By Kyle Shohara
“Catching Up With…” is an ongoing offseason feature in which we check in with Ducks players to gain an insight on their summer, thoughts on the upcoming season and more.
Today we feature defenseman Cam Fowler. The 2013-14 campaign marked Fowler’s fourth NHL season with Anaheim, with the 22-year-old blueliner recording 36 points (6g/30a) with a career-high +15 rating and 14 penalty minutes in 70 games. Fowler matched his personal best in assists and led Anaheim defensemen in scoring, assists and power-play goals (4), and co-led in goals. Fowler also led the team overall in total time-on-ice (1,670:24), average TOI (23:51) and ranked third in blocked shots (122). Fowler recorded four points (4a) with a +2 rating in 13 postseason games vs. Dallas and Los Angeles, with his four assists coming in a five-game span between Game 4 of the First Round and Game 2 of the Second Round, April 23 - May 5.
Fowler is spending his offseason in his native Michigan where he’s training, skating and finding time on the golf course.
How has the summer been?
It’s been good. It’s always nice to come home and unwind after the season. I’ve been pretty busy. I attended Bones’ [Nick Bonino’s] wedding, and one of my good buddies is getting married. My cousin is also getting married this summer, so I’ve been traveling here and there. It’s been good. I’ve been enjoying it a lot.
Are you staying in Farmington Hills?
I bought a place out in Royal Oak which is about a half hour from Farmington Hills, but I’ve still been spending a good amount of time around my family in Farmington, too. I’m kind of back and forth.
Have you attended any Tigers games yet?
No, I haven’t. I’m actually going in two weeks. That’ll be my first time this summer.
Take us through what a typical summer day is like in the life of Cam Fowler.
All of us do things by routine, so for me, I wake up around eight o’clock. I have some breakfast, but it just depends. Sometimes I’ll have a protein shake. Then, I head to my gym around nine o’clock. That takes me until around 11-11:30 depending on my workout. From there, sometimes I head to the golf course or sometimes I’ll skate. I’m going to start skating pretty hard soon. Sometimes I skate in the morning and then train, or vice versa. That’s about it. Training, skating and golf, if I can fit it in there.
It looks like you’re also finding time on the golf course with former teammate Nick Bonino. How’s that been?
It’s been great. We’ve had a lot of fun. Bones invited me to his course in Connecticut for his Member-Guest tournament. It was a lot of fun. His course hosts a PGA event – the Travelers Championship – so it’s a really nice golf course. Bones and I are obviously pretty close, so we had a lot of fun together.
You’re close friends with Nick. What were your emotions when you heard of the trade?
It was a weird day. I was on the golf course when it happened. I knew we had tons of interest in Ryan Kesler, with all the rumors that were floating around. So when I first heard we got him, I was excited. Then I heard more news about the trade and who was involved. It was kind of bittersweet. Bones and Sbiz [Luca Sbisa] were two of my better friends on the team, and great guys in the locker room. That kind of hit me hard, initially. But that’s hockey. That’s how it goes. I’ve never really been emotionally invested in a trade like that before, so it was hard for me. But I wish them the best. I know they’ll do great up there. It was a hockey move. Both teams got what they wanted, and we’re pumped to have Ryan here. We think he’s a great addition. We’re excited about it. That’s how I looked at it. I’ll stay in touch with those guys. I won’t lose contact with them. That’s how I approached it.
You’ve played against Kesler since you broke into the league in 2010, and the two of you were teammates on Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. What can you say about him as a teammate and player?
I’ve gotten to know him pretty well. He lives pretty much in the town right next to me, and we’ve been skating together this summer. I started to get to know him heading into the Olympics, and then I got to know him pretty well there. He’s a good guy and he’s going to be a great teammate. He competes like crazy. The fans are going to love him and his work ethic. Talking to him, he’s really looking forward to a fresh start in Anaheim. It’s going to be great.
Have you kept in touch with any of your other teammates this offseason?
We always try to keep in touch. I know everyone is busy doing their own thing, but I got to see a good number of guys at Bones’ wedding. I check in with Getzy and Pears every once and a while. We all try to stay in touch with each other the best we can.
Looking ahead, what excites you about the upcoming season?
This year, there are a lot of high expectations on us, not only from ourselves but around the league. All of us relish that, and we take that on full bore. We expect a lot out of ourselves. I’m really looking forward to living up to the expectations. We have a different group of guys, so we’re going to need some of the younger guys to step up and lead, including myself. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.
You guys were a game away from advancing to the Conference Finals last year. What needs to change in order for the Ducks to take that next step?
The biggest thing was experiencing something like that. We had a pretty young team, aside from guys like Teemu and Saku – guys who had been in situations like that. For the rest of us, that was our first Game 7 besides when we lost to Detroit the season prior. Just being in that situation, a game away from the Conference Finals, we now have that experience as a team. We know what it takes. That was the main difference. LA had a more experienced group and they knew what that situation was like. That’s why you saw the result you saw. We have that to lean back on. If we get that opportunity again, we’ll know how to approach it.
What are some of your personal goals for the upcoming season?
It’s normally the same. I like to be a guy the coaches rely upon in all situations. You see a lot of the young defensemen around the league, like the [Drew] Doughtys, the [Alex] Pietrangelos, the guys who eat lots of minutes and play on the power play and penalty kill. If you need a goal in the last minute, if you’re down a goal, protecting the lead or whatever it may be, that’s what I’m trying to do. I just want to be a guy who my teammates and my coaches know they can rely on. I just want to be consistent with that. That’s the biggest goal – and biggest challenge – for me.
Lastly, we’ve talked about the fan support and how much of a boost they give you on the ice. Why should Ducks fans be excited about this team and what’s to come?
Our fans are always so supportive and jacked up when the season starts. They got a little taste of what this team can do last year. With the additions we’ve made and some of the changes we’ve made, there’s no reason to expect anything less. We know they’re going to be behind us every game no matter what. They always are. As a team and as a fanbase, everyone has a lot to look forward to. We’re excited to start playing in front of them again and seeing all that black and orange. I certainly can’t wait for it, and I know the other guys can’t, either.
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