Lowry shakes early nerves, making great strides in first 20 games

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He grew up in a hockey household, his dad having carved out a respectable NHL career that saw him play in 1,084 games with five different teams.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/11/2014 (2930 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

He grew up in a hockey household, his dad having carved out a respectable NHL career that saw him play in 1,084 games with five different teams.

And so it’s not that Adam Lowry expected all this — to be playing in the bigs at age 21 and after just one full season of grooming in the AHL — but he did have a complete understanding of what it would take to get here.

Maybe that explains why Lowry sounds like a 10-year NHL vet when the cameras and microphones are in his face. Maybe it’s why there have been so few dips in his performance through his first 20 games as an NHL player.

John Woods / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Winnipeg Jets' Adam Lowry

But there’s also this sense from Winnipeg Jets coaches and teammates who have watched him play: This guy could play a long time in the NHL.

“It’s been a good experience so far,” said Lowry on Wednesday when asked for a take on his first 20 NHL games. “Getting to play to your first NHL game is something you look forward to and remember for a long time. Scoring your first NHL goal… that was a pretty special moment as well.

“There’s been a lot of firsts — getting to go on my first road trip, getting to play at Madison Square Garden, playing at the Madhouse on Madison in Chicago… getting to experience all those things has definitely been a cool experience.

“The Madhouse in Chicago was something special. You hear about the anthem and everything and how loud it is. But until you get there and actually experience it, it’s hard to describe. Same thing for Madison Square Garden. It was pretty cool in the pre-game skate just to look around and know the history in that building.

“One of my favourite players growing up was Patrick Marleau,” added Lowry. “So, getting to play San Jose and going on the penalty kill against Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau… that was pretty cool. San Jose was also my favourite team growing up. Playing against those guys was something. It was like, ‘Well, this is really happening.’ “

There’s a quiet confidence to Lowry off the ice that mirrors more and more what everyone is seeing when he’s at work. There are a lot of layers to his game that don’t necessarily show up on the black and white of the scoresheet, such as his hockey sense, his attention to detail in the defensive zone and basics like finishing checks.

And that’s only going to grow now that he’s got a month and a half under his belt.

“You always go in having confidence in your own game, but it’s a matter of time, a matter of playing against guys in the NHL to know if you’re fully ready yet,” Lowry said. “The first few games I think I was nervous and it showed in my play. Over the last 15 or so games I feel like I continue to get better every night. A lot of that has to do with confidence now and knowing that I can play at this level. Now I have to work on continuing to make better reads and make better plays with my linemates.

“I don’t want to look too far ahead. I just want to continue to improve, play solid defensively and starting to generate more chances. The last five or 10 games I’ve felt more comfortable with the puck and I’m trying to make some plays. As the season wears on that’s going to continue to improve.

“I want to continue to be hard on players whenever I’m out there against the other team’s top players. That’s something that’s going to be important for me moving forward. I understand there are things I need to work on and improve.

“But I also know it’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice to get here. To finally be able to say that you reached your goal and are living your dream to play in the NHL… not a lot of people can say they get to do what they wanted to do as a child. I’m grateful for this.”

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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