| ||Joe Nieuwendyk |
(Have you looked ahead to where you will be in the fall?) No not really, it's too early to start thinking about that, and it's still awfully disappointing, ... what can you do? (One more year?) I feel good, i think i can play as long as i want to in my mind (team uncertainty, significant changes to team?) there could be, there might not be, i think we're one of 6 remaining teams at the end so it's not always the case where you have the 'players for sale' things, realize that we're an older team, but i think we're a very close team too, those decisions will be made. (Will teams be reluctant to sign players this summer?)you're asking the wrong guy, i'm a player, i don't make decisions in that area as far as teams are concerned, i think it'll be business as usual for a lot of teams this summer, the deadlines for players is still July 1, and i think teams will act accordingly. (How was it playing in your home town?) I've had a tremendous time here, it's been a great experience for me and my family, playing for the maple leafs this year, I've certainly enjoyed it, I have great memories of this season, didn't finish the way I wanted it to , but I've had a lot of fun playing with these guys. (Will you be able to get something done before July 1?) Well I'll see how it goes, I haven't even spoken to Pat (Quinn) or John (Ferguson) yet, those decisions will get made over the summer. (How bad is your back?) I missed that game in Ottawa, and that was really the only episode with my back, the three games that I missed in this series, was not my back at all, i had a groin tear, so that was, upper body, lower body, whatever you want to call it, but it wasn't my back at all, my back is fine. (How are the fans here?) It's all part of the experience playing here, I couldn't have asked for anything better than what I went through this year with this organization, and these fans... it was terriffic, growing up in Southern Ontario, you always thought about it, but when you actually are a part of it it's great to see the fans the way they were throughout the year, and especially the playoffs, I have nothing but great things to say about playing here. (On the 'McDonalds Kids') well they became a special little group here for me coming off the ice after warmups, seeing those smiling faces, so that was enjoyable. (Injuries unavoidable at your age?) I don't think it's just guys my age, but now that I've had the chance to sit back and think about it, I really think that's one of the areas that needs to be addressed, the length of the schedule, it's demanding, the players are bigger and stronger, there's no question, but I think the fans will benefit as well, because you get more quality hockey, when you play 4 games in 6 nights, and 10 games in 16 nights with the travel schedule we have I think in some ways the games aren't as competitive as they should be. You want to be out there, it just becomes that much more tough when you're playing a condensed schedule, in a short period of time, that's definately an area i've thought a lot about too. (Did the pounding you take in your back, standing in front of the net while younger, correlate to your problems now?) If I look back at my last few seasons, my years in New Jersey, I played 80 games both years, I had a rib tear at the end of the playoffs there last year... it's a physical sport, and as you get older you may feel it a little more, but I still feel good out there, still move around on the ice pretty well for a 37 year old, I know I missed some time this year with the back, like what we talked about with the scheduling, I think a few games off here and there is beneficial for a guy like me. (You look the same skating as you did at 25) that's a big factor for me, having my legs for me is a big part of my game, I still feel like I can skate pretty well. (When was the groin injury?) Game 7 against Ottawa late in the game, I thought it would be fine, but I aggrevated it further in game 1 versus Philly, and I needed time to recover.