Monday, April 17, 2017

My interview with Stephen Gionta



      Many people don't think of Stephen Gionta as a big hitter. But, he showed in his first season as a New York Islander (2016-17) that he can really lay the lumber. The Rochester, New York native was undrafted. His brother, Brian Gionta captained the Montreal Canadiens, but is currently the captain of the Buffalo Sabres. After 4 years at Boston College, Gionta signed an amateur tryout contract with the Albany River Rats, the AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils (the River Rats soon became the Lowell Devils, before returning to Albany, and are still called the Devils). Eventually, he made the team. He played 5 seasons for the NHL Devils, scoring 50 points (15 goals and 35 assists) in 270 games. When his contract expired, Gionta signed a one year deal with the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and signed with the Islanders early in the 2016-17 season. In that one year there, Gionta scored 6 points (1 goal and 5 assists).
      At his teammate Anders Lee's Kan Jam event, I was able to catch up with Stephen. Here are the questions I asked him.

      Me: "After starting the season in Bridgeport, you were called up. Is it tough to be back in the NHL after playing in the AHL?"
      Gionta: "I broke my leg in training camp. I had to go down to Bridgeport to get back in game shape. They called me up. It's great to be back here."

      M: "What do you think of this event Anders Lee is running?"
      G: "It's great being able to come out, and contribute as best as we can. Any dollar amount that's raised will help some kid with his treatment, and to be able to help out with that is a great feeling."

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