PhiladelphiaFlyers.com caught up with the Flyers captain to talk about a number of topics including winning the gold medal at the World Championships, a new head coach and his teammate’s (and linemate’s) multi-year extensions…Q: Talk about your linemate, Jake Voracek, and his new extension. How did you find out and your thoughts on why you play so well together…
“He called me while I was just hanging out at my place. I’m really happy for him and it’s really good for our team. I think we have some room for improvement to get even better chemistry, but I think we’ve been doing a good job of finding each other and communicating on and off the ice to know how we want to play. Jake just cares so much that every time he comes to the rink he wants to win and he’s really fun to be around.” Q: How much does it help to have several teammates locked up for a long time and knowing that there isn’t a contract situation hanging over someone’s game?
“Obviously when guys aren’t looking for contracts there are no distractions, the guys just go and play. We’re happy with everyone on our team and how we’re building. We’re still a young team and we have so much to learn and everybody wants to learn with the new coach coming in. Last year, we learned the hard way but we’re going to be better because of that.”Q: You mentioned new head coach Dave Hakstol, have you met and talked with him this summer?
“Yes, he flew up to Ottawa to meet with me. It went well. I didn’t know what to expect but we had great conversations. I met him for a few hours. He’s pretty busy this summer and has a lot of things to take care of, so I think when we all come back in early September we’ll have a lot of time to communicate. He’s really excited and anytime there’s something new I think everybody starts getting excited.”Q: What were the conversations like?
“We talked about the team. How we want to be looked at and what our identity is, but for the first hour we just sat down to talk to get to know each other. I think that’s important when you spend a lot of time with your teammates and coaches. It’s good to know a little bit more about their life and there’s a point where we’re all going to find chemistry together.”Q: Shifting topics a little bit, talk about playing in the World Championships and winning gold with Canada?
“It was a really good experience. Just being able to play with those elite players was a lot of fun. The thing I was really impressed with was that I learned a lot and so did Brayden [Schenn] and Sean Couturier who came over with me. Every day you’re there to learn more, get better and it was a really big plus for us to all be there and win it together.”