NHL.com’s Q&A feature called “Sitting Down with…” runs each Sunday. We talk to key figures in the game, gaining insight into their lives on and off the ice.
This edition features Nashville Predators forward Philip Tomasino.
Philip Tomasino made his NHL debut with the Nashville Predators on Oct. 14, and the No. 24 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft scored his first goal in his second game, against the New York Rangers on Oct. 21.
The 20-year-old, who is currently in NHL COVID-19 protocol, has scored nine points (five goals, four assists) in 26 games. He is averaging 12:07 of ice time per game and has contributed two power-play points.
He’s one of the reasons the Predators (19-10-1) are tied with the St. Louis Blues for second in the eight-team Central Division, one point behind the Minnesota Wild. The Predators were shut down through the NHL holiday break because of COVID-19 concerns Saturday.
NHL.com caught up with Tomasino recently to ask him about his adjustment to the NHL and who he gets advice from. He also discussed the 2022 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series game between the Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning at Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, in Nashville on Feb. 26. He also weighed in on the jerseys the Predators will be wearing in that outdoor game.
How have you adjusted to the NHL, so far?
“It’s been good. Obviously, it’s been a big step for me. My first game I was pretty nervous and didn’t really know what to expect, but I think every game I’m just getting more and more comfortable. I’m trying to get better each and every day. It’s the best league in the world so it’s been hard, but it’s been awesome. All the guys have been great to me. Anytime I can ask guys for advice, I’m always doing so. It’s been really good and hopefully it continues to get better every game and every day.”
What teammate or coach have you leaned on the most?
“I say everyone because everyone’s so welcoming. I can always go to anyone, any one of our coaches, any one of our guys for advice. Guys like Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene for me have been awesome just because they’re forwards and I get a chance to talk with them a lot. They’re older guys and they’ve been around the League for a while. Those two guys have been awesome so far, but I can’t just name those two guys in particular because everyone’s been awesome.”
You were a big scorer in junior hockey and led Chicago of the American Hockey League last season with 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) in 29 games. You haven’t produced at the same rate this season, so how have you stayed positive?
“It’s been challenging just because I’m used to, growing up, always maybe being the guy that our teams count on on the power play and this year has been a little different. I’m trying to contribute in any way I can. If I’m not scoring, I’m trying to do all the little details right defensively, winning puck battles. I’ve tried to focus on that a lot, and hopefully that will lead to goals. But right now, I haven’t maybe gotten as many goals or points as obviously I’d hoped for, but I think just continue to work on my game in every aspect, whether it’s defensively, in all those little details, I think that’s what I’m trying to work on. Hopefully the rest will take care of itself.”
How excited are you for the Stadium Series game?
“I’ve talked about it with my family a little bit. They might be planning a trip to come down here as well. The jerseys just got released, I think they’re pretty sweet. That whole experience would be unreal. To get that chance, that’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in that. Hopefully I get a chance to be a part of it. It’s going to be a lot of fun, but right now the focus is on the games before then. But that’s definitely something that I’m really looking forward to.
“Our whole team went to the Titans home opener this year. Wasn’t good result for the Titans but it was a cool experience. Kind of thinking of that game, imagine what that would be like. I took so many videos of that day. It was packed and I can just imagine for our game. It’s going to be really cool.”
What did you think when you first saw the Smashville jersey?
“I think it’s unique. I love it. I like things outside of the box. I think it’s pretty cool and maybe it is a younger-generation thing, but I think it’s pretty sweet. I’d love to rock that. I like things that are different and that’s definitely something that’s different for sure.”
Do you have any favorite memories of playing outside?
“When I was younger for a couple years my dad built an outside rink in our backyard, but other than that I haven’t [played outdoors]. I actually went to the (2014) Winter Classic with Detroit [Red Wings] when they played the [Toronto] Maple Leafs (at Michigan Stadium). I remember it was freezing cold that day, like minus-40. I remember I couldn’t even watch the whole game, we had to leave early. We were freezing our pants off. I had a bunch of heat warmers in my clothes. It was fun, a good experience. I was 12, 13, roughly around that age. We had to be at a tournament and we had it the day before and we actually went to the game with a couple teammates and my parents as well. Too cold for me but hopefully Nashville is a little warmer.”