Nate Schmidt remembers the warning from teammates — watch out for No. 61.
Then a young defenceman still learning the nuances of the NHL with the Washington Capitals, Schmidt knew to be careful around noted puck thieves like Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk.
He didn't expect veteran blue-liners Mike Green, John Carlson and Karl Alzner to offer extra words of caution whenever they faced the Mark Stone and the Ottawa Senators.
"'You've got to always know where he is,"' Schmidt recalled being told about the winger. "He's just got that type of presence. To have that kind of reputation already — to make that impression on guys — was pretty huge."
The pair now find themselves on the same side with the Vegas Golden Knights after Stone was dealt to Sin City prior to last season's trade deadline as part of the roster tear-down in the nation's capital.
Schmidt can't remember a specific play where Stone stripped him of the puck as an opponent, but he's certain it happened.
"Thanks for bringing that up," he joked this week. "[Stone] just sees things differently than other players — I played with Nicklas Backstrom in Washington — I wish I could go in their minds for a bit.
"But I don't know if I could handle it longer than that."