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On Blake, banners and shaving cream

by Phil Coffey /

Maple Leafs' forward Jason Blake announced on Monday he had been diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, but it is highly treatable.

Shocking news from Toronto, a banner raising in Anaheim and plenty of shenanigans highlight this week’s compilation of the best quotes from around the NHL.


“When you find out that you have something, it’s definitely shattering to your whole family and so on. Overall, I feel good. I’m still here and my goal this whole season hasn’t changed.”

-- Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake after telling teammates and the media he had been diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia on Monday at Air Canada Centre.


“We’re going to be his backup family here, too, as a team. We’re going to support him with everything we can to make him feel better, go through this, and have a great year.”

-- Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin


“We are going to rally around Jason. We have let him know that he won’t have to go through this alone.”

-- Toronto winger Darcy Tucker


“I think we really put hockey on the map here. That banner is going to be here forever. It’s important for us to enjoy that moment. We worked extremely hard to get that.”

-- Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the Ducks raising their Stanley Cup banner Wednesday night.


“Yeah, I’m in quite a different situation than I’ve ever been before. To be able to go there and be a part of putting that banner up to the ceiling, to be there to support everybody who was part of that, is a great moment. I knew it was going to be a big moment, going back to the rink, There will be some different feelings on my part, as to what the future holds.

“I’m going to have to make a decision sooner or later. I don’t have a time frame. It’s hard for me to judge ‘soon’ - within two weeks, or two months. I don’t know exactly what ‘soon’ means. I hope the sooner the better, but there still could be some time here.”

-- Scott Niedermayer on returning to see the Ducks raise their Stanley Cup banner and his playing future.


“I take a lot of pride in that.”

-- Red Wings forward Kris Draper after “celebrating” Henrik Zetterberg’s birthday with a towel full of shaving cream, a team tradition.


“I’ve told them the oldest thing on that line is my knees.”

-- 24-year-old Tuomo Ruutu of the Blackhawks on being on a line with rookies Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.


“I think over the next few games, we’ll look to give him some power-play time. With the way our power play has been, we could use some experimentation there and that’s where Sam’s skills shine through.”

-- Oilers coach Craig MacTavish on rookie Sam Gagner.

“It’s our job to make it happen. The organization has



“There’s no question the St. Louis Blues are a better team this year and one of the main reasons is that Paul Kariya is there.”

-- Nashville Predators GM David Poile


“Our awareness needs to be better and our focus needs to be better in what we’re doing. It’s amazing when we decide to play the way we can, we play extremely well. But we seem to go from one extreme to the other, and we’ve got to stop doing that.”

-- New Jersey Devils coach Brent Sutter


“I think my game has changed a lot. When I was younger, I took more chances. Now, I know when the play’s not there to go up off the glass; I know when guys are open to move it to them right away and then follow up the rush. We’ve got some skilled guys, and the best thing I can do is get them the puck as quick as I can.”

-- Islanders defenseman Bryan Berard


“I don’t think by me playing in Marty’s spot means that I’m replacing him. I don’t think any one player on this team can replace Marty Havlat. It’s going to take increased efforts by a lot of different people. I’m going to continue to do what I do: create energy and use my speed to get on loose pucks and, hopefully, put the puck in the net a few times.”

-- Chicago’s Patrick Sharp on replacing the injured Martin Havlat on a line with Robert Lang and Sergei Samsonov.


“I was really not going to play. I was very irritated at the way things had gone and were moving for me and people turning their back on me. But then you have a guy like Doug Wilson give you a call and say you can’t end your career like that, you’ve had too great a career, and give me one more shot at it. That put so much life back into me; just the loyalty and friendship put the life back into it immediately and got me excited to get back to work again.”

-- San Jose’s Jeremy Roenick


“I remember what it was like for me, coming from the Czech (Republic). New language, new streets, new people, new everything. People helped me out, so it’s my turn to help him out, now that he’s in the same boat.”

-- Colorado’s Milan Hejduk on helping Jaroslav Hlinka adjust to the NHL and North America.


“We are going into games expecting to win. Last year we went into games saying, ‘Let’s work hard and see what happens.’”

-- Caps goaltender Olaf Kolzig


“Chris is continuing along a path that he began last season. That’s great because there is probably not a better guy than Chris. Everyone is cheering for him and he is doing a great job.”

-- Nashville coach Barry Trotz on goalie Chris Mason.


“It’s good to be here. I’m excited for a new beginning for myself. It’s a nice, young team here, high energy, and I’m looking forward to playing.”

-- Freddy Meyer on being picked up by the Phoenix Coyotes.


“We wanted to see if anyone else could complement the twins and so far I think Taylor, in that one game, has been the best. Taylor had been pretty average and had been told; ‘It’s now.’ So he knew he had to have a good game and he did have a good game against Calgary. And that needs to continue.”

-- Canucks coach Alain Vigneault on Taylor Pyatt moving on to a line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin.


“You admire the tenacity to come back and stay involved in the game, but we have to continue to get better as a group to develop more consistency in our game.”

-- Flames coach Mike Keenan, praising his team’s ability to come back, but wishing for better overall efforts.


“A lot of bad luck. I was hoping this season would be a great season to play as many games as I could. Now I have to deal with another problem, (but) that’s the way it is, and hopefully it’s not going to be that bad.”

-- Martin Havlat after suffering a shoulder injury that has sidelined him indefinitely.


“I read where they’re not going to trap as much. I’ll believe that ... later. They’ve still got the best goalie in the game, and Brent has been successful wherever he’s been. I’m sure he’s got the players’ attention. When you’ve won everywhere, it’s easy to command respect. The last three or four years Jersey has lost people and everybody says they’re in trouble ... and they always finish with 100 points. They’ll do it again.”

-- Ottawa coach John Paddock on the Devils.


“There’s not much tax on 65 bucks a week in juniors. That’s a big change for me. That was kind of a letdown, but it’s fine. I think I’ll do OK.”

-- Minnesota rookie James Sheppard on becoming acquainted with the tax man after receiving his first paycheck.


“We have to decide how good we want to be. I don’t know what you want to call it ... we just have to go out and play at the start. We’re letting the game dictate our effort. Our effort should be dictating the game, instead of vice versa.”

-- Calgary defenseman Rhett Warrener


“I thought last year he played at a pretty impressive level. Just to keep getting better is a great sign. Those are pretty lofty standards to set to come in as a youngster, but his approach to training camp this year was he looked quicker and as determined as he was last year. His intelligence and the way the puck follows him around is pretty unusual.

-- Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville on Paul Stastny.


“There is a difference in being a talent and being a player; and Ron is starting to show signs of being a player. Conditioning, fitness, positional play, all of those things are becoming part of his game.”

-- Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock on Ron Hainsey.

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


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