Excerpts from today's interview with the Rangers President and General Manager here in Los Angeles:



“We just needed some type of change to make us a little more alert, a little more aware…..

 

“The deal at one time was bigger, it evolves…. There were more people involved at one time.” Was Dion Phaneuf involved? “That’s all speculation, I can’t talk about guys in other organizations.”

 

The complications in the deal? “I think that’s something Calgary should talk about.  

 

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Did Kotalik balk because of his limited trade clause: “I wouldn’t say that he hung us up, we had to work through that. When players get traded, it’s always a shock, well, most of the times it is. It just takes a little time for him to reflect.”

 

On Jokinen and the pairing with Gaboirk: “He’s big, he can skate, he can shoot, he’s competitive. If they can develop the same type of chemistry, it’ll be fine.  If for some reason they don’t click, we have other guys who can play there, but it gives us a lot more options. “

 

More on Jokinen: “We’re looking for him to step in and play the way he can play. He’s a big center-ice man who covers a lot of room in front of the net. He’s  been a proven goal scorer. In Calgary, he wasn’t. I’m sure he was trying to feed (Jarome) Iginla all the time and the chemistry wasn’t always there….When he was in Florida, he had 91 points and nobody thought he get traded. Florida had budget problems. He goes to Phoenix, they had same problems. He ends up going to Calgary and didn’t have the right chemistry, I guess. I don’t think (GM) Darryl (Sutter) expected he was going to get this guy and trade him a year later. He played well in the playoffs for them and the 10 or 12 games leading into them. I think he’s in good shape.”  

 

On Prust: “He’s got 18 fights…a tough kid, we watched him play in Phoenix. He handles the puck well, sees the ice well, got lots of spunk to him. I always think you can never have a team that’s tough enough. Except when you have too much and you can’t score.”

 

On Higgins: “Higgins was a good soldier, he worked hard. He did everything he possibly could do, except he had trouble scoring. For some reason, he lost his scoring touch. Even when I talked to him last night, he said he wished he could’ve scored more. It’s not as if he didn’t have the ice time or the chances….Higgins got started real well and his scoring just started to disappear on him and he starts to press,  really the same thing happened with Kotalik. Fans get on him, you get tighter, a little more uptight. I always find it a mystery when a bad bounce goes over a guy’s stick and he gets blamed for it. Players are sensitive…Everybody would like to be a little more thick-skinned…

 

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On Kotalik: “He didn’t play for nine games, it was pretty obvious we were going to have to do something. We didn’t think we were going to have to trade him either.”

On another defenseman: “We’re always looking. We thought we had enough depth in the organization, but we have six guys out in Hartford with injuries. If something else happens Schoney’s going on the point. Then we’re in real trouble. Heikkinen can come up and play.”