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Q&A with New Blue Jackets Center Antoine Vermette

by Chuck Massarolo / Columbus Blue Jackets

Antoine Vermette Question and Answer

Q: I'm curious to see your response to the trade. I'm sure you’ve heard rumors that a trade was possible, did you have any idea that it was going to go down today?
A:
I wasn't quite sure to be honest. If you look back a couple of years my name has been named a couple times through the years and you never know what to expect when it comes down to it. I was aware that my name was out there, but I didn't know if it would happen or not. Through the years, I’ve learned not to think about it and focus on whatever I could focus on, which is playing and put that aside and now it happened. It didn't surprise me because my name was out there but at the same time it's a shock a little bit. There is two parts of trading. There is one part where you see your friends that you grew up in the organization with and the people that you work with and say hi to them. It's a little awkward, but when you look at it the other way, you guys have a good team and I'm very proud to join a team where I can have a good playoff spot right now. That's pretty exciting and you guys have a couple good players and I'm looking forward to the new challenge.


Q:
What are your thoughts on the team being in the playoff hunt and their hoping that you are the piece that helps put them over the top?
A:
I hope I can help the team, no doubt about that. I'm pretty excited about the playoff situation. To be honest I was looking at it and talking with my girlfriend and I've never missed the playoffs in a year so I don’t know if it is a good sign having me come in. I hope that I can be a lucky charm or something and keep my streak alive, but I am definitely excited and looking forward to meeting the guys and getting a few wins to make a good push.


Q:
What are your thoughts on the possibility of playing with a guy like Rick Nash and how you see that fitting?
A:
You can't feel bad about that. He's a great player. He’s very gifted and very talented. Obviously having the possibility of playing center, which is my natural position it's hard to ask more than that. So I'm happy about that.


Q:
Have they told you that you are going to be playing center now?
A:
I think that's what I've been understanding, that I'm probably going to play in the middle.


Q:
Could you elaborate on that. I know you've played on the wing, I think you were mostly on the left wing in Ottawa. What is it about the center position that is more comfortable for you and why weren't you playing center there?
A:
That's a good question. First of all I have to say center is my natural position. I always played center until I played here in Ottawa. It's probably a process with Ottawa. I made the roster as a left winger and I learned how to play the wing and grew up with the organization in that position. I was taking some face-offs. I was playing with Chris Kelly and he is a centerman/left winger as well and we kind of feed off each other. I don't know why I didn’t play more center here, but I’ll put that behind me and kind of move forward now.


Q:
As you look at the Blue Jackets what are your initial thoughts?
A:
I see a lot of young guys with some excitement. I've seen some highlights and the fans cheering and all excited. I think it is a good sign. I’m very happy to be a part of it right now. It's a good challenge and to look at the roster - young guys, a lot of energy. When you come into Columbus you know they are going to be well structured with good coaching. You have to work hard. They have some good players and they are young. So it's all good points.


Q:
What do you know about Hitchcock and the style of play? How do you think you'll fit in regards to that?
A:
That's a good question. I haven't spoken with him. What I've seen from the outside he's a good coach. He's known to be a well structured coach. That's what you see when you play Columbus. It's tough to create your own chances. They are pretty good defensively in structure and at the same time provide good fore checking. I don't know how I'm going to fit it, but I'm looking forward to working with the group of guys and the system as well.


Q:
Part of being traded is a little bit of a shock, but as you look at this I detect that you are pretty excited to?
A:
Yeah, that's the nature of emotion, no doubt about that. From the outside, we are not a machine that plays hockey, we have emotion, we have friends, but at the same time you want to reach your full potential and to be put into a position to come into a team where you can have success as a team and as an individual, yeah I'm excited in that way.


Q:
How did you learn about the deal today?
A:
I was having treatment in the medical room and I kept hearing my name, not that it is something I'm not used to at this time of year as I have heard my name on TV quite a bit the last couple of years, but I heard my name and it sounded like they kept saying my name quite a bit. I looked up and asked 'did I just get dealt?' Nobody was talking in the room so I knew something as everybody was looking at me and I got that feeling in the room and I knew something was done. Then I talked with Bryan (Murray). But that's the way I learned it. The TV here in Canada is on top of everything, they have an all day show just for trade (deadline) so I saw it on the TV.


Q:
For people who might not be familiar with you how would you describe what kind of player you are and what you’re best at?
A:
I'm a forward where I can bring some speed to the team. I can bring some offense. I like to think I'm a two-way guy. I can produce, I can kill penalties quite a bit, I can play power play. I think I like to say I'm a versatile player, I play wing and I play center. But I think my best asset could be my speed and skating ability.


Q:
Your minutes are almost assured to go up now. With so much talent at Ottawa you have been second or sometimes the third liner. You are a top six forward here. Can you just speak to the excitement of getting big minutes and perhaps where production might go with the additional minutes?
A:
That's very exciting. I'm very happy to be in that position. Through your career, you want to optimize and reach your full potential. This situation coming up for me is good. You look at the roster and there is some good players to play with and we're talking about a guy like Nash that's a really productive player and I'm looking forward and very excited. My minutes will probably go up as well and it's just going to be good.


Q:
Do you know anybody in the room currently?
A:
I played for the last part of the year (last year) with (Mike) Commodore. He came in before the trade deadline last year.


Q:
Do you know (Derick) Brassard at all?
A:
I actually met him once and talked to him a little bit. I know (Alexandre) Picard, I worked out in the same building in the summer time.


Q:
You said you haven't talked to Hitch yet, have you talked to Howson?
A:
I talked with him briefly, right after the trade happened. He just wanted to welcome me to Columbus and it was a very brief talk. He was telling me that he was happy to have me and he was excited to make that trade. He is looking forward to having me play. The way I figured it out, it seemed like I am going to play quite a bit and probably at the center. I am looking forward to a further discussion and meeting Hitch as well as Scott.


Q:
When are you expecting to join the team in Nashville?
A:
That's a really good question. I think the team is working on it right now as far as the Visa and paper work. I have talked with Kelley (Walton) over there and she is working very hard. On my side, I just have to eventually pack because I've been on the phone the whole day. Hopefully it will work out that way and I can join the boys in Nashville tomorrow, but we'll see.


Q:
Is it a matter that you need to get a work Visa for the U.S.?
A:
Yeah.


Q:
Is that a process that can take days?
A:
I don't know. She seems it can be done. Usually it's not that long, it could be a couple days or tomorrow morning. She said they really don’t know. But I don’t think it'll be that long anyway.


Q:
You said you were at the medical table. Was it routine treatment?
A:
Yeah nothing to be worried about, I'm fine.

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