same thing. I would have asked him, “how do you view the Kovalchuk trade, now?”

too many on the ICE

May 10th, 2011
4:56 pm

You bring back this group of players that you had 5 questions with you won’t make the playoffs again next year. Something has to give. Just being honest here.

alex

May 10th, 2011
6:15 pm

going be sleepless night vote in Glendale today. what surprise we going to get tomorrow from Chris? it’s torture.

Darren

May 10th, 2011
7:12 pm

Oduya’s season was a huge disappointment. The Johnny Oduya of 2009-2010 that they needed failed to show up. I won’t go so far as to say that he’s the only reason they missed the playoffs, but his opponents goals for was by far the worst on the team. He really needs to step up his game in order to be worth a damn.

whiney pegboy

May 10th, 2011
8:35 pm

We’ll appreciate Oduya in Canada. We really love our men up here.

Did I mention we love men?

Yuvno Ballzerdik

May 11th, 2011
6:06 am

..how in the ..what the… Canada has the internets?!?!?!?! I never thought I’d see this day..