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How many different ways could a player describe the most improbable and inconceivable moment of their career? Jack Hughes has no shortage of words: Amused. Anxious. Astonished. Confused. Elated. Hesitant. Insecure. Inspired. Perplexed. Powerless. Scared. Shocked. Surprised. Suspicious. Threatened. Unlikely. Unprepared. Wistful. 

 

“The coaching staff, the GM, the team owner, and even I thought I would need to add more weight to my 80 kg frame and work on my defensive game before I would be called up, definitely. You know, when I see a guy like Mikhail Grigorienko, or Lucas Wallmark, or Logan O’Connor… when I watch those guys play, I’m just so impressed with their defensiveness and how they play the game - I can’t wait for the moment when I play as good as they do in the defensive end,” Jack admitted, before continuing. “A guy like Ryan Reaves and his defensive prowess is unquestionably where I would like to be before this season ends.”

 

“When I see how intensely a player like Patrick Marleau, Tyler Ennis, or even Derek Grant play the game, it really inspires me to strive to be at their level. And a guy like Mathieu Perrault is like, twice as intense as me, and hopefully playing with him on my team will help me to improve.” 

 

“I’ve been hitting the gym almost as often as Otto Leskinen and Andreas Johnsson, and really trying to beef my strength up to their level. Those guys are able to do two, almost three pulls ups in a week, and I know that, if I ever wanted to give up video games, I could try to almost match half of what they do.” 

 

“It’s a big weight off of my shoulders to know that I don’t need to prove my worth or pull my weight to belong here, and that, no matter my impact on (or detriment to) my team’s performance, I’m guaranteed to be a fixture as this team’s number one centre position on this roster for the rest of my career. Playing top line minutes against McDavid, Mackinnon, Barkov, Bergeron, Draisaitl, Matthews, Eichel, Crosby… this is where I belong. Hopefully the Knights’ management gets the message and understands who’s calling the shots here, and stops raising a fuss every time someone tells them how to run their team.” 

 

“Mr. Commission, I just want you to know how grateful I am that you promoted me to this position. I know that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, so thank-you.”