Q. The team has taken over the overall lead in points in the NHL and just about everything seems to be going your way.
A: For sure, its nice to be where we are. The (Western) conference is so difficult, you have to keep pace. There are so many (good) teams. Weve had so many injuries the first half, but weve found a way to keep winning. Its a real credit to the organization, the way the young guys weve brought up have stepped in and done such a great job. Weve gotten great goaltending, and a guy like Pavel (Datsyuk) has really stepped up and is having an unbelievable season.
Q: Youre being mentioned for things such as the All-Star Game and the Selke Trophy (best defensive forward).
A: Obviously, its an honor to be mentioned for things like that. But Im not giving things like that much thought. Things have been going so well, Im not really thinking much about it. The pucks are just going into the net.
Q.You have 19 goals already this season and your previous career high was 15. Why are you scoring more?
A: Any player likes more ice time. With the loss of Sergei (Fedorov) and Igor (Larionov) over the summer, obviously there was a chance to get more ice time for the centers (remaining). The coaches have given me more opportunities, and thats all you can ask. Playing with Pavel right now, its like winning the lottery. Everyone on the team wants that chance. Good things happen when he has the puck.
Q: Youre starting a big five-game road trip.
A: There are some tough teams on the trip, but we have to just keep doing what weve been doing. Weve been playing well, and we just have to keep it going.