Morning Skate With Nick Larson

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Go Gophers! Nick Larson
Go Gophers!
Nick Larson, who is recovering from a broken wrist, has three goals this year.
Go Gophers!
GopherSports: You grew up in Minnesota and as a Gopher fan. What does it mean to you to be able to play for the Gophers?

Nick Larson: It means a lot to me. My dad has had season tickets for as long as I can remember. I grew up going to games and looking up to the players and idolizing them and having that hope that one day I would be able to put on the M. Being able to do it the last four years will definitely be something that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

GS: What do you remember about going to games growing up?

NL: I just remember all the games being so fast and so many of those guys are playing in the NHL now. Guys like Thomas Vanek and Alex Goligoski. It was just so much fun to watch them put up highlight reel goals and watch them score like six or seven goals a game.

GS: As your Minnesota career winds down, what games do you think you will remember most?  

NL: The series that stick out in my mind are the North Dakota series, both here and at North Dakota. There was one game at Mariucci a couple of years ago where we were doing really well against them and scored two goals in about eight seconds and the crowd just went nuts. This year we were able to sweep them at home, which was awesome. I was able to score the game-tying goal in one of those games and that was one of the best moments I have had here so far.

GS: You also got injured at North Dakota this year. Can you tell us what happened to your wrist?

NL: It was kind of a fluke hit in the open ice and my wrist kind of bent in and snapped. It is an unfortunate event, but is one of those things you have to deal with and move on. Hopefully it will make me better in the long run.

GS: How is the injury progressing?

NL: It is getting better and better each day. It is healing well and I am hoping to get back pretty quickly and get a couple of series in before the playoffs.

GS: What is it like to have to watch games from Mariucci or on television when the team is on the road?

NL: It is hard. You want to be out there with the guys and experience the highs with them. You feel for them when there is a tough play or a tough game. So it is tough, but I am behind them 100 percent and I am just looking forward to getting back.

GS: After three tough years, the senior class has helped lead the Gophers back and the team was ranked No. 1 earlier this year. What does that mean to you and your class?

NL: We just want to contribute. We want to make a name for ourselves and leave a lasting impression on Gopher Hockey and this is our last chance to do that. We all have the confidence in our team and the players to do it and it is just a matter of execution and finishing the year strong. Everything we have done so far up to this point has made us better and I think it will make us better for the playoff run and hopefully do something great. I have had a great time here, but it has been tough sometimes. Obviously you are kind of defined by your successes and your failures. More than anything that is what our senior class it shooting for. This is our last chance. We are taking everything for what it is worth and going out there and giving it all we have.

GS: A big part of your college experience has been hockey, but you have also excelled academically at Minnesota.

NL: I have already finished all the requirements for my major am just finishing up my minor now. We have a great staff here and a great academic committee. It is tough for them as well because we have such a demanding schedule and they have to find the right time for class. Sometimes guys have to take a test on the road and study on the road. It is stressed here that academics is just as important as hockey and all of our guys get their work in. We don't have any problems with that.

GS: Between class and hockey there is not a lot of free time. But when you do have a few extra hours, what do you like to do?

NL: During the season, there is not much going on outside of hockey and school. But during the offseason, I am a big golfer. I like going out on the lake and having a great time there. I enjoy working out. I have always liked that. But during the season it is basically sitting on the couch after practice and relaxing and watching Joey Miller and Zach Budish play video games.

GS: Have you thought about what you are going to miss next year when you are not here?

NL: I am going to miss the whole thing, the college atmosphere. When you are here and in the moment, you don't really think about it. But when you look back on it, it was just a great four years. I am going to miss the camaraderie with the guys. It is another family. We spend so much time with each other and go through so much with each other. Then all of a sudden it will be over and you have to start the next phase of your life. I am looking forward to that, but it will definitely be bittersweet. 

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