heinnews’s David Hein was once again at the 2010 ice hockey world championship in Germany. He had a chance to chat with U.S. goaltender Scott Clemmensen after the Americans staved off relegation to the second division. They discussed the U.S. coming back with three wins after three first round losses; what it’s like playing at the world championship; the timing of the tournament and his past season with the Florida Panthers in the NHL.
heinnews: Hi Scott, congratulations on taking care of business and avoiding relegation. How does it feel after getting the third win today in penalties against Italy?
Clemmensen: Obviously we are disappointed about not advancing and having a chance to play for a medal. In the end we had to play for pride and the health of the team and the organization to come back. We did get three wins, so we did a good job with that. But there is disappointment with our overall outcome.
heinnews: What did you think about the Italians today?
Clemmensen: They played a very good game. They frustrated us and it was not very easy against them. And we needed to put in our best effort to win in the shootout.
heinnews: And in the shootout, TJ Oshie came through with three scores. What can you say about him?
Clemmensen: He is a very talented player who is very good at shootouts. And he ultimately won the shootout for us.
heinnews: Overall, what do you think about the experience here in Germany?
Clemmensen: It’s a good experience to play here and against these teams. It shows that there are great players in leagues around the world. And it’s good for those leagues to get exposure to playing against players from other leagues.
heinnews: Was there anything that surprised you during the tournament?
Clemmensen: It wasn’t a surprise for me. I knew it was going to be a tough tournament to play. I certainly thought we would have more success. I knew that there were a lot of good players out there. I am more disappointed that we didn’t advance from the first round.
heinnews: There has been quite a bit discussion about the timing of the world championship – especially with 2010 being an Olympic year. What are your thoughts on that issue?
Clemmensen: It’s tough to say. More of the leagues around the world are finished before the NHL’s playoffs are. You could make the argument that it should be held after the Stanley Cup playoffs. But the playoffs run so long that many of the other leagues have been done for two months.
heinnews: And also there would be the problem with the NHL players not in the playoffs, who would have been off for nearly two months as well.
Clemmensen: Yeah, the issue is due to the long NHL season. But I think the timing is fine – especially in regards to the Olympics. Maybe you have more people not coming this year because of the Olympics. But there are three of four years where there are no Olympics.
heinnews: And what do you think about the possibility for nations to bring in later those players who have been eliminated from the NHL players.
Clemmensen: I think that’s a good solution. Teams should be able to field the best players. And if a player wants to play, he should be able to play.
heinnews: Now that you have completed your season, talk a bit about the 2009-10 season for you with the Florida Panthers, who finished in last place in the Southeast with just 32 wins and 77 points – 11 points behind Montreal for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Clemmensen: We had an up and down season, also me as a player. The big disappointment is that we didn’t make the playoffs. That is always the first step for an organization – to make the playoffs. Hopefully we can step things up next season and get to the playoffs. And hopefully I can be part of it. We just have to keep fighting a good fight.
heinnews: What are your plans now that you have vacation?
Clemmensen: Well, we don’t have many days off during the season, so I really want to just get back to the family, who have to give up so much during the season.