John-Michael Liles’ Fan Shootout answers

How can I get a good, fast slap shot?
– AJ Andersen, Blue Bell, Pa.

Use the whip of your stick. From a guy who’s probably not as strong as lot of other NHLers, I try to hit the ice before I hit the puck.

Which Colorado veteran has helped your game the most?
– Brad Johns, Montreal

When I was a rookie, Joe Sakic was my roommate and he showed me the ins and outs of being a professional. He taught me how to wake up early in certain time zones so you always feel like you’re playing at the same hour and how to eat right. And Rob Blake was my defense partner that year, so I had two of the best.

As part of a younger generation of American skaters, where did your love of hockey start; on the ice or on the streets?
– Naveed Sarmast, Dallas

On the ice. Growing up in Indiana, there wasn’t a ton of rinks, but hockey is something I’ve been into since I started skating. I played road hockey, but only when I couldn’t get on the ice.

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What was the best part about playing in the Olympics?
– Zachary Ellenthal, Wilton, Conn.

Representing your country and putting on that jersey is a tremendous honor. I had some family there and knowing the rest of them were watching from home was a great thrill.

What advice do you have for a small defenseman trying to make it big?
– Matt Donohue, Burlington, Ont.

Learn the game as best you can – think the game well. Understanding the game will set you apart from others. Of course, if you’ve got the skills, you’ll make it, but learn from experience – that’s what I’ve done.

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