NHL Quotes of the Week

“Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm,” sang Depeche Mode in the 1990 hit single “Enjoy The Silence.” Oh yeah? Obviously, you don’t hear a lot of Depeche Mode around NHL dressing rooms. It’s just the second month of the 2007-08 regular season, and already, players, coaches, and owners are proving unable to resist expressing their innermost thoughts. It’s a beautiful thing.

“Listen, I’m trying to stay away from criticizing as far as the calls, but (expletive) that. I just don’t get it. And it makes the coaching job that much harder, how you coach your players in playing when you get that (expletive) out there.” — Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella on the refereeing in Atlanta’s 4-3 OT win on November 19. (Also slapped with a $10,000 fine was assistant coach Joe Pesci.)

“I can’t sleep. I was up at 4:30 am this morning. I am in pain. I am angry. I want desperately for us to turn it around and win some games, as does everyone in our organization.” — Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis on his dismay about his club’s bottom-feeding record as of November 20. (For fast effective pain relief, fire Glen Hanlon. Side effects may include two straight wins.)

“Seems the league is more concerned about head shots. I mean [Mattias] Ohlund only gets four games for slashing Mikko [Koivu] in the leg, not the head? The injury could have been career-ending for Mikko just the same as if he got hit in the head.” — Minnesota Wild defenseman Nick Schultz on the latest suspension-worthy incident involving his club and the Vancouver Canucks. (Schultz might not know Gordie Howe’s line about why he wore an athletic cup but no helmet: “Well, you can always get someone to do your thinking for you.”)

“He’s like a freaking zombie in the morning. He doesn’t want to talk much in the mornings.” — Atlanta Thrashers goalie Johan Hedberg on the breakfast-table demeanor of rookie Swedish teammate and current housemate Tobias Enstrom, who logs 23 minutes a night on the blueline. (Let’s hope Enstrom never gets suspended for biting.)

“Obviously there’s just a time when you snap. [Jesse] Boulerice did. It’s bad, but I don’t feel sorry for [Ryan] Kesler. I did before, but hearing these comments and seeing him play on Saturday, he’s just a bad guy.” — Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard on his unqualified disdain for the highest-scoring Canucks agitator. (Boogaard then dressed up as the singer from Ratt and sang: “Round and round/What comes around goes around!”)

“They sat around for 11 days and heard how good they were. They had a beer here and beer there.” — Former Ottawa Senators GM John Muckler on his regrets about not taking his players out of the Canadian capital while awaiting their 2007 Stanley Cup final match-up with the eventual champion Anaheim Mighty Ducks. (Muckler, of course, prefers a nice Chateau Lafitte.)

“[Saku] Koivu does it every night. All the refs here should know that he’s going to come and touch the goalie at least once a night, or make it look like he got pushed in. It’s pretty obvious, and it’s every year, every season, every game. I don’t see how the refs cannot know players. They ref enough.” — Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres on the Montreal captain’s alleged propensity for goaltender interference. (Just how do you mix up Koivu with Ryan Smyth?)

“I used to bring a crock pot on the bus in junior and cook Kraft Dinner. I just ate a lot of noodles. It’s that simple.” — Former NHL goalie Jamie McLennan, playing this year in Japan, on the origin of his nickname, “Noodles.” (With the Nippon Paper Cranes, McLennan now goes by “Beef Yakisoba.”)

“I was crying a little bit. My eyes were a little bit wet. I want to say thank you to everybody: the fans, my former teammates, the whole organization.” — Newly acquired Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov on a Jumbotron video tribute for him before playing against his former teammates in Anaheim. (“A little bit”–right there, we see one major difference between Bryzgalov and Mark Messier.)

“You never want to see a teammate get hurt, but he’s out and I’m in.” — Dallas Stars prospect Nicklas Grossman on taking over the blueline spot of injured veteran Mattias Norstrom. (Grossman quickly pumped his fist when he thought reporters weren’t looking.)

“Vokie’s wife, Stumpy’s wife, my girlfriend, and sometimes Stumpy’s grandma–I eat everything from them. It’s good because you can spend time with them, watch Czech movies, do lots of things.” — Florida Panthers forward Rostislav Olesz on his appreciation for Czech women such as his girlfriend, Tomas Vokoun’s wife, and Josef Stumpel’s wife and grandmother. (However, he stays away from Dion Phaneuf’s grandmother.)

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