Q: What made you decide to sign with Washington in 2007?
A: I guess it was talking to George McPhee when he called. It was July 1, the first day I could talk to other teams, and just from talking to him I knew I could trust him. He had a vision, and everything he’s told me so far has come true. He said they were going to try to add a couple pieces each year and build through the draft. I was also excited about getting to play with [Alex Ovechkin] too.
Q: Since you’ve been here, it seems like your reputation around the league has changed – what has that been like?
A: I think some of that from before was unfair criticism of me. I always put up big numbers in points, so when people saw that they immediately assumed I wasn’t a good defensive player. I’d always been good at that, but cheated at times toward the offense. That was my role with those teams though.
Q: So has your game changed since joining the Capitals?
A: Being here the past couple years, my game has done kind of a 180. I’ve concentrated more on my defense and not joining the rush or taking those risky chances.
Q: People asked you a lot about your allergies when you first got here, but how does that work out after you settle in with a team?
A: It isn’t an issue at all anymore. It is just something I’ve always had to deal with. Every time you go to a new team, you have to explain to 20 new guys and coaches and trainers and everybody like that, but it hasn’t really been a problem. The other guys do a great job of watching out for things that are bad for me.
Q: You’ve been to the playoffs so many times – what would it be like to enjoy a long run?
A: Every year in Edmonton we fought and scratched and clawed to get into the seventh or eighth spot and then ended up playing Dallas or Detroit every year and got smoked. It is nice to be at the other end of that and being the team that is favored to win some rounds. It would be a lot more fun than going home early like I have six or seven times.