On how this year’s Blue Jackets are different than last year’s:
Probably their kids are a year older. Johansen’s a fine young player. Getting their defenseman kid in their lineup makes a big difference, and obviously Bobrovsky, coming off the year he had, should make ‘em a year better.
On spreading minutes out across the lineup in Monday’s game:
It’s a tough part of the schedule. It’s not just minutes. You’re trying to win hockey games. I mean, I’m not playing favorites. There are some guys that aren’t playing the minutes that were necessarily seeing them because they’re not playing well enough. The Fraser line had a tough time again yesterday.
On whether he foresaw the “excellence” in the Western Conference prior to the season:
Yep. Said a hundred points will make the playoffs…I mean, it wasn’t hard to figure out that Colorado was going to take a big jump, and after that there was a big mix. That’s pretty much how it’s playing. [Reporter: That makes every game virtually a playoff game, right?] Not really, because playoff games, if you lose a game four, you’re done.
On the current road trip:
It’s a tough trip. We’ve already put on a lot of miles. It’s tough. I mean, the home team has a huge advantage. That is a fact.
On the Blue Jackets:
They’re a good team. It’s the NHL. If you’re a good team, you play well. You can be able to sustain it and come off losses and play well, and obviously they’ve done that.
On whether the Blue Jackets are different with Nathan Horton in the lineup:
Well, he’s a pretty good player. Basically it puts him in more situations where they didn’t have that player for a couple months.
On any “marked” difference between the Eastern and Western Conferences:
You know what? I have pretty strong feelings about that, about this year, why one conference has had a better record against the other, but it’s not one that I’d like to talk about. I think you’d be better off talking to Columbus and Detroit. They’d be very familiar with it. We spend most of our time basically scouting our conference, and we’ve been in a situation this year where we’ve played a lot of the out-of-conference teams within a few days of each other, so you sort of get ‘em out of the way, and then that’s it, whereas in our conference you spend a lot of times obviously not only playing, but lots of watching them, too.
On whether the Calgary-Vancouver incident was “embarrassing” for the league:
Yeah, that’s what it said in the papers, so I’m consistent with what you guys say. [Reporter: What about the suspension, 15 days?] It ties in to what you said about ‘embarrassing.’