Brian Burke Conference Call Audio
Brian Burke Conference Call Transcript
First off, I want to thank you for getting together with us on the phone on short notice. I say that and I don’t want it to become a ritual, routine or sounds insincere. I mean it. We have these things and you guys drop everything can get on a call or get to the rink. I appreciate it.
Second, I want to thank Brandon Bochenski. Obviously, whenever we say goodbye to a player, we want to thank him. Bo worked hard here. He’s a quality person and a good guy. It wasn’t a fit for him or for us, so we have found him a new home. We wish him well and thank him for all that he did in a Ducks uniform in his brief time here.
We acquired as you all know a defenseman from the New York Islanders Marc-Andre Bergeron. He’s a smallish defenseman, but a mobile defenseman. He’s got a hard shot and playoff experience. It provides us with depth in the event of injury. We like his intellect and intensity as a hockey player. Again, he’s not a prototypical Ducks defenseman, but in my mind it was an important addition to give us some depth and skill on the blue line.
We also wanted to make sure that that in the event there was an injury to our goaltending tandem that we had a goaltender available with NHL experience. We think J.S. Aubin has proven he can play at the NHL level. He’s a quality person. Our goalie coach was very excited about getting him. He’s friends with Jiggy. This does not, I want make this clear, effect Jonas Hiller’s status with our team at all. It just gives us goaltending depth going into the playoffs.
I felt I did not plan to be active today other than to try and add depth. I believe in our group. I trust our group. In particular, not to put pressure on Dougie Weight, but we got Dougie Weight for a purpose. We don’t think our fans have even gotten to see him yet because he’s been hurt ever since we got him. We’re counting on him to get that second group going. That’s why there was so little activity on our part. Anaheim could have been the star easily of the trade deadline today by putting the Edmonton pick in play. We could have blown any other deals out of the water. We could have made all the headlines and grabbed all the hype. In my mind it wasn’t prudent to do it for two reasons. One because we do believe in our group and two, I think that pick is going to end up having tremendous value to this franchise over the next decade.
On if other teams in the Pacific Division were loading up to take down Anaheim:
Well, we’re not in first place in our division. Let’s keep this in mind. Even as I say I believe in our group, I used this analogy earlier in the season, but watching our team come together has been like watching a bear wake up at the zoo. He shakes out one limb, then another limb. It’s a lengthy process, but when he’s awake he’s a bear. I believe that we put this group together slowly. Scotty came back late. Teemu came back late. We haven’t had the whole group, let alone been hitting on all eight cylinders. Even now, we’ve been playing without Dougie Weight and now Ryan Carter is hurt. I believe that this group can be successful. They have demonstrated their character before. To me, I think Dallas is loading up because they think they’re close. I look at San Jose, they’re chasing us right now. They added a key part. They gave up an expensive part, but they added a key part. I don’t think anyone is aiming at us, as much as trying to win the toughest division in the National Hockey League.
On if acquiring Bergeron was due to Pronger’s injury:
Chris Pronger was struck by a stick on a follow through in the Chicago game. He has suffered a small fracture, which has been surgically repaired. It is not clear how much time he will miss, but it’s certainly not expected to be lengthy. A game or two is I think the expectation at this point in time. So no, it wasn’t a direct response to that. We had identified our needs going into the deadline well before the Chicago game. We wanted to add depth at forward, in goal and on the d. Obviously, we only filled two of those spots. After we evaluated all the deals we felt that if we got situation where we needed to put a winger in and play in the top six, it was Bobby Ryan’s time. We felt comfortable with that. There was a great deal of interest in Bobby Ryan. We felt it’s his time. He’s put in his time two years in juniors. He’s put in his time in the minors. If we get in the situation where we have a top six forward spot open, then we’re going to give that spot to Bobby rather than bring in an outsider.
On if Bergeron will challenge the top six defensemen for playing time:
Certainly. That’s up to the coach. Any time you add a guy to your roster it’s not fair to him unless he has a chance to compete for ice time, so absolutely. But who plays, you know my rules, I don’t have any input in that. Who plays and doesn’t play is up to the coach.
On if the team will be short forwards on Friday against Calgary:
No. The trainers are telling us that Dougie Weight and Todd Marchant are both probable for Friday. The players have had two days off. We’ll have a much better read on that tomorrow.
On Andrew Ebbett being sent down to Portland:
With Andrew Ebbett, we’re very happy with the way he played. He did a nice job. He’s a nice young man and he competed hard. To me, this is a (Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations) Bob Murray discovery. We give (Assistant General Manager) David McNab a lot of credit. We give (Director of Amateur Scouting) Alain Chainey a lot of credit. The other piece in this puzzle that constantly finds guys for us is Bob Murray. This is a guy that he went out and got for Portland. He told me ‘He’ll play for us before the year is over and he’ll play well.’ Ebbett competes and has a good skill level. He’s got a good hockey mind. His being sent down is not fair, but you’re limited. After trade deadline, you’re limited to four recalls. You’re only allowed four recalls from the minors, so you’ve got to use them very strategically. For us to send him down and make sure we had the roster set, the same reason we won’t do with anything with J.S. Aubin immediately, is starting today other than emergency we’re limited to four recalls between now and the close of the regular season. If we need to recall Ebbett because we’re short bodies that will be on emergency. Also, we’re trying to win in Portland and they play tomorrow night. Andrew Ebbett, life isn’t always fair when you’re on the bubble in the National Hockey League. This young man played well enough to stay, but for roster and recall purposes he’s got to go down.
On if the Ducks would have had Toronto’s Mats Sundin if he waived his no-trade clause:
Well it would have depended on the price tag. We never talked to Toronto about the price tag, so I couldn’t tell you what it would cost. We had lengthy discussion with other teams about rentals and the answer is probably not based on the price tags that I was quoted. You look at the movement and it’s just been in the last two years. Guys are throwing first round picks into deals for rentals now like they were third round picks fives years ago. You saw some braking movement this year. There weren’t as many deals for high-priced rentals because I think collectively the group had such a poor experience with them last year. Teams were choking on those deals from last year, so there was less of it and fewer assets. You see a (Brian) Campbell moved a real good young players and a first, well that deal a year ago might have been four assets or three assets; a first, a good young player and a prospect. So based on my discussion, I would say no. It’s no different than going and buying a car. What do you need to get to work? That’s really all you need in a car. But what would you like to drive? You might spend more and it costs more. In my mind it’s the same thing. You got your team. What does this group need? I believe in our group. If you could add cheaply, add some depth and add some insurance that makes sense. Spending valuable assets to bring people in to take jobs that are currently held by people you trust and believe in doesn’t make sense. That would mean Doug Weight goes to a lower position on our depth chart and that’s not why we brought Doug Weight in.
On if the Ducks’ recent play and specifically Teemu Selanne’s play lessened the importance of needing to make a deal:
Yes. It would not be truthful to answer that any different way. You’re to starting to see, if you’re a GM like me, what your group can do. But again, it’s the first time we’ve had the majority of the group together and playing without a key part in Dougie and Ryan Carter, who has made himself into a key part in the last 15 games. So, yes it is an impact. But you can’t make major decisions based on how your team has played in the last five or six games either because right before this run, we lost six in a row. It’s more of belief. It’s like the pieces on a chess board. You have to have the right pieces on the chess board. We believe in the group we have. We think we have the right pieces on the chess board.
On if the team will view today as a vote of confidence:
I would say you could ask the players that. I don’t want to speak for my players. I will tell you the intent is they should view it as a vote of confidence. Imagine any other business. You’re 75-80 percent of your season is completed and you’re going into the last 20 games and then playoffs, the most important time of the year, and you all of the sudden disrupt that group by taking out key people and throwing in new people. It can help and it can be disruptive. To me, the reason we didn’t do it, it should be viewed by the players as a vote of confidence because the reason I didn’t do it is because I believe in the group. That’s an easy thing to say after the deadline when you don’t do much except I said it two days before the deadline. I was very open about that. I said I didn’t plan to active and I believed in the group. That’s not post-trade deadline rhetoric from a GM to cover his butt. I said it before the deadline and I didn’t change my thinking when other teams added because I don’t believe in being a reactive General Manager. We put our team together based on what we think we can do. What others teams do around me doesn’t really matter to me.
On if he plans on speaking to the players:
I usually do after the deadline. They had a day off today, so I probably will address them tomorrow.
We’re well over budget. Because the two guys retired, we replaced them, and then they came back. We’re well over budget. Ownership has stepped up. Money was not a consideration here. I had the green light to add if it made sense. Henry (Samueli) said ‘Look if there’s something you need to add and it makes sense, call me and we’ll happily do it.’ But Henry, like me, doesn’t understand high-priced rentals. I never have. I’ve never been a big deadline guy.