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Insider: on Timonen's character, Vermette's versatility and more

by Chicago Blackhawks / Chicago Blackhawks

Below is an excerpt from General Manager Stan Bowman's interview on the 2014-15 Blackhawks Insider podcast. Click the SoundCloud file below the hear the complete conversation.

On the character of new defenseman Kimmo Timonen:

We do pay attention to that. We uncovered that in our prep work leading up to that trade. We’ve been working on that for probably 3-4 weeks. That one didn’t just come together in a few days. So I had a lot of conversations with [Flyers GM] Ron Hextall leading in and hoping that this might work, even prior to [Patrick] Kane being injured… He’s universally respected around the league as being one of the guys you really cheer for. You hear from people who have been with him in Philadelphia and say he is the best teammate they've ever had in their whole career. Those are the things that people usually don’t exaggerate. He’s going to be a great addition from that perspective. He’s got a lot of experience, but he can still play the game. He’s got that ability to play the way that we do. He’s got composure with the puck, he can make the right decisions and he doesn’t panic. He understands how to defend. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he is very strong for his size and he’s been able to craft a really great career. There were a lot of factors that made that the right decision. Ron Hextall even mentioned it in the discussions following the trade that this guy is a great player; he is not just another guy. I think it would have been very difficult to acquire him had the situation been different. Maybe if he had been playing all year the price may have been really prohibitive. You still have to pay a price to get a player of that caliber, but the fact that we were able to make that work certainly is something we are excited about. I think it is going to give our team a boost down the stretch.

On the versatility of new center Antoine Vermette:

His all-around game was something that was appealing to us and as he gets familiar with his linemates and familiar with the way we play, he’s only going to improve. That was the attraction to him. He’s a player that the coach can have faith to put out there at any point even if you are trying to protect a lead or try to catch up. If you are in your own end or in the offensive zone, he can do a little bit of everything, and we like that versatility in his game. It’s something you certainly have to rely on in tight games down the stretch because you don’t want to have players that you’re a little bit hesitant to use and you are worried if they get stuck out there against the wrong group how it’s going to go. You don’t have to worry about that with him, and I think that’s one of the reasons he was our top target.

IceHogs head coach Ted Dent on the development of defenseman Ville Pokka in Rockford:

He’s coming along well for a 20 year-old, his first year in North America. We see the same thing we saw in November, obviously with some more games under his belt. He’s had more teaching, coaching, and video, but his preparation and commitment to being a pro hockey player is second to none. He carries himself really well, low maintenance, and you know what you are getting out of him everyday… He’s a guy we didn’t know much about, showed up right after training camp. You could see it from day one that he had a good head for the game and was very professional in his approach. I think he has a bright future.

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