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Everybody's talking at me

by Phil Coffey /

Spending a day at the U.S. Military Academy was quite an experience for Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik.
The 2007-08 regular season will mercifully begin this weekend with the Ducks and Kings taking to the ice at the O2 Arena in London for what should be a merry old time.

And while the Ducks and Kings have been plenty chatty about starting off the season in England, the NHL’s 28 other outposts have not been devoid of interesting things to say.

So, without further adu, here is the first edition of Quoteworthy for the new season. Enjoy!


"It is definitely an eye-opener. A lot of guys from day-to-day complain about a lot of things. You come here and you catch yourself. You think about the small complaints, like the color of the Gatorade, and you wonder what the (heck) you are thinking about. It definitely puts it into perspective-what these (cadets) do for everybody."

-- Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik after spending a day at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

“I don’t want him to be discouraged because he’s making progress. But the injury set him back a little bit. There’s plenty of areas he can help us now, but I feel with what we have here, he needs a little more dimension to his game. We could keep him up with us and possibly play him on the wing on the fourth line and get him in there to help us on the power play a bit if we need it, but long-term the best thing for him is to go down, add another dimension, and when he comes back to us, he’s ready to play.”

 -- Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish on his reasons for sending forward Rob Schremp to the AHL to start the season.


"I've had a pretty successful pre-season. I knew I had to do that in order to make the squad this year. I've played well, but it's not over yet and there are still decisions to be made."

-- Devin Setoguchi, the San Jose Sharks’ first-round pick in 2005.


"I owe these fans a great year. It's time that I step up and show them the kind of player I can be for the Blues."

-- Forward Dan Hinote, who was sidelined for half the season in 2006-07.


”That's their job. That's what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to make the decision tough for us. And they've done that.

-- Lightning goaltending coach Jeff Reese on the pre-season play of goalies Marc Denis, Johan Holmqvist and Karri Ramo.


“I don’t think concern is the right word. I think we’re aware that we’re not playing at our best right now. We’re making too many mistakes and taking too many penalties. We’re not creating enough offensively, either.”

-- Markus Naslund on the pre-season play of the Canucks.


"We knew he was really good, but all the coaches have really commented on how good he has been for us. He's been a really solid player, and he seems like he is just hitting his stride here. ... I think all successful teams have that one go-to guy who can play in all key situations."


-- Capitals coach Glen Hanlon on defenseman Tom Poti.


“This is the part I was looking forward to, coming together as a whole team. For a lot of camp, the teams are split in two. Half the guys hardly see the other half. It’s going to be nice to watch the guys develop now, and hopefully jell the next few days here.”

-- Predators goalie Chris Mason


“It’s going to be difficult. You can’t keep all your players. I think we all know that. You try to keep a core. The players in turn have to realize that if they play in a good situation, sometimes you have to pay a little bit of price for that to happen. I mean you have to sacrifice for the good of the team. If people are willing to do that at this point or not, I don’t know.”

-- Ottawa GM Bryan Murray who has some key players, including Dany Heatley, headed to free agency at season’s end.

Quote of the Week

"The checking line, to me, is way overrated. Your best defense is still always having the puck, puck possession time. Yeah, there are certain guys that are better at working with the puck than others, but we want to be a puck possession team where we have the puck more. Defensive hockey doesn't mean just staying on your heels and playing well in your own zone. Defensive hockey is about working hard. It's about turning pucks over. It's about neutral-zone puck turnover."

-- Who would have thought you would hear a New Jersey Devils coach say the checking line is overrated? But Brent Sutter did just that.


“He’s got to play within the rules and not over the edge, and that is our responsibility. The last few games, he seems desperate to make this team.”

-- Flyers GM Paul Holmgren on suspended winger Steve Downie.


“The difference between hockey and other sports is that you have less control once the puck is in motion in setting up plays and setting up situations. Players have to learn the game. They have to learn their system so they can react quickly without doing too much thinking. If they stop to think about the situation or the play, it becomes much more difficult. What we want to do is teach them to understand what it is they have to do. Then they can just react.”

-- Boston Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsay


“The team did great, and that’s all it’s really about. I feel I have something to prove since we’ve been back from the lockout. I know I’m not going to go out there and score 20, 25 goals or whatever. It’s just about going out there and contributing a little more than I have and not (to) just try to be a body-checker, a physical player. I want to be put in important situations defensively, the last minute and things. ... I feel like from my own personal standpoint that I can play better than I’ve shown the last couple years.”

-- Red Wings veteran Kirk Maltby


"I'm a guy that likes challenges. As a coach, he challenged me to be the best. When I got to San Jose I was more of a one-dimensional player, just offensive-minded. We talked and he told me there would be games and streaks I wouldn't be scoring, so I would have to be better defensively. That really sunk in and I took it to heart, and I think I became a better all-around player because of it."

-- Owen Nolan on his desire to be reunited with Flames GM Darryl Sutter.


“We have to learn to play 60 minutes. We still have those lapses in our mentality where we don’t do that, and that is something we have to work through. Our whole motto coming into this year is we can’t expect anything to be given to us. We have to welcome the work and be willing to earn it.”

-- Philadelphia Flyers coach John Stevens


“We have a lot of offensive power here. You always want to put an onus on yourself to go out and score goals, but we have two lines that have to score for us every game. That is what we have to rely on.”

-- Predators center Jason Arnott


“If I don’t make the Leafs, we’ll see if I play with the Marlies or go back to Europe. We’ll have to make a decision if it gets to that stage. A big thing for me is that I can still play for Sweden (in international competition). There are four big tournaments in a season back home, then a championship final, and the European Cup. That’s a big thing for me and the tournaments are very good. You can learn a lot from (playing in) those games.”

-- Leafs rookie defenseman Anton Stralman assesses his future.


“It’s a different type of camp with Sutter. Guys are expected to be more aggressive. There is a lot of skating.”

-- Paul Martin on life in New Jersey under coach Brent Sutter.


“We want to take it to the next level. We were proud of what we accomplished last season. Not a lot of people put us (atop the division in pre-season predictions). There’s a lot of hard work to be done. We’re in a tough division, but we have the character and talent to do it again.”

-- Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo


"For the last year or two we were a team that chased pucks and had good tempo and pressured pucks all over the place, but didn't have it as much as we wanted. We hope now with the development of some of the defensemen and the type of people we have, we'll be chasing less and possessing more.”

-- Capitals GM George McPhee


“I still think you can approach the game the way I approached it. If you can take the body, you take the body. You can still hit in this league. From the top player to the fourth liner, you have to take the body, take a hit to make a play. Everyone has to be accountable on the ice.”

-- new Boston Bruins Vice President Cam Neely


“Warm-up was the toughest thing I’ve done since the Final last year. I really haven’t seen pucks. I’ve skated, but when it’s been pucks, it’s been kind of shoot low or don’t shoot at my hand. It was kind of a stride in the right direction for me, but I definitely have a way to go.”

-- Senators’ goalie Ray Emery on facing game action for the first time after undergoing off-season wrist surgery.


“It’s been very effective, and we have a number of candidates to put out there. We have nine guys some nights, nice options to have. We got a lot of different looks. ... And I just think the versatility as far as different options is tough to defend.”

-- Colorado Avalanche Joel Quenneivlle on his power play, which has been deadly in the pre-season.


“One of the first things (Hitchcock) said when he got here last year is that everybody has to score. Everybody has to score, and everybody has to check. My game went up a level.”

-- Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jason Chimera

London calling

Here’s some of what has been said about hockey during the Ducks’ and Kings’ journeys to Europe.


“I’m not as good-looking as David Beckham.”

-- Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger


“Now it’s official. Nobody can deny it. It just makes it even that much more special. There are so many great names on the cup. To be one of the guys who have won the Cup, it’s a special feeling. Everybody is like a little kid right now.”

-- Ducks goalie J.F. Giguere after seeing his name on the Stanley Cup for the first time.


“We’ve got a pretty global, unique talent pool in our game, and when we go international we can expose our game. It’s going to be better for our game in the long run.”

-- Kings defenseman Rob Blake


“This is definitely a bonding experience. With the flight and everything, you get to know guys. It always helps. ... So I think that always helps. If anything, that’s what we’re taking out of this trip.”

-- Kings forward Michael Cammalleri

William Wirtz

"This is not a good day, when you realize what Bill Wirtz meant to this organization, this city and this league. Most people never knew how giving he was, how generous, how loyal. My life was dramatically affected by him, by his family values and attitude. He made it so that we are all family here with the Blackhawks. He preached that and we're tying to pass that message to this team. To me, he was a second father. He had a great sense of humor and a great love for his family, for Chicago, for the game of hockey and for the Blackhawks."

-- Hawks GM Dale Tallon on the passing of team owner William Wirtz.


"Bill Wirtz was one of the classiest men you'll ever meet. Everything was first class, from the people in the front office to the players to the coaching staff. He always did things first class. When you saw him around here or in meetings, you knew the Blackhawks were his favorite thing. He wanted to win as bad as anyone who ever played here. It's unfortunate that we lose him as this team is turning around."

-- Hawks coach Denis Savard

Material from personal interviews, wire services, newspaper, and league and team sources was used in this report.

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