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Arnott press conference quotes

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

Following the signing of free agent center Jason Arnott to a five-year contract on Sunday, General Manager David Poile, Head Coach Barry Trotz, and Arnott, by conference call, spoke to the media.

Executive Vice President/General Manager David Poile
On the signing of Jason Arnott...
"This time last year we had the biggest signing in our history which was Paul Kariya, and today we announced what I would say is arguably the second biggest in Jason Arnott. There is no question that the missing part on this team was a No. 1 center, and a big strong, physical one at that. At 6-4 220 pounds, Jason Arnott is the player we needed to get to the next level. Honestly, I am very excited and very surprised that he is with us. Although in our preparation we mentioned his name many times, we didn't think this was going to happen. But, this picked up last evening, I got to talk to him and tell him our story and what we had available to him. When I got to listen to what he was looking for, we realized that we had a match. We are a much better team today than we were yesterday with Jason Arnott as our No. 1 center."

On team chemistry as a selling point...
"I think it is a selling point. You describe how you want to play and the player's role as far as ice time and where you see him playing. Specifically with Arnott, you saw him playing behind a star in (Mike) Modano. So, no matter how well he played, he was a No. 2 center in Dallas. Here, he is coming clearly to be a No. 1 center and to play against guys like Modano. Those are the match ups we have been looking for since Day 1."

On what Arnott brings...
"He brings size, which is something we are sorely lacking up front. We talk about our team as a good, fast, quick team, but small. I'm sure the coaches are going to use him in all situations whether it is on the power play or in a penalty-killing role. We think he will be one of our best players."

On competing at the highest level...
"It starts with Craig Leipold. I don't have the authority to make a deal without his approval. Believe me, he is behind this and sees it as a great chance for our team to compete in the National Hockey League at the highest level and I'm sure he is thinking this could mean more fan support and more sold-out games. In the past three seasons we have added Steve Sullivan, Paul Kariya, and now Jason Arnott, so we are getting up there as far being competitive in the NHL and our goal certainly has to be winning the Stanley Cup."

On what he thinks drew Arnott to Nashville...
"I think it is the role. At this point in his career, it is time for him to be the best player he can be, and it is time to be a No. 1 center. He has never had that opportunity anywhere he has been, although he has been a top player on some top clubs. He won a Stanley Cup ring with New Jersey, scoring the winning goal. That is another huge thing for our team to have someone who has won a Stanley Cup. I can't tell you how much that will mean to our team."

New Predators Center Jason Arnott
On choosing to sign with Nashville...
"I have never visited Nashville as a tourist, but just by playing there, I love the city, the building is fantastic, and the fans seem like they are awesome. So, it didn't make the decision that hard. I had a meeting with David Poile and Barry Trotz and they sold me on Nashville. They were fantastic in the interview, they answered every question I had for them, and they seem like great people. I definitely want to thank them for making that bold move on signing me, especially to a long-term deal, and giving me that opportunity to be a go-to guy and a No. 1 center."

On his reason in coming here...
"Hopefully, I can help out the team in winning the ultimate prize, which is the Stanley Cup. It definitely has the making of an unbelievable team, and I don't see any reason why it can't be the next Carolina-type team that comes in and wins that Cup. I am just going to come in and try to give my all to make that happen."

On his role with the team...
"I feel it is time in my career to move on and be that go-to guy and horse on the ice. I will take that role in the dressing room as well as on the ice, and move forward with my career. I am really looking forward to playing (with guys like Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya). It will bring me back to my days when I played with Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora in New Jersey. The speed, the talent and the wisdom of these guys is incredible. Playing against these guys is tough. To be a part of that will improve my game and hopefully help them out as well."

Head Coach Barry Trotz
On getting Jason Arnott...
"Getting a guy like Jason Arnott in our organization addresses so many needs. He is a proven, top player in the league that is a strong face-off guy and can distribute the puck extremely well. He can also shoot the puck - he is a very dangerous goal scorer. I think he is a very important piece for us. He is a big, 6-4 centerman with weight, size and experience, that has won a Cup, and adds to that leadership group. It sends a very clear message that we are serious about winning a Stanley Cup and we were sending that message last year, and will continue to send it until that dream comes true."

On bringing another superstar on board...
"This is something new to us. Last year, Paul was a proven superstar with a lot of recognition with both his name and his performance over the years to prove that. Jason is kind of that second piece that you add to the very good group of young men that we have and the foundation is here. All the teams that win the Stanley Cup have a top centerman, good goaltending and a strong defense, and I think we have a lot of those pieces."

On the most gratifying part of signing Arnott...
"Probably the most gratifying thing when I got to talk to Jason is the fact that we were on his radar from the beginning, even before the process of free agency. He said when he was thinking of places where he though he would have an impact or wanted to be, this was one of them. When you hear that, it not only sends a big statement to the organization, but also as a coach those are sweet words to hear. He is sincere about coming here and helping us win a Stanley Cup."

 

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