Q&A with.....Janos Hari
With the 12th overall pick in the CHL Import Draft of 2010, the Montreal Juniors would use their selection to bring Janos Hari into their family. A versatile forward with a skilled set of hands, Hari made his beginnings in the hockey hotbed of Hungary.
The pesky Hari, known as "The Rat" for his tendency to get right in the face of his opponents, has the drive to win and make a name for himself in the QMJHL. Going 35-29-64 in 21 games last season playing for the U-18 elite club of Färjestad, the eighteen year old's North American debut was hampered by a bout with mononucleosis and, once he had played in his first game and scored two goals and one assist in his second, was out again almost immediately with an ankle injury that sidelined him for a little over a month.
Since his return, Hari hasn't looked at all out of place in all the line combinations used by head coach Pascal Vincent, including a stint with Juniors' captain Nicolas Chouinard and Canadiens' prospect Louis Leblanc. Most notably he has been at the head of just about every scrum at both ends of the ice, not hesitating to get into the rough stuff with pretty well anybody who asks.
There are varying opinions on his potential. Some look at his dominance in previous years and don't hesitate to point out his exemplary skill and hunger for the puck. Then there's the familiar broken record about size that has to come into play, especially in the North American game. None of that seems to bother Hari, whose confidence far exceeds his 5'9'', 165 pound frame.
No matter what side you're on, here is a player who may very well find himself on several people's radars as the season progresses, in his own words:
TCL: For those that might not know you very well, if at all, what NHLer, or combination of NHLers, do you think you resemble the most?
JH: I don’t know, a little bit Sean Avery, a little bit Patrick Kane. But I don’t really compare myself to anybody.
TCL: So, you’re an original, then?
TCL: Do you have a favourite NHL team?
JH: Not a specific one, but I like the Canadiens, the Oilers, Vancouver…all the Canadian teams. Except Toronto.
TCL: How old were you when you knew you really wanted to become a hockey player?
JH: Six years old maybe? But I knew from the start—I saw the ice and I wanted to play from the early beginnings.
TCL: Tell us a little bit about your experience in Sweden (with Färjestad), and what it was like moving away from your home country at such a young age.
JH: Tough in the beginning, because it was only me and my dad that moved the first year. My brother and my mom came for the second year and then for three years I was on my own. I learned a new language, went to school like everybody else, but missed it a little bit back home, like how it is here, too.
TCL: Did you ever think you'd be playing in the CHL?
JH: Yeah, I think I was already [planning on it], probably when I was thirteen or fourteen. [At one point] I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen or not but I made the choice to move here.
TCL: How frustrating was it for you starting the season with mono, coming back for a couple of games and being out again with an ankle injury? How did you deal with being a spectator?
JH: It wasn’t fun at all, but there’s not much you can do, it’s out of your control. You try to keep positive and work hard to get back and play. I didn’t really like [being a spectator] but like I said, I couldn’t do much about it except clean up my ankle and hope to get back as soon as possible.
TCL: You had your first fight over the weekend (against Drummondville). Is that something that was ever part of your game, because of how you play?
JH: Well, I don’t like to do stuff like that, but that fight wasn’t a very good one, so I have to [salvage] my reputation soon with a better one.
TCL: So it’s an experience you see yourself repeating in the near future?
JH: Yeah, probably. If it happens, it happens, it’s not like I’m not looking for it but at some point, it happens. I’m that kind of player, the guy who gets involved like that.
TCL: You can play on both wings, as well as at centre. How did this develop? Which do you prefer?
JH: I could even play D if they asked me to! In the beginning I was a centre, went to wing, went back to centre and then both, sometimes…it depended on who I played with and what line I played with, but I was able to play everything. I prefer to play centre, but right now I’m a winger.
TCL: What have you enjoyed about playing for the Montreal Juniors?
JH: It’s got a good coaching staff—Pascal [Vincent], Dom[inique Ducharme], and Joël [Bouchard]…Joël is a known person around here, so with [the Juniors] having one of the best coaching staffs in the CHL, I’m just happy to learn as much as I can from them and listen to everything they have to say.
TCL: How far do you see them going this season?
JH: All the way, probably.
TCL: What do you feel you have to do this season to positively affect your future?
JH: Play good? (Laughs) Get stronger, probably—hit the gym a little bit. Just a couple of the things I have to do to work on my game to make it so that I get a little bit stronger, and a little bit faster.