| Dave Nonis addressed the media for the final time this season and answered several key questions about the team's performance this year, as well as his plans moving into next season.|
We've transcribed a few questions, and have cut some key portions of what was a lengthy press conference and posted them as audio and video files.
Here are a few of Nonis' thoughts:
How can the team improve?
"I think there's a number of areas we can improve on. I think we need to come out of the gates better, for a more prolonged time. Consistency early on was something we didn't have and I think there's a lot of reasons for that, including new personnel, new coaching staff... I think a lot of guys had to find their game, so we can definitely work on that. I'm hoping the experiences we went through this post season are experiences that can help us in the future... I think the teams that continue to play have post-season experience. I think there's only one way to get it; we got a little bit of it this year, and we'll need to get more of it."
What is the number one position that management needs to address?
"If we can improve our team in any area, then you look to do it. We're a 30 team league. Every team is trying to find players to help their team win and very few can say I'm going to go out and get that player, or that position and fill that hole'. It doesn't happen. We are going to remain patient and we're going to make sure the moves we make help our team win. And if there isn't a deal to be made or a free agent to be signed that helps us, then you don't go chasing."
Would management be willing to move specific assests to make room for potential off-season signings?
"A quality piece: does that mean someone who costs a lot of money? Or does it mean someone who's going to help us win? We've been told that we couldn't sign Sami... a lot of people in this room said we wouldn't be able to sign this player or that player or that we were too close to the cap to operate.
I would prefer not to be that close to the salary cap. It's not a fun way of going through the year. We're not going to spend every penny we have... we're not going to the cap if it doesn't make sense. If it does? We've been very fortunate that our ownership group has been very supportive in trying to improve our team. We've been able to spend to the cap and if it makes sense I don't think there will be a problem doing that again. But I'm not going to tell you we're going to spend every penny just because it's available. If it's not for a player that's going to help us, we're not going to spend it."
Does management hope to re-sign Trevor Linden?
"We're going to approach it the same way we did last year. I haven't spoken to Trevor yet, but we'll go through the process as we did last year and I would expect over the course of the next several weeks we'll be able to get together and see if something makes sense for both of us."
Do you think Taylor Pyatt will finally give the Sedins a consistent linemate?
"There's an argument to be made that we had two players there in two years who scored over twenty goals. I think that argument is that anyone who plays with them seems to score. I think any coaching staff, and I'm not going to speak for Alain or the players, but if you're able to find units that would be together all year and were clicking all the time that would be great. But sometimes that doesn't happen.
I think Taylor Pyatt did a good job for the most part. I know that they like playing with him. If that makes sense for us again, and it goes back to free agency, if those numbers make sense, would we sign him again to be an option? Yeah. But I wouldn't rule out bringing someone else in and still having Py here. You always try to find the best fit you possibly can, and our job as managers is to give the coaching staff as many options as they can possibly have to ice the best possible team."
The defense looks solid, when the time comes to upgrade, will forwards be a priority?
"I think that's the likely spot. If we were to make a deal we'd more often than not be looking to bring back a forward. If there was a defenseman that was staring us in the face and you couldn't say no to us, I think you have to look at doing that and increasing your asset pool'... maybe that leads to another deal somewhere down the road. But if we can make a deal that helps us bring some more depth and high-end talent up front, then that would be our first choice."
Is management concerned about any of the injuries their players have sustained?
"The injured players... we're not sure where they're at yet. With some of them, MRI's have to be done, specialists have to be seen... but there's nothing that may need to be done that would be serious for anybody. I think if we do have to have some procedures done they'll be relatively minor and players should be back skating and working out full-tilt in July."
What are management's plans for Ryan Kesler?
"Ryan Kesler, could we bring him to arbitration? Yes. But my goal would be to sign Ryan, not to arbitrate with him. I don't blame Ryan Kesler one bit for having an offer sheet thrust upon him. I think he's a quality guy, I think we really missed him. I think he's a player that still has a long way to go in a lot of areas, and he's willing to do what it takes to get there. My goal would be to sign him and get him focused on getting ready to play.
I feel bad for the way the year ended for him. I think he did a lot of hard work to come back and play quickly, quicker than anyone else had really come back from that injury and to have the second injury that first game back was devastating for him and for us. He's a quality guy and I want to get him done."
How much of a concern is it that the team wasn't able to finish Dallas off in Game Five?
"I do think that we would've had a lot better chance at beating Anaheim if we did take care of business in game five. And that's something we have to learn from. That's your opportunity to get some rest, and we didn't do it. If you talk to the players, they understand now how important that game was."
"The flip-side of that is we still played a pretty good hockey team and we beat them. We had to go game seven, and the guys did show some character and they did come back and play hard. And we played in Anaheim in game one and we had nothing left because we had to play so hard in those first seven. I think game one was a write-off, games two, three and four we played as hard as we could with a depleted line-up. As much as the coaching staff wants to coax an effort out of our team in game five, I don't think we have anything left."
"I don't think it's the culture or character; I don't think that was the issue but I do think we have to learn from that. If you've got someone down, you take care of it. And I think our players have learned that lesson."