If you want to know why McCown is number one in this market, listen to his interview of Bryan Burke last night. It is just stuff you don’t get anywhere else. I give a ton of credit to Bob and Stephen Brunt for this one. It was an excellent interview, they asked all the right questions at all the right times. Kudos to Burke too. Here is a sloppily written account, but I highly suggest you listen to it yourself.
Q So are you comfortable that you have a sense what this team is and what it needs?
A Yes, from the start i said that we are too small and that has proven to be our biggest need. The second thing is consistency. If you said to me how is your goaltending? On some nights its adequate, it’s been terrific and on other’s it’s not. Our defensive play, on some nights we are a unit we play hard, the next we don’t. We need a consistent approach
Q Is this a time now where you are still looking at how the teams play or are you asking yourself are the players you have, are these guys good enough?
A The latter-I inherited Ron Wilson, i respect Ron, our coaching is sound, its a good system, it’s entertaining we aren’t trapping- i like the coaching- The question now is do we have the right people to execute that system.
Q You have a long term project here. How much of your brain in focused on the short term like the brad may deal which is obviously is a short term thing and how much is like a chess game where it is three or four moves away and will pay dividends next year and into the future?
A This franchise has suffered from, and that’s a great question and a fair one… This franchise has suffered from a series of short term fixes and patch work approaches, patches on tires, I am going long term here and our goal is to win a championship. That being said, I do have a responsibility to season ticket holders and sponsors to play the hardest and to win the most games we can. With Brad May it’s not just the toughness element which he does bring, but more importantly the leadership he brings to the locker room where the younger guys can see a guy who prepares properly and approaches the game properly and has the leadership skills.
Q You like him, it’s the 3rd time you got him – he is 37 – leadership can be tricky sometimes can he bring those things to a new group mid stride?
A That is the hardest part of being a leader, is coming into a new group mid term and trying to be a leader- But i have seen Brad operate before and the one guy on our staff, Keith Acton pushed harder for this then anyone else…This isn’t a Brian Burke project, I love him as a player but he brings other things, he is very positive and that is very important to a young team, he never comes in a pouty, or in a bad mood. Every day is a great day to Brad May. I want a positive influence for those kids, a guy who pays a terrible price to win on the ice, a guy who practices hard. He is not a great hockey player, but he does a lot of things well and i think our team needs to see those things, how to prepare and act like a professional hockey player.
Q I spent a lot of time talking about the value of draft choices the direction this franchise is going and i don’t want to get into a fight about what cliff did, because I endorse most of what he did, but he did give up a lot of draft choices and well this probably isn’t much, it’s a 6th round draft pick, but I want to ask you, not you specifically, but what value do you put on draft choices as you try and build and get the buidling blocks in place, which is more important draft picks or free agents, what is your philosophy?
A My philosophy has always been that draft picks are very important. This changes as you get close. When we were close in anaheim I traded everything I could to get Chris Pronger because I was close. Ken Holland and Doug Wilson will deal draft choices because they are close. IDifferent weights you place on things depending on where you are. Right now they are the lifeblood of our team. You are right, there is no point on arguing with what Cliff did. He did some good things. He is a wonderful guy and a friend of mine. I have always tired to avoid throwing rocks at any of the guys who went before me. That is very important. People say that Cliff traded some picks and yes he did, but you will never here me complain about it. First because I don’t like guys who complain, nobody out there listening wants to listen to Bryan Burke complain and second he did what he did to make the team better. We have to do what we can to replace those picks. They are absolutely vital in a cap system. Teams that are successful have kept their picks and drafted wisely. Especially now, after the Edmonton offer sheet everyone locks them up after their entry contract so you are never going to get an elite young young kid..
Q Do you have any sense or confidence that you can start that process of reclaiming these picks before the deadline or is it going to take longer ?
A Yes we have one guy that any team would love to draft in any position in Schenn. Grabovsky is a good pick too, no one is going to quarrel that move either. But I am confident we can move some assets and start to replenish these picks, yeah sure.
Q As you approach that time- and you mention the inconsistency, what do you really like-what do you say, there is something we can hold on to there?
A if you asked me at the 7 minute mark of the first period of last night’s game when the shots were 10-0 I would have not said many names. I don’t call my team out very often. You know that, I try to be very loyal to my team. I was very sour last night and I would have made any player who was on the ice available with the exception of Luke Schenn.
I know what people are saying, why are you dealing the lifeblood of the franchise away for a guy like May? Well he told you why. He obviously has a plan, and he obviously knows exactly what is missing in the room right now. I think it is a huge indictment on Mayers and other veterans in the room. He couldn’t be more clear that there is no one in the room who is doing the little things right. I think we owe it to the guy to sit back and lets things unfold for a bit.
You can listen to the interview here.