Quick Note: For the sake of clarity and fluency, I have omitted extraneous uses of the phrases “and,” “you know,” “but,” and “um.”
Steve Duemig: Vice President and General Manager of your Tampa Bay Lightning, Steve Yzerman. Good afternoon Steve. How are you doing?
Steve Yzerman: I’m doing fine Steve. How about yourself?
Duemig: Well, I’ve been better. [chuckles]
Yzerman: Great to have you back on the air, that’s for sure.
Duemig: Yeah, well it’s good to be back, certainly. I missed the end of the Lightning season, but certainly – health reasons looked into that. Let’s get into some questions, Steve. You looked on the outside after a nice playoff run. Were the injuries somewhat to blame? Or you don’t want to look for excuses?
Yzerman: Well they didn’t make it any easier, that’s for sure. [Duemig laughs] But like every team – I was going to say every team, but the majority of teams at some point in the season get hit by the injury bug. You find a way over the course of the season to scrape points out of games, to pick up a point here and there that can make the difference of making it [into the playoffs] or not.
Really when we were healthy early in the season, I think just off the top of my head, we lost Stammer [Steven Stamkos] around Game 18. Other than that, we had the majority of our team. We had a couple of stretches where we lost a lot of games.
To answer your question, the injuries didn’t help but no – I think the biggest reason, we just – we had trouble. We gave up too many quality [scoring] chances as a team. Our play, defensively as a team we weren’t good enough. I think that’s the reason we fell behind the eight-ball and we weren’t able – despite a great push at the end of the season, we weren’t able to get in.
Duemig: Will that be a priority, since you brought it up, at the [NHL entry] draft? Or trade, as far as defensively is concerned?
Yzerman: Yeah again, when I say as a team we didn’t play. Our goaltending, Vasy [Andrei Vasilevskiy] – I’m really pleased with the season he had. But for a while, our starting goaltending between Ben [Bishop] and Vasy for a while was around 0.910 [save percentage]. Starting goaltenders need to be 0.920 …
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