I did a conference call interview with new Thrashers forward Andrew Ladd. Below is the transcript of the interview.
This should give you something to read over the holiday weekend. I’m going to enjoy a few days off myself. A happy – and safe – Fourth of July to all.
The Thrashers acquired forward Andrew Ladd from Stanley Cup champion Chicago this week. Ladd talked about coming to Atlanta and his plans for his day with the Cup on July 18th from his home in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.
Q. What are your thoughts about coming to Atlanta?
A. I’m excited about the opportunity that’s going to be presented there. Hopefully I can be a big part of that team next year. It’s kind of similar to when I went to Chicago (from Carolina). It’s a young team that didn’t have that many expectations around the league. To have that is kind of fun, to go in there and prove people wrong.
Q. Were you surprised by the trade?
A. No, I knew it was coming. Having talked to my agent soon after we won [the Stanley Cup], we knew they didn’t have enough room under the cap to keep me in terms of what they wanted to do. It was kind of basically sitting and waiting and see where I ended up.
Q. You are never prepared for a trade, and it’s never fun to leave a team that just won a Stanley Cup, but the fact that you are coming with three of your teammates there does that make the transition easier?
A. For sure. Anytime you are familiar with guys going into a team, especially guys you just won a Stanley Cup with, it makes it a lot easier. You are all in the same boat and the same situation. I think we are looking forward to bringing a lot of the experience we had last year and in year’s past to Atlanta.
Q. Do you know anyone else on the team?
A. I played world juniors with Clarke MacArthur, so I know him a little bit. I know Jim Slater a little bit. We used to have the same agent so I met him a couple times.
Q. What do you remember about Atlanta from your Carolina days? There has been a lot of turnover but in general what do you remember?
A. When I was there it was playing against [Ilya] Kovalchuk and [Marian] Hossa and those guys the whole time. It’s a little different makeup of a team. If you look at their team they are kind of deep all the way through. It’s a switch from something I don’t know they had when I was in Carolina. They had their top guys and just filled out the rest of the roster. They seem to have a lot of good young guys that they can build around and hopefully I can be a part of that.
Q. What is your relationship with Rick Dudley?
A. I know he was involved in bringing me to Chicago. Anytime that someone likes you, you kind of figure it’s a place you might end up. I wasn’t sure though when three of your teammates go there before hand, I wasn’t so sure that I would go there too.
Q. What do you bring to Atlanta?
A. Hopefully a lot of things. I think there are a lot of things in my game that I bring to the table. A consistent two-way game. Hopefully I can provide some leadership with the way I play and the example I set on the ice. Beyond that, I think I’m pretty solid. I can put the puck in the net and play at both ends. Nothing really flashy to my game, but I like to think I can get things done.
Q. Have you had your day with Cup yet and what do you plan to do with it?
A. I have it on July 18. I’m hoping to take it to a children’s hospital. Then, I’m going to do a little thing at the rink where I played minor hockey growing up with the community and a bunch of kids there. Then we are just going to hang out with it with my family and then have a big party at a friend’s house.
Q. Looking at the other guys coming from Chicago with you, what do you say they bring to the team and where do you see them fitting?
A. Buff [Dustin Byfuglien] is a special player. There aren’t too many guys that have that size and skill set and the speed that he has. He’s going to be a guy that is tough to play against. He’ll get to the front of the net. He has a big shot and he’s tough to move. He’ll be fun to watch. Benny [Ben Eager] is one of those guys that was underrated being on a deep team in Chicago. He can play a bigger role. He has lots of speed, has good hands and he has a great shot. He’s a fun guy to watch on the forecheck and plays a tough game. Soaps [Brett Sopel] is kind of a steady, reliable guy back on D. He makes a great first pass. He’s a smart player. Anyone who watched him during the playoffs, he was a big part of our penalty kill in terms of the way he blocked shots. He was kind of nuts the way he got in front of slapshots. He’ll be a big part of the penalty kill.
Q. Speaking of Byfuglien, is there a marked difference between what he did in the playoffs and in the regular season? A reason for the success?
A. I don’t know what it was. He played a lot better. I don’t know if he got a little fire in his belly during the playoffs or what. Maybe he just found his game. He got moved up with [Patrick Kane] and [Jonathan Toews], which probably helped him. If you put him with skill players and he creates so much room out there and when you get him the puck in front he can put it in the back of the net. It could have been the situation he was put it. He really elevated his game during the playoffs.
Q. Rick Dudley has talked about how important it is to know how to win and expect to win, how do you bring that to the locker room?
A. I like to think, a lot of times, it’s your approach to the game and how you play the game. You come to the rink and you play with the attitude to win and to work everyday. If we work as a team and are all on the same page, that’s the best way to be successful.
Q. What’s the rest of your summer like?
A. I actually just got home yesterday. I’m going to start getting into high gear training and getting ready for another year. I’ve had enough rest and it’s time to get back to work.
Q. Who was your roommate on the road with the Blackhawks?
A. Duncan Keith.
Q. With yourself, and the other guys coming over from Chicago, would you say that there is a lot of grit know – that you guys will be a gritty team that’s tough to play against?
A. I think so. If you look through the lineup you find a lot of guys that have workman-like attitudes and lots of speed, which is huge especially in this league now. You find if you can push their D back and get on the forecheck and create so much just on the speed. Looking at their roster that’s what we have in Atlanta.
Q. Looking back at Carolina days, what did you enjoy about playing in the Southeast Division?
A. The first thing I thought about was the travel is so much easier in the East. The year we won the Cup I think we went out of the time maybe zone once, that was to play Edmonton, the whole year. That was nice. It’s nice to fly an hour here, an hour there and then come home. The style of play in the Southeast in pretty run and gun sometimes and that’s a fun style to play.
Q. You played against [goaltender] Chris Mason a lot. Now that he’s on your team, can you describe what kind of goalie he is?
A. To me, he seems like a really solid goalie. He never seems to let in any weak goals. He made all the right saves. When you have a goalie like that it makes the game so much easier.