Lightning LW Ryan Malone: "I truly thought we were the better team in that game"
Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ryan Malone, who won a silver medal with the United States at the Olympics, took some time to talk to reporters after Tuesday's morning skate. Malone, who had three goals in the tournament, got back to Tampa at about 6:30 p.m. Monday.
On how he is feeling: A little tired, but excited to be back and starting a nice playoff stretch here, so there should be some good hockey coming up.
On the Olympic experience: It was a great group of guys we had there and we truly believe we could see the whole thing through the way we wanted too. From the first game to the last game I thought we improved as a team. We fought into overtime. So many talented players on the ice, nothing to hang our head about but a little disappointed obviously.
Is he running on fumes?: We’ll see when I get out there, but I don’t think so. Once you get the jersey on and those two points are so crucial right now, it’s going to be a fun game. It’s just good to be back and play with these guys here.
Most memorable Olympic moment: The whole tournament was a great experience. It was great having your family there. My parents would never have dreamed of me being in that situation, so I know they’re emotional and had a blast. It was great to have my family there and experience the whole thing.
On what the experience added to his game: You go out there and play the way you’ve been playing, and, hopefully, you have a little more confidence out there and, hopefully, I can contribute a little more than when I left.
On where the Olympics rank in his career: Oh, No. 1, for sure. To have the short tournament is a little different than the playoffs, and to have such a grueling schedule as that is. Just to have that group of guys coming together as a group so fast was awesome.
Has he gotten any ribbing from his Canadian teammates? No, not yet, anyway. Maybe they’re waiting to see how I react. It’d be different, maybe, if we were blown out, but it was such a close game, I truly thought we were the better team in that game and had some chances. (Sidney Crosby) was a little too quiet that whole game … What can you do? It was a great play by a great player.
On the atmosphere in Vancouver: It was fun. Those are the games you always dream about playing as a kid, and to have the opportunity and to play over there was great; just a typical playoff-type atmosphere with their whole country cheering for them. It was fun. We would have definitely liked to steal that one.
On the possible impact on hockey's popularity: At least they had a game on NBC ... so that’s a step. It was good. I’m not sure how many people tuned in or anything, but hopefully it will have a big impact here, especially with a big playoff race and the trade deadline coming up, there’s a lot of action. It’s good to be a hockey fan right now.
On how it will impact his career: You always think you know what it takes to win, and I’ve been so close with Pittsburgh, now, and to be there again. I told (Canada and Red Wings coach) Mike Babcock, I’m sick of shaking his hand, so I’m 0-for-2. Hopefully you learn from these experiences and we get in the playoffs here and see what happens.
Where is his medal?: It’s home right now. It’s just sitting there. It’s silver. It’s not the right color but I’m going to bring it in tonight, and they’re gong to display it for the fans.
On the NHL continuing Olympic participation: It’d be great. You look at all the athletes over there and how much fun we had. It’s just a great tournament, and to set up a matchup like that in a gold-medal game, for hockey in general it’s great. So, we go over there to Russia. I know (commissioner Gary) Bettman is a businessman or whatever and worried about the time zones, but whatever it is, I think all the players should play.