What are your general impressions so far?

I think to have the record (we have), it’s kind of difficult to be unhappy with that. In a 70-game season you’re going to have ups and downs.

What is it going to take for this team to contend?

To be a championship team, you have to find ways to win games that maybe you really don’t deserve to win. You have to find a way.

Give us your impression of the recently completed trade period.

There was one trade that I would have liked to see happen if it could have come about, and we made a very good offer. But, you never know if you bring in another player from another team, what the chemistry is going to be. Sometimes, for three years, you regret what you did.

Talk about your coaching staff.

They’re the first coaches that have said to me, ‘You know, it’s our job to continue to develop our players and make them better.’ (The coaches) are taking the responsibility to improve our players, and that’s the way it should be.

Grade your goaltending for us.

I’ll take Delmas first. We’re very, very satisfied with him. For a 16-year-old kid, we’ve put him in a lot of difficult positions, on the road against good teams.

I’d say that our expectations for Bernier were so high that it’s hard to know what scale to use. I’d give him an ‘A-.’ I think there’s room for him to be better because of the abilities that he has and to steal a couple of games for us.

Your thoughts on the defensemen as a unit.

Our young kids, I don’t think that there’s anyone in the league with the quality of young defensemen like we have. I mean no one has three 17-year-old defensemen like we have. The ice time they’re getting now, I believe we have a great chance to go a long way.

You’ve been around this league for a long time now …

14 years

… and you’ve seen what happens when teams build up to make a run and fall back to the bottom. Is there a point where you almost have to expect this team to follow suit and fall back, at least a little bit?

I don’t think it makes any sense, because there’s never a guarantee that you’re going to win. To put everything into one season and then you have three seasons in the dumper, that to me makes absolutely no sense.

Do you think it’s fair for fans to come or not based on the on-ice product?

I see no reason why we can’t continue what we’re doing over here. We’re going to have a competitive team here, and I think the fans like what they’re seeing. We’re going to be very cognizant of what the fans want to see, the players they want here.

This is a contract year for all three coaches. Can we expect them all back?

We want to bring everyone back, we’re happy with what they’ve done, and I think stability is key in any organization. I don’t anticipate any problems.

The rumors are out there that the Pirates may vacate Portland in the future. Would there be a possibility of another team from within the league occupying that space?

I don’t think we’d have another Q team occupying that city, it’s within our territorial rights, and I don’t think that it would be a good thing.

Would there ever be a possibility of this team moving to that city?

The only way I see something like (us moving there) is if we fill up this place all the time and we don’t have enough seats here, which would be a wonderful thing. Right now, my goal is to look at what we have here, and to grow and build on this product in this city.


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