Five For Sebastian Cossa
Sebastian Cossa is heading into a marathon shortened season that will see the Edmonton Oil Kings play 24 just games.
As the Oil Kings top tender, the 6-foot-6 goalie will be at the forefront of the expectations surrounding his team. He’s no stranger to them, though.
Cossa, No. 32 in FCHockey’s Winter ranking for the 2021 NHL Draft, had a record of 21-6-3 and put up a staggering .921 save percentage with a 2.23 goals-against average with the club in an abruptly halted 2019-20 season.
He’ll try to do it again in another shortened scenario.
Being thrust into a shortened season is a challenge for any hockey player. But for Cossa, he not only has to manage his team’s expectations of winning, but the expectations and pressure placed on him as one of the top goaltenders available during the 2021 draft.
“The scrutiny, I don’t really feel it anyway,” Cossa said. “To be honest, I don’t really try to focus on it too much. When I just play my game and people are going to watch that, and I’ll let my game do the speaking for itself.”
FCHockey recently caught up with goaltender.
FC: Is it hard for a goaltender to find his groove after such a long layoff? You look at the NHL and their return to play, and goals were up immediately and things of that sort. It’s as much of teams playing in front of the goaltender, but as a goalie, how long does it take for you to get into a rhythm and to feel like you’re 100 percent back?
SC: Yeah, it’s definitely tough. Even tracking the puck if you haven’t been on the ice for a while, you have to do hand-eye and stuff off the ice. It’s never going to be the same as getting shots, so yeah, it’s definitely tough. Yeah, I’d say probably a week after being off for a while. Mentally, I feel like I’m in a good state. I’m not really focused on that too much, just focused on the team and myself personally. Then physically, I had a great 11, 12 months off. You know I had a really good workout plan this summer, so physically, I am feeling great.
FC: What are the skills you focus on? Are there certain things you can replicate or certain areas of your game you can develop or develop further away from the rink?
SC: Me and my goalie coach Kurtis Mucha went over a lot of films this summer. Just over the last year, kind of looking for areas to improve, and just add to it this year to kind of make up for that.
FC: There was some hockey Canada participation for you. Not a lot of actual ice time for you to hone your craft. When you look back to the break, where do you feel like you’re able to pick up the momentum you had from last season and run forward in this one?
SC: Just kind of with my game when it was stopped last year, I had a lot of confidence. We were playing really well as a team, and I was playing well individually, so just kind of getting back to where I was year and building on that. This summer, I was doing really well, then gone to shut down again. So just kind of picking back up where I left off again here.
FC: How would you describe yourself as a goalie? Are there particular goaltenders in the NHL that you try to pick parts of their game out of to implement into your own?
SC: I’m a big goalie, 6-foot-6. I’m athletic in my crease. I’m positioned well. Good hands, can make an eight-to-10 foot pass really well. Talk to my defense a lot, kind of a third defenseman back there. Just a confident goalie.
FC: The two of you (Dylan Guenther) are highly rated prospects for the 2021 NHL draft. It hasn’t been the easiest sort of roller coaster for you guys, but at the same time, everybody’s in the same boat. How much do you bounce off of each other the ideas, the stresses, the complications, and just the general atmosphere around trying to navigate your way to the 2021 draft?
SC: We have quite a bit of guys we know who have gone through this experience, played with a couple of guys who went through the NHL draft before, so talking to Matthew Robertson or Jake Neighbours. Obviously, there quite a bit of people here who you could talk to about it if you have questions or anything like that.