TMLfans.ca caught up with John-Michael Liles, who had a goal and an assist in the Marlies 3-2 win over Rochester on Saturday.
Q: How are you finding the transition to the AHL after playing in the NHL for so long?
A: The transition has been fine. It’s a great group of guys down here. We’ve got a great coaching staff. They’ve done a great job of communicating with myself and with the players. It’s fun. You’re just playing and having fun. When you’re winning I think it makes it a lot better.
Q: Coach Steve Spott said that you are like another coach in the dressing room. Do you try and use your intangible qualities to maximize the chance for your return to the NHL?
A: For me the focus is here with the Marlies. I’m just trying to play hard and help out any way that I can. We’ve got a young team here. For me, I’ve had a number of years in the NHL and anything I can do to help the young guys, and help us as a team, is what I’m trying to do.
Q: University of Michigan stadium is preparing for the Winter Classic. What do you remember about playing in the Cold War game in 2001 with Michigan State?
A: I think the biggest thing is how big the stadium was. It was a lot of fun, and something I’ll remember for a long, long time. I remember it being about a month after 9/11. There was kind of a sombre mood in the pre-game ceremonies. But at the same time I thought it was a special event.
Q: You played in the 2006 Olympics in Torino. What advice would you give to any American named to the 2014 team?
A: The best advice I can give is, try and get over the time differences as quickly as possible. For me, the jet lag was really tough, especially in the middle of the season. I remember playing in Detroit on Sunday night, flying back to Denver, flying from Denver to Chicago to Germany to Italy on Monday, getting there Tuesday, practicing, and playing Wednesday. So it’s a tough transition, especially when you’re in the middle of an NHL schedule. You’re playing a game almost every day, sometimes every other day. There’s really not a lot of time to rest. But try and soak it all in, and try and get on that time zone as quickly as possible!