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Maloney Press Conference Transcript

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE -- Below is the transcript of Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney's pre-game press conference on Saturday regarding the trade of center Kyle Turris to Ottawa for defenseman David Rundblad and a second-round draft pick in 2012.

On why this move was made:

“Well just to go back, when I met [Turris] four or five days after he signed with us, I met him on a Sunday morning at the Ice Den and had a good heart-to-heart with him and my hope was let’s put the past behind us, let’s clear the slate; come in with a positive attitude, let’s see if it can work here and it became clear at that meeting, at the initial meeting, that there were some very deep feelings that he had that needed to change in his game; felt he wasn’t a fit for us. It got to the point quite frankly where I said to Kyle, ‘I hope you can pull this off because it’s a very hard game to play when you’re not engaged mentally; it’s hard enough when you’re 100 percent all in.’ To Kyle’s credit he worked, he came in, he practiced hard. We got him in some games, then four or five days ago I went to [Tippett] and said, ‘Listen, Dave, this isn’t working out. I didn’t see it changing for us. I think we have to move forward and look for the best deal we can find, whatever that deal is, we make it and move on.’ Fortunately I felt we found a good return.”

On what the Coyotes like about David Rundblad:

“Well David is a very talented offensive-minded player. If you look at our team going forward a year from now obviously we have three older, right shot defensemen. I think [Rundblad] is a guy who’s gonna run a power play in the future even though you know, obviously Keith Yandle is a terrific offensive player, I think {Ekman-Larsson] has great, you know, continues to evolve his offensive game. To me [David] is that pure quarterback in the power play that looks people off, he has great hands, great patience, he led the Swedish Elite League in scoring so you know he has the DNA to excel in the elite level. It’s a work in progress though, we aren’t gonna throw him in the line-up Tuesday and expect him to, you know, maybe we will but hopefully he can help our power play at some point but to me he’s a work in progress. He’s still learning the North American game, the small rinks, the speed and strength of the NHL, but his patience with the puck [and] his instincts are second to none and in my experience those smart players figure out how to adapt and become good players. Sergei Zubov comes to mind, that style of game, ultimately that’s what we hope we have in him.”

On the level of disappointment with losing a center in the [Turris] situation:

“It is disappointing. We thought Kyle could be a core player for us. I think the team we’re playing tonight, the Rangers, are a good example; they built their core up with home-grown draft picks. And then you can add pieces when you’re close to a championship and so we invested a lot of time in Kyle, and he invested, it’s no slight on him it just wasn’t a fit, it didn’t work. There’s a lot of suffering to get that third overall pick and when you don’t end up with a good not only player, but a good player out of it, that sets you back as a franchise so I do believe, though, that the talent potential in [Rundblad] is good for us. The second round pick is always a good thing to have, it’s always a chip you can use. God willing we make a good selection one of these years, so all in all I think it’s a good deal.”

On whether or not [Maloney] ultimately expected to get to this point in terms of a trade:

“Yeah I knew we were gonna get, […] I didn’t realize how deep his feelings were. Kyle’s a very strong-minded person and he firmly believes with every fiber in his bones that he’s a front line player. We liked everything about Kyle in regards to his compete, his will, his drive. The only thing we varied was the assessment of his game and where his game was at right now at this stage. We have a certain way we need to play here; we had sort of seen Kyle a little lower in our line-up than he wanted to be or thought he should be and, you know, that’s his opinion. So like I said we’re happy with the return, though. To get the kind of talent we have, we think we have a chance at a, really, a front-line defenseman here with lots of talent. The way the game is going, the puck movement, to be able to come up with that I thought was a pretty good return.”

On looking back at Ekman-Larsson’s rookie year and whether or not Rundblad is on a similar route:

“Very good point. Yes, this is [Rundblad’s] first year in North America. He did play at the senior level last year where [Ekman-Larsson] played at the first division in Sweden before he came and that’s the best league, I think, outside of the NHL. But there is the speed and the small rinks so absolutely. I think there’s a learning period; like I said I don’t see him, you see how he plays in Ottowa right now. You see him on the power play and he looks fantastic but they have a lot of offensive-defensemen there. They really protect him at his own end, very rarely is he on the ice for defense’s own play, so he has to work on his defensive game but I think Jim Playfair is excellent with young defensemen. You can see what he’s done with [Ekman-Larsson], [Schlemko] and Keith Yandle’s continual evolution and we think we can do the same with [Rundblad].

On whether or not this was a deal that was on the table for awhile and then when the book was closed on [Turris] was revisited, or was it a new deal:

“When [Tippett] told me on Monday he planned to sit [Turris] out on Tuesday I was 100 percent behind it and I thought at that point when we got to the point where we’re starting to sit him out it’s time to do something so that’s when we really went to work hard. Because I really thought from a timing standpoint it’s gonna take him half a dozen, eight games just to get up to speed to see what we had. We made a decision not to send him to Portland, he came into great physical shape, great gym shape, but it’s hard to be parachuted into the NHL in the middle of the season without any kind of competitive game-playing. So in my opinion once he started to sit out games it was time to do something, so we worked hard the last few days. I really was determined yesterday to get a deal done. I had three teams that, there were probably ten teams that had what I would more than token interest. We narrowed it down to three teams that had legitimate offers for us available and this seemed like the best one.”

On why a defenseman was chosen rather than a forward or someone who could fill [Turris’s] spot:

“It was a combination, the best asset, the highest valued asset. And looking at our team a year from now, that right-shot defenseman, you know, you can see where our power play is now; god-willing it gets better, but that’s where David I think can excel. And I think if you look going forward, if you look at our team a year from now, I mean you start bringing Gormley into the equation, Connor Murphy, we have no centermen but we’re gonna look good at the blue line, you know, we’re gonna play great defense.”

On whether or not that opens up flexibility on the back end:

“Absolutely. It gives us flexibility too, you can never have enough defenseman, number one, as far as I’m concerned. Fortunately [Klesla] is coming along; we expect him to re-join the team next week. He’s been a terrific player for us so it just gives us more options and even those young players, we just think the asset value of a Runblad will be better for us at some point in the future. And we had to clean up this issue with Kyle.”

On whether or not this puts a guy like Derek Morris on the bubble:

“No, [Morris] has been a good player for us, I mean I think in every career there’s peaks and valleys. You ask any older player, there’s times when it’s a struggle. And I think right now [Morris] is in a situation where he sat out a game, he’s gonna sit out tonight, but he’ll get back in; he’s a good player. We need him to be better like we need a lot of us to be better including myself and he will be better. He has it in him, he has a strong body, we just have to get him back on track and once we do he’ll help us win.”

On fighting for a conference lead and whether or not some of it was a chemistry issue:

“Well the last thing I want to, I’m not blaming [Turris], it did change our mix a little bit and so much of what we do is mix and chemistry and it just wasn’t a good fit for us with [Turris] and he would say the same thing. And in his game, he’ll go to Ottowa you know, Paul MacLean is the coach, he was assistant in Detroit, [Turris] played well in the playoffs, he’ll get every chance there to succeed it just wasn’t going to happen here ever.”

On the statement yesterday that [Maloney] was bound and determined to make a deal:

“Yeah, I mean I really, I was so disappointed yesterday because I worked hard to try and finish this off, look at me I have bags under my eyes, I haven’t slept in a week. I just, at the end of the day though it wasn’t right and so we had more pieces involved in a couple different areas, we had a first round pick and a young player and a contract back that we didn’t want but we would have taken and it, you know, finally I cleaned it up and it takes two parties to make a deal and they wanted the player and we wanted what we wanted.”

On what prompted the recall of AHL goaltender tonight:

Jason LaBarbera has a family issue he’s dealing with. Hopefully it’s just for one night”

On whether or not a center is needed:

“Well I still think that’s an area we have to look at but I do, you know, Andy Miele is maturing in Portland, I think he’s a very clever and creative player. I want to get him back and have another look at him. We have, you know Kyle Chipchura has been good for us. Again do we need, like most teams in the league, a number one or two legitimate high-end, high-offensive scorer/playmaker? Yeah. We’ll have to keep looking. All I all I’m happy where our defense is trending, I’m happy where our goaltending is and we have to continue to work to get better up front.”

On the two months dealing with [Turris’s] agent and whether or not there was any inkling that this kind of attitude would develop or that this trade was foreseen:

“Well first to answer your question absolutely not. He was more marketable with cost certainty. And that deal for Kyle Turris is a good deal and that’s what made him more attractive. Kyle Turris at three to four million is a bad deal for Kyle. And he’s sitting in the stands with me tonight. But no, if I had known, if I had sat down with Kyle at the end of last year and we had that frank conversation that we had three or four days after he signed then we would have done something last summer. I didn’t realize that his beliefs were as deep. I really felt, get back playing you’re a young player, let’s clear the slates. And let’s, because Dave Tippett and I talked this summer about creating more opportunity for Kyle and we know, we have to bring him along, we have to give him more, we have to get him on the ice more. And yet, there’s a timeframe that we had and a timeframe that [Turris] had and they didn’t add up.”

On whether or not this is confounding when looking at other young players who have earned their time:

“Yes and no. again, if there’s blame, you can probably put fifty percent of the blame on me as well because we rushed him out early. The things we did as an organization that in hind sight we probably would have done differently in terms of our development of Kyle Turris as a player. You gotta remember, third overall and a lot of people thought he could have been first overall so for him to be in the NHL and playing in the minors the next year and then get back, it’s on and on and on and on. But that’s, at the end of the day it’s performance and production that gets your ice time and that’s what we’re all about here and we’re happy that are able to move on.”

On whether this will be a very competitive camp next year or do you see these guys a few years off:

“Ideally a few years in the sense of a Gormley. I mean I think he’s gonna chase a roster spot next year absolutely. He has the type of game that [Tippett] is gonna like. Murphy, he’s a ways away, but I’m worried about tonight, against the Rangers in about a half an hour. Next summer, next September, god bless I hope I’m alive to see it. But we just gotta figure out how to beat the Rangers."
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