BY DENNIS CHASE email@example.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — Q: What are your thoughts on the Red Wings moving to the Eastern Conference?
A: Yes, it’s great to get Boston, New York, Toronto and Montreal on a regular basis. As important as that, nobody is going to miss spending five to six hours on an airplane flying to the West Coast as often as we had to before. The big winner will be the Red Wings fans, who will get to watch these games at 7 o’clock at night now instead of 10 or 10:30. That will be huge for our fans and our audiences. It’s all good and I think it will be a great challenge for us — and for them (opponents). They’ve never seen the likes of us before. Play is a little different over there. There will be a feeling out process for awhile
Q: How is play different?
A: The Red Wings play a different type of game. They’re a puck possession team. They don’t have the fighters that a lot of those Eastern Conference teams have. But it takes two to fight and you don’t hit people when you have the puck. That’s not going to change. I see it as the Red Wings setting the pace for people to come and get them as opposed to getting a bunch of tough guys and battling it out that way.
Q: There’s a lot optimism coming into the season. A young defense came around last season and the team signed two established scorers to bolster the offense. What is your take?
A: We were a goal or two short last year on the offensive side. We were very good defensively, starting with (Jimmy) Howard. The learning curve was really steep for our young defensemen, but those kids did a great job. We were only one shot away from going to the Final Four again. The goal-scoring is welcome. (Daniel) Alfredsson, although he’s 40, is an experienced guy who knows where to be and when to be there. That’s as important as being the fastest guy on the ice. Stephen Weiss is a proven goal scorer and in our system I would expect he’ll have more opportunities to score and that will be a good thing for the Red Wings.
Q: At what age did you retire as a player?
A: 28. Back injury
Q: Are you amazed that players, like Alfredsson, are still elite players at 40?
A: No, it’s a different world. The kind of help players get today is totally different than in our day. They’ve got trainers all over the place and they take care of them much better than they ever did in our day. The treatment they get, the help they get, will keep them going a lot longer. And they, without a doubt, take better care of themselves than we did. Society was a different world in our day. Today everybody is into the health kick — and that’s good.