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Flyers Introduce Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

New Flyers defensemen Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje were introduced to the Philadelphia media at a press conference at the Sovereign Bank Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. on Tuesday. Below is a transcript of that press conference.

Bob Clarke: "I think, first and foremost, it gives us really solid defensive play with some size. We had to replace guys like Malakhov, Timander and Ragnarsson, who were pretty big players on our club. Our defense was awfully small. Both of these guys are premier defensive defensemen. [Hatcher] has probably got a little more offense and I know [Ken] Hitchcock has used him on the power play before."

On how the new rules changes will affect big defensemen:

BC: "I think each team is going to have to look at how the game is going to be played now with the tag-up offsides and no red line. We don't think the offsides and long passes are going to be a big factor. The tag up offsides is going to make more end zone play. Hopefully it will be in the other team's instead of ours, but to play end zone play you've got to have some size."

On how having no red line will affect his game:

Derian Hatcher: "I think most of the players in the league at one point or another have played without the red line. I'm not worried about it. When you go over and play in the Olympics or World Championships, there's no red line and I really don't think that it effects the game that much."

Mike Rathje: "They are adjusting the blue lines too, so there won't be much of a difference. It will be better for speed, and more offense. Playing out on the west coast, that is what everything is based on is speed."

On the league cutting down on obstruction and how that will effect defensemen:

DH: "I always get asked these questions every time there is a rule change. No. Either you can handle it or you can't handle it. Personally, I'm not worried about it. I think for 10 years now the league has been saying they are going to cut down on obstruction. I hope they do. They've been saying it for a long time, and I hope they do."

On his relationship with Ken Hitchcock:

DH: "I was five years with Hitch, and I guess some players have problems with him and I guess in five years I had a few problems with him, but we always seem to hammer them out. To me, the bottom line is that everywhere Hitch goes, he has that tendency to win. I think if you can keep that as the focus, then like it or not the guy knows what he's talking about. To me, that's the bottom line."

On Peter Forsberg:

DH: "This is an easy question. I think he's the best forward in the game, if not the best player in the game. I had a lot of good battles with him, and I have the utmost respect for the guy. Not only can he do things with the puck that most players in the league can't, but you have to know when he's on the ice or he'll hit you and make you pay the price as well. I think he's a great player. I vote for him every year in the players' balloting, so that's what I think of him. I'm looking forward to playing with him."

On all of the time off he has had:

DH: "Right now I'm not worried about it. I feel like I'm going to be fine. Until you go on the ice and start playing you never know, but I'm not anticipating any problems."

On the Flyers' roster:

DH: "On paper, this team looks great. It's exciting going into the season, but until you go out there and put it out there and win a lot of hockey games and reach the ultimate goal, it doesn't really matter a whole lot."

For Flyers ticket information and an updated seating chart, please click here or call (215) 218-PUCK (7825).
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