Here are additional quotes from Derek Stepan and Blake Geoffrion. Stepan left after his sophomore year and made the Rangers out of training camp, the only one of four Badgers to leave early in 2010 to do so. Geoffrion stayed all four years, playing about two-thirds of the season in the AHL before getting called up to the Predators. Both rookies have scored hat tricks this season.

Derek Stepan, F, New York Rangers (UW 2008-2010)

On making the NHL out of training camp

“It wasn’t so much that I got surprised by it or blown away by it, because I knew that I was playing some pretty good hockey and I was working real hard. I think it was something that I was kind of shocked by the fact that as a kid, you dream of playing in the NHL and now I was going to do that.”

On his first NHL game

“It was an exciting game, obviously I had some jitters, it was my first NHL game. I had a good amount of puck luck too, I seemed to find the puck coming to me a lot, which was something that I never expected.”

On making the decision

“The decision was very difficult because I have a lot of respect for Coach Eaves and the University of Wisconsin, and what they’ve done for me. I think, looking back, it was a very hard decision because I had buddies going back to school… it didn’t make the decision any easier.”

On the toughest part about adapting to the pros

“I definitely have to say the scheduling. You play 82 games versus 40. You have to keep your body in good shape and you have to be mentally sharp at all times. Throughout the season, when it gets difficult from 40 to 60, those games are tough to do, you have to stay mentally sharp.”

On changing the policy for when college players can leave

“They’ll definitely find a solution or some way to make both ends happy, but like I said, it’s such a hard rule to apply, or debate to have over the situation.

It’s hard to pick a side, even as a player who’s gone through it. My decision, I left early two years after I came in. I still can’t pick one side or the other, because I’m not sure what is best.”

On maturity (Stepan went to Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a boarding school in Fairbault, Minn. that has a nationally-renowned hockey program for his final two years of high school.)

“I had to live on my own when I was 16. Then I move onto college and I have to make bigger decisions on my own.

All the way through this process, at Shattuck I had great people helping me along the way, teaching me how to be not only a good hockey player, but a good off-ice person.

Not only in hockey, but in life, making sure you’re successful as a nice human being, an honest person.

Even at the university of Wisconsin, they strive to make sure you’re growing up, you’re doing things the right way, you’re not going through the process and not maturing.

So I give a lot of credit to the people I’ve worked with in the years past.”

Blake Geoffrion, F, Nashville Predators (UW 2006-2010)

On talking with former Badger Adam Burish’s (From March, 2010 interview)

“Burish always gives me – I used to talk to Adam a lot, all the time about different things and he used to always tell me as a joke, ‘If you want to fill my shoes, you’ve got to at least get to a national championship.’ That was in the back of my mind, I’ve always wanted that. Being an athlete and a competitor, I think you always want a championship.”

On leadership (Following quotes are from April, 2011 phone interview)

“To get that experience of being a captain and a leader. Having that experience to know what to do in different situations – and to have it for two years was huge. To get better at it my second year, I think I did a way better job my senior year than my first year, I think that experience is definitely going to pay off in the end.”

On time management

“I think it’s more just how pro hockey is. You’re by yourself a lot, because guys have their families or they have their children, girlfriends; everyone has their own life. To be able to – I wouldn’t say survive – but being able to take care of yourself and to know what to do and how to get properly prepared for games or… whatever. Time management’s a huge thing for pro hockey and I think I got that in college. I learned so much more my senior year, not only on the ice, but off it as well.”

His advice to guys trying to make the decision

“I think the best way is to talk to all kinds of people: people who have done it, who have stayed four years, have left early, people who have successfully left early or not successfully left early.”

On Stepan’s success

“I was surprised and very happy for Derek Stepan and the success that he’s had this year. A lot of pro teams will lie to kids to get them out of school, but the Rangers held their word to him and he made the team and he’s had a great year – he’s scored over 20 goals.”

On finally making the NHL

“It’s been a great, great experience so far. I’ve been given an opportunity here and I’m just trying to take advantage of it. I just hope that I can continue to play the way I have been and prove to this program that I’m ready to play in the NHL full-time.”

On the fact so many Badgers coached by Mike Eaves and his staff are succeeding in the pros

“It speaks volumes about what they do and what they’re all about, the people they recruit and the way they teach, teach work ethic and all that. ”