Dave Nonis stopped by TSN 1050 a few minutes ago.
Here is the rundown of the topics discussed:
How good is this team?
“I think we have a quality team, but we still haven’t played to our potential. We have at times, but in terms of consistency, we haven’t seen it. The last little stretch I think we have played our best hockey of the year. Our game in Washington was the best road game of the year. I would like to to see us get healthy and the lines where they want them, and then evaluate where we are. There is a lot of room for improvement with this group. There is no question in my mind that we are a better team than how we’ve played. We have to look at it as an opportunity.”
Tim Gleason’s play:
“He’s been pretty much exactly what we expected and hoped he would be. He eats up minutes, is good on PK, and very dedicated; see what he did in the Boston game, which is not something players generally want to do, getting in front of pucks at opportune times to save the win. He’s gonna get more comfortable and he’ll probably have more of an impact as we go along. We’re not going see a lot of points, but his impact is going to be felt when we are killing penalties, trying to preserve a lead, and keep people away from our net.”
Does this team have an identity?
“I think we’re still forming it because we don’t have our group together. We haven’t had our group together for one game this year. I think the coaches have done a good job trying to find a different combinations and find chemistry. We haven’t had the group we would like playing together. Once we do, hopefully our identity is a hard working one. We have a lot of skill but our skill players have to perform, as they have recently. You want to be competitive with every team in the league, to get our compete level up when we go into a place like Boston, and we have to be able to compete on a night in, night out basis. Elite teams can do that, and we have to raise our level of play if we want to be one of those teams.”
Dave Bolland’s status:
“I’d like him back tomorrow. In terms of a timeline, he has started skating. It’s really been slow because it’s a significant injury. He just got his foot into the boot, and I think if you watch him you think he’s not going to play for a long time. But I think that could come along very quickly. That’s what we are hoping for. Now that he has been able to put his foot in the skate, the progress is going to pick up. It’s not for a lack of effort, he’s doing what he can to do back in the lineup and we miss him.”
David Clarkson’s play:
“He’s got to try to be himself and not try to be someone else. When David has had some good games, and recently he’s played very well for us, he does what we want him to do – finishing checks, taking pucks to net, shooting the puck, being difficult to play against. When he plays that style of game, he’s a very effective player and that’s all we want him to do.”
Nazem Kadri’s play:
“Naz is having a decent year. It’s not like he isn’t putting up points. Last year he was playing in the 2nd or 3rd hole for us for most of season, by doing that he was playing against other team’s 2nd or 3rd lines primarily. This year, because of injury, we put Naz in a situation that was difficult for him, we made him our number 1 center and expected him to perform against top guys in the League. He’s still a young guy who is developing, and there is no denying the skill set or ability. He didn’t perform as well as he would’ve liked in certain situations. But we’re not disappointed with him, he’s a very skilled player and we’re going need him to perform down the stretch if we’re getting a playoff spot.”
On the Kadri trade rumours:
“His name is brought up quite a bit, as is Gardiner, Rielly. Teams always call about good young players. That’s what teams are looking for. There’s lots of interest in Nazem Kadri.
We would be willing to trade him, but there’s a big difference between willing and trying to. He’s no different than anyone else on the team. If there was a deal for JVR that made our team better, we would do it. I’m not trying to move him, we’re not with unhappy with him. I’d expect the (TSN) panel is wrong. We wouldn’t say we would “never trade him,” but we’re not anywhere near trading him at this point.”
Can this goaltending situation last with both goalies sticking around?
“Sure. They’re both still young guys. This could change quickly. James has played good hockey but Bernier has carried the ball more often. It doesn’t diminish James as a goaltender.
We would trade Reimer if there was a deal there that made us better. I can definitely see him back with Bernier next year. Having both goalies perform has given us a chance this year. I think that’s the one thing we can’t look past. Both goalies have gotten us points. We need that to have success.”
“It’ll depend on where we are as an organization (come the deadline), but we’re still going to look long term. I don’t see a situation where we trade young players for rentals. Would we give up a prospect or late round pick to add a piece? Potentially. Is our first round pick in play for a rental? Definitely not.
We still have to continue to add pieces to organization and think long term. I want to add more young players between now and the draft. Giving away first round picks or younger players for older ones isn’t good for business.”