“I felt more comfortable and I could play my game more. That makes things a lot easier.”
“Man we were all just going. Those two guys (Avery and Fedotenko) are puck-getters, and they both can score goals too. We just seemed to click. I don’t know how to explain it. But we played well tonight.”
On his first goal:
“It’s like getting the monkey off the back. I was kind of gripping the stick a little tight, so it felt good to finally tap one in.”
On his mindset:
“My thought process is still to just play, and play hockey and compete for 60 minutes. That’s just the way I’m going to keep it, and I’m not going to change the way I’m thinking.”
Is that hard?
“For sure, it’s hard. It’s really hard. You go to bed at night and you’re doing numbers in your head, you’re doing lines in your head. It’s tough. But the best way to handle it is to just not think about it.”
On the difference between this game and the one in Detroit. (you can always count on him for an honest assessment):
“The biggest reason is that they were missing the top guys. When you watch that game (Sunday), to see their first line, they’re really scary. They’re really good. They were not playing tonight, so it’s a big difference to not play against those guys, I must say. But at the same time, we did a great job. We played really solid defensively, and then offensively we created a lot of chances.
“It’s fun to see. A lot of guys with a lot of skill on this team. Definitely more guys that can do it for us, so that’s a good feeling.”
“He plays very mature and solid. Sometimes when you’re young and you come into (the league) you don’t think and you just play. You just focus on doing everything right. I know when I played my first year, you’re so focused … they always say the second year’s tougher, because you start thinking.”
“I think everybody’s feeling good about where we are right now. We’re getting close.”
On having Biron around:
“What I feel is that I have to play really well to earn my minutes. I want to play, but to have Marty behind me there, he’s a great goalie and if I don’t play well enough he’ll step in. Hopefully that competition—it’s a support, but it’s also a competition, so we’ll push each other to play better.
“I’m not going to focus on a number here, how many I should play. We’ll see in the end how many it will be. But I feel already, just knowing that he’s here and knowing I have to be on my toes to get my minutes.”
I got a chance to speak a bit with Pavel Valentenko, in a group.
He’s a character. He has a bit of a sore throat or something, so he sounds like Don Vito Corleone at the moment. He likes to laugh. He thinks his nose is broken from that high stick in the first period. He smiled that “it’s not a problem.”
He likes to talk about Darius Kasparaitis.
He admitted to being nervous at the start of the game. Somebody asked him if it helps to hit somebody to get the nerves out, and he smiled, “That is my favorite.”