As you probably heard, Sidney Crosby has been cleared for contact and received a nice round of it in Pittsburgh Penguins practice today. After watching a quick snippet of some of his comments to the press, the NBC Sports Talk gang ponders the kind of impact Crosby could have in the Eastern Conference – if he’s healthy, naturally.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
As promised, here’s video footage of Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero’s press conference clarifying the star center’s neck issues:This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Want further reading material on that matter?
- Here’s the most recent post recapping the press conference.
- The Penguins medical staff’s review revealed “no evidence” of a neck fracture – past or present.
- An anonymous doctor believes that Crosby should retire.
- Crosby’s pal Tom Brady recommended one of the specialists he’s visiting.
- A Pittsburgh columnist stirred a frenzy wondering how the Penguins staff could supposedly miss a broken neck.
- Amid all the drama, don’t forget that Crosby has been skating.
Look, it’s perfectly possible that Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier and Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster passively floated the idea of a Michael Cammalleri trade before. That being said, it’s also quite likely that the sniper was just one of many players discussed with middling interest up until he criticized himself and his teammates this week.
Honestly, you’d have to be pretty naive to think that his critiques weren’t the catalyst for the trade – whether they ended up being the driving force or just the final straw. Give Gauthier credit, though; he’s selling his argument pretty hard in the press conference.
It only took about twelve hours for Randy Carlyle to be fired, Bruce Boudreau to be hired, and for the new coach to meet with the media in Anaheim. Pro Hockey Talk was there as Boudreau addressed the media, talked about his expectations for the rest of the season, and the Ducks players should still expect to make a run at the playoffs.
Here’s the transcript of Bruce Boudreau’s portion of the press conference:
“It’s great to be here. It’s been a wild ride for me for the last week as well. Like Bob said, I sat there on Tuesday and I didn’t believe that this was a team that had the possibilities and the makings of something special, I think I would have sat at home and waited. But I don’t think opportunities like this come around every day with the talent we have here. I talked to my wife about it, I said: ‘I think we should jump at this.’ I know it’s only been a day basically since I got let go, it was something that I thought was a chance that I wouldn’t get again. So, I jumped at it and got in the plane yesterday, and here I am. It’s a new start, I’m looking forward to it, can’t wait to play, and let’s get going.”
Boudreau: “Salvaging the season is winning regularly. Every team has its warts; it’s a question of making less mistakes than the other team. I know it’s very basic, but we don’t get a chance, and I didn’t get a chance, to see Anaheim play as often as I’d like to being a) in the Eastern time zone, and b) the Eastern Conference; we didn’t pay that much attention to them. I do know a few of their players and I do know that they have some great players. They have the players in really prominent role positions that need to be to be a good team. So, not taking anything away from Randy [Carlyle], if we do it together, we should hopefully make strides. Every night and every day. And it’s going to take time, but I think it could be done within the next four months.
On the circumstances being very similar to when Boudreau took over the Caps, memories of first days and months when he took over Caps:
Boudreau: “I think the biggest thing I tried to instill in the Capitals was confidence. They were beaten down a little bit and they had lost for many years. They didn’t believe in themselves. This is a totally different story in that respect, is that they haven’t lost. They have been a really good team. They have just sort of lost their way a little bit. But I told them this morning, I believe in them. I think they’re a really good team and I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t believe that they have a really good shot of doing a lot of good things this year. I want them to believe in themselves. If they do, then good things can happen.”
On the Bobby Ryan rumors that have been floating around this week:
Boudreau: “I just got here. I haven’t paid too much attention to that. I’ll let the first day go before I address [the rumors]. You know, [I need to] talk to Bobby…
On his reputation of being an offensive coach and will he have defensemen jumping into the play?
Boudreau: “I don’t know. I’d like to walk before I can run a little bit. It doesn’t really matter if you win 8-7 or 2-1, I just want to win. If you know me, losing grates on me quite a lot. But I think it’s assessing where your strengths are, then work to your strengths.”
On the comments that said Boudreau had nothing left in the tank in Washington:
Boudreau: “No, I had told George [McPhee] that I had tried everything that I knew with this group right now and it wasn’t working right now. It didn’t mean that it wouldn’t work a week from now, it just didn’t work right then—for those two games I was talking about. It was the Buffalo game and the Winnipeg game. And that hadn’t happened in the previous 4+ years that I was there, so it was more of a surprise for me that it hadn’t worked. I was sort of taken aback by it and I told George that.”
About extracting Carlyle’s philosophies and instilling his own with the Ducks:
Boudreau: “Well, I just do what I do. I can’t say we’re not doing this. Randy is a great coach, good teammate, good friend—all of those things. But I just got to do what I’ve done and what I’ve been used to; what I’ve done has been successful. And those are the things that I know. So we integrate those things, we did a couple of things today. Systems—there’s no right system or wrong system. Coaches have faith in what they’ve done and has been successful for them. What I was doing today [at practice] may have been different from what Randy did, but at the same time, they were both successful. We’ll see if the group can do it, whether it was better for them what I’m showing or it isn’t and we’ll adjust accordingly. I mean, I’ve been with them for one practice, so we’ll see their strengths and their weakness. I just can’t go on and do things that aren’t me. I just have to be me and see how that works.”
On the mood of the team this morning:
Boudreau: “Like all team, when there’s a change, they’re waiting to see how it affects them. It’s hard to tell. They listened very well, I thought, and they looked [like] when they went on the ice they had some ‘jump.’ But I don’t know them individually well enough to know if that was the norm or if it was a different thing for them. Time will tell. But I thought, for me, it was OK.”
On everything moving quickly over the last week, if he would have hung around the house for a while:
Boudreau: “Oh, my wife wouldn’t have liked that very much. No, I was looking for something to do. It’s always important, for me anyway, to get out. I can’t lie around and [not] do anything. I was going to start watching games somewhere, going somewhere. At that time, I was making plans to go to Toronto and do some work with TSN or something. But, this was much better.”
On if any other teams contacted him (or the Capitals about him):
Boudreau: “No, not that I know of. Not with the Capitals, not that I know of; with me no.”
On which place was furthest way from Anaheim:
Boudreau: “…boy, I’ve been everywhere. I don’t know. Just distance-wise, Manchester was the furthest. But when I first started getting into coaching, when you’re coaching in Muskegon, Michigan or Biloxi, Mississippi, you really aren’t looking far enough ahead to think that you’re going to be coaching in Anaheim or Washington. I’ve been lucky.”
On the month (November) starting with his Capitals facing off with the Ducks:
Boudreau: “No, quite frankly I wouldn’t have laid [money on it]. If you could have a crystal ball, this wouldn’t have been something I thought was going to happen.”
On if he’s spoken to Randy Carlyle:
Boudreau: “No. It’s too early.”
On filling the coaching staff out:
Boudreau: “I think we’ll talk to Bob when this is done and we’ll see where it goes.”
GM Bob Murray: “We have some things in the fire that may happen fairly quickly.”
On how he can prevent the players from tuning him out:
Boudreau: “If I knew how to prevent it, I wouldn’t let it happen. So I just hope it doesn’t happen. I hope that they buy into the message and we just surge from here.”
On what his message is to the players:
Boudreau: “I want them to be very positive. I want to be aggressive, I want them to play the way they’re capable of playing. With energy and thinking that they’re going to be successful. The way they should be successful. This was a team that before the season started, if you read a lot of the clippings, they said they would really contend for the Pacific Division crown, and I think they’re very capable of doing it. I want them to believe in themselves. That’s the message for today. Believe in themselves.”
On Ryan/Getzlaf/Perry being linemates going forward:
Boudreau: “The first shift tomorrow they will be. Beyond that, we’ll have to see how they do.”
On any lessons he could take away from the Ovechkin/Semin stuff that went down over the last month in Washington:
Boudreau: “You know what; I mean a lot was blown out [of proportion]. I got along really well with both of those guys and I think I’ve said that for the last week that there was never a problem. With either one. But we all tend to want to make something out of nothing. And we did. So there’s really no story there.”
On the excitement to get started:
Boudreau: “I think nervous excitement goes hand-in-hand. I’m excited, don’t get me wrong. Any time you take a new challenge on, you get excited. And nervous. I’m trying to put a good analogy together—it’s like going to a new school. You want to put your first step, you want to make a good impression with everybody. And you’re following someone who had a lot of success and is really popular. So it’s tough.”
One week after the July 1st trade that brought Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche, he was formally introduced to the Denver media. In addition to performing the entire press conference (and subsequent interview session) in English, the 23-year-old Russian netminder surprised most people in attendance by telling everyone that his “childhood dream was to play for the Avalanche.” It shouldn’t be shocking considering the quality of the Avalanche teams during his formative years. None the less, it’s always fun to hear that a player dreamt of playing for a team that was the 2nd worst team in the league last season.
“It’s funny, but its true… my childhood dream was to play for the Avalanche.
And here’s the rationale:
“My favorite NHL player and NHL goalie played here. Patrick Roy. They’ve had lots of good players playing here, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote. They had lots and lots of good players.”
Here’s the entire press conference and highlights from the media scrum afterwards (via the Avalanche’s official site):
It’s good to hear that he’s excited because he has plenty of work ahead of him. After making the playoffs in 2009-10, the Avalanche saw their season fall off of a cliff in 2010-11. An optimist will tell you that they didn’t even finish last in their own division. A realist will point out that only one team finished with a worse record—marking the second time in three seasons they had a top 3 pick in the draft. To make matters worse, they traded John-Michael Liles to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a draft pick and only added Jan Hejda and Chuck Kobasew to the team for next season. Unless Varlamov does his best Craig Anderson circa 2009 impression, it’s hard to see how the Avalanche are going to compete for a playoff spot.
At least Varlamov has a job in the NHL. Adrian Dater of the Denver Post asked Varlamov if there was a chance that he was going to go to the KHL:
“Uh, no. I don’t want to talk about that right now. It’s none of my business. I just want to talk about the Avalanche.”
Ignoring the ridiculous “it’s none of my business” part of the quote, he’s making a concerted effort to move onto his future with the Avs. Within the interview package, Varlamov said that he plans on staying in North America for another month, will head to Russia to visit family for a couple of weeks, and then return in mid-August to get ready for the season. For a man who was rumored to be heading to the KHL, he’ll be seeing much more of North America in the coming year than his native Russia.
Varlamov said that he has no idea who’s going to be the number one goalie, but it’s safe to assume that he’ll be given every opportunity to earn the starting job in training camp. JS Giguere and he both want the #1 spot, but the Avalanche didn’t give up a 1st and 2nd round pick for Varlamov just so he could sit on the bench.
The Avalanche think they have their franchise netminder for the future. Now it’s just time for him to prove it.