Flyers center Peter Forsberg arrived in Philadelphia over the weekend, and met the media on Monday morning in the Hall of Fame Room at the Wachovia Center. Below is a transcript of his press conference.
"This is obviously a very special moment for the Flyers. For the longest time, we've tried to be the best team we can be, and we think that this is the best player that we've had in years and years in this organization. At this time in August, we're a great team. We'll see where we are in November, but we're really, really excited to have Peter here with us, and we hope he puts the finishing touches on our team."
"It's kind of a new chapter, but I'm really excited. I played in Colorado for a long time, for 10 years, but the pages are turning and I'm really excited to be here. I didn't really know when I became a free agent where I was going to end up, but I'm really happy that I ended up here."
On the Flyers' additions and their roster:
"If you look at the team – of course, I looked at the team too before I signed here. I am definitely happy that we have a big team. If you look at our defense, they are physical. Of course, for me, I was playing against [Derian] Hatcher and [Mike] Rathje and I know they are great players. We have young players that are hungry, and we have some older, experienced players. Just looking around the dressing room, and looking at the names, it's going to be a good squad. But, you never know until you get on the ice and start playing. I think everybody knows, if you're a Flyers fan, you know they are going to play hard. I think this year we're going to have a tough team, and it's going to be the same way this year."
On if he talked to any players who played in Philadelphia before he signed:
"Definitely. Rumors go around the league on who is treating players well, and who wants to win and stuff like that. I played with [Mattias] Timander last year. He was here a few years ago and we're from the same town. He really enjoyed it here and thought it was a great place to play."
On how he perceives the fans in Philadelphia:
"It's all good (laughs). As long as you play well, they are good to you. It's a big hockey town, and a great building to play."
On how he ended up in Philadelphia:
"I kind of made a decision when Colorado had a week there before everybody else got in to negotiate. I don't know exactly when it was, but I think when I became a free agent there was no turning back. I had to move on. Everything with the Flyers came in pretty late I have to say. Like I said, I was really excited when they called me, and after that it went really fast."
On almost being here when he was drafted:
"Back then, I was a young kid and I really didn't know too much about hockey. I never played for the Flyers, so I didn't really know what it meant to be dealt to Quebec either. I think it was lucky for me that Quebec got sold to Denver; otherwise we wouldn't have had that team that we had for a long time. I didn't think too much about it, but I was making sure this time I got a no trade clause in the deal (laughs). So they can't get rid of me."
On the city expecting a Stanley Cup and the pressure it may bring:
"I think that's going to be our goal anyway. There's no secret that everybody is…I don't know if they expect it. It's a long season and a lot of things have to go right. There are a lot of teams that are going to have to put good squads out there on the ice. I think definitely, our goal is going to be to win the Cup. For me, personally, I don't really look around at what people are saying or writing or anything. It's just what we have to go as a group and how we have to achieve that goal."
On the passion that he has playing right now:
"There were a lot of injuries and hurting every time I got on the ice. There were minor injuries, and a spleen and everything. It was a little tough there for a while I have to say. I sat out the whole year, and I thought it was good that I sat out, and I realized this is what I want to do. I really missed playing hockey. That was 2001. After that, I've enjoyed playing every game. So, I don't know how long I'm going to play, and how long I'm going to continue to play, but I'm enjoying it right now and it's going to be a great feeling to get out there and play. It was a little tough there for a while because I didn't play as well as I wanted and there were a lot of things going on, so it was tough, but I got the joy back for the game and it's great."
On the rules changes in the NHL:
"The rule changes they made is for more offensive hockey and for more goals. I wouldn't mind it. I think it's going to be great for hockey to see more goals. I don't think it's going to change the game that much, maybe a little bit, but just the smaller equipment on goalies and other things is going to help out. If the referees start calling the game a little closer, with the hooking and holding, I think that's going to help it. Overall, it's just good for hockey I guess. The scoring has been going down for a long time, and I think it's time to go the other direction for a little bit. The goalies were getting so good, if you look at 20 years back they barely had any pads. But now, they are bigger pads and the goalies are unbelievable and good. It's hard to score on a regular shot; they almost have to get screened. I think it's a great thing that they made the equipment smaller. So, it's going to benefit the whole game to have more goals."
On the Flyers selling many tickets because of him:
"Definitely, it's better than not selling out (laughs). We just have to go out and perform now. Everybody has said before that it's a great hockey town, and I think people have missed hockey. It was a tough year for everybody. I'm sure the fans were mad, and it's tough for the players to sit out the whole year. But now, we've got to work together. The players, the league and the fans have to try and make the league better. Of course, it's much more fun as players to play when it's sold out if the crowd gets into it. Hopefully we can work together to make the game better and better every day."
On if it was a difficult decision to come back to the NHL rather than stay in Sweden:
"Oh, not this year. I made it clear right from the beginning that I wanted to come back and play in the NHL. I just didn't know where."
On Bob Clarke saying he is the best player in the game:
"It's a lot of pressure (laughs). No, it's definitely good to hear that, but I just have to make sure I come here to play every night. That's what I have always done, and I'm just going to go out and do my best and hopefully everyone is going to be happy. I don't know, but we'll see. I am just really excited to come here and play, and I'm just going to go out and play my heart out every night."
On how difficult it is to relocate after being in Colorado for so long:
"That's a tough question, actually. I had a good time in Colorado; I can't say anything else. It's a good organization and we had a great team for a long time. But, when the time comes, I made up my mind that I was moving on. I had to forget about what was in the past, and just look forward. Like I said, this is a place I really wanted to go to, and I had a chance to come here, so now I just have got to look forward. I can't look back. I have to look forward and try to win a Cup over here.
"It was hard, because I played with a few guys for 10 years. I don't think I'm known as a player who moves around and wants to change teams and creates problems where I am. I don't think I'm that kind of guy. So, it was a little tough, to talk to the guys I played with. But, I think everybody understood. With the new system, it created a lot of players to move around. I was not the only guy who left. Adam Foote was there for 10 years too, at least. He played with me for 10 years, and he moved on too. It's just part of the game and part of the new system. There's nothing you can do, of course. I'm sure some people are frustrated to see Foote and I leave, but they have some good young players there so they are moving on, and I'm sure they are going to have a good team anyway."
On if he is going to help young players such as Jeff Carter and Mike Richards:
"From what I have heard, they are really good players already. I haven't even met them or seen them play, so I'm going to be excited to see them coming into camp and see what they can do. Definitely, I'm going to try to help them out. I'm older now, so definitely I'm going to try and help them out. That's just the way it goes."
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