Quotes from the Locker Room: November 5
| Photos from practice
On his recovery
I was lucky. All of the four teeth I lost were fake ones. I already have all new ones. I was very lucky. My mouthguard really saved me in this case. I’m feeling good now. I’ve been skating a couple days, and today was the third day already. I’m anxious to get back.
Was it tough being away from the team during the last leg of the road trip?
Absolutely. That’s what this is all about. Just watching your teammates playing is no fun. But, like I said, this could’ve been way longer. I was lucky I didn’t break this bone [points to the upper portion of his mouth], or the stick didn’t come here [points to the same area] because I still have three plates from when I broke my jaw three years ago.
How was it to see the team come home with a 5-2-1 record on the road trip?
Unbelievable. I’m so proud of these guys. Obviously, 15 days on the road, eight games, it’s never easy. But the way we played, especially at the end, was outstanding. I’m so happy.
You weren’t the only one in the family to receive stitches, were you?
It was funny. My daughter cut her arm carving those pumpkins. And now I have stitches. She was so happy to get stitches at the same time. It was pretty funny.
On capping off the eight-game, 15-day road trip with a victory at Madison Square Garden
It was good. It was very important to us. We felt it was our biggest game of the trip. We were able to come in with a good effort, and Freddy [Andersen] played great. It really just kind of highlighted the trip for us. We knew we were playing a much different team than who we played here. We were able to stop them. Freddy was a big part of that. He made some key saves for us, and we were able to come up with some timely goals. It wasn’t our best effort, it wasn’t pretty, but any time you can win on the road, you take it.
Was there any point during the trip when fatigue set in?
For me, it was the last couple games in Buffalo and New York. When you’re on the road for that long, it starts to wear on you a little bit. I think the guys did a great job of battling through it. They definitely weren’t our prettiest games, but you have to find ways to win when you’re on the road, and I think we did a good job of doing that.
After the plane touched down at LAX a little after three o’clock last night, what time did you finally get home?
Probably four o’clock. I was able to fall asleep right away, so it wasn’t so bad. It’s always nice waking up and being able to put shorts on and come to the rink. It’s good to be home.
Was it good to get in a quick practice this afternoon after a long flight home last night?
Yeah, I think so. Obviously, we’re tired, but if we were to take today off, you kind of just sit around all day and get lethargic, and it might carry over into tomorrow’s game. It was important for us to get to the rink and just get out there for a half hour and get a sweat going. Now we can go home and get all the rest we need.
On coming home with a successful road trip
It was huge. It was the difference between a good road trip and a great road trip. You can’t ask for anything better. It was our toughest road trip of the year, and coming out with five wins is huge.
Was there any point during the trip when fatigue set in?
Yeah, absolutely. About halfway through, we all started to get a little tired. We had one or two days off, but it was hard to get going at times. But, we found ways to win. That’s the main thing.
Does it feel good to finally be back in Southern California?
Absolutely. We’re still undefeated at home, so we want to try and keep this little thing going here at home.
On coming home with a 5-2-1 record
It was perfect. It wasn’t the best start to the trip, but after those first two games we came back and had a really good trip. We made sure during the last week to play good hockey. It’s nice coming home. Hopefully, we can keep it going during the homestand.
How was it playing at Madison Square Garden?
I haven’t played in many arenas over here, so it was a nice place to play. There’s a lot of history there. That was a real treat to play there. It was awesome.
How do you feel about your game so far?
I’m feeling really good. I’ve had a lot of good help from the guys every time I’ve played. It’s easy to come into a new league when you get that kind of help. It’s been great.
On inching closer to a return to the lineup
It’s good. It’s good to see light at the end of the tunnel, and get out here and see the guys again. It’s a long two weeks when the boys are on the road battling and you’re at home watching. It was a good day.
How do you feel, physically?
I feel pretty good. Today’s the first day I really shot on goalies and everything. We’ll see how it is later in the day and go from there. I still need to be cleared by doctors, so it’s one step closer.
What can you say about the resiliency of this team, coming home 5-2-1 on the trip?
It was awesome. It was great to watch. I feel like my dad, screaming at the TV while watching it at home. It was great to watch, but it was hard to watch. Great road trip for us.
On making his season debut last night in New York
It was great. I was looking forward to that moment for a long time now. It was one of those injuries that couldn’t have happened at the worst moment. It was the first preseason game. You work all summer just to get on the ice, then after two periods it happens. It wasn’t a good moment or good timing, but I worked hard for seven weeks. I think I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. Pretty early on I was able to do everything off the ice, like working out and skating, skating straight lines and doing all that stuff. I got my conditioning back pretty quick. That’s the big positive I had in that seven-to-eight-week timespan.
Once I was cleared to play, I went down to the minors just to get back into playing shape. You can skate as much as you want, just doing those bag skates, but at the end of the day it’s just not the same as playing in a game, where you battle and you do things in the corners. It’s a different type of conditioning. I was glad I had the chance to do that stuff down there.
Then, they told me I could meet the boys back up in New York. As soon as I got there, they told me I was going to be in the lineup. Seven weeks is a long time. I got really excited. Obviously, it would be nice to come back at home in front of your home fans, but if you’ve got to start your season somewhere on the road, I don’t think there’s a better place than MSG. It was a big environment and it was a lot of fun. I missed being around the boys and being on the ice, sacrificing your body, and doing all that stuff, and coming back after a win feeling all banged up. It’s a good feeling, as dumb as it sounds. It was nice to be back on the ice and back experiencing all that stuff with the guys again.
On the eight-game road trip
It ended up pretty good. We were a little worried when you start the trip off 2-0 and you’ve got six more games. I think it says a lot about the character of the group. The Ottawa game was very tough, and we hung in and we just kept getting better and better after that. And then you start to believe you can win, and then they do. To me, it was a great trip. I was really worried when I looked at the schedule. It doesn’t stop. The next three games, and then four more on the road is a really tough stretch, but instead of having 20 games to go through, we now have seven more to go to get through this stretch. It’s looking up.
On battling fatigue throughout the trip
We never mentioned it. Fatigue wasn’t a word we used at all. We did a good job of traveling after every game and having a whole day to recoup. We actually had good practices in those times. They were ready every game day. It wasn’t like we were flying in the night before and waking up and knowing you had to play. That was the positive note on that. When you look at it over a long period of time, you think 16 days is a daunting trip. But, we looked at it as weekly goals. It was three games, it was three games, and then it was two games. That’s all we had to do. Win small goals.
On the resiliency of the team in the face of adversity
Bob Murray did a great job acquiring a lot of good depth guys, because it seems like every game somebody was going [down]. From the Ottawa game when we lost Silver [Jakob Silfverberg] and then [Dustin] Penner didn’t come back until the next game, and then you lose Teemu. You keep losing guys every night. Guys come in and they’re filling in and doing a great job. It did say a lot for the depth of the organization.
On updates on Beleskey and Selanne
They’re both getting close. I haven’t talked to either one since practice ended on how they felt, but I would venture to guess they’re both day-to-day right now, but playing sooner rather than later.
On the progress of Saku Koivu
Saku didn’t skate today. He had one more test, but he feels fine and he’s ready to practice. I think he’ll be on the ice tomorrow.
On having Sbisa back in the lineup
It was good. I was a little worried because he was out for a long time. But, he’s a veteran guy and he made some great plays. He made a good play on the first goal. He was aggressive, he stood his ground, and you could tell he has experience playing. That’s what we need him to do.