Morrison and Knuble are Ready to Start the Season as Caps
Here are Brendan Morrison and Mike Knuble's comments from media day.
Starting with Morrison:
How has the transition to D.C. been for you...
A couple weeks here. But it's been a good transition. I got a real good vibe from the team here. The guys are tremendous. The staff has been phenomenal. Really great neighborhood. The kids have been doing well and I've found that if the family is happy, then you're happy, so things have been real good so far.
Is it nice to have a familiar face here in Mike Knuble?
I think it helps. It's always nice to have a familiar face around, there's no question. Our families get along well -- although we've each added some kids since we actually hung out together. But I know our wives get along really well, so yeah, it gets a little easier.
What do you bring to this team?
Well, I think this team is right there. That's one of the big reasons why I wanted to come here. They have a real high-octane offense. They're big on the blueline. They can skate. They got some depth in goal now -- the emergence of Varlamov and also the experience of Theodore. But they lost Kozlov, Fedorov, two pretty crafty guys. Guys with a lot of skill. So what I'm going to try and do -- I'm not going to replace anybody. I think it's always difficult to come in and try to be someone else.
Just try and play my game and get back to the way I'm capable of playing. The last couple of seasons have been real difficult for me. My numbers have been down. But I think there's a direct correlation to my health. So I feel good now. I want to go out and just be creative. Just be a guy that can distribute the puck -- I think that's one of my best assets is creativity on the ice. I think I skate well. And I'm a guy I think I can finish too, if I'm given the opportunity to score goals.
Because you were known as a durable guy, how hard was it to deal with a flurry of injuries in recent years?
It's a funny thing. I went seven or eight years without missing a game and then four surgeries in three years. I think maybe the hip surgery that I had (after the 2005-06 season) was maybe a little bit of wear and tear over the years. Anatomically, it's the way people are built. Some guys have an impingement and some guys don't. And I was one of the guys that did and just wore down. And then the hernia was a direct result of the labral. And then the wrist and the knee were just bad luck more than anything. Just got hit awkwardly. If you saw the hit I got on my knee you wouldn't believe that actually tore my knee ligaments. It looked like nothing, really. But maybe I dodged bullets early in my career. I don't know. But hopefully it's all out of the way now. Like I said, I feel pretty good.
What was it like being on that line in Vancouver with Bertuzzi and Naslund?
We had a lot of fun playing together. That's a big key. I think each of us brought something different. Markus was the great goal scorer, had the pure shot, always found openings, always seemed to be open on the ice. Todd at the time was a premier power forward in the game as far as his size and skill. He was real physical presence on the ice that could intimidate guys physically. But for a big man he had unbelievable hands, created a lot of room. Me -- I created some space with my speed and creativity on the ice. But I think the biggest thing is that we're not complacent. We pushed each other. It was well documented that we had a lot of heated discussions on the bench about things that happened on the ice. But I think in the end that pushed us and helped us become better players.
What do you think about the possibility of playing on the second line with Laich and Semin?
Well, I guess you never really know how it's going to transpire until you get on the ice and see the chemistry. But I would love to be in that hole. Obviously, Semin is an extremely talented guy. And from what I've heard -- I've only seen them play or been against them -- these guys being in the East and me being in the West you don't get to see a lot of these guys on the ice a lot of times. But everything I've heard and the highlights I've seen he's a great talent. He can shoot the puck and he can score goals and I like to play with players like that. And Brooks Laich he's a big body and a strong kid and he can score goals -- back-to-back 20 goal years. That has the makings of [a line] that can put up some numbers. There's no question. It's just developing some chemistry.
Laich says he's dubbed you shifty...
I don't know, really. I just try not to get hit out there I guess. It's just summer hockey right now, but I guess I'll take it as a complement.
And now Knuble:
As a guy who worked your way into a solid NHL role what would you tell some of the younger guys out here who are fighting to make the team?
Sometimes as a player it takes awhile to find your niche. It takes the right opportunity, the right breaks, you've got to have some luck on your side. As a player I got up to 28-29 (years old) searching for an identity. Then finally one year I had my chance to play on a top line when somebody else went down with an injury, and my career went in a whole different direction.
What I'd tell players is you've got to hang in there. You've got to find a way to buy time so that they don't kick you out of the league one way or another, but that they keep bringing you back. Just always have confidence in yourself and work on your skills every day.
Sometimes as a young player sometimes you feel like you've got here and you've made it, that you can shut the switch off. The fact is young players, you're in your 20s you can get better -- a lot better. Skill wise, stronger, you haven't reached your real maturity yet. As players, even as an older player, it's a question of trying to identify things you can work on things you can do better as a player. As a young player you've got to keep believing in yourself.
What was it like playing here as a visitor, what will it be like now as a Capital?
I remember being a young player with the Rangers and even with the Red Wings... Detroit fans licked their chops. The Stanley Cup finals were here they would get on a plane and just come here because they could travel (with) no problem. They knew it was easy to get seats....
But there's been a rebirth here and as a player it's much more fun to play in a full building, and not a building because of who's visiting and their fans, but a full building because of your fans.
I've been very fortunate to play in a lot of full buildings, New York and Boston was good too. I haven't been in that situation, drawing minimum people to games. (Having the extra interest and sellouts) makes (an arena) always a more difficult place for an opposing team to play because at various points in the game you can feel momentum swings. As a player you can feel momentum swings a lot....it really makes it difficult to play against that when you're (at Verizon Center). We saw that in the playoffs, when I played in Philadephia this started to be a tough place to play, the fans started to have the team's back in a positive way and it helped make it an exciting place for them to play.
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