Player reaction to the big trade yesterday that sent Paul Coffey to the
Pens, Mark Recchi to the Flyers and brought Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson,
Ken Wregget and Jeff Chycrun to the Pens has been mixed and vocal.
Mario Lemieux felt the deal was a good one for the team. "It's a good deal.
We have to give up 2 great players, but you have to do that to get good,
quality players in return. It was probably time for a change."
Ulf Samuelsson said of the deal "You can sit and argue the trade(s) all
you want...but I think it's going to help us. I think we have the greatest
team in the league. Now it's just a matter of going out and showing everybody
There were some negative feelings about the trade, too. Backup goalies
Wendell Young and Frank Pietrangelo are not very happy over the acquisition
of goalie Ken Wregget. (It seems Bowman asked Patrick to obtain Wregget as
a back up for Tom Barrasso.) With Wregget in the lineup, one (or possibly
both) of the goalies have become expendable.
"You don't feel good when you find out that somebody who does your job has
just been hired by your team." said Young. "You get a little worried, a
little frustrated, a little mad."
"It shows a lack of confidence in what you do if they hire somebody else
to do your job. I think it shows a lack of confidence in me and Frankie."
He went on to say "It's evident there's going to be trade. We've got nine
defen*** and four goalies. Unless they're going to have a home team and
a road team...I don't know what they're thinking. I think it's stupid to
have that many players around for the rest of the season."
Frank Pietrangelo, who has not played in an NHL game since Nov. 9th (He
played against TeamUSA back in January.) was equally upset. "I feel over
the years I've done my job when called upon. It's a slap in the face to myself
and Wendell Young to bring in another goalie. If they're not happy with me...
maybe somebody else will be."
Kevin Stevens also expressed his displeasure with the trade. (He and Mark
Recchi are very close friends.) "We definitely needed some help somewhere,
but I don't know if this is the way we should have gone about it."
To not have Mark here, to not have Paul...it's going to be tough. We won the
Stanley Cup together. Coff is one of the greatest players ever to put on
skates. Recchs is going to get 40-50 goals for the next 10 years. To give
up a guy of that caliber...I don't know."
"The players coming in here are great players--don't get me wrong. " said
Stevens. "I'm not saying anything negative about those players. I'm just
talking about our team and what we had here, how we won it last year. They
were a huge part of that. I wish the both of them the best, but I wish
they were still here."
As for the traded players, Recchi refused to talk to the media. He was
just too upset. Stevens said that Recchi only heard of the deal at 2:30am
Wednesday morning. His agent called and told him that there was a possible
trade in the works, and then called him back later in the morning to say the
deal had gone through. Lemieux said Recchi took the news very hard. He
said Recchi sat in a side room off from the main locker room and cried for
a long time.
Coffey, however, was able to face the media. He looked upset, but was
composed and handled the questions with class. He said he was told of the
trade right after the game on Tuesday. He stayed at the Arena until 2:00am,
just packing his gear, and taking one last skate on the ice. He said he
looked at the Bob Johnson quote on the ice, and a flood of emotions overtook
him. He said he also talked to Gretzky, and called and talked to Rick
Tocchet, his best friend. (Tocchet, by the way, will be moving into
Coffey's condo when he gets settled in.)
He then talked about coming to Pgh, and about his life as a hockey player.
"I left Edmonton and came to a brand new city. I was really a bit afraid of
coming here. I didn't know anybody."
"A friend of mine said to just go and make the best of it, and I had a great
5 years here. I'll always remember it, and hopefully it will be the same
"If you going to be traded...I'm a pretty lucky guy." Coffey said. "I played
with Wayne my first seven years. Then I played with the most talented person
in the league, Mario, here. Now I get to play with Wayne again, and I'm
going to where I know a lot of guys."
He admitted the trade rumors that hounded him the entire season did have
an effect on him. "I don't care who you are or how tough you are mentally,
it tends to wear on you."
He said he talked to GM Craig Patrick about it, and to center Ron Francis.
"Ronnie went through this last year in Hartford, and he paid me a nice
compliment by telling me I handled it well."
His last words to his teammates were "See you guys in the finals."
Contact for the Penguins