The past few days at Washington Capitals Development Camp, Free Agent invitee and University of Miami (Ohio) left winger Andy Miele really caught our eye. Centering Anthony Pisano and Eric Alexander, Miele was speedy, had great hands and seemed eager to learn and advance his game this week. Andy Green and I had the chance to sit down the Chicago Steel’s all-time leading goal scorer, and ask him a couple of questions about the Caps organization, his senior year as a Red Hawk, and his plans for the future.
RtR: First off, we couldn’t help but notice that your minor is in Coaching? Is that a part of your plan for the future?
Andy Miele: Yeah, after hockey. I want to work hard and see how far I can go in hockey, and play as long as I can obviously. But after that, I’d like to do some kind of coaching – I don’t know what level though.
RtR: So, a quick recap: born in Michigan, played a little bit in Chicago, and now at Miami of Ohio. Are you enjoying your time there?
AM: Yeah! I’m having a great time there. I started out in Cedar Rapids and got traded to Chicago and then I went to Miami three years ago when I got there halfway through the year- I started during the second semester. They have a great coaching staff there, so I’ve had a great time. Developing a lot, so I’m excited to see what comes of it.
RtR: What excites you most about the Capitals’ organization?
AM: You know, it seems like it’s a very close knit group of people. Everyone’s real nice, when they introduce themselves they talk to you and they all get along with you. Even the coaching staff, you feel like you meet them and every one is very helpful talking with you, and joking around. It’s been a great experience.
RtR: Who are you most excited to meet from the Capitals roster?
AM: [laughs] You know, I’ve heard a lot of stories about Ovechkin, so it’d be fun to sit down with him and see what kind of stories he has.
RtR: What aspect of your game do you feel you most need to work on during this week at Development Camp?
AM: I’d have to say shooting the puck. I do a lot of passing and I give up a lot of shots that I should probably take. So I’d say shooting. Being a little guy, you have to be a goal scorer. Hopefully put a lot of pucks in the back of the net this week.
RtR: Do you feel camp is going pretty well for you so far?
AM: Yeah! I haven’t been on the ice too much, but I’m getting used to it now – getting back in shape and everything. And as this week goes along, it will be better.
RtR: How did you stay in shape during the off season?
AM: Well we were down at school for six weeks, and we didn’t have any ice until the last two weeks and we could only go on it twice a week. So we just trained and I did a lot of running. I’m also in a summer league back at home, so I was able to hit the ice a couple times at least.
RtR: This isn’t your first time in DC. You played in the Frozen Four last year, how was that?
AM: I was! It was a great experience, a real fun time, but we didn’t get the outcome we were hoping for. It was a big time dissapointment, but it was a great experience and it meant a lot to me.
RtR: Do you think you’ll have a chance to get back there this year?
AM: Oh, absolutely! We lost our leading scorer and our Captain, but we’re returning our entire defensive core and both goalies, so we should have a real good team this year.
RtR: What can you expect your role to be on the team this year?
AM: Pretty much the same as its been. I got a little bit bigger role this year, since I’m wearing a letter [Ed. Note: Miele was just awarded the Alternate Captain role for the team]. Leadership is a big part. I want to make plays, score goals, and work well with the team.
RtR: Special teams?
AM: Oh, absolutely. Power play definitely, and I played penalty kill quite a bit last year so I’m sure I’ll be back there.
RtR: How about blocking shots? You seemed to really step up that part of your game last season finishing with a total of 34.
AM: Yeah, I put my body in front of the puck a lot more this year than normal. So I’ll have to keep going with that. They expect that a lot in college hockey, especially our coaches. They’re really high on blocking shots, or else you wont be on the penalty kill.
RtR: Can you expect to play number 1 center?
AM: I don’t know yet. They’re either going to have me play winger with Carter Camper‘s line or get me back to center, so we will see.
RtR: What are your goals for this season? Not only with the Capitals organization, but also at Miami?
AM: Absolutely to put up more goals this year. Little guys have to score a lot of goals to get that recognition. I put up 15 last year, I’d like to get 20-25 this year, and lead the team to a National Championship.
RtR: You’ve talked several times about being a goal scorer. Which NHL player do you most model your game after?
AM: That’s kind of hard to say. I love watching Pavel Datsyuk, but I grew up in Detroit. He’s an unbelievable player to watch. He’s not the biggest goal scorer, but he scores goals and makes plays. He’s a very defensive player.
RtR: Great! We appreciate your time, and good luck this week. Thank you very much. We hope you enjoy your time in DC!