The 2008 entry draft was filled with trades and re-positioning in the first round and the Canadiens were part of it. For the first time since 99′, Montreal didn’t have a first round pick after trading it and a second rounder in 09′ for Alex Tanguay.
However, with their first pick in the draft, 56th overall, Trevor Timmins selected Danny Kristo from the USNDTP.
While playing with the U-18’s last season Kristo finished in the top 5 on the team in points (38), second on the team in goals (21), and second on the team in game winning goals (5) to go along with his 17 assists, in 55 games played.
Danny helped team USA place first at the 2008 U-18 Five Nations tournament where he compiled four points in four games (two goals, two assists). He also had a strong performance at the 2008 IIHF World U-18 Championships with Team USA winning the bronze medal over Sweden (finishing in the top five on the team in scoring with six points; three goals, and three assists).
Danny recently took some time out of a busy off-season schedule for an interview here at HabsWorld, where the fans got to ask most of the questions via a write in opportunity.
HW: After the draft, you said that you thought Montreal might select you in the draft, what gave you that impression?
Kristo: I don’t know really, they never said they were going to take me or anything like that. Just after the interview I felt it went really well for both sides and I just figured that they liked me enough to possibly draft me.
HW: The Canadiens interview group has been know to throw some tough or odd questions out to players before, were there any tough/odd questions during the interview?
Kristo: No, it was quite easy for me. There wasn’t anything off the wall. Just a normal interview that went well.
HW: What’s your greatest hockey memory?
Kristo: It would be this year I think; winning the bronze medal in Russia versus Sweden. I had a great time and it was very rewarding to place third in such a tough international competition.(scoring a goal and assist in the process)
HW: You played on the US under 18 squad, what did you learn?
Kristo: A lot about team chemistry. The coaching staff was preaching teamwork throughout the year, and even though you hear it all through the hockey ranks, when you actually come together as a team it really improves the overall chemistry and the end result (Bronze medal)
HW: In your mind, what’s your biggest asset?
Kristo: I’d have to say, my foot speed and skating are my strengths right now.
HW: You said at the draft that you liked Rocket Richard growing up, any reason why?
Kristo: It’s hard to like a player based on old footage, but I loved the way he played back then. You could tell he was a unique player out there (on the ice), even in the grainy game films.
HW: What NHL player do you pattern your game after or try to play like, why?
Kristo: People tend to compare me to Mike Fischer, but I try to play like
Mike Richards. He’s has a good work ethic, he’s a great two way player, plays the PK, and led his team in scoring. That’s the player I want to be.
HW: What is the significance of your jersey number?
Kristo: It really doesn’t mean anything. There is no real reason I wear number 8.
HW: In your opinion, what do you think you need to work on to take your game to the NHL level?
Kristo: Probably my strength and being able to move the puck quicker/ make quicker decisions.
HW: Who do you most look forward to having an opportunity to playing with on the Canadiens?
Kristo: I’m a few years away, so Sergei Kostitsyn probably.
HW: Have you ever played against him (S.Kostitsyn) in International competitions?
Kristo: No but he is a fast skater and great playmaker so I think it would be fun to play with him.
HW: What goals have you set for yourself in 08/09?
Kristo: Pretty basic really. I want to make the world juniors, and improve my consistency. Being in the top 5 scorers would be one as well.
HW: How was your camp experience and who did you connect with the most?
Kristo: It was interesting learning what it takes to be a pro, individual development, drills and training methods. As far as connecting with another guy, there wasn’t anyone specifically, they are all good guys.
HW: Were you told to work on any part of your game by the Canadiens staff?
Kristo: Not really anything on the ice. It was mostly off ice stuff. Things like my strength training and if I had a workout routine already.
HW: What surprised you the most about the Canadiens development camp ?
Kristo: The biggest surprise was the number fans, it was amazing and unexpected. It blew me away.
HW: Have you met any of the Habs players yet?
Kristo: No not yet, but I’m sure that time will come.
HW: Who was that hardest player to play against at the Development camp.
Kristo: Max Pacioretty. He’s big and strong, hard to play against on the boards. He has great hockey sense too.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Kristo: when I’m not training or working out, I enjoy playing golf,
hanging out with friends.
What is your favorite Music group?
Kristo: The Goo Goo Dolls
What is your favorite movie?
Kristo: Friday Night Lights
What is your favorite food?
Kristo: Kind of weird, but Waffles (laughs)
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Kristo: When people touch my food or stick their fingers in it.
What do your teammates tease you about the most?
Kristo: Talking too much, going on and on. (Laughing)
Do you have a nickname?
Kristo: None really…there are a few I guess, but nothing regular and nothing seems to stick.
What was your first hockey related Christmas present?
Kristo: Hockey Skates. I was really young when I got them before I was 3 I think.
Are you superstitious, or do you have any pregame rituals?
Kristo: I have a few. One is, after pre-game warm up (off ice) I take a shower before I get dressed into my equipment for the game. Another one I do is I take my stick and find a seat in the arena with a number 8 in it (his jersey number) sit there and tape my sticks up before the game. I just started doing that this season.
Who is your best friend in hockey?
Kristo: Jordan Schroeder…. We played hockey together throughout my youth as well as the USA under 18 program last year.
If you didn’t play hockey, what would be your dream job?
Kristo: Likely an NHL announcer.
Who was your favorite NHL team growing up?
Kristo: If I had to pick, it would be Philly I guess, but really it
differed because I followed certain players and always cheered for those guys more then I did for a specific team.