Wild.com's Dan Myers sat down with general manager Bill Guerin on the final day of the Traverse City Prospects Camp on Tuesday in Traverse City, Michigan. Among the items discussed: his first few weeks on the job, his current living situation and his thoughts on training camp, which opens in just two days back in St. Paul.
Dan Myers: You've been on the job now for almost three weeks. Overall, how has the transition gone?
Bill Guerin: I think it's going great. Now that the hockey part has started, it's kind of calmed down. But I've got a lot of help. That's the key is to have good people around you, and I do. [Assistant GM] Tom [Kurvers] and [Director of Hockey Operations] Chris [O'Hearn], they've taken a lot off my plate. And having Bruce [Boudreau] as an experienced coach. The whole coaching staff, both in Minnesota and in Iowa, are experienced, so everything is kind of set in motion. That takes a lot off my plate.
DM: So this is your first time in Traverse City. Have you enjoyed getting back to the business of hockey, interacting with other GMs and scouts around the League ?
BG: Yeah, it's good to get around to everybody. The first couple of days are almost overwhelming because so many of us have been in the game so long, you see old friends and old faces ... but it's important to get the conversations started and keep those relationships.
DM: What has the observation part of the job been like? Most of these guys on the Wild roster, you're at least familiar with and have watched or scouted before in your last job, right?
BG: It's the same, really. If you're scouting games, you're scouting games. The weird thing for me now is watching Minnesota so closely instead of watching Pittsburgh. I was in Pittsburgh for a long time, so it's been a little different but it's been great. To get to see who we have and who we're dealing with ... you hear the names all the time, and then to finally see them in the game and you see how they handle themselves, that's important stuff.
DM: What are you most looking forward to about training camp?
BG: Just the guys and seeing them on the ice, getting the guys on the ice and getting going. I'm excited for the exhibition games. I really just want to get the hockey going.
DM: You've had some time to get to know Bruce Boudreau a little bit. What have those interactions been like, both at the rink and in the time you've been able to spend with him in other settings?
BG: Fantastic. Bruce loves to talk hockey and you can tell why he's a coach. He's a coach at heart. It's been great working with him and I think we have a really good relationship already. I think that's important for us to have that. We've been real honest with each other about our expectations and what we think of everything that's going on.
DM: Some GMs spend a lot of time down around the locker room and in the coaches' area after games. Others keep their distance. What do you think your philosophy will be in that regard?
BG: I try not to [get too close]. The game is so emotional, and I'm further away from it than the coaching staff. The closer you get to the ice, the bigger the emotions are. So I definitely don't believe in throwing gas on the fire after a game, but I do feel it's important to communicate and to give the coaches a chance to express themselves. I have to be around, but I don't want to be overbearing. I don't want to micromanage these guys.
DM: You have one remaining restricted free agent to get under contract in Kevin Fiala. Obviously, you're hoping to have a full roster in St. Paul when camp officially begins on Friday. But do you expect to have something done with him by then?
BG: We really want to get him signed and get in. At this point in time, with immigration and everything, even if we get him signed, he'll probably be a couple of days late, which would be fine. But we've got a fair offer on the table for him and we hope he accepts it and comes and gets on the ice with his team.
DM: With everything going on the last couple of weeks, I'm guessing you haven't spent much time trying to get settled into a house yet?
BG: No, I'll be in the hotel for another couple of weeks. Just to get through training camp, I don't want to have to worry about looking for a place and doing this. I'll be busy enough. But my wife is coming out in a week or so and we might try to find an apartment real quick, and from there, we can start looking for a house.
DM: So Kara is out east right now?
BG: She's actually in England right now, helping my oldest daughter move into graduate school over there. Then she'll come back and she's got a couple of other things to do with our other kids and then she'll be [in Minnesota].
DM: So during the hockey season, she'll be in the Twin Cities?
BG: Oh yeah. The kids will all be on the East Coast for school, but they'll be back for holidays and things like that. We're selling our house in Pittsburgh and we're moving to Minnesota.
DM: So it sounds like Thanksgiving is your hard deadline to have something more than a hotel room.
BG: Oh yeah, I think we might need something more than two queen beds.
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