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Quotes worth keeping close

by Phil Coffey

2007 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mark Messier has great respect for those who
came before him for their toughness.
The induction speeches Monday from the Hockey Hall of Fame were inspiring and insightful. Several of the passages are worth printing out and pasting on the ol' Fridge, as are some of the comments about one of the most distinguished classes of inductees ever: Mark Messier, Scott Stevens, Al MacInnis, Ron Francis and Jim Gregory.

So, let's get printing!


"As my uncle Victor would say, "We sail in the wake of those who've gone before us, -- and there is no greater testimony to that than standing here, looking at the names and pictures on the wall -- players sewn up with binder twine and thrown back on the ice because they didn't have trainers. It makes you think of what they endured to create the legacy and history of the game."

-- Mark Messier


"The wonderful journey that I took to tonight's honor took me through much of North America and involved the efforts of countless individuals. It has been filled with an unforgettable group of characters and men and women of great character, people who shared of themselves unselfishly, who taught me by word and action what it takes to succeed in hockey and life, and who made it clear what really matters in both."

-- Ron Francis


"When Gordie retired in 1980, they said there would never be anybody like him. Then we got Mark. Fifty straight years of players like them. No question, Mark was just like Howe."

-- Wayne Gretzky on Mark Messier.


"My dad stressed two things that always stuck with me. The first is that play in the defensive zone is just as important as the offensive zone - because it's just as important to prevent a goal as it is to score it. The second is that if you set up a guy and he scores, that's just as important as if you scored yourself."

-- Hall of Famer Ron Francis on his father, obviously a very wise man.


"Some people want me to put Conn Smythe on things. I don't think I'll do it. I don't think I need to put it on paper. That's not my style. My style is to keep it simple."

-- Hall of Famer Scott Stevens.


"Has there been a player in the history of the NHL who has been as quiet and understated, and accomplished more? I don't think so. He just went about his business, with no fanfare."

-- Mark Messier on Ron Francis.


Well Said I

"If I was to start a hockey franchise and I had the first pick overall, I'd take Vinny (Lecavalier). I've said he is the top player in the NHL."

-- Former Devils, Maple Leafs and Canadiens coach Pat Burns to St. Petersburg Times writer Damian Cristodero.

"I love to teach. We're going to make New Jersey our home (as a family), and yes, I've had talks with Lou. Right now I'm away from the game, I have two teenagers I'm trying to get ready for college, and that's important. But Lou knows what I'd like to do."

-- Hall of Famer Scott Stevens on a potential role with the Devils in the future.


"When I look back at my career, I'm not looking at all the points I got. In reality, I'm proud of the Cups, too. But when the last goal's scored and the last Cup's won, all you are left with is your family and the people who supported you through the whole career. Even now, I don't look back and say; "Geez, I scored 694 goals.  There's the journey and the people you met. I never looked at myself (singularly). It was all about the team."

-- Mark Messier


Now on to other topics from around the NHL.


"A team, any team, loses its first line, its top line, and you're talking about confidence to win games? We're going to win games, but win regularly the way we did? Forget it. There's not enough confidence on Earth for that."

-- Minnesota Wild coach Jacques Lemaire at losing his top line of Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra and Wes Walz.


"They're going to be exciting players for a long time. My kid talks about that (Patrick) Kane kid all the time, and they're not going to go away. They'll make that franchise better, and for the whole National Hockey League that's important. It's like the New York Rangers, Montreal, Boston. It's important that those cities? teams are good."

Well Said II

"Actually, I’ve told people I’m just going to cry for the four minutes they’re giving me to speak, then I’m going to wave and say thanks to everybody for coming."

-- Mark Messier joking with reporters on his penchant for getting emotional.

-- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on the Chicago Blackhawks.


"With the success they've had against the rest of the league, to be 3-0 against them this year definitely gives us some confidence. We know we have the talent in here and work ethic to do it, and we just have to put it all together and keep it going."

-- Chicago's Patrick Kane on the Hawks being 3-0 against the Red Wings so far this season.


"The draft is just one one-thousandth of the way to get down the road. It just gives you an opportunity to get looked at. It almost means nothing unless you're in the top 10 of the first round. After that, it's almost luck of the draw."

-- Colorado's Paul Stastny on the draft. Stastny was selected 44th overall in 2005.


"Komo's been awesome. He's really taken a leadership role. He's in his third year now (as a regular), and he's a big part of our club. He and Markov are always playing against the other team's best line. They?re our shut-down pair, and he's taken that challenge to heart. I think he works really hard."

-- Montreal Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau on defenseman Mike Komisarek.


"Early last year, it seemed we couldn't get more than 5,000 or 6,000 fans at games. Now, we're getting 14, 15, 16 (thousand) almost every night. It makes a huge difference. Getting fans in the building means a lot and it helps. We're trying to bring back the glory days here, knowing where we came from and knowing where we have to go to."

-- Islanders coach Ted Nolan

Well Said III

"Are they a lot better? Yeah, they're in the league this year. They're like a real team. You've got ‘Langer’ (Robert Lang) in the mix, and you've got (Jonathan) Toews and (Patrick) Kane and (Tuomo) Ruutu."

-- Wings coach Mike Babcock on the Chicago Blackhawks.


"You talk about a captain. He's playing power play, penalty kill, four-on-four, five-on-five. He's playing in all situations. A lot of players have weaknesses in one of those areas. Some guys kill penalties, some guys are on the power play, but he's the guy who can play in every situation and excel in every situation."

-- Ottawa's Dany Heatley on Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.


"Obviously, it wasn't a year anybody wanted. With the people we brought in, the confidence in the team goes up. You just feel more relaxed at the rink. It was dead here last year. It's night-and-day different."

-- Flyers forward Mike Richards


"The biggest reason why we wanted him last year -- everybody knows about his antics and his ability to fight, draw penalties and get under people's skin -- is that he's really a much better player. Every once in a while I'll go to him and give him a little reminder that he is a player. When he finds that right combination of getting under people's skin and focusing on the game he is a very, very effective player."

-- Brendan Shanahan on teammate Sean Avery.


"If he could stickhandle with his lips, you?d never get the puck off him."

-- Veteran broadcaster Harry Neale on Sean Avery.


"It's tough for me to do sometimes because my first instinct is to pass. No disrespect to my linemates (Matt Cooke, Jannik Hansen), but when I played with Nazzy (Markus Naslund) at times you look for him and give up shots. Now I'm trying to consciously shoot more and it?s also coming because I'm feeling better, better than in a long time."

Well Said IV

"I mean, I’m not dead. It’s just a broken cheekbone. I’ll be fine. I’ll be ready sooner than people think. That’s how I think always. I have a tough time to accept these things. I’m strong mentally, and I know I can play through little things like this."

-- Minnesota’s Stephane Veilleux after breaking a cheekbone after being hit with the puck during a practice last Saturday. He lists himself as “day-to-day.

-- Canucks center Brendan Morrison


"The old adage is that these things even out. Well, we need to start getting on the evening-out part. The concern for me is that we've not scored a goal in the shootout. Not one goal. We have to be better than that."

-- Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock, whose team had yet to score in nine shootout attempts.


"It's a lot different than when you are chasing somebody. It's just a number. It's a big number. It's pretty impressive and all of that. But it's going to happen eventually."

-- Martin Brodeur on 500 victories.


"I'm not big on the stuff in warm-ups. I'd take Darcy (Tucker) on my team in a heartbeat. In Sean's case, he sometimes touches the line, but I'd rather have to pull him back than try to invite something out of a player who doesn't have that passion in him."

-- Rangers coach Tom Renney on Sean Avery, who got into a pre-game war of words with the Leafs' Darcy Tucker last Saturday night.


"I might look back at a game and I might have played well, but I misread that play or I did that wrong. Where I've gotten better is I used to take that too hard, then try and make it up and try to do too much. I'm smarter now about how I play the game and that allows me to be more effective."

-- Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson


"It's past frustrating. It's just a matter of them putting me in the lineup and putting me in there for more than one game, or moving me to somewhere I'm going to play. Because clearly I'm not in their plans."

-- Defenseman Steve Eminger is upset with his lack of playing time with the Washington Capitals.


"It has all been a matter of confidence. Ninety percent of the game is mental I think. Right now, I?m feeling good. You are going to make bad plays. You have to understand that and take it and be better because of it. Every player makes mistakes. What matters is who recovers the best from it."

-- Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter.

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

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