|Defenseman Alex Petrovic skated in six games with the Panthers in his first professional season (Getty Images)|
Hot off the grill, top chef Alexander Petrovic takes after his dad in the sense that they both like to cook. Petrovic took on a huge role in cooking for himself and his roommate Quinton Howden this past season, especially when the duo were in San Antonio in their first professional seasons. Although his favorite meal is his dad’s stuffed green peppers, you can always find Petrovic in the kitchen as head chef, when he is not on the ice.
One of Petrovic’s goals this year was to put on about five to 10 pounds for the season, and with him in the kitchen cooking his own meals, that should be no problem.
“For me, its just [about] strength, getting bigger and putting on those five-10 pounds,” said Petrovic. “You don’t just want to put on weight and not get stronger or faster. You certainly don’t want to get slower either.”
Coming off of a season playing for San Antonio and then getting called up to then play with the Panthers at the end, Petrovic’s confidence has certainly been boosted heading into the upcoming season.
With all the adrenaline and nerves pumping through his veins before his first game, Petrovic said his first NHL game day was a blur. Playing against the New York Rangers at the daunting Madison Square Garden on April 18, Petrovic had 18:30 minutes of ice time.
“It was pretty hectic. I flew out the morning of the game, rushed to eat, try and nap and then I went straight to the rink to get my gear in order,” laughed Petrovic as he recounted his first game. “After that it was kind of just a blank–[my] adrenaline was pumping. I thought I played pretty well, but to tell you the truth I don’t really remember.”
Finally taking a sigh of relief after his first game, he realized how much different the AHL is when compared to the NHL. Smarter and swifter, the intensity and battle level is a lot higher in the NHL.
“The puck moves a lot quicker and I think that everyone is pretty smart in both leagues and everyone plays their position well,” said Petrovic. “You get the puck and someone is always open and someone is always talking to you.”
Many have compared Petrovic’s physical game to current Florida Panther captain, Ed Jovanovski. Petrovic looks forward to getting to know him better and talking hockey with him when he can.
“To be compared against him is a huge honor,” smiled Petrovic. “He is an unreal player and I’d love to mirror my game just like his.”
Having wrapped up his third development camp this past July, Petrovic knows that the next step is to go head on into training camp and make the team.
With a very supportive family behind him 24/7, Petrovic knows it would not be possible to be where he is today without them. Commitment, sacrifice and time have all been made many times by his family. He hopes that next season his family will get a chance to come to Florida.
“My family has been there since day one,” said Petrovic. “It is always nice to have friends and family cheering for you. It gives you even more incentive to go harder.”
Being drafted 36th overall during the 2010 NHL Draft was a relief for Petrovic. Draft day was a “huge stepping stone” for Petrovic as he put a lot of pressure on himself to make it to that point.
“Just hearing my name was unbelievable,” said Petrovic as he reminisced on being at the draft in Los Angeles. “It is a huge weight off your shoulders. A team picked you and to go that high was huge—it was awesome. Now I can just go and play hockey.”
Growing and developing over the past three years since he was drafted, Petrovic has his normal routines he does before and after games. One thing he stays away from, unlike many hockey players, is soccer.
“One time I played soccer and had the worst game of my life,” said Petrovic. “I stay away from that.”
In a world run by social media, one thing you would not expect from this 21-year-old is his lack of social media presence. Petrovic steers clear of social media. Without Facebook or Twitter, Petrovic finds more time to relax and be himself. However, he is a “computer nerd,” and enjoys learning about how computers work.
In five to 10 years, like most hockey hopefuls, Petrovic hopes to see himself winning a couple of Stanley Cups and doing what he loves, playing in the NHL.
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