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Matt Bartkowski Conference Call Transcript

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS QUOTES

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

BOSTON BRUINS DEFENSEMAN MATT BARTKOWSKI CONFERENCE CALL AT 2:00 PM ET
Opening statement…
Thanks everyone for being here. First of all, I’d like to thank the Jacobs family, the Bruins management, especially Peter Chiarelli and Don Sweeney, both the Bruins and the Providence coaches and my teammates for four great years so far, and now a fifth. I’m grateful to be able to sign with the Bruins organization because I know we have a chance to win every year, and I’m excited about the upcoming season.

On his experience in Boston thus far…
Well I mean, it’s been nothing short of spectacular, awesome, whatever adjective you want to use for it. But we have a great group from the top down, really — everything that covers from the management down to the teammates and everyone. I mean, it’s just such a great group of hockey people. I was fortunate enough to Black Ace when they won the Cup. Last few years, we’ve fallen a little short, but you know, every year we have a chance to win, so there’s nothing more you could really ask for.

On his expectations going into this season…
You can’t assume anything, and when I say I expect to play, that’s what I expect out of myself. I expect — it starts from having a good summer and being in shape coming into camp. You have to expect it out of yourself; otherwise there’s really — what’s your motivation? What are you playing for? You want to be able to help the team every way you can, and I think expecting that of yourself to be able to play and be able to play well, night in, night out, is the best thing you can do.

On whether he’s made attempts to expand his game to be able to play on either side…
Yeah, I mean, that’s ultimately not up to us. You guys all are aware of that. You know, personally, I think that given enough time, or I guess enough — it would only take a week or so for anybody really at this level, with the talent of some of the other players, to be able to learn how to play the other side or anything like that. But like I said, it’s not up to us. We just fill in anywhere we can with whatever we’re asked to do, and if it is to do something that’s outside of our comfort zone — or if we even are comfortable with it — we just go ahead and do it.

On how the Bruins’ young defensive core has grown with playoff experience…
It started last year with being able to play in the playoffs, and now this year, adding Kevan [Miller] — I think any playoff experience you can get at any level, especially the NHL level, helps. There’s really nothing like playing playoff hockey. The way you have to prepare and be ready for every game, forget the things you did wrong but learn from them and then be ready for the next game — any experience helps with it.

On trade rumors…
I don’t really pay attention to it. I mean, you’re the one who informed me first that I was almost traded [in 2013] — but like I said, I really don’t pay too much attention to it. There’s no real reason to. I think it’s only just a hindrance to worry about where you’re going to end up and all that. You just prepare for what you can, and the team you’re on, and if something happens, it happens. It’s out of our hands, so like I said, there’s really no reason for me to worry about it. I just try to focus on my summer workouts and being as ready as I can for next season.

On what he learned throughout his first full NHL season…
I think last year was a good step, and like you said, being able to show people that, but I think going forward, the main thing would be just consistency. Along the way, I’d have a stretch of games and then maybe a mix-up here or there, which I think is going to happen to maybe not every player, but every younger player in his career. If I can work on the consistency — if you can show you can play every night — then anybody should have a long career doing that. So I think just being able to prove that I could do it, and hopefully make some more strides and just be 100 percent consistent, is the ultimate goal.

On if he had any hesitation about filing for arbitration…
There wasn’t any hesitation to file for it because I think it’s mainly a protective phase for the players, you know for us that it’s there. But there was absolutely no – there wasn’t any doubt in my mind that we were going to have a deal before we got to that stage. I didn’t want to go to arbitration, like I said, I filed for it just as a protective measure. But I think it was mutual that we knew that something was going to get done.

On if him becoming a UFA after this contract means much to him…
No, I mean I’m aware of what it is but I honestly don’t even think about that. Your play will speak for itself so again, all I can focus on is preparation this summer and focusing on having a good year and that’s about it. I mean, the rest will take care of itself, honestly I don’t even – that doesn’t even cross my mind.

On what lessons he learned from when things weren’t going well…
I think it’s more on the mental side. Just being able to – you know, like I said, in playoffs you have to take what you can from it, forget and fix it and that’s about it. That applies to the whole season too, you might have a little more time there but mainly it’s just trying to achieve that consistency and not trying to beat yourself up to much.

On if mistakes are more acceptable for young guys…
I mean, I don’t think any mistake is really acceptable. It’s more, I think, when you’re younger it’s more, I guess, expected in some areas. But it is definitely not acceptable. It’s when they become a habit that you really have to be worried. If it’s just one thing that you do here or there I think then it’s just, whatever it was a stupid play, just don’t do it again. But if it’s a habit and something that you really need to correct then that’s something you really want to focus on in the young stage of your career. When you look at the veterans, they aren’t going to have the habits of making consistent mistakes, they are just going to have that one and done and forget about it.

On Peter Chiarelli calling him a late bloomer and how he can improve defensively…
I think there’s definitely time. 26 as an age isn’t necessarily young I guess. But career-wise if you look at games played and all that, it’s still young in the career and I think there is always room to improve, especially for myself being, career wise, younger. So I mean, I just have to keep focusing on things I need to do better and just get better at them, it’s that simple.

On how he has seen the depth at defense change…
I think it’s very deep, I don’t really pay much attention to other teams depth, I guess, defensively. But we have to be up there in depth category and that really just speaks volumes of the management being able to put together all these players. And more at a player level, it keeps you pushing everyday to keep your job and earn your spot. So all around it’s a great thing to have.

On how it has been to grow up in the Boston system…
Well starting in Providence we had – the bulk of my time we had Bruce Cassidy and Kevin Dean and they were both defenseman, they both played the game, they both knew it very well. And then Don Sweeney would come down and he was a great defenseman so just being able to be surrounded by those types of figures or leaders, whatever you may call them, is a huge, huge help for younger players especially in the minors. And then moving up through the ranks you’ve got Claude [Julien] who was a defenseman, you’ve got Doug Houda. I mean, all of them – just from a defensive standpoint is a great place to be and a great place to learn.

On what his preparation this summer has been…
Just working out, working on weaknesses and my strengths, focusing on conditioning and start skating pretty hard at the beginning of August and getting ready for camp.

#07/15/14#
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