|Jason Arnott in his Washington Capitals debut. (C.Nichols/Caps News Network)|
Jason Arnott, acquired at the trade deadline to help spur the Washington Capitals as they head down the stretch, said some things from the locker room last night that were very interesting, considering it was his first game with his new team.
He addressed the topic of his linemates tonight: Brooks Laich and especially Alexander Semin. He talked about the Caps struggles on the power play. He talked about the challenges developing chemistry with his new teammates. And he talked about being responsible in the defensive end and in the neutral zone.
This locker room has perhaps grown a bit too comfortable with the status quo, and maybe GM George McPhee was looking for someone like Arnott -- a Stanley Cup winner and former team captain -- to mix things up a bit, to provide a little bit of gravitas. If that was an unstated goal, it paid off right from Arnott's first game.
Arnott, 36, is nearing the end of a long, distinguished career and his play isn't what it used to be. But perhaps his attitude will help this Washington Capitals team as much -- if not more than -- his play on the ice.
Here's a transcription of his session with the assembled media. You'll recognize the very good parts on your own.
Q: You had a lot of chances early on and cashed in on a big one late and almost again in OT.
A: Yeah, we found a way tonight. We had way too many turnovers. We allowed them to come in and if it wasn't for our goaltending it would have been a different story. But we still had chances in the other end as well, the puck just didn't go in.
Q: This is the first time you've had to chance teams in mid-season in a while, what was this experience like compared to before?
A: It's a little different. Obviously playing with new guys and getting to know how they're playing out there. Getting to know how I play, I thought we moved it around pretty well. The chemistry was there. You know, with Brooksy and playing with Semin, it's very skilled guys that can do a lot of damage in the offensive zone, so I think if we take care of our own zone and the neutral zone a lot better we wouldn't have been in that situation.
Q: You played against the Caps several times this year. it's no secret they've been struggling on offense and the power play. Where can you chip in?
A: I think just working on it and going over the video, and then it just comes down to execution. I mean, just making solid passes, getting in the zone and setting it up and shooting pucks. I think there's so much talent on this team that they move it around a lot instead of just pounding it at the net. You know, a lot of the times that's the way it goes in. If we concentrate on the net a little bit more and talk about it and then execute it we should be alright.
Q: How about the chemistry with guys you haven't had a chance to practice with?
A: I thought it was pretty good. It's tough with new guys, you always want to try and read off of them and see what they do. You know, the talent that Semin has is ridiculous out there with the puck -- just phenomenal plays. And Brooksie just works hard and has great hands. So if we can just combine each other and read off of each other, hopefully we'll be successful.
Q: Does it take any extra adjustment to play with a guy like Semin who's known to freelance?
A: A little bit. I think for the most part it's talking to him as much as possible. I don't think too many guys talk to him and get him into the play and try and see what he's going to do and what you're going to do and little things like that. So if I can do that and it helps out our line that's what I've got to do.
Q: Did it install confidence in you that your new coach put you out there first in overtime?
A: Yeah. It was great, with our firepower, to go out there first against them. It showed a lot of confidence in us and we had a chance to score, so it was good.