Shortly after signing with the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, July 25, veteran goaltender Ed Belfour was already on the phone with the South Florida media. Read his comments below.
Younger goalie and opportunity:
I'm coming with a fresh start and I'm looking forward to working with Alex. With any team that I've been successful with it takes two strong goalies to do well in the season and get through the playoffs and I think that's very important. Working with Alex Auld is really something I'm looking forward to. I will try to do the best I can to make this whole team a lot better.
On his back problems:
There is always a concern with my back especially after surgery, but I've done as much rehab as I can. I've been dealing with back problems since 1995 with the Chicago Blackhawks and I've only missed one part of a season because of it. That was last season in Toronto. That's the only time I missed playing really and I don't foresee it as a big problem. My surgery went well, I had the best surgeon in the country and he said that everything went great with my rehab and I should be stronger than ever.
On proving wrong all the doubters:
I think that the people who really know hockey and are smart hockey people know what was going on in Toronto and I am definitely motivated to prove some people wrong. I love proving people wrong and I look forward to getting back into the net and doing exactly that.
On his relationship with Mike Keenan and Jacques Martin:
I obviously have history with Mike Keenan and Jacques Martin going back to when I was a rookie in Chicago and those two gave me a chance. With Mike and Jacques there, I think that really helps the situation. Also Jacques being with Team Canada when we won the gold medal makes me really confident and comfortable that the people in charge have the passion about the game and they are really into winning a Stanley Cup and that's what I'm all about, winning the Stanley Cup. And there's Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts who I played with in Toronto. They are great leaders and great team guys, and I look forward to playing with them again.
On a role as backup:
It takes two guys on a team to do very well in the end and have the team be successful. I have been on a team where one guy gets jealous of the other and it causes problems on the team and it's not very successful. So it has to be very important that we both accept our roles and try to help each other do the best we can for the team. You see it in the past where one guy gets hot and goes with it and if that's Alex at the time, I'll help out and support him. He is a good young goaltender whom I have seen play. Anything I can do, I'm willing to help him and I have been in the playoffs in the past and I've seen that it takes a couple of guys to get the team down the stretch.
On playing more than one more year:
I would love to get a longer deal but because of my age and surgery and the way the CBA is set up now it doesn't make sense for general mangers to sign older players for longer deals. I'm not looking at this as my last season. I'm hoping to play as long as I can. I'm all about winning and helping the team try to win the Stanley Cup. That's how I am and always have been and so if I could play for another 4-5 years, I'd love to.
On being a team leader:
Well I don't think I'm that much of a vocal person. I try to lead by example. I try to work hard and practice in the gym and try to help the younger guys out without stepping on anyone's toes. I have a lot of experience in the league and I can try to pass on some of my experience to the younger goalies in the system and the younger players too. However I can help out in the role I will and I look forward to it.