Exclusive Interview With Penguins' 3rd Rounder Pierro-Zabotel
Jesse Marshall: Let’s start with the draft. Did you have any preference as far as who you wanted to go to? Anyone you grew up watching?
Casey Pierro-Zabotel: I grew up watching Colorado a lot, that’s who I really liked, but it didn’t matter where I went.
JM: Did you expect to get drafted around #80 overall? Or was that a bit later than you expected?
CPZ: Yeah, that’s where I wanted to go around. That’s where I was ranked, so that’s where I thought I’d go.
JM: What was your reaction when you found out you’d be taken by Pittsburgh?
CPZ: I was very excited. Very Happy.
JM: Did you have a chance to follow the Penguins at all this year, and what had been going on with the likes of Jordan Staal and Sidney Crosby?
CPZ: Yeah, I followed them quite a bit. I watched them on TV as much as possible whenever I could. They are good.
JM: You were the Interior Conference MVP this season in the BCHL. How did it feel to reach that accomplishment in your third year, and were you expecting that when the year started?
CPZ: I didn’t think I’d get that many points and get named the Interior MVP. I just really got going at the start of the season and that helped my confidence out a lot. I just kept going all season.
JM: Is it true you tried out for the Calgary Hitmen (WHL) at the age of 16?
CPZ: Yeah, that’s true.
JM: Is that what lead you to the BCHL? And how did you end up with Meritt?
CPZ: Yeah, as soon as I didn’t make Calgary in the WHL, I just went to Merritt in the BCHL. They just do invites in the BCHL. They called me when I got back from Calgary, I tried out and ended up there.
JM: Do you feel like the BCHL has prepared you for the next step in your career?
CPZ: Yeah, for sure, it’s given me the opportunity to play with some great players as of late, and I think that prepared me for the next step in going to college for sure.
JM: I’ve heard you mention that your role at Michigan Tech (playing time) was a big influence in you choosing that school. Is that true?
CPZ: Yeah, for sure, I wanted to go to a school where I could develop as good as possible, play as soon as I get there and make an impact.
JM: A Michigan Tech recruiter told me that you were the gem of their recruiting class and that you’d be playing in all situations. How does that feel, and do you think you’re a guy who responds well under that kind of pressure?
CPZ: Yeah, I like that kind of pressure put on me; it really helps me play better.
JM: Did you have a chance to read any scouting reports of yourself before the draft? If so, what did you think of them?
CPZ: No, I didn’t read any scouting reports. I tried not to think about it too much. It would just have made me more nervous, stuff like that.
JM: What areas of your game do you think need to see some improvement over the summer?
CPZ: I would say a little of my skating — quicker feet and working on my finesse, stuff like that.
JM: Was your college commitment to Michigan Tech a reason you were unable to attend the Penguins rookie camp?
CPZ: Yeah, definitely. That was a problem.
JM: Looking at it now, do you intend to stay at Michigan Tech for four years?
CPZ: I don’t know, it really depends on Pittsburgh and how they feel I’ve developed there. I’ll wait on that. I am prepared to go for four years if I have to, though.
JM: What will you be majoring in?
JM: I heard a rumor from a scout that you once skated 60 straight minutes in a game for a BC native tournament after the BCHL was finished. I also heard you scored a ton of goals as well. How true is that?
CPZ: Yeah, that is true. It was almost just like a rec tournament. We didn’t have enough guys so I just ended up out there for 60 full minutes.
JM: Noting the situation in Pittsburgh, do you have any experience playing wing?
CPZ: Yeah, I’ve played at wing quite a few times in the last couple years. I’m pretty good at it. I liked it.
JM: Any highlights from last season at Merritt that you carry with you still? Maybe a breakout game?
CPZ: Yeah, there were some games where I scored 4 goals in a game. It would be them, probably.
JM: Anything you do besides playing hockey? Any hobbies?
CPZ: I like to work out. I’d say that’s my hobby.
JM: Favorite Movie?
CPZ: Wedding Crashers.
JM: Any plans for the summer to go to any conditioning camps or are you going to work out by yourself?
CPZ: I’m working out with my trainer up here.
JM: What type of player do you see yourself developing into as you grow older?
CPZ: Probably Tomas Holmstrom. Just banging some pucks home in front.
A special thanks to Casey for being so kind. We wish him the best of luck next year as a Michigan Tech Huskie forward!