Here's what he had to say:
- On the kids at dev camp, “it’s hard to go in and evaluate the kids, we like to let them get adjusted to Long Island and to get them used to our strength and conditioning and nutrition. Just listening to you guys about some of the young picks that we had, they are skilled players and as advertised and they handled themselves quite well."
- On Grabo and Kulemin, “I made a couple of calls and I haven’t really spoken to them one on one. Grabo was a guy that Garth and I talked about two years ago. It's come to fruition now and Garth had some great talks with him and Kulie is a guy who is a big body and a power guy and has scored some goals and was used on the PP in Toronto, so we always talk about the departure of Parenteau, Moulson and Vanek and how we will adjust our lineup and who will play with 91. Greg Cronin is part of our staff now and we like to bring in character guys and guys who want to come in and make themselves better everyday."
- On the centers, “I have been asked that question quite a bit. Those two have great numbers together, I guess that is a trend now and we look at that. For me, Grabo could play on the wing in a preseason game with Tavares just to see how he looks but if Grabo is used down the middle and Kulie is beside him, obviously Nielsen and Tavares, Grabo and Cizikas and Ryan Strome can play both center and wing. If all stays well and hopefully it does and I mean our health is good, we will have some decisions to make and a healthy competition, something we haven't had in a little while with all the injuries we sustained."
- What was your initial reaction to seeing Tavares go down at the Olympics, "If I recall I was visiting my wife and I got a phone call and initial reaction is always tough because when it happens to a player on your team that...John is a leader on our club and he works extremely hard and you don't want to see it happen to anyone but obviously it was disappointing tor him. He was having a good year for us and these things happen and unfortunately it happened when he wasn't playing for us but I do understand. Just talking to him about 2-3 weeks ago, he has been skating, feels great and that is great for us."
- On advanced metrics, "That is a great question and more and more teams are hiring people who know analytics. As a coach and I think most coaches would tell you this, there is chemistry between players, no question, but I won't strictly go strictly by the fact of what analytics mean and this defenseman should be playing with this defenseman and this forward should be playing with this forward. I mean, we do look at it. Possession time is big but at the same time we need to do what is best for our hockey club and coaches need to go with their gut. If guys are playing well together and I won't use examples but I know of examples of guys on our team who have played well together, put up plus numbers, helped us win one goal games and their analytics weren't very good. I think it can work both ways. It's something that we do look at, something that I will have conversations about with the people but at the end of the day we need to do what is best for our hockey team."
- Do they help add context, "I have found it valuable. I think GMs, as far as the trade deadline or free agency will look at it more, with the people who are working with them. I do find it interesting but I am not going to base decisions just on analytics. I have been coaching a long time and I don't know if Scotty Bowman had analytics and you look at the success that he had. But yes, I do look at them I do have conversations with our assistant coaches and GM about it but at the end of the day we are in a result business and need to win games and we need to do what is best for our hockey team."
- "You can break the game down. It's still 200 by 85 and 3 zones and you either have the puck or you don't and you need to figure out how you will play the game and from a systematical standpoint I like how we play and as we go through the preseason we will move around players and see how they complement one another, maybe sitting down and talking to the staff but at the end of the day we need to make a decision that is going to help our team win."
- On the Eastern Conference, "I think that if we look on paper all the time it would be easy. I think we got better and Garth is very passionate about making us better and his decisions have been good as far as I look at it with the acquisitions that we made. The teams you just mentioned though, two years ago when Ottawa had goaltending numbers off the charts or Boston and Rask and his numbers, Quick and Lundqvist, it's no different in baseball with pitching or Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, those guys are there at the end and carry their team. Taking nothing away from Nabokov who I thought was a very important part of our team as a player and person and helping our young kids and getting us into the playoffs in that lockout season. I do feel that acquisitions that Garth has made have really enhanced our club."
- Does the Stanley Cup Final seem like a mountain climb away, "no, I think that went I look at the development of our players, we aren't far off. You watch a lot of video in the summer and even LA, we lost 2-0 out there and we had them tied with a minute left, we went through some injuries. That is not an excuse but we are almost where we need to be and with the acquisitions that we made I feel real good about our club but we were right there with some of the teams and I don't know how many one-goal games that we played in, I think there were a dozen games where we had a 2 goal lead in the third and couldn't hold them, that was the talk with the media after and then all the sudden you watch the playoffs and I don't know what the number was, I think it was close to 30, teams had 2 goal leads and coaches look at that and prepare our guys right off the bat to play under pressure. When teams surge under pressure, with how special teams are, you need to be able to handle that. There are some things psychological as far as our hockey club that we need to work with but as far as personnel, I am excited about our group."