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Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles Pool Quotes

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

BOSTON BRUINS TRADE DEADLINE POOL QUOTES

BOSTON BRUINS FORWARD LEE STEMPNIAK

On how he found out about the trade and his travel plans to Boston…

I found out through my agent Pat Morris. He sort of let me know basically right at the deadline. I hadn’t heard anything and then Ray Shero called me after that and then right after that, Jay Pandolfo and Don Sweeney called me, so it’s certainly a bit of a whirlwind, but it’s very exciting.

On his connection with Jay Pandolfo, knowledge of the organization and his excitement to join the team…

I’m really excited. I know Patrice Bergeron pretty well, sort of worked out at times together this summer since he was around the city and I skated with him the past couple summers, so I know him pretty well. Brad Marchand, Dennis Seidenberg, a few of those guys, so it makes it easier — Jimmy Hayes is another guy — it makes it easier knowing some of those guys coming in and all of the guys I’ve met have been very good people and you look at their team and you look at their roster and there’s a lot of great players, so for me personally, I’m really excited – a team where a lot of guys have won the Stanley Cup before and there’s experience there, and that’s a team that’s right in a good spot for the playoff push and I couldn’t be happier to be joining the team.

On being with Boston for the playoff push…

It’s really exciting. With New Jersey, we were sort right in the Wild Card spot, in and out all year, and the last couple games, we fell out, so you’re getting that feel of sort of being in the playoffs with must-win games, which is what you always want as a player, and to be joining the Bruins, it’s really exciting. It’s a team that’s positioned itself well through the first 60 games and now it’s the final push for the playoffs and hopefully a long playoff run.

On lineup speculation and the possibility of playing with players like Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron

Yeah, I have no idea what’s going to happen and I try not to look too much into that, but just from playing against them and knowing the type of players they are, they’ve got great chemistry together and it’s a really dynamic duo. You know, Marchand’s having an unbelievable year, probably one of the best years of his career and you see him always scoring and Bergy’s game, I think everyone knows what he brings and just how hard he plays both ways, the complete game. He’s one — if not the most — complete players in the game. It will be fun to be on his side of the lineup.

On signing a PTO with New Jersey and the process he went through before the season…

It was certainly different. I had never been in that situation before. There were a lot of people in that situation, just based on the salary cap not going up much. There were just not that many spots available, so I prepared the same way for the season and I had a lot of confidence in myself and at that point, exploring some different options and there were some different opportunities, but ultimately decided that New Jersey was the best fit for me, just based on the fact that Ray Shero had traded for me before when he was in Pittsburgh and knew me as a person, knew me as a player. New Jersey looked like a team where there was the opportunity not to just make the team, but play a big role on the team and to have a big impact on the team’s success, so when you looked at all that collectively, it seemed like New Jersey was the best fit and that’s not a slight against other teams or other situations that were presented to me, but I felt confident in my ability as a player and I thought New Jersey offered me the best opportunity to show that.

On the season he has had and how his game has progressed…

It’s been a good year. You know, I was fortunate to play with Mike Cammalleri and Adam Henrique for most of the season, almost since the first game — all year, except when people were injured, Mike Cammalleri recently, and we’ve played well together. I played with Mike in Calgary and then here in New Jersey, so there’s a familiarity with our game and Adam’s a very good centerman, plays both ways very well and it was just one of those things where it clicked. I take pride in the fact that I went out and earned the coach’s trust, earned the opportunities that were presented, and got to play in key situations and play a big role on the team and I guess I felt like I trained a little differently this summer — with Matt Nichol, a guy in Toronto who I know well and I trained with one other time, and I’ve never felt better on the ice in terms of my sort of conditioning and just strength and overall physical condition and just lately, I’ve been trying to make more plays — just a willingness to hang onto the puck, extend your time with the puck and allow things to happen, rather than moving it too quickly.

On coming to Boston, nearby where he went to college at Dartmouth…

Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. I went to college two hours away, I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls, a lot of text messages from the coach at Dartmouth, Bob Gaudet, the equipment staff at Dartmouth, a lot of former teammates who are excited and I’m certainly excited. We’ve made our home in the summer in Boston for the last 11 years, so personally, it’s really exciting to be in a place that you call home and to play for an Original Six franchise.

BOSTON BRUINS DEFENSEMAN JOHN-MICHAEL LILES

On what things have been like since the trade this afternoon…

It’s definitely been a little bit of a crazy day. I was actually in the rink in Carolina just getting some treatment this afternoon when Ron Francis pulled me aside and said that he traded me to the Bruins and so then it was a whirlwind after that, calling my wife and letting her know and just starting to get everything together. Obviously it changes a lot of things really quickly, but I was really excited when I found out. Now, just sitting in the airport waiting for my flight in Raleigh.

On his excitement level…

I’m really excited. I spoke with Don Sweeney today. I’m really looking forward to joining the team. I was fortunate – we actually played the Bruins a few days ago, so they’re pretty fresh in my memory. It was a pretty impressive win they had against us, from Tuukka [Rask] on out. They scored some nice goals and really had a nice game against us, so to be able to join the team and hopefully help out in any way that I can I’m really looking forward to it.

On his type of game and how he’ll fit into the defense…

For me, the system that I played the last couple years in Carolina has been a quick puck movement system. It really puts a premium on defensemen getting the pucks to the forwards quickly, but at the same time trying to join the attack and bringing a second wave. That’s been a strength of my game for a long time, that’s what I’ve always tried to focus on. I’m definitely not the biggest guy, but I try and play solid defense at the same time, and hopefully help out on the offensive side. It’s obviously going to be learning on the fly for me, but I’m really looking forward to getting in there and helping out any way I can.

On the excitement of being in a playoff race…

Yeah, I mean, the last time I was in the playoffs the Bruins beat me with Toronto in the seventh game. So yeah, honestly I’m just happy to be joining a team that will hopefully continue making a push for the playoffs and get back in. I know they’re in a great spot right now and hopefully myself and Stemper [Lee Stempniak] can add to that. Once you’re in the playoffs anything can happen and that’s what it’s about. It’s about winning and trying to win a Stanley Cup. I’m no different from any other guy in this league, that’s the ultimate goal to start every season.

On if he knows Lee Stempniak…

Yeah, actually Lee and I have played World Championships together and just have played against each other for a long time.

On if he knows anyone already on the Bruins…

I played with Monster [Jonas Gustavsson] in Toronto and then I know Torey Krug a little bit. Beyond that, I really don’t know a lot of guys on the Bruins, but I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of them. There are a lot of really good players on that team.

#02/29/16#

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