Kyle Quincey sat down with Ryan Boulding (Mile High Sports and Hockey on the Rocks) and me to talk about his recent signing with the Denver Cutthroats, a return to the Avalanche organization, and his role as a mentor, among many other things.
As the Denver Cutthroats' press conference announcing the Quincey signing and unveiling the new jerseys wound down, we got a chance to chat with the defenseman.
As requested, here's a summary of this recording:
- Denver is his second home and has been here all summer. He has no plans of leaving. Joining the Cutthroats was about being able to play while staying in Denver during the lockout and also to be part of the excitement of the Fish starting up.
- On being a mentor to younger guys on the team, he said it gives him a lot of pleasure to help the young guys. He hopes to pass on tidbits he's picked up over the years. He was fortunate enough to have mentors help him when he was a rookie, teaching him things both on and off the ice. He hopes to pass that along. It's the little details, he said, that will make a player go from the CHL to the AHL to the NHL, like working smart.
- He has had summer jobs coaching before and enjoys that. Helped out coaching an U18 traveling team out in Westminster recently. He's looking forward to more of that kind of community outreach. He recognized that the game has given him a lot, and he's thankful for it. He said that pro players owe it to the game and community to give back. One thing he and Greg Zanon did recently was randomly show up at a kids' practice, asking them, "Do you mind if we skate with you for a while?" (Can you imagine how excited those kids were?)
- Regarding the way things ended with the Avs, he said he apologized instantly for that. What came out in the article wasn't what he meant or felt. He said he loves Denver and is excited to be playing here again.
- One of the reasons he's with the Fish is head coach Derek Armstrong. Army helped Quincey when he was with the Kings to take a small opportunity and turn it into the best season of his career. Army was such a huge part of that, Quincey wanted to thank him by playing on the team. They started talking about it after lockout kept dragging on. At first it was a joke, saying, "Hey, you guys looking for someone?" But then he realized that players take it for granted that everyone is going to play as long as Adam Foote, but the truth of the matter is it just doesn't happen.
- His shoulder injury put things in perspective for him. If he has a chance to play hockey and help the community, "why wouldn't I do it?" Give back and do a good thing while the lockout is on. About his shoulder injury, he said that, with the invaluable help of the doctors and trainers he worked with via the Avs, that it's stronger than it's ever been. He said the injury gave him an admiration for the game and to not take it for granted. Every shift and every hit count.
- He has been—and will continue to—skate with other players in town: Scott Hannan, Marek Svatos, Milan Hejduk, JS Giguere, Paul Stastny, Greg Zanon, Jan Hejda, and David Jones. During the week, they hit the gym for a couple hours and then the ice for a couple more. Regardless, they're all hoping the lockout will end soon. Right now, the guys are just doing their things with family, etc, but if the lockout drags on, you can expect them to be taking or making more calls with European teams.
- Being back with the Avalanche organization doesn't feel awkward at all for him. He has zero hard feelings. He had three great years here, and the Avs gave him a chance to be an NHL defenseman, which he is so thankful for. The trade is what it was, and it was hard purely because of how much he loved Denver. The guys in the room were (and still are) his best friends. He said it's hard leaving those quality guys. It was also frustrating to leave while watching the team develop a roster that is going to be very good. He's personal friends with both McGinn and Mitchell, and he commented on how good they are.
- He also mentioned that there was a positive side of it going into Detroit, but leaving Colorado was tough because of the organization. He has so many good memories, and it's hard to leave something you're happy with at the drop of the hat. In the end, he has no negative feelings towards the organization.
- He realizes there will be some adjustments to be made to adapt to the CHL level, but right now, it's hard to picture what they will be because he's never played in the league. He's not afraid that someone will "goon him up" because he's going to be ready for that. "I'll keep my head on a swivel, keep my head up." The biggest challenge will be to learn along with the players on the team, learn how to be in the best spot for them so he can help the team out. He isn't playing with Lidstrom anymore, so he has to find how he fits in with the team and help them win.
- There will be pressure on him to perform, but the biggest pressure will come from himself. He wants to do well and win. If the team doesn't win, he realizes they (the media and fans) are probably going to highlight him, but at the end of the day, winning or losing isn't going to depend solely on him and his play. He's a d-man and isn't going to go out and score 100 goals. The team has guys who can score at will, and his job is getting them the puck and keeping it out of the defensive end. He says he is not going to try to do it all himself.
Because there was some conversation in the comments about this, I decided to go ahead and upload this clip from another interview today. This is about the reality that he's taking a spot from a younger, less-experienced player that might have otherwise made the team. Listen to the whole thing before you make a judgement. Don't forget that this is a business, and the extra time developing may be exactly what that displaced player needs.