Henrik Skoglund, of the excellent site HockeySverige.se, spoke to Jacob de la Rose before the game against the Calgary Flames. Jacob gave some interesting and honest answers in regards to his struggles at start of the season, the time with St John’s in the AHL, his call-up, and his future with the Montreal Canadiens.
On how much of a concern recent injuries were in his preparation for the 2016-17 season:
"It wasn’t something I thought that much about. I have just given it my all. I have tried to do the best of the situation and not thought about old things like that. My focus was fully on the new season.
"I didn’t start the season in a good way and I really don’t know why. I don’t have any excuses; I just wasn’t good enough. Then, at the beginning of December, I found my stride and the points started to come. I think I have played quite well through the whole of December, and now in January I got the call-up. I play with better confidence, and I really feel positive with all things hockey."
Regarding the injury that forced him to miss a few games for the St. John’s IceCaps:
"Yes I broke my finger and I was sidelined for four games, but that doesn’t bother me at all anymore."
Speaking about his offensive totals with St. John’s:
"First and foremost, it’s not easy to score in the AHL, you have to remember that. If you don’t perform at a good level and the points don’t come ticking in, then you might become a bit stressed about it. But now I feel that I have played well and I have created chances, and when that’s the case I have learned that the points will come sooner or later. You have to be patient at times like that."
What does the organisation say regarding his offensive production?
"They don’t say much, but my role isn’t to score loads of points; it’s not my role within the team. For most games in St John’s, I have averaged over 20 minutes of time on ice, and taken all important faceoffs. In the beginning I did a lot of penalty killing, but now I am getting power-play time, too, when it started to go my way. Now I have scored a few points on the power play, too.
"I am aware of what kind of player I am and the role I have within the team. so I don’t pay much attention to all the other stuff. That’s for journalists to do."
On his current stint with the Montreal Canadiens:
"I think it has been going well for me, personally, and the club is happy with my performance. When they called me up it was because they had the role for me that they want me to have: a penalty killer and a bit of size for the fourth line.
"It’s a role that suits me perfectly, and I have taken to that role, too. I have felt good during the games, and I have had a few chances to score.”
Are 10 minutes of playing time enough to satisfy the desire to play in the NHL?
"Yes. When you are on the fourth line that’s the amount of time you get; it is difficult to get any more. The minutes I have gotten have been good, at least from my point of view. We will get to see how it goes [Tuesday night] when I play centre.
"It will be the first time this season that I play centre in the NHL, but it is something I have done in the AHL. There will be some differences, but I think I should be able to manage it without any problems."
(De la Rose finished the game versus the Calgary Flames with a +1 goal differential and was 3-for-8 in faceoffs.)
Are there any signs that he’ll be staying up with the Canadiens?
"That’s a conversation we haven’t had, for me it’s all about playing my heart out every day."
About his entry-level contract coming to an end at the completion of this season (something we looked at a bit earlier):
"The only thing I can do to force a decision is to play as good as I possibly can, and that’s where my focus is."