On Koivu filling the need for secondary scoring,
I think it’s a good fit for both Saku and us. He’s been a No. 1 or No. 2 center for years and a captain in Montreal. I think it puts us in a position where we have two good scoring lines and I prefer to think of it that way rather than a 1 or a 2.
When we got beat by Detroit, I didn’t think we had enough depth after Getzy’s line. We’ve addressed that situation. I’m not going to get into who is playing with who. Randy wouldn’t listen to me anyway [laughs]. We’ll see how it goes and what chemistry is there. There is history with Getzy and Corey and there is history with Saku and Teemu. You never know in the game of hockey. I wouldn’t want to say who is playing with who at this time.
On Koivu’s history of leadership,
Saku has the character and the leadership. He’s our type of guy. The things he has done are just amazing. We’re very fortunate. He gave up some terms and some money to come and play with us. He wanted a chance to play out here and see if it’s a good fit. We’re the benefactors of that.
On the negotiations,
After a couple of days, when he didn’t go in that first wave of free agency, I had a feeling they were looking for something and weren’t just going to jump at the money. That put us in the ballgame. Don Baizley [Koivu’s agent] is very good at recognizing what is good for his client and he doesn’t just jump at the big dollars. They recognized this was a good fit for him. It really wasn’t hard. It was just having patience, talking and talking and letting things play out.
We have a free agent list at the trade deadline, then we revamp it and touch it up after the deadline, then qualifying offers are made and we retool it again. When it comes to the top centers, he is obviously very high on that list. You hope you can get a guy like that, but you don’t know if you can be part of it when it comes to the big dollars. Sometimes you wait and things work out for a reason.
On Koivu signing a one-year deal,
I’m all for that. He’s trying us out. It’s a good fit for both of us at this point in time, as far as where he is in his career, what he has gone through in Montreal. The pressure and the lifestyle in Montreal is very intense and there is a lot of scrutiny. Now he comes to a place where he can just play hockey. It’s a wonderful thing in Anaheim. I think he’s going to love it. I think he’s going to enjoy the heck out of it. Over the years, Teemu has told him about what it’s like playing here over the years. It’s just a good fit. There is no other way to say it.
On other deals he’s like to make,
I’d like to get another defenseman. I’ve got a couple things in mind to do that. I’d like to get a veteran type of guy. I’m not going to say anymore on that.
On the James Wisniewski negotiations,
Wiz has got some interesting numbers and he’s got some comparables. Brian [Burke] went off on the Edmonton offer sheet [in 2007 to Dustin Penner] and what people didn’t realize, and Brian was so right on this, is that now we’re seeing what the other effect of these offer sheets is. Guys are coming out of their first couple of contracts, when they have arbitration rights, you’re seeing those built-up numbers. As a result, you have people thinking that they are worth a lot of money before they have proven they are worth a lot of money. With Wiz, I’m not going to jump and give him a lot of money and a lot of terms until I am damn sure he can prove what he can be. We’re probably going to end up at arbitration and arbitrations are ugly, but that’s where we are headed right now.
On the changes the team has undergone already,
You have game plans and you have enough time between the trade deadline and the end of the season. You’re watching the playoffs and you know the scenarios that have come forward and you have Plan A, B or C. At certain points, I thought it was all going to fall apart. I thought there was no way certain things were going to happen. But things have played out very well. I’m pretty happy at the moment with the way things have gone. We’ll do a little tinkering here and there.
On sacrificing some defense to get more scoring,
Yeah, we had a good defense, and that almost got us by Detroit. But there is too much pressure on your scorers to score when you’re not getting enough. We talked about it and decided we might have to give up something on defense. That was hard for me, as you’re probably well aware. But we watched how Pittsburgh won and how Detroit plays, and sometimes In the cap system, you’ve got to be willing to give up some things to try and take that next step with your group.