from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
What follows is a very lightly edited transcript of our conversation that evening, from beginning to end. So join us now for dinner, but without the calories and the restaurant background noise.
• I get the sense there’s much more to the leadership that’s being asked of you than having had an A stitched on your jersey. And you’re taking French lessons.
Yes. I take this with so much more pride than ever before. Little things used to bother me. The best thing for me was to spend last summer in Florida. I didn’t think or talk about hockey once. I just let it all go and I came back with an open mind and I think that’s something I’ve needed to do for a long time: be more open-minded to different, I guess, environments and situations.
I never grew up in a place like Montreal. It was tough for me at first to realize that if I had a bad shift or didn’t score a goal, it affected another person’s life. That’s just the reality of the way it is in Montreal.
And I’ve grown to love it. Even just this year, I’ve learned to love it more than ever. It was tough for me to understand really at first, but now that I’m more open-minded to everything, Katia and I can’t see ourselves being anywhere else. It’s crazy how much you can change in a year, but it’s not bull, it’s 100 per cent true.
As for the French, I’ve told my teacher she’ll have to be a little slower with me at this time of the year, my mind isn’t always there and I can be a little tired. I can read French because I understand Spanish, but the accents — they’re tough. And she’ll be telling me, “il est” or “elle est.” (laughs) What makes an object male or female?
• The other night in Tampa Bay, without an A on your road jersey, you went to discuss a call with an official at the timekeeper’s bench. Without the A, that’s not often done.
Relationships with the referees is probably one of the biggest parts about being a leader. I’ve talked to Berge and Mike about that early on and they said, “It’s really important because everything goes through you, on the ice. We can’t be out there, you have to have a good relationship with the refs.”