reaches 500 wins, Ilya Bryzgalov
is delighted to get more playing time, and universal praise for the great Larry Robinson
get this week’s assortment of quotes off to a great start.
“It’s really exciting to see the seats fill up a little more. We’ve had a couple of big wins at home against Detroit. As long as we keep playing like that and beating strong teams, eventually the interest is going to come back. I think we appreciate it a little more because we’ve all seen what this city is like when our team is not doing so well. Obviously, we’ve turned some heads in Chicago.”
-- Blackhawks rookie Jonathan Toews
“It was a good bounce-back game for us. That’s an important thing. As a coach, you’re critical of everything, but you have to be realistic. There are going to be bad games. It’s going to happen. But it was good to see the way we came back.”
-- Following a rare loss, Ottawa Senators coach John Paddock was pleased with a win over Montreal Monday.
“The guys realized going into the third period. I could hear them in the locker room saying, ‘Let’s go win this period and get back to .500.’ To think we’d be 10-10 after 20 games, we’re very pleased with that.”
-- Atlanta Thrashers GM and interim coach Don Waddell after an exciting come-from-behind win over Tampa Bay.
”We’ve got to figure out how we can play defensive hockey combined with good offensive hockey. We had some good offensive chances (Saturday), but then back in our end of the rink we forget everything we’ve been trying to do. I think we’re on the right track. We’ve just got to keep working on putting the pieces of the puzzle together and become a solid team that’s going to play a complete game.”
-- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien
“I feel that the team has underachieved. Our expectations going into the season were much higher than the results that we’re getting at this point. Sometimes you can build expectations that are too high, that aren’t achievable – and that might be certainly a fair comment – but to be in the position we’re in, I think it’s a fair comment to say that overall, we’re not in the position that we expected to be.”
-- Calgary Flames coach Mike Keenan
“If you think about it, graduating from high school, then the draft and making the team. (Turning) 19 on the 19th. Maybe this is my golden year, and things can go even better.”
-- Blackhawks rookie Patrick Kane.
“The imperative word for us is smart. When we play smart and make the right decisions, we’re a successful team.”
-- Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro
“I feel like we’ve cheated ourselves out of some points. We’ve played better than our record is, but our record is what it is. That’s the only part of this season so far that’s been disappointing. We’ve played really well, but we’ve made mistakes late in games, and they’ve been crucial mistakes that have hurt our point total.”
-- Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock
”You don’t want to put too much pressure on it, because we’re only in November, but these are big games and we have to win our share of them. We know we put ourselves in a hole last year early, and we have to avoid that this time.”
-- Avalanche winger Andrew Brunette
“I think we’re off to a great start. We’ve been playing well both on specialty teams and five-on-five. The last few games we’ve had some letdowns, especially on special teams – both the power play and penalty kill hasn’t been as effective as they were in the first 10 games or so – but overall I think we’re off to a good start, and I think that’s going to help us down the stretch.”
-- Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom
“If you want to have success in this league, you can’t really count on one line. That’s been our key, and we’re playing a simplified game and buying into the system. When we do that, we’re tough to beat.”
-- Vancouver’s Brad Isbister
"I've never liked that comment about U.S.-born players. Mike's been an elite player in the NHL, regardless of his nationality, for a long time. He's a guy that came in as a certain type of player and refined his game. And when he leaves the game, he's going to leave as a great, all-around player. To me, he's really had a Hall of Fame career."
-- Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock on Mike Modano.
”You have gut feelings and you go with your gut. He certainly looks comfortable there. He’s playing like a centerman. He’s doing everything you want a centerman to do. It’s not that he wasn’t taking strides in a very positive way before, but what he’s been able to do is add a different dimension now to his game and to our team by being able to play there and playing as well as he had the last two games.”
-- Devils coach Brent Sutter on switching Patrik Elias to center.
“We allowed them to frustrate us and we got away from our structure that’s been successful. We kind of got on our own individual pages. And when that happens, five guys on the same page are going to make you look stupid.”
-- Rangers forward Brendan Shanahan after a loss to the Islanders Monday.
“What happens is when my positioning gets a little off, I start using extremities to try and make saves and that’s when you start giving up rebounds and the puck doesn’t stick to you. I think it’s not so much catching the puck, it’s more positioning and having the puck hit you dead-center.”
-- Flyers goalie Marty Biron
“Our goalies are giving us every opportunity. They’ve been awesome. They’ve been nothing short of awesome. We’ve given up some chances. We haven’t given up too many, but the ones we do give up, Manny (Legace) and (Hannu Toivonen) have been good.”
-- St. Louis defenseman Eric Brewer on his team’s goalies.
“Hockey, like most other sports, has a lot to do with confidence. You know there are going to be setbacks, and how you deal with them both mentally and physically helps define you as a player. We will see how our group handles it over the next few years and how they do develop as players. But the (emotional aspect) is a big part of it.”
-- Penguins GM Ray Shero
“He’s a guy who is put into so many situations and does so many things for us, he’s a huge part of our team and sometimes he gets left behind because he’s not the flash and dash. He’s not Marty St. Louis and he’s not Vinny Lecavalier, and although he’s one of the big three, he doesn’t get noticed as much. But he’s the stabilizer.”
-- Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella on Brad Richards.
“You can number the lines any way you want. We all agree that Mats is the No. 1 line, and then after that each one of those lines should be able to compete against anybody.”
-- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice on numbering lines
“Right now he’s here. He’s something that we’ve been looking for. Every day he gave us a reason to believe in him. Even when he did hit the wall, he’d rebound every time.”
-- St. Louis Blues President John Davidson on rookie David Perron.
“If this were in Montreal or Toronto, Vancouver or Philly, we would have heard that a long time ago. Our play (here) is nothing to write home about. They have every right. You play like that the first two periods and we lose again at home, they have every reason to feel that way.”
-- Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig on the discontent of the team’s fans.
Well Said II
"I can tell you there’s no one more disappointed in my season so far than me. It’s been a tough go so far. But after getting the first one, you tend to relax a little bit and get back to playing hockey. And I’m starting to get some bounces."
-- -- Calgary Flames forward Owen Nolan.
“(The U.S. points record) wasn’t talked about when I came in the League like it’s brought up now. Over time, I was in certain situations on certain teams that had a lot of success. This year you came into a situation where you were looking at a record at the start of the season. It was fun chasing it. I tried to enjoy it as much as possible.”
-- Dallas Stars center Mike Modano
“Brett will have to learn on the job but he was a smart player. I used to talk to him a lot in Detroit and he knows the game. You don’t score that many goals and not know what the hell you’re doing.”
-- Scotty Bowman on Brett Hull.
“This is not bad luck. This is something we’re not doing right. … If I knew the reason, I would definitely share it with others. There are probably 30 other people that would like to know, too. We have to change it, that’s all I know.”
-- Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun on his team’s penchant for allowing goals late in games.
Here’s to you Mr. Robinson
“I promised myself that I wouldn’t pull a Mark Messier. You, the fans, have allowed a young farm boy from Marvelville (Ontario) reach all his goals. Without you, I wouldn’t be here tonight.”
-- Larry Robinson to fans at Montreal’s Bell Centre Monday night as his No. 19 was retired.
“Larry was the total package. Offensive ... defensive ... toughness and leadership. He and Serge were the best tandem I have seen in the NHL. He could really skate for a big man. Never backed off from a challenge.”
-- Scotty Bowman on Larry Robinson
“He was an extraordinary human being on and off the ice. I always found Larry had a great sense of what ‘team’ was. He was one of those guys who never put himself before the team. I always get the feeling that when guys are like that, it’s because their family is like that. They bring that sense of family into the team and that’s what creates winners. He had a great sense of humor, too. Always quick to poke fun at himself. In the room, he never said an awful lot, but when he did, everybody listened. French guys listened. English guys listened. European guys listened.”
-- New York Rangers President and GM Glen Sather on Larry Robinson.
500 and counting
”Never. I just wanted to play in the NHL. I didn’t care about how well I was going to do. Just to perform at the highest level of hockey was my goal. Not even my goal, but my dream. When you’re a kid you don’t even know what wins are, how many you’re supposed to get in one season. For me it was just being part of this great league.”
-- Martin Brodeur on whether he ever envisioned winning so many games.
“It’s so hard because, if I lose a game, I think I’m the worst goalie in the league. If I win a game, I think I’m the best one. When you’re still playing there’s that fluctuation of how you feel about yourself and where your game is at.
“A lot of stuff speaks for itself, as far as records and numbers you achieve, but it’s hard for me while I’m still playing to feel I’m the best there ever was. I just don’t feel that. I just feel some nights I’m the best, some nights I’m the worst.”
-- Martin Brodeur is his own harshest critic.
“Playing against him my whole career, I have a great appreciation for Marty. He’s been the top goalie in this League. If you wanted to pick any goalie in the last however-many years, you could go with Patrick (Roy) or him. If you have one game to win a Stanley Cup, a lot of people would say he’s the guy. Especially right now.
“He’s the only one that even has a chance to catch Patrick. If Marty doesn’t catch him, I don’t see anyone doing it. That’s a lot of wins. You have to play a long time and a lot of games. Marty has played 75 games a year for 15 years now. It’s incredible how he does it.”
-- Pittsburgh’s Mark Recchi on Martin Brodeur.
“He’s a great man; it’s a great organization. I want to say one more time, thank you for everything he’s done for me, a big favor to me.”
-- Ilya Bryzgalov on Anaheim GM Brian Burke getting him to Phoenix, where he figures to be the No. 1 goalie.
“We’re making this move, first and foremost, to give Ilya Bryzgalov a chance to play. He’s a good guy who’s played well for us, but we’ve committed to (J.S. Giguere).”
-- Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke
Material from personal interviews, wire services, newspaper, and league and team sources was used in this report.