Many were surprised when the Montreal Canadiens took Connor Crisp, then of the Erie Otters, with their third round pick, 71st overall in the 2013 NHL draft. It seemed a bit of an off-the-board or under-the-radar pick at the time. However, Crisp is showing this year why the team had faith in him as the power forward is having a very good season for the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL. He has already set career highs in goals with 24, assists with 22, and points with 46 this season. He’s been particularly hot of late with 31 points in his last 31 games. Listed at 6’4″ and 225 lbs, he also brings some much needed size to a Montreal organization that is often criticized by analysts and fans for not being big enough.
While Crisp didn’t score any points in the game, I was impressed with his play. He has continued to improve his skating, and shows some decent speed and a good stride. He also is very strong on his skates, and shows good balance, this can really help him when he goes hard to the net, which he seems to do often. He is also very strong in winning pucks along the boards. He was smart with the puck in the neutral zone, and seemed to either gain the line himself, or make a smart pass to a teammate in good position to gain the Mississauga line. Crisp also managed to get himself open for a one timer opportunity on a couple of occasions.
I caught up with Crisp on Monday after the Wolves 4-1 victory over the Mississauga Steelheads at the Hershey Centre. The win clinched a playoff spot for the Wolves, as they sit in second in the OHL’s Eastern Conference. It was also a possible playoff preview, as the Steelheads are currently holding down the number seven seed. Luckily, Crisp was available to answer a few questions for LWOS before he had to get back on the bus for the long drive from Mississauga to Sudbury.
LWOS: Connor, you won today’s game 4-1 and have handled the Mississauga Steelheads all season taking 10 of 12 possible points, what are the keys to the Wolves’ success against Mississauga?
Connor Crisp: “We need to get the puck down low, and crash and bang. We keep it simple and work to get pucks on net. This is the key to playing our game every time we get on the ice, no matter who we play.”
LWOS: You didn’t find the scoresheet today, but you have personally had a lot of success with four goals in six games against Mississauga, is there anything you do individually that brings you success against this club?
Connor Crisp: “Like I said, crashing and banging. I get ninety-percent of my goals in the crease area. Dirty goals are the way they come for me, and thats they way they need to keep coming, if the team is going to keep having success.”
LWOS: You joined Sudbury after a big pre-season trade that saw you leave the Erie Otters. How did you adjust to joining a new team for your last year in the OHL, and after training camp was well under-way, and how was the transition from Erie?
Connor Crisp: “It went as well as it possibly could have went. We have a great bunch of guys in the change room, and great staff. They made me feel welcome right away. (My linemates and I) meshed right away as well. At the start of the season we weren’t as good as we thought we were going to be, and we struggled a bit, but as the season went on we started to build chemistry, and build off that.”
LWOS: We can see that the Wolves have become a good team and had a real strong season. You currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference, and with today’s win you have officially clinched a playoff spot. What do you have to do down the stretch to be ready for the OHL Playoffs?
Connor Crisp: We have to be sure to take care of our bodies before and after games, and on our days off. Focusing on taking care of the bumps and bruises and being as close to 100% as possible heading into the playoff run is huge right now.
LWOS: Lastly many of your fans have heard the story of you going in net two years ago in Erie. Any chance you strap on the pads again?
Connor Crisp: (laughs), That’s highly unlikely.
We’d like to thank Connor for taking the time to talk to us at last word. Obviously the Wolves were anxious to get back on the bus for the long trips back home to Sudbury. You can follow Connor on twitter, (@Connorcrispp) and keep up with the Wolves as they march towards the OHL playoffs at sudburywolves.com.
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