ICE TIME: Danny Kristo Q & AA chat with UND forward Danny Kristo.
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
Q. You had a tough decision this offseason whether to return to UND or sign with Montreal. Why did you choose UND?
A. I just kind of weighed my options. Montreal didn’t have a GM or a coach at the time and with all the talk about the (NHL) lockout, I thought this was the best decision to come back to UND. I’m definitely happy and I definitely think I made the right choice.
Q. You never played with T.J. Oshie at UND but I know you have become good friends. How did that happen?
A. I came on three or four visits when he was here, so I met him then. He would be working out here in the summer and we started working out together. Over the years, we got to be good buddies and now we are really close friends.
Q. Is it strange that a lot of UND players who never played together are good friends?
A. I think that’s kind of part of the history and tradition of the program. A lot of the older guys come back and help and skate with the younger guys. A lot of older guys keep in touch with guys on the team now.
Q. What is the biggest upgrade you’ve made in your game since coming to UND four years ago?
A. I think I’d say my baseline, simple game, my play in the defensive zone and getting better defensively in all aspects.
Q. Didn’t you get quite a bit of grief from teammates for celebrating goals when you first arrived at UND?
A. (Laughing) I think I got pretty excited my first few years. I’m an emotional guy on the ice and I get excited when I score. But I’ve calmed down a little bit.
Q. In the Notre Dame game, you got the puck alone in the circle. I thought for sure you were shooting five-hole, but you pulled off a forehand-backhand highlight play. How did that happen?
A. If you talk to our goalies, I think I do sometimes shoot to certain spots and they try to catch on. I try that move sometimes in practice. If a goalie doesn’t know it’s coming, I feel I can surprise him with that. On that play, the puck came out and I knew the goalie was going to be coming out and challenging me. I felt that if I could pull that quick backhand toe-drag, I’d have a pretty open net there. Luckily, I had just enough space to do it.
Q. You do like to rip a snap shot if you have a chance, though, don’t you?
A. Yeah. I know when I was playing on the left side, it was a little bit different coming down and being able to cut across on my forehand. That was different. I do like shooting the puck. I think I’m more of a shooter, so sometimes I can catch goalies off guard by making a quick head fake or a fake shot.
Q. Is that what helped open up space for Mark MacMillan when you set him up for goals?
A. If you look at those goals, I had the puck on my forehand in a shooting position. Mark happened to be opened up. I tried to make a nice fake (before passing it to him).
Q. What has been the most memorable part of your time at UND so far?
A. My favorite part has been being able to be with the guys at practice every day. It’s an incredible feeling going to the rink and walking into The Ralph with all of that history and tradition.