On getting Gaborik back:
“I think he can make a big offensive play. Like I said the other night, we’re a play, maybe a defensive play, an offensive play, a big play from winning a game for us. We didn’t get it done. I think Gabby’s going to help us in that area. I think he’s a true talent. I like the way the team is playing, I think we’re grinding, I think we’re doing a lot of good things that way. But you also need to maybe get a skillful goal along the way. He can bring that. He can make a play to make someone else better.
“And just to get some juice, to get him back in the room. He’s well liked, he’s well respected. I think that’s very important. … That’s probably one of the more important things, before he even steps on the ice, is he’ll add a little juice to the room.”
“He’s going to start with Eric and Frolov.”
“I just think he’s a likeable guy. He was a very important part to us as far as the amount of goals and offense he brought to us. I think he can be a game-breaker at a key time. I think teams need that. As you go through a long season you need that type of special play that you can’t coach, that you can’t teach, that’s just within you. I think his teammates see that in him.
“But I just think he’s well-liked and well-respected. He’s a different guy as far as a top player. I think there are some top players in the league but they’re (carcillo-y) guys. I think Gabby’s a good man. He’s very well respected in the room and they’re just happy to have him back, and I think that’s important for a team.”
On why he’s not going back to what worked with Fedotenko-Stepan-Avery.
“It could happen. There’s a couple of combinations that I may go to. But there’s balance I’m looking for. I don’t want to get into it too deep. But it’s a valid question. It may even be a Stepan-Gaborik-Frolov. They had some good times. We’ll see how it goes.”
On limits on Gaborik:
“No, I think he’s in shape. As far as situations, power play time, and all that, that will come into play. But I’m certainly not going in—and I don’t—an elite athlete like that, as long as he can skate, that’s not a concern. That’s never worried me, as far as going, ‘OK, I’ve just got to get him 10-12 minutes; it’s his first game.’ I just don’t buy it. I think the situation that he’s in, how the game is played, and what he’s going through during the game will dictate as far as what’s going to happen with his ice time.”
“He came in and said he wants to play. Remember last year, he came in (from the late-season groin injury) and it was a little bit of a struggle for him getting involved. I don’t think he was sure at that time. I think he’s sure. And that’s what he expressed to me. It was a very short conversation.”
On what he’d seen of Christensen playing with Gaborik last year.
“He can make a play. And with Gabby, I think Gabby can be a one-on-one player and he can be a give-and-go player. He needs someone at times so he can give-and-go. He can do it on his own at certain times. It’s easy for me, for any coach, to say, ‘That’s it, I’m done with Erik.’ And sometimes I do, sometimes I bench him, sometimes you move by him for a couple of periods. Same thing for Frolov. But it’s also our responsibility as an organization. This is our team and we have to figure out a way, and it’s a coach’s responsibility, to get some people going and have them find their way. I’m giving Erik another chance there. We’ll see how it goes. I’m not locked into it. I have a lot of different thoughts in my head, but we’ll see where it goes.
“He’s a pretty good player when he plays. He’s a pretty good player. And I hope he plays.”
On Eminger moving up to the top four on defense:
“This is our team. Would we like to have six Marc Staals? But it just doesn’t happen that way. Emmy has improved. He’s added some bite to our blue line, and he’s going to play. That’s what you do.
“This (Rozsival injury) is a pretty big one for us, quite frankly. I think you guys sometimes … well, that’s not for me to say. But I just think he’s really improved from the second half of last year and he is counted on for a lot of things or this hockey club. So it’s a big hole to fill. You ask me that two years ago, I wouldn’t have said it. But he has improved as a player.
“But this gives a guy an opportunity. And as we’ve gone through some of these injuries, I think it’s been good for our club, for people to grab some opportunity, and especially for our kids (to) develop very quickly in situations that we probably wouldn’t have had them in.”
On Gilroy playing on the power play.
“He’ll get some time there. You may even see Emmy get some time on the power play there. We want to try to get Marc involved in it, too, but sometimes when you’re on the power play and your best defenseman, your shutdown defenseman, is on it, you know who they’re coming back with the next shift after your power play’s up. That’s something we’re concerned about.”