This week’s interview is with Hershey Bliss LW Lance Sweet.
SHL Digest: We’re here this week with a man in the thick of a playoff race, a member of the Love Line, Hershey’s Lance Sweet. Lance, thanks for speaking with us.
Lance Sweet: No problem. Always glad to talk hockey!
SHLD: All right, let’s talk hockey! Your Bliss have been out front in the East for the season, but lately you’ve fallen behind Washington. What do you think you need to do to catch back up with the Galaxy?
LS: That’s definitely the question of the moment for us right now. I think the key is going to be staying strong on both ends. Especially defensively; lately, we’ve been playing in our own end too much. We’ve got to be strong at denying entry and winning the puck battles in the neutral zone.
SHLD: Washington’s won the division title the last two seasons in a row. Does that put more pressure on you guys to get over the hump?
LS: I’d be lying if I said we didn’t think about it. Definitely the way last year ended, that really hurt. But the way we look at it, that gives us some extra fuel. This is our chance to prove ourselves. So I don’t think it’s pressure so much as inspiration.
SHLD: Washington certainly seems happy to fuel your rivalry. What did you think of their “Hershey-pocalypse” bit?
LS: It definitely got us fired up, for sure. I mean, it was a total waste of a lot of good chocolate.
SHLD: Do the Bliss plan to do anything to get back at them for it?
LS: As far as I’m concerned, the best revenge would be for us to beat them on the ice.
SHLD: Makes sense! Let’s talk about the Love Line a bit. To most SHL fans, when they think of the Bliss, they think you guys are the whole show. A couple of years ago, when you got hurt and missed significant time, it sank your team’s season. Is the Love Line still central to the team’s success?
LS: I don’t think so, and that’s a good thing. The book on us used to be “Stop the Love Line, and you can stop Hershey.” But now, if one of us went down – knock on wood – I think we’d be fine. Maybe not Justin [Valentine], but if I got hurt, I think we’d be fine. We’ve got so many other weapons: Kirks [Spencer Kirkpatrick], Horny [Russ Nahorniak], Connie [Henry Constantine], and more. We’re a more balanced team, and we’re a stronger team.
SHLD: Since we’re talking about the Love Line, one last question: are you guys still as popular with the female fans as you were in the beginning?
LS: [laughs] Uhh… well, to be honest, yeah. The ladies love us. Of course, it’s a little different now, ’cause Justin’s engaged and I’ve got a girlfriend. But Chris [Hart] is still single! We send all the girls his way now.
SHLD: Can he handle that?
LS: I haven’t heard him complain.
SHLD: That’s good. Well, thanks for a fun and interesting conversation, Lance! Good luck the rest of the season.
LS: Thanks! It’s been fun.