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Fan Shootout: James Sheppard

James Sheppard had four goals and 19 points in his rookie season with the Wild. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

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James Sheppard had four goals and 19 points in his rookie season with the Wild. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

What do you do to work on your stickhandling?
- Brendan Cruz, Nepean, Ont.

To warm up, stickhandle really wide in a figure-eight and go as far as you can on your forehand, then switch to your backhand and do the same.

What has been the biggest difference for you since moving up from junior?
- Louis-Emmanuel Warnock, Chelsea, Que.

Your time with the puck decreases dramatically. It’s not just your speed, but your decision-making has to be quicker.

What was your favorite part of playing in Cape Breton?
- Shamus MacDougall, Sydney, N.S.

I’d say the team itself. We had a great bunch of guys, close as a family. I still talk to almost everyone on that team.

When you are getting ready for a game, what do you guys usually do as a pre-game routine?
- Mark Perry, Sydney Mines, N.S.

I eat, nap, hang around in sweatpants all day and relax, then get myself mentally prepared for the night ahead.

Is there any one player in particular who has helped you along the way in both junior and pro?
- Neal MacDonald, Glace Bay, N.S.

In junior, my first captain was Guillaume Demers and my second captain was Philippe Bertrand. I learned a lot about being a leader from those guys. Some things they taught me I didn’t even realize until I got to the NHL.

In the NHL, I’d have to say my first billet, Darby Hendrickson, and Sean Hill and Keith Carney made it easy in the dressing room…I sat beside Mikko Koivu last year and he always gave me tips and Wes Walz taught me a lot on and off the ice.

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