DORCHESTER, Mass. -- Matt Sullivan has been around hockey rinks just about as long as he can remember. His earliest memories of his father, former Bruins head coach and BC High hockey legend Mike Sullivan, were hanging around with his dad around NHL haunts.
Sullivan, a senior captain and forward with the Eagles, has followed in his father's footsteps to Morrissey Boulevard. With the Eagles advancing to the crossover round of last year's Super 8 tournament, expectations are high for the third-ranked Eagles. We caught up with ESPN Boston preseason All-State teamer after a recent scrimmage to take a look at the year ahead:
Q: What have you learned from your father in terms of playing the game of hockey?
A: “He’s a great dad. He comes home and does game film [Mike is an assistant with the New York Rangers], so I get to sit down next to him, going over plays and tells me what I should be doing. It’s hard sometimes though because he’s not home a lot of the time during the season. But we talk hockey all the time.”
Q: What’s your earliest memory being around the rink?
A: “I just remember when my dad was with the Calgary Flames one year, they had a Christmas party. I wasn’t old enough to skate yet, but he was pulling me around the ice on a sled. That’s probably the earliest memory I have with him.”
Q: What kind of example did last year’s senior class set for you seniors this year?
A: “Last year’s seniors were a great group. With Mike Cashman leading the squad, they really gave us a blueprint for this year. We’re a young team again this year, but we feel we need to lead in what this program is heading for and what we need to be doing this year. We’re just going to try to follow their lead from last year. Hopefully, we’ll have the same kinds of results.”
Q: With the team’s showing in the Super 8 last season, how can this year’s team build off of that?
A: “It showed us that we can beat anybody. Once you get to the tournament, it’s just anyone’s game. You have to play as hard as you can. When you play in the Super 8, it’s anyone’s game. You just have to get there and then see what happens.”
Q: What’s the mood around the team been during the preseason?
A: “We know we’re a young team coming in, but But we’re just working on getting better every day in practice. Coach [John Flaherty] has been talking a lot about manufacturing goals, wanting to be in the right sports at all the right times.”
Q: What are you plans for next year?
A: “I’m not sure yet. I kind of want to play out my options and see what comes up this season, hopefully get some looks this season and then, if not, go to preps or juniors.”
Q: Where’s the team’s place to hang out off the ice?
A: “Usually it’s the Papa Gino’s down the street in Dorchester. We’ll hang out there until practice, work on homework or hang out, get some food and then get ready to go for practice.”
Q: Who have you been working with on your line in the preseason?
A: “So far, I’ve been playing with Steve DeForge and John Stoneman. We’re working the puck really well. Steve has a good hockey sense and John’s a big boy and he can move the puck. On the power play, it’s Tom Besinger, he’s a really dynamic forward down in the corners. He’s been great. He just stepped in last year as a freshman and had a big role on the team. He’s done a great job so far.”