As I said, had tech difficulties with my piece of garbage Mac laptop.
So I’m posting this as I type it. OK? No? Too bad.
“I don’t think it’s all digested just yet. It’s been a bit crazy with everything happening and me coming down here (from Toronto). But I’m excited. I’m excited to meet all the staff here and all the people and get to know some of the players and just kind of look forward to training camp.”
“I think the main thing was looking at the team and looking at what they’ve done over the last couple of years. It’s something I’d love to be part of and I’d love to try to help them out. I think the big market is just a bonus that comes along with it. I said earlier that growing up in and around Toronto, this is kind of what I’m used to for hockey and it was a bit of a change playing in Columbus. After being there for 9-10 years, I think I’m looking forward to seeing all of this.”
“I think I’ll embrace it great. I think in 2010 I had the most pressure on me ever, being in the Olympics in our home country and I feel like hockey is truly a passion here and they expect the same, of a championship caliber team. And I think they’ve done everything they can as an organization to put that together. I think pressure’s a great thing if you use it in the right way.”
Disappointed that it never worked out that way in Columbus?
“Yeah, I definitely would have hoped to win there a lot more and play than four playoff games in a nine-year career. But the reality is it didn’t happen and the plan didn’t pan out that I wanted it to. I think I look at the positive and for me to end up in New York, one of the most historic organizations, and I think every kid dreams of playing for that Original Six and that big-time city. I don’t think there’s a better place than here for me.”
On requesting to be traded:
“Yeah, I went in about halfway through the season and when we did our long-term deal he told me his plan. Then it just didn’t seem to be working. And I went in just before the deadline and asked him what his plan was and I heard from their staff that it was a rebuild. There was another rebuild in place, and I told them there’s no better place to start the rebuild than getting some assets for me. And he said, ‘If that’s what you think, that’s what we’ll do.’ And that’s how it all came down.”
I asked him if he was disappointed that it didn’t happen at the deadline in February:
“Yeah, for sure. I was disappointed. But I was the captain of an NHL hockey team and I was a professional and I think the biggest thing was the players and the fans and my teammates respected my decision and stood behind me and we finished the season off pretty well.”
Was the process frustrating?
“I don’t think so. You look at huge deals and sometimes they get done in a day and sometimes it takes months. So this is, I think it’s a pretty big trade for both organizations and it had to get done right. I respect that.”
Concerned about it dragging:
“I always wanted it to get done but I wanted to get it done in the right way and I wanted to play somewhere where I wanted to be, and this was my No. 1 priority, was to be here. I’m just happy it worked out and if I had to wait all summer to be here, then I would have.”
On having the no-trade clause and concern over going to a team that might become significantly weaker by trading for him:
“I just think I put my time in and got the contract that I did and I felt like I wanted to go to a team that could compete for a great record and to be one of the best teams in the league and that’s the situation I wanted to put myself in.”
Was he asked to add teams to the list?
“Most of the stuff was done through my agent, so you’d have to ask Scott (Howson) or one of them to comment on that.”
I asked him why he felt he was a good fit with this team and the way it plays:
“Yeah, I think it’s a big fast team with some of the wingers, guys like Rupp and Boyle. They can kind of do it all and play fast and I think I kind of fit in to that. It’s going to be fun playing in the East as well, I think, with all the rivalries and the close games. But like I’ve said before, any role they’ll ask me to play and want me to play, I’ll try to do my best at that.”
On the CBA talks:
“Someone asked me that last night, and I was just like, ‘Won’t you guys just let me take in this trade? I can’t think of that too.’ (he laughed). You know what, it’s a tough way to be in right now, but all my focus right now is here and on this trade and I’m sure in the next few weeks I’ll start thinking about that a lot more because it is a serious and tough situation.”
On what guys have reached out to him:
“A lot of the guys have. Lundqvist has, and Callahan and Staal, and obviously I’ve known Richie (Richards) for a while. So everyone’s been so helpful from a players’ standpoint, but even more so from the staff. From everything I’ve seen it’s a first-class organization and I’m amazed by it. It’s been really good so far.”
On where he’ll live:
“I just flew in this morning and I never really spent much time in the city, so I’m going to talk to a lot of the guys and figure out what they think the best setup is and go from there.”
Has he talked to Vinny Prospal about playing for John Tortorella?:
“Yeah, I have actually. Vinny just texted me about an hour ago and I talked to him before that when we were in Columbus training together. And he loved it here. He said it was one of the best parts of his career, was playing here. And he loves Torts. From my understanding he’s very demanding and a tough guy to play for and he really preaches hard work. That’s what you expect from a coach. That’s what you want.”
On how often he’s heard about the first days of a Tortorella training camp (no pucks, just brutal conditioning):
“Yeah, I’ve heard that a couple of times now, so I’ll definitely be practicing that. But I think it’s important. Each coach and every team kind of has their own little thing for training camp and I think this is great. I think guys gotta be in top shape if they want to play at the top level and be the best.”
Has he spoken to Tortorella?
“I have. He called me right after when the deal went down … I thought it was great. He seemed really intense but he seemed really helpful. He told me if I need anything or had any questions to make sure I call him—an open-door policy. So it was pretty impressive.”
Prefer right wing or left wing:
“I like both for different reasons. Left, I like coming out of my own end with my stick protecting me, and right, I like having my stick in the middle to shoot and protect the puck. So, I think over my career I’ve been bounced back and forth so many times that it really doesn’t matter.”
On having the opportunity to play with a top center like Richards:
“It’s exciting. Obviously over the years in Columbus we’ve tried different combinations and sometimes it worked. There were some good seasons in there personally and a couple good ones where we almost been pretty close to making the playoffs. But this is a world-class team and (there are some) top centermen on any team in the league, so it’s exciting.”
On playing with Richards and Gaborik:
“It’s very exciting. It will be fun to get into training camp and see what combination Torts goes with. But, when I looked at the roster, it’s amazing. You could fit anyone in at any spot and it’ll be fun to play with them.”
AP photo, above.