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This article was published 18/9/2014 (1011 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Paul MAURICE stood at the podium under the bright TV lights for more than 30 minutes on Thursday and answered a ton of questions on a bevy of topics, from his first summer in Winnipeg to rule changes.
Here are some of his more-noteworthy takes:
- On Blake Wheeler suggesting Evander Kane has to step up this season, Kane's reaction via Twitter and how much ado about nothing blew up into a story:
"I understand something has to be talked about. The whole Blake Wheeler thing, at the end for me, was positive. I've got one leader talking about another leader. I thought Kaner's tweet back was funny: 'Find me at the top of the circle.' That's vintage and that's funny.
"So I know this -- when I walked through the room today, Evander Kane looks phenomenal and so does Blake Wheeler. I don't have any of the metrics back or testing back, but they passed the shirt-off test. Both those men worked really, really hard this summer. They've come to camp in great shape. They've come to perform. They've done what they've been asked to do.
"I'm not worried about how people feel about how Evander drinks his coffee. That's got nothing to do with anything I think is important. Did you do anything this summer to make our hockey team better? Without seeing any of their numbers, I would say emphatically yes on both accounts. That's leadership. They've invested in the Winnipeg Jets. They've done what they needed to do this summer to make our hockey team better and look fantastic."
- On what free-agent addition Mathieu Perreault might provide:
"You've got a player that's quite quick. Real good faceoff man. He's going to compete. He's not going to roll guys over, but he's going to finish every check. He's going to give that line an opportunity to score some goals.
"He's a smart guy that's going to play well defensively, but whoever Mathieu is with at the end of training camp, we're not looking for that line to go out and hold water. We're looking for that line to go out and generate some things because they can. So, they have to be good defensively, but we're not going to be sitting there saying, 'OK, it's going to be Little's line and Scheif's line and you guys are going to score some goals. Everybody else just keep it tight.'
"We want them to generate some things without cheating. The same rules that apply to Bryan Little's line are going to apply to Mathieu Perreault's line. But we feel there is skill level there and we expect him to work into the power play."
- On Ondrej Pavelec being under the microscope:
"We need Ondrej to be every bit better as every other player, not necessarily more. We need to play a game in front of him that he understands and then we can assess his abilities to stop the puck from that game. Two years ago when he was voted the most valuable player, I remember him in the net and 'We're not beating that guy tonight.' So the talent is there and we've seen it. Put a structure in front of him that gives him the best chance. He knows what he needs to do to be a No. 1, to be a great No. 1, and that's what our goal is for him,
"I have confidence in this man and his game."
- On living in Winnipeg, after moving here on July 15:
"Whoever lives in Winnipeg finds a way to love it there. The people that live here ending up staying a long time and loving it here. After a summer... July 15 I rolled into town and I don't think I saw a drop of rain for six straight weeks so the weather was wonderful and I don't know why people complain about the weather here.
"It's the people here, the people that you meet, they're very excited about the upcoming season. Even better than that, excited about the team."
- On rule changes, including the ban of the spin-o-rama in the shootout:
"If we're putting (the shootout) in, let 'em bring two sticks out. I always thought that was great when (Alex) Ovechkin brought two sticks out (at an all-star game). If we're doing that, then helmets off, you can take half your gear off and let's see how wild you can make this. Let 'er rip."
- On Kane possibly having a consistent centre this season, Maurice revealed he will play on a line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler:
"I didn't get to see Kane-Scheifele-Wheeler very much. Evander was hurt with a hand early on, Mark we lost with a knee injury. We were 3-1 in first four games together... Just off the top of my head, there was a lot there that I liked. So, who knows? Read whatever you want to into the lines on (Friday)."
- And, finally, here's Maurice when asked "does Dustin Byfuglien start at forward?"
"And finishes," he replied.
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