With Sergei Gonchar gone, Kris Letang figures to have an elevated role on defense this season as he enters the first year of a new contract. He spoke today about the re-tooled defense, new teammate Arron Asham, Jordan Staal and the power play.
Does the defense have something to prove this season:
"Yeah I think we want to prove we’re a good defensive team. We lost Gonchar and everybody thinks we’re going to be worse. But we’re a good group. We’re mobile but I think we have a lot to prove a lot."
On adding defensemen Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek:
"It brings a lot of depth. I think we’re a better all around defensive squad now."
On Todd Reirden replacing Mike Yeo as the coach of the defensemen:
"Todd used to play the game as a defenseman so he knows what we’re going through. We look forward to working with him."
Is he happy he doesn't have to face Arron Asham on the forecheck any longer:
"Yeah, that’s the first thing I said when he signed with us because it was a relief. When you play against him, he’s really tough. He won’t give you any chance to get rid of the puck."
On losing Staal:
"He’s a really important player. He’s one of the best two-way players in the league. It’s important for other guys to step in and step up."
Will he take over as the power-play quarterback:
"If they let me I will. For now, we don’t know anything. We don’t have anything set up. Obviously it’s there for anyone who wants to take it. It’s a big part of our team. I might jump in and do that. I had a strong playoff last year. I think I should build on that."
(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)