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Joe Sakic Press Conference Quotes: Feb. 28

by Colorado Avalanche / Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche executive vice president/general manager Joe Sakic spoke to the Denver media Saturday prior to the game against the Minnesota Wild. He gave his thoughts on Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline and the adversity the Avs have faced this season as they continue to fight for a playoff spot.

On Team's Mindset As The Trade Deadline Approaches:

“We’re in the thick of things right now. Obviously, I’ve had conversations with different teams. We’ve had teams inquire about some of our guys. I’m not in a position, we’re not going to go out and try to inquire somebody for a run. I don’t think we’re in a position to give up draft picks or prospects just to try to make room this year. The last month or so, I’ve been very happy with the way the guys have been playing, especially our young core. They had their tough start, but I’m pretty proud of the way they really worked and not quit and not show their frustration. Which going through it as a young player, you know when things aren’t going in. For someone who is here to put the puck in the net, it can be frustrating. I know that first hand. But with that being said, the last month or so I’ve been very proud of the way they’ve handled themselves and worked through it.”

On The Team's Activity Around The Trade Deadline:

“Well again, we’re not going to try to inquire anybody, unless it’s a hockey trade. A trade that’s going to improve us now and long-term. We’re not going to look to do anything to add on a short term basis this year.”

On His Plans For Colorado C Ryan O'Reilly:

“Am I trading Ryan? I don’t want to trade Ryan, no. The plan right now is, obviously, never say never. I don’t believe anyone is untouchable. We’re not in a position to say we have one untouchable. If there’s a deal that’s going to improve our organization, we would look to do something. With that being said, I don’t want to trade any of our core. With Ryan, I’m anticipating trying to re-sign him this summer. He has another year left, and we’ll see where that goes.”

On Having A Guy Like O'Reilly Long Term:

“Absolutely. He’s one of our core players. We’ll try to get that done in the offseason and with that being said, it is a situation where we’re not going to want those distractions heading into next year. We’ll try to re-sign him in the offseason.”

On Feeling Like The Team Took A Step Back This Season After The Success Of Last Year:

“I guess you could say it’s a step back, but long term I don’t think it’s a step back. I think last year everything went right. We found ways to win hockey games on a regular basis, and we didn’t face any adversity last year right until the end of the year. This year, we’re cognizant that we might’ve had a tougher start than what we were expecting. When you see how frustrated the guys were at the start of the year, they’re expecting to make the next step but it was a lot harder than we thought. So to me, it’s growing pains and it’s something, especially our core guys who are fairly young, had to go through and have gone through this year. But with that being said, they never quit. They come to play every night, and I really feel the last three or four games you see them playing with that excitement. They were playing with last year and not letting the frustration get to them which is an important thing and a process of growing.”

On This Team Possibly Getting A Playoff Spot This Year:

“Well, we have to do the math and we know we have to make a huge run. Obviously, tonight is a huge game. You have the old cliché, four-point game, but it is a four-point game. I just love the fact that guys haven’t quit. We know it’s an uphill battle, and there are a few teams we have to catch. I know the guys in the dressing room believe, and that’s the most important thing. The only way you can accomplish that is if you believe in each other and the guys are doing that.”

On Being In Contact With O'Reilly And His Agent And Re-Signing Him In The Summer:

“I have not. First of all, you can’t do anything until July 1 anyways. I know Ryan likes it here and wants to be here, and we want him here. So hopefully something will get done.”

On The Young Core Players Allowing Him To Be Patient Prior To The Deadline:

“Absolutely. We’re not in panic mode. We know our guys are learning and going through a process. I know that first hand because when I was in Quebec we made the playoffs, we had 104 points one year. And shame on us, but we missed the playoffs the next year. For me personally, that was the toughest year of my time in Quebec. It was tougher than when I started when we finished dead last three years in a row, three first overall picks in a row. Nothing was more frustrating than that year, and we learned the hard way. But sometimes you have to go through that to learn as a young group and to learn what it takes to get to that next level. Are we patient because the core is fairly young? We have to be patient, and we believe in those guys.”

On Listening To Offers That Could Help Other Teams In Their Runs:

“Yeah, for sure. We’re listening to offers and I know Greg (Sherman), Patrick (Roy) and I, and our pro guys who are here, for sure I’m going to listen. If it’s something that’s going to help us down the line, we’re going to have to think very hard on what we want to do and if we want to do something. I’ve been in contact with a lot of GM’s and names have come up, there have been a lot of inquiries. We’re going through the process and if something makes sense, and it’s going to help us either now or long term, then we’ll be serious about it.”

On The Play Of Prospects Joey Hishon And Duncan Siemens:

“Well Siemens is hurt, and I think he’s almost back. Hishon has played much better as of late.”

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