General manager George McPhee held court in the press box Tuesday night to address a variety of topics. Here’s a transcript of what he had to say:
On Cameron Schilling
McPhee: “He feels like a good solid pro. A real mature kid, mature player. Probably [a] shutdown D, but he’s got good wheels. He gaps up quick, he retrieves pucks quick, gets to people quick. He’s got some stiffness to him; he plays with some bite.”
Compare him to anyone?
“Not really. I don’t think that would be fair. He’s a terrific kid. I really enjoyed spending time with him and he will report to Hershey tomorrow and get working”
On target date for Nicklas Backstrom
“I don’t. He did pass his test today with flying colors, which is really good news. He performed better on this than he did on the baseline. That’s real good news for us. We’ll see where it goes from here, but it looks like the worst is behind for Nicky.”
“Just making sure he’s in good shape and he’s comfortable. It’s going to be his decision.
“He took the baseline test.”
Like to see him get into regular-season games?
“I would’ve liked him in the lineup 50 games ago. Obviously he’s a terrific player, but it’s got to be his decision. We’re not going to put any pressure on him to play. He’s got to be comfortable. We’re not going to put this kid at risk by telling him we need him to play, etc. He’s a grown-up and he knows how he feels, and he’ll make the decision as to whether he plays or not.”
Worried Backstrom’s injury might keep him off ice for far longer than this?
“You just never know with these things. I didn’t know whether he’d even be ready for next year. You don’t know when these things happen whether it’s going to be a day, a month, a year, two years. You don’t know. We’re just really relieved today that he feels great and he’s out practicing again. He’s a fabulous player that we need and this league needs. These are the guys you want to watch, the real difference-makers.”
Went to Sweden and seemed to feel better?
“Yeah. Because you never know what’s going to turn for a player. He went home during the All-Star break and started feeling better and then he came back and sort of stagnated and hit a threshold that he couldn’t get beyond so we sent him home again and he started feeling better and so maybe that’s got to be part of the protocol now for guys starting to stall in his progress – send him home home.”
On Philipp Grubauer
“The only other thing I should mention today is our young goaltender Grubauer had surgery on his wrist and is probably out the rest of the season. He had a torn tendon in the wrist and the doctor went in to explore and see how serious it was. And it was serious enough that they had to pin it down.”
Ready for development camp in July?
“Yeah, we’re hoping that he’ll be ready for that.”
Disappointing given his season?
“We really liked him. Obviously, we liked him enough to draft him and then after Dave Prior got to work with him for a little bit we said ‘Boy, this guy’s even better than I thought.’ So we’re certainly happy that he’s turning out to be as good as he is. And he’s played a lot of hockey this year so he should be even better next year.”
On Evgeny Kuznetsov situation
“There’s really nothing going on there at this point.”