Yesterday, Mark Van Guilder was officially recalled to the Nashville Predators under emergency conditions. Today, he has been reassigned to the Milwaukee Admirals but will return to the team with a lifetime of memories.
Last night the 30-year-old forward made his NHL debut in Nashville’s dramatic 4-3 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals. Van Guilder logged 8:27 of ice time, the least of any skater for the Preds, but did get a respectable 14 shifts to go along with a well-deserved 45 seconds of penalty kill time.
In Nashville, Van Guilder joined recent Admirals teammates Calle Jarnkrok (6 NHL games, 1 goal & 4 assists) and Colton Sissons (16 NHL games, 1 goal & 3 assists). Courtesy of our friend Robby Stanley of Smashville 24/7 – Sissons had the following to say about Van Guilder after last night’s game:
“It’s awesome,” Sissons said. “He’s worked so hard for a long time. He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever met and come across in the game so I’m really happy for him. He was a great mentor for me in Milwaukee and helped me out a lot early on when I was just a young pro early on in the season. I can’t say enough about him. He’s an awesome guy.”
Other friend of the Roundtable, Jeremy K. Gover, caught up with Van Guilder in the locker room after the game. You can find his great story on Section 303 – including gem quotes from Van such as this one:
“Oh, I don’t know,” said Van Guilder before starting to look around his stall. “I’ll take whatever they can give me. Doesn’t matter to me. I’ll take a sock, whatever.”
The Roseville, Minnesota native will rejoin the Admirals in the thick of the AHL’s playoff race. Van Guilder has been excellent with Milwaukee this season posting 14 goals and 28 points, with a decent possibility of breaking his career high scoring mark of 14 goals and 32 points.
To see a great photo gallery of the game, check out Predators.NHL.com.
UPDATE: This afternoon, Van Guilder was featured and interviewed on NHL Network. Here are some quotes from his appearance:
When asked about finally making his NHL debut…
“First of all, 400 games? Holy crap. It was awesome. It was so much fun. I think the best part was my teammates in Milwaukee – the support and response from them when I found out from my coach. All the guys that are in Nashville. The cool thing about this was I’ve been in the organization for so long that I had so many guys in Nashville that I knew and were friends with. They made me feel so comfortable. I was actually kind of nervous for the first time in I don’t know how many years for a hockey game. It was awesome and a lot of fun.” Mark Van Guilder.
When asked about what led him down the path of being very active in the Milwaukee community…
“I think a lot of free time and a great staff in Milwaukee. First of all, I think that we are very fortunate to have the job we do. Practice in the morning and be done by – you’re free at 12:15 in the afternoon. You have the rest of the day. So I just think it’s our obligation to give back to the community that comes and supports you every weekend. That’s just how I kind of see it. And we have a great staff that makes it really easy on us – you know, buying us Chipotle whenever we do a school visit and stuff like that, so how could you say no?” Mark Van Guilder.
What was it like when you got the news that you were being called up…
“That was awesome. No warning from Dean Evason, but I think you’re trying to have some fun with it. He was trying to make it special for me. It was awesome. We had a team meeting in the morning on Saturday – just going over some points from the weekend – the previous game – the upcoming game, stuff like that. And then he said, “Oh yeah, one more thing, Van Guilder is going to Nashville.” So that’s how everyone knows. I was kind of surprised at first but all my teammates with hugs and high fives and stuff like that it was pretty special for me.” Mark Van Guilder.
Did you ever think you weren’t going to make it to the NHL…
“To be honest with you, when I was a kid I wasn’t that good. If you asked my peewee hockey coach he’d say there’s not a chance this kid is ever making it. So, I don’t think there was a time. I never really thought – yeah, I’m playing in the NHL. I just kind of took it one step at a time. I was like, man I’d really like to play for Roseville high school varsity team. And then, yeah I’d really love to play Division I hockey. And then, yeah I’d really love to play professional hockey. So it’s kind of been one step at a time and then I think the closer and closer you get the more real it becomes the more you want it.” Mark Van Guilder.
So Roundtable . . . How would you like to welcome back MVG?