When the Predators met the media this morning, the popular topic was yesterday’s trade of Martin Erat. Here is some reaction from Shea Weber, Mike Fisher, Pekka Rinne and Chris Mason as they talked about the trade for the first time…
Was Erat’s trade request a surprise to you?
No, that’s his personal choice. Obviously we’re moving on without him.
As one of the alternate captains, how does his departure affect the team?
He’s definitely a guy we’re going to miss, but we’ve got guys in here that are going to need to step up and I think that’s the case all the time. We’ve had injuries and need guys to step up. It’s even more important right now.
His trade request, was it something you guys knew about before yesterday?
Your agent mentioned last summer that you don’t necessarily want to be around here for a rebuilding situation. With Marty going does that qualify as more of a rebuilding situation?
No. We’re in the playoff race and we’re in it until the end. I think there are other teams that are right there that are trading guys as well and they’re still winning. I don’t think that’s the case at all.
Does it get harder to get in the playoffs now?
Nope. I don’t think so. It just makes it a bigger opportunity for guys to step up and play bigger roles. As a young guy, I guess that’s all you could ask for.
What’s it like for Erat not to be here anymore?
I don’t think it’s any different. Obviously if you don’t see a guy right away it’s not going to kick in, but maybe further on down the road. It’s not like he died or anything. He’s still going to be around the league so we’re going to see a lot of him.
Were you taken by surprise by Marty’s request to get a trade? Did you have an inkling that it could be in the works?
I may or may not have heard, but it’s a little bit surprising that he wanted out. Sometimes guys need fresh starts. He’s been here a long time and been a great player for this team for a long time. He’s a good teammate. I enjoyed playing with him. I guess I’ll take some of the blame. I’ve got my stall right next to him and was his linemate. [Laughs] Maybe it was me.
How does losing a top-six guy in the playoff chase impact the team?
Right away, it’s no secret – it’s not going to help us this year for sure. You have to plan for the future. Judging by what people are saying, we got a real good player that is going to help us for a lot of years. When a guy wants out and he wants to leave – we want guys here that want to play and want to be a part of this team, want to win. That wasn’t the case with Marty and you just kind of move on.
What has been the mood been like in the room? What has been the general reaction to this?
A lot of guys were surprised for sure. They didn’t think a deal like this would come down. It happened with a lot of teams yesterday; a lot of moves were made. We’re still feeling good about ourselves. We’ve got a good schedule going forward. We’re not giving up by any means.
Can this galvanize the room a little bit?
Yeah, we can rally around it for sure. Guys are going to come in and play some good minutes. We need some guys to step up and fill that void. We all have to come together at this time and it’s a good time to do it.
What was the news like for you yesterday?
First of all, he’s been a great teammate and has had a long stint with the Preds. He’s done a lot of great things for this organization. He became a really good friend; those are the days you pay attention, but you never want to see teammates leaving. At the same time this trade works for Marty himself and for us in the long term.
How did you find out about the trade?
I got a call from Trotzy and we talked about it, then talked shortly with Marty, too. Pretty typical.
Were you surprised by the trade request?
Yeah. Every one of us is a team player, but at the same time you are an individual and you got to do what you got to do. I respect him as a guy and as a player. I don’t really have an opinion on [the request].
What was the news like for you yesterday?
We’ve been around long enough that you see guys traded, you know that kind of comes with the territory. I can’t say I’m surprised or in shock, because reality is there comes a time in people’s careers where they need to or want to move on. But it’s always different to come to the rink the next day and one of your buddies isn’t in the room.
How close were you to Erat?
He’s been one of my teammates for five, six years. Great guy and a great Predator. He spent his whole career here. It’s tough. You understand these things. I’ve been traded and I know how that feels. You just move on; that’s the best way to do it. I wish him the best and hopefully it works out for him.
Did you know about the request before yesterday?
I kind of heard rumblings of it, but that’s not really something we talk about with each other. The bottom line is our focus is playing hockey and you try not to get into guys’ personal situations. We just have to come together and keep our focus.