CATCHING UP WITH THE 'CUDA: THOMAS GREGOIREAug 19, 2019
Once the 2018-19 season concluded, each Barracuda player returned back to his hometown or offseason hangout. Moving forward, each week, sjbarracuda.com will check in with a different Barracuda player and see what he is up to this summer. This week we catch up with Thomas Grégoire.
Since you got back home from development camp, what have you been up to? Since I got back, I’ve just been working out in the mornings and depending on the day we have some ice after that with my dad and my brother and some other guys that play junior back home. On Tuesdays, we have a small league here… David Perron plays in it and Frederick Gaudreau. We just drop the puck and play five-on-five, like old times. That’s pretty much all my summer. Just working out and then going on the ice and having fun.
Bienvenue chez nous! Check out the infamous “Frenchie House” on the first ever episode of Cuda Cribs! 🏡 pic.twitter.com/98CHNnwojQ— San Jose Barracuda (@sjbarracuda) April 4, 2019
Being around NHL players like David Perron and Frederick Gaudreau, have you been able to pick up on any of their habits and apply it to your game? Yeah, we had a small tournament for David’s foundation and (Kris) Letang was there and guys like that. You just notice the little details that they do. The passes are so much quicker, it almost looks like he has extra time on the ice… the way he thinks and his positioning. It’s just some stuff you notice and then try and work it into your game.
What is it like having an older brother like Jérémy around who is also a pro hockey player that you can train with and push to get better? It’s the best. I’m always joking around and having fun and he’s more serious, so it’s good because he’ll get me focused. He’ll push me to get better and I’ll do the same with him. We're brothers but we’re so competitive that every time I do something better than him, he wants to do it better than me and it pushes both of us to improve.
During your rookie season you were in and out of the lineup but you seemed to come on during the end of the season. How much more comfortable do you feel going into your second season? A lot, actually! Especially when I went to development camp, I felt really good because I had that season, because I knew how pro worked and now I can just focus on being my best every night and try and be in the lineup as much as possible. It’s all about confidence. In my mind, I always want to be better and that’s the thing. Last year was hard for me, not being in every night. I lived it and I don’t want to relive it so I’m working twice as hard now.
What part of your game do you think you need to improve on the most to be in the lineup on a regular basis? I need to be harder everywhere. Maybe it’s harder on the puck or boxing guys out. Guys are pretty tough at this level so I’ve got to step up my toughness, too.
What specific training have you been doing to build up your strength? It depends what day but mostly it’s in the weight room, trying to gain muscle. I'm trying to get stronger, faster and heavier. That’s what I’m working on. I’m also trying to get quicker… that’s a huge part of today’s game is being faster. So, I’m trying to get stronger, yes, but also quicker.
Have you been able to do anything fun this summer when you’re not prepping for next season? I’ve played golf a few times with a few of my buddies including Francis Perron. We played in a tournament together. I’ve been on the boat a couple of times, too. There are a lot of lakes here so we go to the lake a good amount. I’ve just been trying to relax and hang out with my family and friends.
You mentioned Francis, he was one of four teammates that lived at the “Frenchie House”, now that he’s been traded are you going to have a hybrid Frenchie House this season? I don’t think we’ll have a house next year but I’ll probably live with Jeff (Viel). But, for sure we’re gonna miss Frankie (Francis Perron), he was a big part of that French connection because he was a fun guy and a fun guy for everyone to be around. We’re gonna miss him but that’s hockey (laughs).
Who gets to keep the hot tub? (Laughs) I hope I get to call dibs on it, to be honest. But we all paid for it so I’ll probably have to chip in some money to the guys so I can keep it.
When are you planning on getting back to San Jose? I think I’ll be back in San Jose by September 3 because we’ve got the rookie tournament that weekend.
The Rookie Faceoff in Anaheim will run from September 7-10, are you excited to get into some game action before training camp? It’ll be fun! It’s a lot of young guys and we’ll get to know each other but at the same time, it's great preparation for what is to come. Getting the grove back, getting the timing back, all of that. It will allow me to work on stuff I worked on this summer.