Published on February 27th, 2012 | by James Conley0
Penguins: Shero Trade Deadline Press Conference (Full Text)
The Penguins made no moves on deadline day, standing pat on a market that was directed by too many contenders, too few sellers and having a roster that seems to lack only healthy bodies in terms of being complete.
Here’s a full transcript of Ray Shero’s afternoon press conference following the announcement that the Pens wouldn’t be making any moves.
RS: Just confirmed that we were not active today, so nobody going and nobody coming. So, our roster’s our roster moving forward.
On if the team came close to making a deal.
RS: It was pretty quiet, but even though you don’t make a deal we had a number of conversations with teams. Whether it was the price, in our opinion, was too high on some players, or there was just wasn’t a fit on our end…we did make some offers on some players, but those players never even got moved, so it was a long day to really come up with nothing. But as you said going into it, we were fine with that, and we’re gonna get a few injured players back here, hopefully Arron Asham soon and Tyler Kennedy, and we’re going to go forward with our team.
On if the team’s inactivity pertain to Sidney Crosby’s status.
RS: No…as I said yesterday, I’m hopeful [Crosby] will be able to come back and play, [but] there’s no guarantee of that. It was just one of those trade deadlines—and I think this was my sixth trade deadline here and we’ve always been active doing something—this is the first time we’ve not done anything and it just really wasn’t there for us in terms of the players that were available, and you really see it, I think, in that the standings are so close, and some teams went all the way through yesterday’s games to make some decisions on players, whether to trade or to keep them, and it was the usual, “If I get blown away by an offer, I might consider moving my player.” Well, a lot of these players didn’t move because teams wouldn’t pay that price and in our case, speaking from the Penguins standpoint, is that we’re happy with our team going forward. I said that, and what I said yesterday, too, was that…it’s easy to say [we're happy with our team] as a manager, and when you can’t make a deal or don’t make a deal or whatever it is, you can say that. But I said this six weeks ago when we had lost six in a row, that I like our team. You know, I believe in our hockey team and I still do and I’m comfortable with this team moving forward. So that’s where we are.
On if a lean trade market played into the team’s decision not to deal.
RS: There’s less and less trades at the deadline, it seems. A lot of teams had cap space it seemed this year, the cap had gone up, and it’s just the parity in the league, I think, where a lot of teams are not trading players. It’s maybe a combination of the new CBA moving foward, if a guy has term on the contract, [teams] aren’t willing to take that on…I think it’s a combination of everything, but most importantly I think it’s the parity and, with the exception of a few teams, teams are within four to five points of a playoff spot with still 20 games to be played. Its still a lot of hockey to be played and teams are still optimistic they can make the playoffs. So I think it’s a combination of everything, but as I said back on July 1, when you make a few deals and let some players go, its kind of how you set your team up for the season and hopefully we can get a few of these injured players back. Right now we’re in a home-ice position, we’re fighting for home ice, and I’m happy with that.
On the strengths of the current lineup.
RS: Well I think from the net out we’ve got great goaltending, we’ve got a lot of guys who won a Stanley Cup and…we’ve had the most man-games lost in the league to injury, and now we’re finally starting to get healthy it seems, so I think its a combination of everything. I think we have some really good play out of players and after you miss Jordan Staal for 20 games and you get him back in your lineup, you see the big difference it makes in your team. I just think that we have a pretty good hockey team here with our leadership and the character we have in our hockey team. Our special teams have been very good, our penalty killing has been amongst the tops in the league and our power play’s been very good obviously, so just a lot of things have come together for us and we’re going to get some of these injured players back. We have a number of those guys who have rings in the room and that counts for something as you move forward towards the playoffs.
On the success of the team’s fifth-ranked power play.
RS: Well, we got James Neal with I think the most power play goals in the league, and the year that Evgeni Malkin’s having, he’s taken it to another level. Chris Kunitz has done a fantastic job as a net-front guy and I think Steve Sullivan has made a big difference on that power play in terms of transition [with] the puck and going up the ice, gaining zone time. He’s really smart up top and of course, having Kris Letang back after the number of games he missed has really helped us, and the coaches have worked hard at this over the last year or so. They’ve come up with some different variations in the power play, and with Sullivan on that one side they can open up the left-hand side of the power play, I think that’s been helpful. We’re shooting the puck, getting it through and Neal and Malkin have made a big difference, and you got Jordan Staal, obviously, with 20 goals or wherever he’s at…these guys are making a difference.
On Brad Thiessen’s performance Sunday and the three-center model.
RS: On the goaltending issue, I think that with Brad, when we signed him as a free agent out of Northeastern, we were hopeful he’d become a professional goalie here. Last year, being the Goalie of the Year in the American Hockey League, these guys at times need an opportunity, and the way Brent has played for us in the past they never really got that. Fortunately, we didn’t have any injuries, knock on wood, in that position, but for the goaltenders that were [on the market] in terms of the price to get them, and I’m not sure if any of them moved today, but we’re obviously we’re very happy with our number-one guy in Fleury. Brent Johnson, if he can get healthy here, which we think he will…and of course if Brad gets some experience in the National Hockey League, it bodes well for us moving forward. I think we’re confident in that area. The three centers, that’ll be up to Dan. I think the way—if we get the three centers back together—the way that Dan has done this in the past is that guys tend to move around a bit. You see Geno playing center, you see Geno at the odd time playing wing, you see Staal moving up to the wing depending on the match-up situation. The beautiful thing is that they can all play well over 20 minutes a night, so you put them in different situations depending on the game and the score. So, it just gives us a lot of options and flexibility and creates more problems for the other team matching up.
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