Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 11/07/07 at 07:09 PM ET
Scott Stevens is another player being inducted into the HHOF on November 12th. From the NHL:
During his 22 years, Scott played in 1,635 regular season games, fifth most in the league’s history, scored 196 goals and added 721 assists for 980 points. Won Stanley Cups in 1995, 2000, and 2003 with the Devils, and was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP in 2000. He also appeared in 13 NHL All-Star games.
Today he participated in a press conference with the media, and the transcript is below, as is a video compilation of his career highlights.
Q. When you found out you were going in, I’m sure it was a big thrill, but can you talk about all of the talent that you’re going in with? This is quite a special class.
SCOTT STEVENS: Yeah, it’s definitely an honor and privilege to go in with these great players that I’ve played against and played with off and on through my career. They are all great people and great players, and like I said, it’s a great quality of people and it’s definitely a special induction.
Q. Can you talk about your battles with Mark Messier?
SCOTT STEVENS: Absolutely. I had to try to keep him off the scoring board many nights when he was with the Rangers, and that was my job and it was a tough task. He’s one heck of a hockey player, all-around hockey player, could pretty much do anything, play any situation.
Q. When you play 22 years, an incredible length of time what’s the adjustment like when you don’t have that routine, game day, off day, travel days?
SCOTT STEVENS: I tell you, it’s pretty nice. It’s a pretty rigorous schedule you are on, and it’s great to have some spare time and to be around the house and do all of the functions of the kids, school, after-school sports and things like that. Very busy doing those types of things.
Q. It’s a long time ago now when you were with Washington and then St. Louis signed you, but in many ways, free agency has not changed much. Do you look back at that and say, wow, really there isn’t a lot of teams now that go after players that are group twos; it’s a big story if it still does happen.
SCOTT STEVENS: Yeah, just not that often. I was a little surprised when it happened. But you know, it was a great year in St. Louis after spending eight great years in Washington. But, you know, everything happens for a reason and after St. Louis I was off to New Jersey where a lot of good things happened.
Q. I wonder, who is the best Swedish player you’ve played with?
SCOTT STEVENS: The best Swedish player I’ve played with, geez, there’s so many good ones—Bengt Gustafsson was a great one. I’m trying to think of who else. I’d have to say Bengt would be the best one that I played with.
Q. And the best you’ve played against?
SCOTT STEVENS: I’d have to say Forsberg. You know, he was a heck of a player. I know he’s had some injury troubles now, but I believe he is a pretty special player.
Q. And the best hit you got, most memorable hit?
SCOTT STEVENS: Oh, gosh, you know, most people remember the earlier ones that I think—I mean, the later ones. Earlier in my career, I had some great hits, in the playoffs I hit Pat Flatley with the Islanders, I hit him really well and he came back to score a goal and I gave him credit. I guess Kozlov with Detroit.
Q. As a follow-up to that question, you’ve made a lot of big hits, like the Lindros one and other ones that you mentioned, is there ever one that you regretted; did you ever feel sorry for the guy on the receiving end?
SCOTT STEVENS: Always, I guess. To an extent I don’t want to see anyone hurt. But that’s the game and that’s the beauty of the game. That’s what’s so intriguing and the reason I played such a physical game, and I think that’s one reason why we love this game is there’s physical contact and scoring and fighting, that’s what the whole game was about. I knew that was my game from when I was very small. I was a physical player and getting contact and pretty much played that way from day one in the National Hockey League. Everyone knew that was a big part of my game, the physical part, the hitting.
Q. The NHL these days doesn’t seem to be quite as physical as it was prior to the lockout. Do you see the game changing, people like you able to lay big hits?
SCOTT STEVENS: You know, it’s funny, sometimes I just don’t see the contact in games, and sometimes I see real good, hard clean hits that are called penalties, which I wonder. I just hope we are not making a great game too pretty. Before, that’s why I was proud to play the game; it’s the most physical sport and most dangerous sport, and that’s what our game is about and that’s why I love the game so much, and I think that’s what the people love so much about this game.
Q. I wanted to be able to say in my story where you are living and whether you have any desire to get back into the m NHL in any capacity.
SCOTT STEVENS: I’m living in New Jersey. We are going to make our home here. We are renovating a farmhouse.
I guess I’m always intrigued by the NHL and I like—I’m working with some high school kids and I’m a little busy right now with a lot going on renovating this house. And I have two kids in high school which keep me going, but I’m definitely going to try to keep my foot in the door and leave my options open.
Q. I was wondering if you could talk a little about how your career developed from being a high scorer in the early days to being a shutdown defenseman later on with New Jersey.
SCOTT STEVENS: Well, I guess when I broke in in ‘82, I wanted to play really well defensively with the Washington Capitals. And that was my main goal and from there I wanted to develop into an all-around defenseman and be able to play at both ends and tried to establish myself in that way.
I guess I had some big offensive years, you know, in New Jersey, and I mean, Jacques came in and I think when he came in, I probably had my best year there but I think Jacques started putting people in different roles from what we might have had in previous years. He wanted me to be a shut down defenseman.
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