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Jason Smith Press Conference

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Voorhees, NJ, July 11) - Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Jason Smith was introduced to the local media on Wednesday at noon at the Virtua Health Flyers Skate Zone. Click below to view the press conference in its entirety.


Jason Smith Press Conference (video): 700K
(audio): 56K

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In attendance:  Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren, Head Coach John Stevens and Jason Smith

Paul Holmgren: “Thanks again for coming out today.  I just heard from the league, we officially lead the league in press conferences already, so we are getting a start on things.  Today, it gives me great pleasure and pride to introduce the newest member of the Flyers’ team, Jason Smith.  Jason is a heart and soul player, character, leadership.  I have said before he is literally one of those guys that will do whatever it takes to win.  We are extremely excited about having him on our team now and on board.  I think he is going to do great things not only with his leadership but with the way he prepares for the game.  He is an old pro and he comes to the rink with knowledge of the task at hand and what it takes to win hockey games.  He is just going to be a big, big part of our team in the future.  With that, I will pass things over to Jason and welcome him to Philadelphia.”

Q:  Paul brings up leadership and that is one of the things that of the key questions going into this year.  You have been a captain for so long, you are one of the older veterans on this team, do you see that in your role coming here?

Jason Smith:  “I just want to come to the rink and be a stable force.  Be a guy that the young guys can feel comfortable around and just prepare myself to go out and play properly, go out and play a solid game ever night, come to the rink and work hard. That is something I have taken a lot of pride in previous years and I think I’ve got the experience to help spread that through the room.”
Jason Smith is presented with his new jersey by Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. (Flyers Photos)


Q:  Is that something you would push for?

Smith
:  “I just want to fit in and play whatever role I can here.  I’m experienced and I want to do whatever I can to help the team do well and whatever my role is I will gladly fill that.”

Q:  Were you somewhat blindsided by this trade being the longest serving captain in Oilers’ history and thought that you would probably end your career there?

Smith
:  “Yeah, I was surprised.  I think I was a little bit shocked off the start but once it took a little bit of time to settle in, I looked at is as another great opportunity.  I did have a lot of fun playing in Edmonton and played with great people.  I am looking forward to playing here a long time and playing with some great young players and having a lot of success here.”

Q:  As a former captain and so many other former captains coming to this team, is there a certain standard to go about things that you and some of the veterans want to establish right away? 

Smith
:  “I think anytime you go into a new season, maybe there was some disappointment end of the season last year, you want to come in re-focused and re-energized.  Obviously the ultimate goal is to win at the end of the year.  Play that last game that you can possibly play.  We are going to come to training camp as a group with obviously some new guys and just come in with a lot of energy.  l look forward to game one of the regular season and moving forward from there.”

Q:  You know what happened here last year and Homer (Paul Holmgren) did a great job turning this team around, that had to be part of the excitement of you coming in here.

Smith
:  “Obviously knowing the what the team went through last year and the adjustments and the moves he made through the end of last season and obviously through the summer, there are gong to be a great bunch of guys here and a really talented group.  There is no better place for a guy like myself to come in and be part of it.”

Q:  What is it like having a guy like this on your team and how do you plan on using him?

John Stevens
:  “He’s a tremendous acquisition for us.  I remember having a conversation with Craig Berube who had played against Jason.  He described him as one of the hardest guys he ever had to play against.  He does not go away.  He’s a fearless competitor.  He brings those intangible things that you want from one of your veteran players.  He’s going to be leaned on heavily.  No question he will be a part of a leadership group and a mentor for a lot of our younger players.  If you look at how he was used before, he’s played key minutes, he has played against other teams’ best players and he has done a tremendous job doing it.  He is going to be an important player for us.”

Q:  Your thoughts on the new team.

Stevens
: “We are extremely excited.  There is an air of excitement around here with the fans and there certainly is with us and the coaching staff.  We’ve added some really quality character people.  If you read the comments from the players in Edmonton after the trade, they felt like their left arm got ripped off because Jason was leaving town.  Sometimes you hear what his peers and teammates have to say, that really tells you what they think about him, what the true value he brings to the hockey team.  Jason, along with all these other players and the players we feel that we can build around that have been here, we are extremely excited about the direction we are going and can’t wait to get going in training camp.”

Q: As luck would have it you will be back in Edmonton right away, how do you feel that?

Smith
:  “It should be fun.  I’ve always enjoyed playing in Alberta.  I know I will have a lot of family and friends there and hopefully we will start the season off really well.”

Q:  How did you assess the Flyers from their play last year and do you feel now that they have been corrected?

Smith
:  “Obviously going through the season in Edmonton we were not having the best of years either and I was really focused on things there.  The changes have been made here over the summer and moving forward to training camp and getting through the exhibition season I think we are going to come out and we are going to be a successful team and (I) just am looking forward to getting out there and getting it done.”

Q:  With so many new faces, it’s almost like you have the opportunity to come in and be whatever it is you want to be.  Is that something different for you? 

Smith
:  “Yeah, I mean it’s a different situation.  I think there is a lot of new faces here and coming off an off season last year I think the whole group and the whole organization is looking forward to big improvements.  As an individual player you want to jump in and be a big part of that as much as you can.”

Q:  This division now has a lot of skill with (Scott) Gomez and (Chris) Druery joining the (New York) Rangers, (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin with the (Pittsburgh) Penguins, how do you go about as a defenseman containing teams with players like this?

Smith
:  “I think the biggest thing is, as a team you want to play strong team defense.  Right from your goaltender out to being in good position defensively in your own zone, with the offensive guys getting up front, we are going to score some goals.  Obviously key in on those key players in certain situations and hopefully contain them as best as we can.”

Q:  What makes a good captain, where does it come from?

Smith
:  “I think on every team it’s different.  I think you have teams where you have a lot of young guys where you may be really relied upon to do more in helping young guys whether it’s on-ice or off-ice.  On certain teams you can kind of just step in and be a quiet calm leader.  I think there are all kinds of different situations that you go through during the season.  I just want to do whatever I can to do well here and go out and play solid hockey.”

Q:  What kind of captain were you?  Did you ever have to get into any guys’ faces?

Smith: 
“I never got into a fist fight or anything! I am vocal in the room and I am the type of guy that if guys need encouragement or need to be yelled or screamed at, I definitely will do whatever I can, whatever role is needed.  I just want to win games.”

Q:  Do captains differ depending on what teams they play on?

Smith
:  “Everything is different.  Obviously you have experienced guys and guys that have a reputation as being leaders and being more vocal as players.  Guys that spend a lot more time in front of the media like you guys who maybe aren’t the most outspoken guys in the room.  I think for a team to do well you need a combination of everything and I am just going to fit in and do what I can to win hockey games and have a lot of fun.”

Q:  What has your transition been to the new NHL rules?

Smith
:  “You can still be a physical player and still grind it out.  I think that is an important part of my game and I’ve tried to maintain that.  The biggest thing is, is just being better aware positionally, is something that is really important whether it’s defensively in your own zone or getting up ice and make sure that you have a small gap and not getting gapped out where teams can have a lot of speed and run through the zone.  If you are in good position and always aware of what is going on out there, I think I’ve adapted alright.“

Q:  Where does Jason stand in terms of a contract?

Holmgren
:  “At the right time, Jason just got here last night.  I think he’s spent some time looking around the area, he’s going to do a little more today.  At some point we will get to looking to Jason’s a guy that we certainly didn’t acquire as a one-year asset.  We want to look to extend it at the right time.  Once he gets a feel for the area and settled in we will talk.”

Q:  Did you say to yourself you didn’t want this to be a short-term contract?

Smith
:  “For sure.  Going through the trade and then speaking to Paul, it was looking forward to the future and hopefully I can be here a long time and just have a lot of success.”

Q:  With fans sitting in the seats, what are they going to see different from Flyers teams in the past?

Stevens
:  “We are going to get back to playing Flyers hockey that we are accustomed to.  If you look at Jason, he is just a hard guy to play against and that is what we want to be.  We want to be an extremely hard-working team and very difficult to play against.  A guy like Jason is going to lead the way.  We had Scottie Hartnell in yesterday; he’s going to lead the way.  We have people on board here already that play that way.  We have a nice collection of some veterans and some young guys that are going to bring a level of grit and determination that is necessary.“

Q:  With all what is going on in Edmonton, loss of Ryan Smyth, the Michael Nylander situation, was part of it good for you to get out of there?  Do you see more of a commitment to winning here than in Edmonton?

Smith
:  “I had a lot fun playing in Edmonton and the team treated me really well there.  I think they are obviously looking to move in a different direction and I am definitely excited to be here.  I think the business side of it sometimes is something that they are having a hard time with in Edmonton.   I am happy to be here and it sounds like the organization is happy to have me so we will just go forward from there.” 

Q:  Talk about Kimmo Timonen.

Smith
:  “He is a very gifted and smart player.  A very smart player.  He moves the puck very well.  He can create a lot of offense for your team from the back end.  He’s a player that is very good offensively but he can also play very well defensively and if I get that opportunity to play with him it will be great.” 

Q:  Besides (Joffrey) Lupul is there any body that you know on the team?

Smith
:  “I know Scottie Hartnell a little bit and Scottie Upshall, that’s about it, but I haven’t had problems meeting guys around the rink before so it should be all good.”
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