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NHL Premiere Conference Call Transcript

by Staff Writer / St. Louis Blues
Blues coach Andy Murray and Swedish forward Patrik Berglund participated in conference call to discuss the upcoming trip to Stockholm, Sweden. The Blues will face off with the Detroit Red Wings in Stockholm on Oct. 2nd and 3rd to open the 2009-10 NHL season. 

You can also listen to the interviews here: Andy Murray | Patrik Berglund

DAVID KEON: Welcome to our call. With us we have St. Louis Blues head coach Andy Murray. Thanks to Andy for taking the time today to join us and answer your questions. The Blues visit Minnesota tomorrow, travel to Dallas on Saturday to meet the stars. Following that game, St. Louis will head to Sweden where they'll meet Linkopings in an exhibition game next Tuesday as they prepare for the 2009 NHL premier Stockholm.

They'll open the NHL regular season with back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings on October 2nd and 3rd. Thanks to Andy for joining us today to answer your questions.

Q. You've traveled the world many times in this game. I'm wondering where Stockholm ranks for you as far as favorite cities and why?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, first of all, it's a great city. Been there a number of times with the National Team. And probably in my coaching career, it was probably a game that I coached there it might be the highlight of my coaching career to be honest with you. We were there with our young Canadian National Team playing against the Swedish National Team, the Finns, the Czechs, the Russians in the Sweden Games tournament. And kind of hadn't done really well in that tournament previous years. The day of the game, the Swedish team president came up and said, 'We know you can't win tonight, but we need you to put on a good show. And we won 1-0,' so it was a great feeling. I like the city.

Q. With all of your international experience, it's almost maybe perhaps a little bit of an advantage for you. So many other staffs have been there a little bit. But in getting your team prepared, which I know you're very good at, fastidious about, what have you told them in advance to get them ready for this week-long experience?
ANDY MURRAY: We had an orientation session this morning. But really to talk about Sweden and the way we're going to do things, the way we're going to do things on the flight over, our plans when we get there. How the timetable's going to work for us. We're going to try to make sure we're as fit and ready as we can possibly be in the game against the Red Wings.
But we do have some experience now. Our strength and conditioning coach was the head coach of the Canadian National biathlon team. So he's made a tremendous number of trips over there. We're aware of how the body feels and the things that you need to do. So we're making some adjustments in their schedules to help facilitate that.

Q. I was talking to Patrik Berglund the other day and could sense a real excitement from him. Have you sensed that as well? The opportunity is so unique for him to play a game, an NHL game in Sweden. Have you gotten that sense from him that he's jumping out of his skates and ready to go?
ANDY MURRAY: I think it's exciting for him because we're doing two things at once. One, we're playing the Detroit Red Wings and half the Swedish National Team. He's excited obviously. He gets a chance to play in front of friends and family, and Alex Steen, it's the first opportunity for him to go over there and play with an NHL team.

I knew his dad, Tomas, when I was in Winnipeg. We played a game in Finland, and Tomas enjoyed that. Alex is the same way. So I think both guys are naturally excited for a number of reasons. They're going to be playing in their home country and playing against a lot of their fellow countrymen.

Q. The exhibition game is also unique because right before you start the season, you get to play a team from the Swedish Elite League. And I'm assuming it's on the big ice in a foreign arena. How do you approach that game in particular? Do you approach it as though it's, you know, the last tune-up I mean, how do you look at it because of the difference in ice? The difference in teams?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, really the difference in the ice is outside the dots. We can maybe use the Hoosiers example when the little - what is the high school that went to the Indiana championship? They measured the basket in the old little gym and went to the big building and measured the basket to the floor.

Really, this is a thing we used to tell our guys. In the international tournaments if you measure it from dot to dot it's the same.

We just have to play the game within the dots the same way. It's a great challenge for our guys. We decided to take the train up there. We've got a private little train that's going to take us. It's just part of the overall experience. It's fun to play these games. It's an international event. I'm sure the building will be packed. It's an opportunity for the Swedish fans to see an NHL team in their city, which normally wouldn't happen.

I think the whole experience is great. But we're going to be tested. Anybody that thinks that these games are easy games over there against these teams who know how to play on that ice, is wrong. It's going to be great competition.

Q. I'm wondering how you've seen your competition on the blue line at this camp and who you're most impressed with?
ANDY MURRAY: You know, we're faced with a real dilemma right now. We've got nine defensemen in camp. We're having a real tough time sorting it out. You know, as a coach you're impacting the lives of players when you make these decisions. So we're really trying to be careful with it, and trying to make sure that we create a fair scenario for all these players to be evaluated. I don't know if there's anybody that's really stood out. I think we like the group. I mean, obviously we brought Darryl Sydor in as a free agent, and he's performed very well. Young Alex Pietroangelo has come to camp and spent the whole summer here training. He's much stronger. Looks like he believes in his own game that much more.

So it's interesting. Junland I don't know how to say this, but he played in Linkopings for a couple of years before he came over. And when he left to go back home to play in front of his family, he's had a great training camp as well.

So it's tough right now. We're not sure if we're going to take eight defensemen or seven defensemen and 14 forwards. We've got some things to sort out.

Q. You actually just touched on Junland, and I was curious about him. Where his chances stood. You know, if you're going to take an extra guy to just to kind of have, if you were thinking about taking one, would he be that guy so he could play there?
ANDY MURRAY: You know, I think we would only take him if we felt he was going to play with us after the trip. We wouldn't just take a guy for the sake of this particular trip. We'd want to make sure that that guy was in our plans after we got back as well because we want to give these guys a shot of reality. And when we come back home, we have to play for real as well. I don't think we'd take him unless he was going to be on our roster.

Q. Last year I know that the Rangers took three goalies, would you be taking three goalies over as well?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, you're allowed to take 24 players for these games. The NHL can have a roster of 24, rather than 23, and three have to be goalies. So we'll be taking Ben Bishop with us.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Erik Johnson and his progress. Did you see any after effects of the knee surgery and injury, or is he looking just as you'd expect him to look?
ANDY MURRAY: To be honest with you, he looks the way we expected him to look for a player that hasn't played for a year. He's going to have some things that he has to work on. It's going to be some ups and downs. It's not just because of the injuries and the fact that he hasn't played for a year. He's a young guy that's starting to emerge as a player in the second half and his first year with us.

So we've got to be patient with him. He can shoot the puck through the end of the rink, there's no question about that. He sees the game offensively. We're just working on becoming an all around defenseman. He's got a huge upside, there's no question. But to be honest with you, he's not the finished product yet, but I don't know if he would have been anyways. I think it's just the time that he had off.

Q. You touched on a young player in Erik Johnson. What about just a few of the other young guys? I know you've got so many of them there. But how much of a noticeable difference has it been in this training camp versus last year for them in their maturity, their development, everything that you've seen?
ANDY MURRAY: I think they're all a little bit more relaxed. I think they realize that they're going to be here now. To be honest with you, I've kind of worked the last couple of days of making them a little bit uncomfortable. So we don't need anybody sprouting big heads around here or anything. I don't think they have at all. It's just it's normal when guys, you know realize that they're going to be here. It's a little bit different. But they're working hard. I mean, we take great pride as a team in being a hard-working group. Our practices are intense. Guys have worked extremely hard. When we rest, we rest. When we work, we work. And we've been pushing them really hard here.

DAVID KEON: We're joined by St. Louis forward, Patrik Berglund. Patrik is heading into his second NHL season with the Blues after posting 21 goals in 26 assists for 47 points in his rookie season. The Vasteras native will be playing against another hometown boy, Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, when the Blues take to the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm to meet the Red Wings next week. Thank you to Patrik for joining us to answer your questions.

Q. How many tickets have you tried to get together for this trip back?
PATRIK BERGLUND: I think I got 22 tickets and they were all for both games. So it's a couple of friends, but not that many.

Q. Are you hitting up your teammates for them or just going through the team?
PATRIK BERGLUND: No, I just bought all the tickets to be sure that I have tickets for all my family and friends back home.

Q. Just wondering if you and maybe Alex Steen, and Jonas Junland, if you can make the trip, do you have anything planned for your fellow teammates over there?
PATRIK BERGLUND: Not right now. Obviously, we're going to look into it, if we've got some spare time over there. But right now we're just focused to get over there, and get into the time difference and, you know, just prepare ourselves for the big games. You know, like I said, if we've got any time over there, we would love to do something for our teammates.

Q. What would you like to do with them?
PATRIK BERGLUND: I have no idea right now, you know. We'll have to take it day by day and see what comes up.

Q. Do you think Andy will allow you to have much fun over there?
PATRIK BERGLUND: I don't know, you know. We'll see.

Q. One thing T.J. told one of my colleagues over the summer, he said that Berglund's house is 45 minutes from Stockholm, so hopefully you'll have dinner over there. Any chance that you are going to be able to get back to Vasteras? Get home for a little bit?
PATRIK BERGLUND: You know what, right now, I have no idea. I just know that we've just received the schedule. It looks pretty busy every day. We're there for one purpose, and that is to steal the win from the Detroit Red Wings. That's what we're doing there. So if we've got some time over every day and if it's possible, of course, I'd love to bring T.J. home and let my mom cook for him for sure. But I don't think it's possible and we're there for one purpose.

Q. The other question I have is I'm going to be doing something on Erik Johnson, how has he been looking to you guys in practices and in these games? Does he look like a guy who sat out a year?
PATRIK BERGLUND: Well, no, not to me at all. He's been working real hard and he's been growing. He's gotten bigger, and he's gotten even better in my opinion. He's a great guy.
I came here early August and I stayed with him for a month. He showed great leadership right away. He's going to be a great player for us. He's got a big shot, great hockey sense, and he's a big guy. We're lucky to have him.

Q. One other thing that just came up and we just thought about it. You've done this travel back to Sweden many, many times now. How is the adjustment in the body and with the six-hour time difference? How long does it take for you to adjust?
PATRIK BERGLUND: It is a big adjustment, obviously. It depends, you know, what you want to do with it. If you want to get into the time difference right away you have to take care of what you eat and how you sleep, when you should sleep, you know. You know, the whole team and the organization is aware of the time difference. They're going to do everything they can to help us get into the time difference. It's tough, but I know we will get through it fast so we're ready for the games.

Q. Your Coach, Andy Murray, mentioned that there is a noticeable difference in confidence for all the young players coming in. Coming from one of the young players, how much more confident are you? And how did you, if you did at all after having a full year in the NHL, did you train change your training in the off-season to get you where you're at right now?
PATRIK BERGLUND: Obviously, I think we all are a little more confident. We all know that, you know, this is the difference. You have to play good all the time. You can't think back last year and just skating around and think everything is good. You need to work hard every day and show the organization and your teammates that you want to be a part of this team and you want to help this team and be as good as you can. So is it a lot comfortable? No, I don't think so. Of the good thing is we know all the guys now, and that way we'll feel comfortable, but other than that we need to work even harder this year and keep going.

Q. From your experience playing in the league last year, did you change, or how did you change your training this off?season to help you better prepare for this year?
PATRIK BERGLUND: I kind of stick to the same program as last year, with the boost program. And work through it every day. Get stronger, get faster, get bigger. So far I've been doing progress, and hopefully I can, you know, stay on the same weight, and keep going. Work hard during the whole season with our strength coach and just try to stay in shape.
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