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Steve Yzerman Trade Deadline Press Conference Transcript

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Q: You had stated that you didn’t expect to be active today. What happened, did a lot of phone calls come along?
A: As far as Keith Aulie goes, he’s a player we’ve been talking about for some time now. We weren’t sure if there was going to be anything to that. I got a call from Toronto this morning indicating that they wanted to pursue it and we got that one done. In acquiring Mike Commodore; we have some injuries on our blue line and we’re looking to do some other things. Detroit wanted to give him an opportunity to play. I had Mike with us at the World Championships back in ’07 in Russia and he was a good player, and a good teammate on the team. I think he’ll help us out and provide us with some depth on our blue line. And as far as Matt Gilroy for Brian Lee; Bryan Murray called me this afternoon and we had not had any previous discussions. He asked about Matt and we liked Brian Lee. We think he’s still a prospect. He’s a young guy with some potential. I think the trade was a good fit for both clubs.

Q: You talked about Keith Aulie last year. Where do you see him fitting in now?
A: We’re going to have to get a Visa for him. That might take a couple of days, but our intention is to bring him in and put him in our lineup. He’s a young guy, and he’s been up and down a bit in the American League. We would like to get him into our lineup and give him more NHL games and experience. From watching him, we think he’s close to being an NHL regular.

Q: Was Lee someone you were looking at last year?
A: We had some discussions with Bryan last year. Just a brief discussion. We he called today, it just seemed to make sense with us. We’re getting a younger player who has the chance to grow into an NHL regular. When Ottawa was here just over two weeks ago, we thought he played really well. Again, he’s a pretty big body, he moves well out there and he’s still relatively young. We think he has very good potential.

Q: Were you trying to get younger on defense?
A: Defensemen are hard to find. We’re looking for young guys, and for guys whose contracts are appropriate. And Keith Aulie is obviously coming off his entry-level deal. We believe he’s going to play for a long time. It fits with what we’re trying to do, and the same thing with Brian Lee. He’s a little bit older than Keith, but we’re obviously trying to find good players, and good players that don’t make a lot of money. And that’s not an easy thing to do.

Q: Where does Commodore fit in? Is he going to play with Victor Hedman?
A: We’re uncertain as to Victor’s status right now. And Marc-Andre Bergeron’s for that matter as well. With Keith Aulie and Mike Commodore, we’re at seven right now. We’re not sure on Victor or Marc-Andre. Commodore provides us with depth and a big body, and an NHL defenseman who can kill penalties. He’s also an experienced guy and a great teammate.

Q: What is Hedman’s status?
A: I’m hoping to find out tonight. He has an appointment to see a doctor this afternoon. We’ll learn some more tonight?

Q: Did you think at the start of the day that you’d have been able to revamp the blue line the way you have?
A: I really wasn’t sure. We were hoping to acquire Keith Aulie, but really weren’t sure where that was going to go. We’re very pleased with that. We gave up a very good young prospect to get Keith, but we feel that with some of the forwards that we have and with players like Brett Connolly playing well, that we could afford to trade one forward for a defenseman. I came into today not expecting to do a whole lot, but we’re pleased with the outcome of the afternoon.

Q: What will Brett Connolly’s role be down the stretch?
A: He’s going to play. I want to do what’s best for Brett Connolly in the long run. To send him back to juniors and play or to keep him here; they’re both good scenarios. The bottomline is that he’s going to play. We’re thinner up front and if you’ve seen the last two games; he’s taking a regular shift. He’s playing on the power play. With 20 games left in the season and if we make the playoffs, he’ll get more experience. Playing in the NHL as a regular for 20 games, we think is a positive for him. And Guy Boucher and our players want to win. We want to keep our best team together and go forward.

Q: Did you have discussions about trading for a goaltender?
A: Non, not in the last couple of days. It’s obviously an issue that we’ve talked about for quite some time. There was nothing we could do that made sense for us.

Q: Did you think of extending Gilroy’s contract?
A: I didn’t talk with Matt’s agent. Any discussion we had was that we’re just going to continue to assess and figure out where we want to go. Our feeling going down the stretch is that we have some areas of concern on our team, and we’ll see how the season plays out. We’ll address everything at the end of the year.

Q: Did you get any calls about UFAs, such as Adam Hall or Brett Clark?
A: We got calls on a lot of players. We want to keep this group together and just can’t unload everybody. We need players to play. What you’re being offered for what that player brings you , what he brings you now and what you need for the rest of the season. Nothing we heard made sense for us.

Q: Did today’s moves change how you’re going to address your goaltending moving forward?
A: No. I don’t really have an answer for you. We’ve acquired some defensemen is what we’ve done. Dwayne Roloson is an unrestricted free agent. Mathieu Garon is under contract. We’ll continue through the offseason, and during The Draft, to see ways we can improve or be different in that position.

Q: Did you have any other discussions about goaltenders?
A: No, we really didn’t talk about any goaltenders today.

Q: Aulie won’t be here tomorrow?
A: We have to get him a Visa and that will take a couple days. I don’t think he’ll be able to travel before Wednesday.
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