Carl Hagelin, Rick Nash and Derek Stepan met with the media on Tuesday to discuss their time at the Olympics.
Stepan said (Rangers)
- What shape are you in, “I was able to skate quite a bit, I skated almost every morning. Off-days…it was just me and one or two other guys. You get a good skate and I knew that when the slotted time for their practice was done that I did a little work for myself too.”
Hagelin said (Rangers)
- On the Olympics, “just being part of such a great team and tournament will give me confidence moving forward. Hockey is so much about experience when you have been through something it will help you down the road. I had a lot of fun and got to play with some of the best players in the world. Winning the silver medal was pretty good too.”
Nash said (Rangers)
- On having a different role, “they prepared us for that in 2010. One of the big things going into the tournament was guys accepting roles that they don’t have with their club teams and everyone bought into the game plan.”
- Did you march into Bylsma’s office and demand a trade (joking), “no….no. Like I said, it’s a great experience that I will be able to take with me for a long time and at the same it’s something that you learn from and that makes you a better player.
- On the tournament, “as a group you have to find a way to be a team as soon as possible and in my opinion the team that does it the fastest is going to have a good chance. You look at the four teams in the semi-finals and those are four really good hockey teams. You just need to find a way to mold as a group and accept roles as players.”
- Did you get to go to any other hockey games, “I tried…I didn’t go to too many games outside the USA games. I think the 9PM games…the afternoon game was something that you could kill time with so I did happen to pop in for a couple of them but it wasn’t like I stayed for the whole thing or anything. I tried to do some other events.”
- On the big ice, “I think…I personally like the small ice better. The big ice is a much different game, it’s a slower game at times. It’s kind of a chess match at times. I played on it in college and I played on it during the lockout. I have played both but I think I will lean towards a smaller rink right now.
- On the big ice, “I prefer the small ice to be honest. It’s easier to get to the net. Here you have to make a decision right away with the puck and I like that better. There you skate around with the puck for a little bit and it’s tougher to get to the net and tougher to create chances.”
- On that big hit he took, “everything is fine. It was a nasty hit but I was lucky.”
- On the off-ice experience, “you come in and don’t expect much as far as the facilities and food and everything was way better than I expected. All of the guys on the Swedish team were good guys and we had good team spirit and that is what I liked being part of…that we came together so quick.”
- Did you go to other events, “yea, I went up to the mountains to watch Sweden win gold in cross country skiing which may not be a big deal here but back home it’s a pretty big sport. We were there supporting our fellow countrymen and it was pretty neat to see them win gold.”
- On the food, “It was a big cafeteria. Italian food, Asian food and they even had a McDonalds in there so I mixed in a big mac once in a while.”
- Is it strange to make that change, “it’s different but it wasn’t….you know it was a defense first role that can easily be played here too. It’s worrying about your own end first, the biggest difference would just be minutes played.”
- On Mike Babcock and those coaches, “I have had Babs before and I had Hitch, he was part of it. They set a good plan and each game we got better. We felt in control of the games and the coaches were intense and right to the point and that is how you have to be in a short tournament.”
- On Yzerman stepping down, “I don’t know. I don’t think I have had time to digest that. We got home yesterday morning and in here today so it’s been more celebration than worrying about anything like that.”
- Do you want the Cup now after winning gold or are they separate, “I want the cup too but it’s totally different playing for your country and playing for your club team. That is next on the list and it has been there for a long time.”
- On the Gold Medal vs the Cup, “they are both difficult. The Olympics only come around every four years but you only need to win six games to win it. It’s so different, I don’t think you can justify which one being tougher.”
- On 2018, “Whenever I look at the Olympics I always think it’s the best athletes in that sport so I think there is an argument that everyone likes to see the amateurs but I like the Olympics.”
- On the World Cup of Hockey, “Anything that can grow the sport. When that happens, I think what the 2010 finals did after the lockout and the USA having a strong tournament again. Any time you can have hockey on the world stage it’s great.”
- On 2010 vs 2014, “2010 was more of a relief. We downplayed the pressure pretty good but there was a lot of pressure for us to win gold. This time was more of an enjoyment. It was probably the most hostile environment for a Canadaian player, to go into Russia with that rivalry and take gold it’s pretty special.”