Mattias Ohlund: "My best years are ahead of me"
Here is some of Mattias Ohlund's conference call with reporters:
Opening statement: I think it’s a great opportunity for me. I was ecstatic when they called and I felt from the beginning this is the place I wanted to be. It felt right and felt like something I wanted to be part of. Having said that I’m also grateful for the 11 years I played with Vancouver. It’s a great place to play. It’s a great organization. I made a lot of friends there, friends for life. But having said that I felt it was time for me to move on and I’m excited about the future.
On mentoring draft choice Victor Hedman: I’m real excited about joining him. I never met victor to be honest but I heard so many good things about him. I was sitting tonight with Daniel and Henrik Sedin and they’re from the same hometown and know him quite well. They had nothing but good things to say about him as a person and a hockey player.
On Hedman’s reputation in Sweden: Victor has a great reputation. He’s from the same town as a lot of NHL hockey players. The Sedins (Daniel and Henrik) and Markus Naslund are three of them. I spoke to the three of them about him and hear only good things about him. I’ve barely seen him play. I saw the world junior championships a few games they played and noticed he was an extremely skilled player. I heard only good things about him as a person and I’m looking forward spending the next few years with him.
On creating a relationship with Hedman: You make a phone call. I’m sure I’m going to be calling him and talking to him the next few days after things settle down. You share your experiences you had when you were younger. I made mistakes when I was young and hopefully I learned from them and I can prevent him from making th same ones. It’s a tough league to play in he’s got a lot to learn. I’m excited to be a small part of getting him started here.
Advice he would give Hedman: First of all realize how lucky we all are to be in this league. It’s a great league to be part of. Come in with a smile on his face regardless of whether he had a tough day the night before. You got to realize your extremely lucky to be part of this league.
Is he a good fit for Tampa?: Tampa has a very talented hockey team. They have a talented group of guys. I do think I can help out with a lot of experience and be a big part of helping their D corps. I feel like I have my best years ahead of me and I’m extremely excited about my next little while here.
Is there a mental adjustment going to a bad team?: This team won a Stanley Cup not too far away and they have some guys who were part of that team. Last year they didn’t have a great year. Obviously, I’d like to be part of turning things around here, and I do feel like I bring a lot to the hockey club. But in fairness, we only played them once last year and I haven’t seen them play over the years tons. I do feel like I can be part of hopefully bringing this team on the right track again.
When did he realize he needed to leave the Canucks?: I felt maybe last year that, in this business when you have a year left or just over a year left, you realize you might be heading in this direction to unrestricted free agency and we had some discussions but in all honesty I never really felt a big interest from their side. I might be wrong. I think it was mutual. I felt I needed a change. I had a great 11 years I have no hard feelings. But I just felt I needed a change. I’m not sure exactly when that happened but it was a while back.
It’s going to be a big change but I’m excited about it. I’m curious how it’s going to be. I haven’t spent a lot of time down there and I know it’s going to be different. Positive thoughts and I’m looking forward to it.
What will he miss about Vancouver?: It’s a fantastic place to live. We raised two wonderful kids in Vancouver and they have a lot of friends and we have a lot of friends we met through our kids’ schools and stuff, and we’re going to miss that. But that’s part of life. Just because you move to a different city, you won’t keep your friends. I met a lot of people in Vancouver I know I’m going to be in contact with the rest of our lives.
How did GM Brian Lawton sell you on Tampa?: Brian spoke about there team and the city of Tampa and it’s a very talented hockey club, and I do feel like I can bring a lot to this hockey team with my experience. I’m 32 years old I feel like I have my best years ahead of me and to be able to help Victor Hedman out is an important part of my job. So there’s a lot of stuff I’m excited about.
Is Tampa Bay's ownership situation troublesome?:: No, I spoke to Brian and I felt like this was a good situation for me. I felt this was the team that wanted me and wanted me to be a big part of the organization and that’s all I needed to hear.
I do feel like I have my best years ahead of me and I’m going to push to get better and better every year. If I can help some young guys out with my experience, that’s great.