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General Manager Don Sweeney Transcript From Day 1 of Training Camp

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS TRAINING CAMP QUOTES

Thursday, September 17 2015
 
BOSTON BRUINS GENERAL MANAGER DON SWEENEY
On what his message is to all new players entering camp…
Well the message is about opportunity. The expectations are there for guys to step forward and grab hold of something. You’re not going to be given anything, I said this time and time again: you’re going to have a hard time pushing a veteran and an established player in the National Hockey League. Look at the number of players that are accepting try out, you know, agreements across the league. Those guys want that job. As a young player you have to recognize that, you have to prepare accordingly and go put your best foot forward. We have spots, you know, and players will step forward to take them if they’re ready, to help our team.
 
On what his take was on how the players did in physicals and off ice testing…
Really positive today. To watch our group come in very, very eager. New guys sort of must have talked shop with Whitey [John Whitesides] regularly because they were not caught off guard as well. And in true leadership fashion our core group was very prepared and dialed in today to lead that charge and it’s great to see.
 
On if everybody is 100% ready to play and not limited in any way…
The only issue we have I think is Dennis Seidenberg will not likely skate for the next few days. He reported to our trainers on Monday with an upper body injury from training and our doctors have chosen to take a conservative approach and reevaluate day-to-day.
 
On if Seidenberg will be ready for the start of the season…
They’re just going to evaluate day-to-day I think as I said right now they’re just being conservative about it being so far away from the opener.
 
On if they view Loui Eriksson as a potential left winger…
Well I mean we’re excited with Loui having the versatility that he does, he’s played both positions. You know clearly the production was back for him last year and we need to have that; eventually we’ll need to put him in situations with other guys and we’re going to play around with the combination piece of that. I think Jimmy Hayes will play both sides so we’re going to experiment little bit with guys in different positions.
 
On having seven goalies at Training Camp…
Well we have three groups so therefore you probably need six at that point in time so we’re one above. If somebody got hurt along the way I think that has us covered there for the first few days. You know, there’s a couple guys there’s younger players that I think it’s really important for them to come in and get a taste of what main camp is like and get that experience, and then we’ll probably make some, you know, decisions to allow those guys to go back to get acclimated with their own teams. But the other guys will, you know, that’s when the competition, you know, really, really begins for our backup position.
 
On Tuukka playing a lot of games last season and how important the backup goalie position is for this season…
Well I think it’s important for all teams. I mean obviously we’re in a position where we feel very comfortable, you know, with Tuukka going out and we have to find the ideal number of games for him, and it’ll be less than what he played last year. And I think the guys that are in line for that backup position are extremely excited about the opportunity in front of them and I fully expect one, if not more than one, to step forward and gran ahold of that really make it a very, very competitive camp.
 
On where PTO goaltender Jonas Gustavsson fits in during this training camp…
Well, I mean, you can’t trade anything for NHL experience. Obviously, the other guys are chomping at the bit to get that. Jeremy [Smith] had a fantastic year last year in tandem with Malcolm [Subban], and if you watched the triple overtime game Malcolm played in the playoffs — he’s looking forward to his opportunity. And Zane [McIntyre], his accolades in college — so it’s exciting. You bring in a guy like Jonas [Gustavsson] who wants to continue to play at the National Hockey League level, and he comes in on a tryout because he knows the opportunity is with us to try and grab that. But he’s going to have to wrestle it against a couple of other guys.
 
On whether it is a matter of “best man wins” as far as the goaltending situation…
The contract situation is not a problem. It’s going to be who we think is going to be best to fill that job.
 
On his thoughts about jumping into exhibition games shortly after the start of training camp…
Well, camp is laid out with 20 days. Most teams will have played between six and eight [games], so you’re down. You have to give a day off in the first 10, the second 10, so your days are pretty numbered anyway. The advantage for us this year was we’re playing games every other days. We’re not playing in back-to-back situations. But we also have, on the tail end of our training camp, a significant amount of days leading up to our opener, and that is going to be helpful. I think when our group is down to a smaller number, I think our coaching staff, talking with Claude [Julien], consistency develops, and they can really use that time to…as opposed to necessarily worried about the quality — the number of times in the early part of camp. We’ve got three groups, we’ve got those groups down to smaller numbers, we’re talking about the pace of our practices being at a certain level, so we feel good about it.
 
On Brad Marchand’s comments about an alleged divide in the locker room last season…
I appreciate Marchy [Brad Marchand] talking about his teammates, and I think it’s about looking forward, and what he expects his future teammates to do. Everyone knew there are some changes probably on the horizon, and that’s exactly what happened. I don’t think anybody is worried about necessarily so much that has transpired; I think they’re looking forward to what they expect from their teammates as a result of that.
 
On the importance, as a GM, of having unity and chemistry among the players…
Well, that’s why you do put a lot of faith in your core group to make sure that it’s headed in that direction. We have a good one in that regard, and we’re going to make sure that we’re communicating effectively — myself, Claude [Julien], whoever it’s going to be — that we’re all on that same page.
 
On the process of recruiting undrafted free agents…
Well, a lot of times, the players that are college free agents or an overage player — a player like Joonas [Kemppainen], who played — they’re a little further along in their development, so it’s sometimes easier to forecast and predict where they might fit into your lineup, where your gaps currently are, as opposed to the projection piece of an 18-year-old player who’s just been drafted. Obviously, we had a pleasant surprise in David Pastrnak last year, in being able to handle the American League and make the transition up, and those are good things. The rest of the guys, be it Torey Krug…come in and play a couple games right away and have a year, development-wise, almost a full year. So I think the players themselves are always going to take time. Obviously, as a group, we do have to do a good job of sort of forecasting when they’re going to hit and when they may be able to replace a player that currently is on the roster.
 
On whether there is any concern regarding speculation about Claude Julien’s future…
No.
 
On whether Dennis Seidenberg played golf on Monday…
No.
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