August 21, 2011

From NEHJ: Hanging Out With Mike Mottau

by Jesse Connolly

Islanders defenseman Mike Mottau. (Getty)

Which sports teams did you grow up rooting for?
“Definitely the Bruins. Being in Boston, there was the Red Sox, the Patriots were down a little bit but I still watched them once they got Drew Bledsoe. The Celtics, I went to a couple games when Larry Bird was playing and I always like watching him. I never liked the Lakers.”

What kind of jobs did you have before you became a pro hockey player?
“I worked for my father in construction, just a small outfit that did residential stuff. I was the gopher, the guy who cleaned up and had to lug the shingles around. Then I spent one summer as a lifeguard and then I did a little bit of bouncing in college, just working at restaurants and bars.”

What was the first car that you owned?
“My first one was a 1987 Chevy Cavalier. It was a Z24, so it had a little bit of juice.”

What was your “welcome to the NHL” moment?
“In my first year full-time with the Devils, I matched up against Alex Ovechkin and I was playing the right side and he was playing the left wing as a righty. My partner, Colin White, and I shut him down, and it gave me a lot of confidence going forward from there.”

What do you have to bring with you on the road?
“Not much. A toothbrush and maybe a change of underwear. I’m a very light packer. You can ask a bunch of my teammates, and they’ll agree.”

What do you like to do during the offseason?
“I like to spend time with the family. I have four kids, and my wife and kids are very important. During the year, you don’t get to give them the time they deserve. But during the offseason, priorities are to work out and spend time with the family. For fun, it’s golf and getting out onto the water. I’ll either go to the beach or out on a boat.”

If there was a movie made about your life, which actor would you want to see play you? Why?
“I really enjoy Edward Norton. The reason why is he’s very versatile. Not that my life is really exciting, but I think he could definitely do a good job of making it look better than it really was.”

What’s the best nickname anyone has ever given you?
“‘The Butcher.’ I grew out my mustache, and we had a big Wiffle ball tournament and my buddy said I looked like the Butcher from the movie ‘Gangs of New York.’”


TV show: “Lost”
Vacation spot: “Either Bermuda or anywhere with tropical island weather.”
Home-cooked meal: “Growing up, my mother’s chicken parm. My wife makes a delicious raspberry chicken.”
Movie: “I have a top five, but if I had to pick one, I’d go with “The Fugitive,” because whenever it’s on, I have to watch it.”
NHL player growing up: Ray Bourque and Brian Leetch
Late-night TV host: “Chelsea Handler is pretty funny, but I’d have to go with Conan.”
Athlete outside of hockey: Dustin Pedroia
Band: Pearl Jam
Restaurant: The L Street diner in South Boston, Mass.

Skates: Bauer
Gloves: Warrior
Stick: Warrior
Helmet: CCM

This article originally appeared in the August 2011 issue of New England Hockey Journal.