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Martin Biron on XM Radio

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Marty Biron spoke with XM’s NHL Live show today.  The interview can be heard on the player below.

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Note: The transcript below is another interview, from Biron’s NHL press conference call earlier today.



Q.    I wanted to ask you just about the team in general. You know, when you have so many new people that kind of came in and you’re merging them with veterans that were already there, and a good collection of young players, you never quite know what the chemistry was going to be. Obviously it’s been very good. Were you curious about that yourself, and can you talk about how this team has come together really quickly?

MARTIN BIRON: I was a little curious this summer because everybody was talking how much better all the additions we have done. And I kept telling everybody, Well, on paper it looks good, but you got put it on the ice, too. But when you look back at it, I mean, a few of the guys got brought in last year at the trade deadline so they got the feel of the organization, the team, the other players. Then they went and brought some very good character people, three captains, with Jason Smith, Kimmo, and Danny Briere.

And when you look at it too, they brought guys that had ties in the locker room, or had someone—Lupul who played with Jason Smith in Edmonton was good friend of Scottie Upshall. And then you bring Hartnell and Timonen that knew Scottie here and a few other guys in the locker room, and Danny, who was my roommate and I played with, you know for a few years. Simon was here, I knew a few other guys. So, I mean, they weren’t feeling like they were in a different place. They knew a few guys and felt right a home from the beginning, which worked out pretty good.

Q.    Obviously Holmgren was sold pretty quickly on you as the guy he wanted to carry the load last year. What about vice versa? Why were you so sold on the Flyers, because when you came there they were considered one the worst teams in the league. Did you have faith that they were going to be able to turn it around quickly?

MARTIN BIRON: Talking with Homer last year when I was negotiating for my extension, and I had a few talks with Don Luce, which is a guy that I had a lot of respect for being in Buffalo for so long. Donny was there on stage when I got drafted by the Sabres. Helped me throughout my whole career before coming there to Philadelphia.

They hinted that this organization wasn’t going to just sit back and just wait to rebuild. They were going to go strong and they had positioned themselves to be able to go to the free agent market and make some trades, and they know exactly what they were going looking for.

So for me it fitted right in. And also the fact that they had given me the chance to come in here and play for about a month before—before the off-season, you know, get excited about the whole opportunity. So for me I wanted to give something back to them, and it worked out good.

Q.    A lot of people doubted your ability to be a No. 1 goalie for a playoff-caliber team because you had never really had that opportunity before. Do you feel vindicated a little bit by the start you’ve had?

MARTIN BIRON: I actually think that a lot of those talks over the last few years, you know, and all through the last season and a half when my name gets thrown around and all the rumors and the trade rumors and all of that, were something that gives you a little bit more juice at times to go out and work and to do the things that you know are going to make you successful.

Now the season has started, training camp started, and it’s all about the team and all about going the same direction, everybody.  But when you’re in the off-season and working out and getting yourself ready, you’re definitely thinking, I’m doing this because I got something out there that I want to achieve. I want to get the team to the playoffs and I want to be successful.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had that chance to say I was going to be doing that, even before the lockout, so I was definitely looking forward to this. It was a little bit in the back of my mind, yeah.

Q.    I wanted to know on July 1st if there is any record of phone calls between you and Danny Briere?

MARTIN BIRON: No. There was no record of any phone calls. There was record of phone calls between me and Simon for a little bit because we were kind of wondering what was going to happen. But I know that Danny—it’s kind of funny, because we worked out together for a little while in June there, and when he left to go out to California, I mean I was just calling him to see if he had seen like Chris Drury over there because we were all good buddies. His voicemail said, I will not be answering my phone for the next few weeks, so I stopped calling him because I knew that it was at a loss. I waited for him to give me a call, which took a couple days, and we were both really excited about that opportunity. 

Q.    And the amazing start you guys have had, obviously your play has been a big part of that, and the addition of Danny. I’m wondering if you might talk about Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. It’s a tough year for them those young guys last year, seems like they’re really coming into this year and tying the next step?

MARTIN BIRON: Yeah, they stepped it up. One year like last year can go either way. You can take it and it can could destroy you or can take it and really come out strong. I think they’ve taken it the positive way. They worked extremely hard this summer. They showed up to camp, and they showed all the through camp that they were ready and they were more mature and really to take a bigger role.

This team and the young guys remind me a lot of a few years back in Buffalo, how the guys were coming up from the Rochester Americans that were playing big roles, big minutes on a team that wasn’t supposed to go anywhere, and now you see those guys getting recognition for it.

So I’m hoping that the guys like Carts and Richy can definitely keep working that way, because we’re asking a lot out of everybody. But they’re definitely two guys that need to be at the top of their game because they’re definitely—down the center for us has got to be very important.

Q.    This kind of start, might get people really excited there in Philly. Hopefully it does. What are the realistic expectations for this team given they were 30th last year. A lot of additions, a different team. What do you guys hope to accomplish?

MARTIN BIRON: When you look at it, everybody focused on the biggest decrease in points last year in league history from one year to another, and to get us back in the playoff picture we’re going to have to have about a 40-plus point increase this year, which would be one the biggest in the league.

So I think that the expectations are really high, because whenever you start a season you’re look at the playoff picture. For us, we’re looking at our division, a very tough division with Pittsburgh, I mean, both teams in New York and the Devils. So that’s our focus right now: To be at the top of our division. Then we’ll see where that takes us in the conference and for the rest of the year.

Q.    Even though Danny had an outstanding season last year and has sort of risen up to be one the league’s premium players, I don’t think the league or that fans around the league know quite how good he is. As a guy that knows him personally and has seen him as a goalie in practice, can you address why he’s so successful?

MARTIN BIRON: Well, I mean, I’ve played against Danny from the time I was 16. We played in Midgets against one another and all through our junior years and American League and NHL. If you were to ask me three or four years who was the most dangerous player in the NHL, I mean, Mario was in the league, there was a lot of good players, I would have said Danny Briere because he was one of the guys I could never stop. He would always score on me at every game we played against one another. He would get two or three some nights. He was just that kind of player. He’s got a flare for the net. He’s got a flare for those big time goals. He’s very competitive in practice, on the ice during games, in the hotel rooms when we play cards. I keep telling everybody that and he gets mad at me, but that’s his nature. From the time he was 15 and 16 everybody kept saying, He’ll never make it to juniors because he’s not big enough. He’ll never make in it pro because he’s not big enough. But he always did it, which has definitely shown his character and how he’s responded. Now he’s the player that he is and everybody sees that.

Q.    I wanted to ask you about Stevens behind the bench. Not a lot is known around the league about him. Can you talk about his style and how to works for you guys?

MARTIN BIRON: Well, last year when I came in it was very simple as it could be. You know, we had a team that our confidence was really hurting, and so we kept the game plan really easy. It was get the puck moving up and get it in deep and let’s go to work. This year he’s got a very different approach to the game. You know, it’s still the same. We have a hard-working team. We have to out-work people. But he’s really focused on the veterans and the guys that are willing to help this team be successful.

He demands a lot from everybody, but at the same time he’s a very rewarding coach. Just for example, we played Carolina the other day. After the second period we were in a position where we were still in the game, and he really asked the guys to step it up for twenty minutes.

After the game he was really excited for everybody and everybody was excited for him. He’s just been a great influence in the locker room. And I don’t know, everybody seems to have bought into his system and his approach and he’s been good.

Q.    Couple of things. When another goalie is playing all the games as it was happening in Buffalo, you know you’re a starting goalie, how tough is it not to get down on the whole situation and say, This shouldn’t be. I played long enough. Why am I hardly playing? And I want to ask you about your new car?

MARTIN BIRON: Well, I will start with the first one. When you’re not playing a lot of time, I mean, I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of guy, and I come to the rink and want to work and have fun. But there’s days when it’s extremely hard. I credit the guys that I’ve played with the last two years to help me keep going to include me into a lot of the team’s decision, activity, success.

Lucky for me I got to play some very big games. The first year out of the lockout Ryan got hurt and I played 14 or 15 straight there at one point. Last year I got to play a little bit more, especially early in the season. Have to say this it was hard, but it was so rewarding when you get some results and when you get to help out because you worked so hard for it.

And the new car, well, it’s definitely something fun to drive around. You know, it’s just I always wanted something like that. I mean, it’s a very nice piece that my wife found with her dad in Buffalo this summer, so we got it all ready to go. On the nice days here in Philadelphia where the sky is blue and it’s just not too much snow I take it out for a spin. Definitely a lot of fun.

Q.    Two things: Have you made any changes to your game? Is there anything you’ve changed in your game, or is it just getting chance to play a little more regularly? And secondly, are you still following the Sabres pretty closely?

MARTIN BIRON: I don’t know that I’ve made a lot of drastic changes to my game. I think that the one difference is that the last time I got to play a lot of games was even before the lockout, I mean, as a regular playing consistently on an everyday basis.

So I was younger and I was maybe not as matured into the game and understanding what it takes to keep your body healthy and to keep your head, you know, in the right direction. So I don’t know, maybe all these experiences: Going through a lockout and having a couple of years of trying to battle for ice time here and there I changed a little bit of your perspective and approach.

And in all it changed little things in your game, but I still try to incorporate all the aspects that have always helped me through the years. You know, stay athletic, but at the same time you don’t want a puck to beat you and you don’t want to beat yourself out in the net. So I’ve looked at a lot of goalies and how they were successful and I’ve worked with a lot of the them, so always trying to change little things here and there in the game but nothing in particular.

Yeah, I still follow the Sabres. My wife is from Buffalo and all of her family is still back there, so they go to games here and there and I talk to some of the guys in the locker room that I keep in touch with.

Yeah, it’s definitely not something that you just walk away from and never look back at. I think it’s something that you always have in the back of your mind and kind of see what they’re doing.

Q.    Because you’re quite talkative on the ice, I’m wondering what kind of adjustment that was to your D who didn’t know you as well maybe?

MARTIN BIRON: Actually, they talk more than I do out there. Most of the time I just sit quietly and let them do their job. The addition of those guys has been great with Smitty and then Kimmo there. They make a really solid pair. They’re really calm out there. A guy that’s played extremely well for us, you know, a lot of the time was kind of under the radar and under the gun the last few years is Derian Hatcher. We saw it in a game-winning goal against Carolina, but he’s seems to have found a good spot in his game. He’s played really well, solid. For me when I see everybody out back there just doing a great job like that, I most of the time just stay quiet and let them figure it out, and they have.

Q.    How is your family adjusted to life in Philadelphia? I know you were there last year, but you were in Buffalo for a long time.

MARTIN BIRON: It’s been really good. We’ve all been trying to adjust and trying to learn more about the city and the area. It’s been great. The kids have been enjoying their time. My little guy was, you know, right until the end he watched the Philly’s and wanted them to go good on TV, and now it’s the Flyers and the Eagles. It’s everything about Philly.

It’s a lot of fun to see him growing up like this, and now we’re expecting a third one for April. We’ve all been blessed and it’s been great, so hopefully we’ll just have more and more good times and it’ll be fun.

Q.    Two quick ones. You were here for a little bit at the end of year last year. Compare the mood of the team last year to the mood of the team this year in the early start. And also want to ask you about your mask. You got some kind of cartoon character on there.

MARTIN BIRON: The mood last year when I got in was one that there was hope. We all looking down the road and seeing what the organization was and was going in the direction it was taken. So there was a lot of hope. So everybody was working really hard, but like I said, the confidence was a little fragile at times in games.

But we all know that if we keep working that way that down the road, maybe a year later, things will payoff. When we showed up at camp this year that hope kind of changed into a goal-oriented team. It wasn’t as much as we were hoping for good results as we made that our focus and our goal. So the attitude definitely changed a little bit, but it was positive from the time I was here last year, which was great.

I didn’t get that feeling of, you know, earlier in the year as the guys were saying that, you know, a lot of time it was tough playing games and coming to the rink. So I guess I got in right at the right time.

And my mask was kind of a funny idea. We had a few ideas thrown together with the artist. We talked about it. My one brother-in-law always made fun of my middle name, which is Gaston. It’s my godfather’s name, but he always made fun of it. So he said, we should come up with The Great Gaston.

We kind of talked about it with the artist and he came up a lumberjack that’s totally the opposite me. He’s a big bearded guy with the big muscles and looks terrifying, where I’m totally the opposite of that.

We put this idea together and everybody seems to be liking it, so we’re really excited about that. Hopefully we can keep that same idea going through a bunch of the masks that will get done. Who knows, maybe we’ll come up with something.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: goalies, martin+biron, media, philadelphia+flyers


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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