When Casey Cizikas started playing major junior hockey with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, head coach Dave Cameron gave the 16-year-old some sound yet blunt advice.
"Coach told me I wasn’t going to make (the National Hockey League) as a skill player," remembered Cizikas, now 26 and in his seventh season as a center with the New York Islanders. "He harped on defense and said I had to work in my own end and on my two-way game. That was the only way I was going to be successful."
Cizikas bought in to that mindset right away and has since developed into the perfect example of a player whose work shows up in the game score as opposed to the back of his trading card.