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HomeIce HockeyMark Masters: Leafs prospect Hildeby making a reputation for himself in AHL

Mark Masters: Leafs prospect Hildeby making a reputation for himself in AHL

Dennis Hildeby sighs when his ‘Hildebeast’ nickname is introduced up. 

“I really feel like as quickly as you are over 6-foot-5 you are referred to as ‘beast’ on this nation,” the 6-foot-7, 222 pound Toronto Marlies goalie mentioned. “Like, everybody is asking you ‘Beast.’ It is not simply me.”

However the ‘Hildebeast’ nickname does appear to roll off the tongue.   

“It goes collectively fairly good,” the 22-year-old from Jarfalla, Sweden acknowledges. “It sounds alright, ‘Hilde’ and ‘beast,’ and that is the explanation it comes up, however I want to be referred to as by my title, to be sincere.”

Hildeby hopes Toronto Maple Leafs followers shall be listening to his title much more within the coming years. The staff’s fourth-round choose within the 2022 NHL draft is off to a powerful begin within the American Hockey League this season. After posting consecutive shutouts, his save proportion is as much as .950 via 4 video games. 

Hildeby, who performed within the Swedish Hockey League final season, spoke to TSN about how he is made a clean adjustment to North America and in addition shared what it was prefer to function an emergency backup goalie with the Leafs throughout final yr’s playoffs. The next is an edited transcript of the interview.

TSN: Any shutout is particular, what’s it prefer to have two in a row? 

Hildeby: First time it is occurred. I do not like that often the goalies at all times get credit score for a shutout, nevertheless it’s actually a staff effort. Like, it is fairly inconceivable to carry a shutout if you aren’t getting the assistance out of your staff. I believe we, as a gaggle, ought to take that as a giant achievement that we have had two shutouts in not so many video games. That is a superb achievement for us as a staff and one thing to construct on. 

TSN: I noticed an image of you sporting a soccer helmet after the newest win. What’s that every one about? 

Hildeby: I do not know, to be sincere. (Giggle) I have never requested. It is the helmet we give out to the participant of the sport, and I have never actually requested why we give out a helmet, a soccer helmet, however I might need to try this. 

TSN: What do you just like the most about your sport thus far this season? 

Hildeby: I’ve performed calm. I’ve felt assured throughout the video games. Loads of it comes again to the staff I’ve in entrance of me. Normally it really works hand in hand – if I play assured then they play assured and vice versa, so we have discovered a superb chemistry there and have trusted one another. The hockey season [has] plenty of ups and downs, usually, so I am in all probability going to have a tricky interval throughout the season a while, nevertheless it’s attempting to remain constant and not getting too excessive while you’re taking part in good and never too low when robust occasions are coming. Simply be boring, to be sincere, simply keep within the center.

TSN: You allowed eight targets in two video games after becoming a member of the Marlies late final season. In what methods are you extra snug with the North American sport now?

Hildeby: On the finish of final season I had possibly three practices on this rink earlier than taking part in my first sport in comparison with this season the place I have been right here  because the 14th of August practising just about on daily basis. I am means higher ready for this season than coming over on the finish of final season, so I believe that is a giant distinction. I had extra time to organize. 

TSN: What is the largest distinction right here? 

Hildeby: I imply, I do not suppose an excessive amount of about that. Clearly, the dimensions of the rink, which makes gamers throw pucks on the internet extra actually because they’ve much less area. That is the way you create probabilities over right here is by throwing the puck to the web and creating chaos. It goes north-south so much, like, a high-speed sport. There’s a number of adjustments clearly, however on the finish of the day it is nonetheless hockey. It is the identical sport. My job by no means adjustments. It is a bit totally different with angles possibly and a pair different issues to consider, however my job is stopping the puck and that is the identical in Sweden, consider it or not (smile).

TSN: After Ilya Samsonov obtained harm, you had been referred to as as much as be the emergency backup for the final couple playoff video games with the Leafs. What was that like? 

Hildeby: That was enjoyable. I imply, get to journey to Florida after which spend plenty of time with good gamers who you have by no means seen in actual life, simply seen on TV, so it is type of surreal. It was a superb expertise to see a pair video games reside. It was truly my first couple NHL video games I noticed reside over right here. It was a superb expertise to, like, see what you are truly working in direction of, the life-style, so it was good.

TSN: What is the No. 1 factor you may keep in mind? 

Hildeby: In all probability the balcony I had in my very own lodge room. It was fairly sick. Greatest one I’ve seen.

TSN: They journey effectively within the NHL. 

Hildeby: Yeah, they do. They do. 

TSN: What’s it like residing in Toronto? 

Hildeby: It is type of the identical. A number of variations. It is a means larger city than what I am used to, nevertheless it offers you extra issues to do if you wish to do issues. I am fairly laidback in terms of that. I do not like doing a lot. I like spending time with myself. I often simply go between the rink and the house. I do not try this a lot after which, like, each infrequently, you may exit for dinner and do one thing. 

TSN: What’s the important thing to utilizing your measurement to your benefit? 

Hildeby: I have been 6’6, 6’7 for a pair years now. I keep in mind in the beginning once I actually began rising it was type of troublesome to determine all the things out. It was plenty of lengthy limbs and stuff to handle, so it may be arduous to maintain all the things in examine. However over time I’ve gotten higher and higher. I exploit it, however play calm and, on the identical time, hold my athleticism and aggressive fashion of play and considerably mix them. I believe I am at a stage now the place I wish to be. Clearly, there’s issues to do higher on a regular basis, however I am fairly completely happy the place I’m on my journey thus far.  

TSN: How do you deal with the psychological aspect of the sport? 

Hildeby: That is one thing I have been working so much on. To begin, I did it by myself after which began getting assist with it. For nearly a yr I have been working with a man named Andy Sward. He is obtained a pair purchasers again in Sweden. He does different sports activities too, some horse using and stuff like that, and works with Jesper Bratt who’s on the New Jersey Devils. He is obtained a superb resume. He managed to do some issues with Jesper, who is sort of profitable. So, I have been working with him so much this previous yr. He was getting me extra assured again in Sweden and now, over the summer time, getting ready me for this problem over right here. So, I believe I am in a superb psychological state thus far. If there is a disaster any time I can simply name him and he’ll reply and attempt to calm me down, however there hasn’t been any thus far. It’d come, however then I do know he is obtained my again. So, that is good.  

TSN: How typically do you speak to him?

Hildeby: I at all times speak to him earlier than video games I play, usually. So, I imply, at the least as soon as every week and clearly some weeks is likely to be extra if I really feel I want it. Simply textual content him and see if he is obtained time after which give him a name. So, at the least as soon as every week. 

TSN: What’s your objective this season? What do you wish to accomplish? 

Hildeby: To begin with, getting assured within the American League and attempt to play pretty much as good as I can right here, get as many video games as I can, after which we’ll see from there. Solely God is aware of, proper? … Simply attempt to take it daily. However I believe it is best to at all times dream. The sky is the restrict. Every part can occur and it may go very fast.

TSN: Final season you performed with Farjestad BK within the Swedish Hockey League the place Matt Tomkins was the opposite goalie. What’s it like seeing him make his NHL debut this season and earn his first win with the Tampa Bay Lightning?  

Hildeby: Actually motivating. We performed a whole season collectively and created a reasonably particular bond. We have stayed in contact. I’ve despatched him a pair messages congratulating him. I am actually completely happy for him. If you would like a goalie proper now to inspire you, I believe Matt Tomkins is the man. Like, how previous is he? Twenty-nine? And his journey in direction of the NHL has been a lot up and down. He is at all times stayed with it, being skilled, simply as I mentioned I wish to do, taking it daily, and seeing the place it will get you. He is obtained his video games within the NHL and the prospect to interrupt into the league and I actually hope he does.

TSN: What’s it prefer to see NHL video games being performed in Sweden this week?   

Hildeby: It means so much. Like, particularly to all the children on the market. I keep in mind I watched a sport in Sweden again once I was a bit youthful and it was a cool expertise. That is when goals are made, while you get to see actual issues, so it is good what they’re doing.



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