And how was your holiday?
Pete Pelegrin, he of the FIU beat, graciously filled in for me today and grabbed Olli after practice. JM says he wouldn't talk about rumors, and that's fine. There is so much stuff floating around, if he commented on them all, that's really all we'd talk about. Anyway, Pete transcribed the conversation for me and sent the email my way.
Want to read what Olli had to say? No? OK, see you tomorrow.
Just kidding. Not about the 'see you tomorrow' thing. I will blog tomorrow from the Big Bank. There's some interesting stuff below. Olli seems to be pretty forthcoming, and adds if this team doesn't make the playoffs again this year, he won't have to ask for a trade. It'll come on its own...
The team hasn't been playing well. Who else are you going to bring up on our team? Vokoun has no trade clause; most of the guys have no trade clause. I don't have a no trade clause.
If you’re not wanted in one place, a no trade clause won't save you.
What are you going to say? The team hasn't been playing well. My name is popping up again. I don't think if we were in first place, my name would be out there in trade rumors. I'm pretty much used to it. It doesn't really bother me. My agent called me and asked if I had heard it.
I haven't been traded in 7 years. I never will be OK with it. I like this place. This is home. It’s not one of those things where you want to move. I don't believe the grass is any greener on the other side. as a player you are always going to win. To me it's the easy way out looking elsewhere for other teams or going somewhere and trying to win happiness or win championships. I want to win here and hopefully we make some moves here.
It’s the bottom line. We haven't been playing well. Hopefully our injured guys are coming back. There are some good young players we have in the system. The bottom line I think is that everybody wants to win now. Its not like you want to be part of a rebuilding process or anything like that. We have young, good prospects. I think it’s just a matter of winning now.
EVER ASK FOR A TRADE?
I asked a couple of times [for trades] and my wish came true. Just once actually from the Islanders to Panthers in 2000. I think its something positive out there too. I think it shows there is some interest around the league. It shows you have been doing something right.
WHEN WOULD YOU CONSIDER A TRADE?
You guys probably think I’m out of my mind I’ve been so positive all the time. I believe we've been going in the right direction the last couple of years. It’s been really a hard year this year, especially seeing other teams struggle, not playing the level they're capable of playing, as well as in our division.
CONFIDENT TEAM CAN STILL MAKE PLAYOFFS?
It’s pretty amazing we're still right there at four points behind [Carolina], being three games below .500. We had a really good stretch there is December, but like I said, it’s been a roller coaster all year.
I don't think it’s coaching or anything like that. It’s more of the guys playing consistently. We’re doing pretty good when we're doing that, 20 guys on the same page. We win most of the nights when we do that.
I don't how long we are going to wait and see what is going to happen as a team. I think fans have been patient. I think owners have been patient. if things do not go well we're probably not going to be in the playoffs then there are probably going to be some moves like you guys have been hearing.
If we don't make it this year, I probably don't have to go and say I want to get traded there's probably going to be moves no matter what.
And usually you go out there and change your top players. That’s how its always been done in the business and that's how it's always going to be.
The best thing for us is winning hockey games and be in the playoffs at the end of the year. I think that's what this franchise needs.
OK PLAYING WING WITH SHAWN MATTHIAS AT CENTER?
If I got a center like Matthias I don't have a problem to play wing.
He’s a good player who gets you the puck. He plays the same type of hockey that I do. We match up good. He’s not like a typical center, not like a playmaker center. He’s more of a goal scorer, a guy who crashes the net and takes the puck well. I never really have had a chance to play with a guy like him.