Peca Discusses An Array Of Topics
(Sept. 2) Captain Michael Peca, whose wife Kristin is expecting their
second child in the coming weeks, took time out from his training to
answer a second set of emails submitted to the Fan Forum. Peca
followed up many emails from the first set of questions that were
posed to him last month.
Here are the Captain's answers to some select emails:
Rod from Nova Scotia: Hey Mike. In your mind, is the score settled
with Darcy Tucker? If not, what are the plans for him?
Michael Peca: Darcy Tucker is a non-issue to me. Next question.
Mike Calapai: First off, Mike, where's Webby, is he coming back?
MP: After speaking with Steve, it doesn't look good, but we're hoping
that he comes back.
Aragon9771: Who do you feel will win the #1 goaltending job at the
start of the season? Will Rick DiPietro turn more heads at training
MP: Whoever is the better goalie at camp will be the starting
goaltender, but it's not a bad tandem at all to have between Garth
PecaGirl0U812: Mike, you mentioned about not being a babysitter of
the lockerroom in your first set of emails. Can you explain exactly
what you meant by that?
MP: My job as captain isn't to always solve everyone's problem.
Sometimes it's a player's own responsibility to hold himself
Sean from Buffalo: Living in Buffalo, being an Islanders fan is
tough. I watch every Islander game on Center Ice. What are your
reactions when you play, here in Buffalo, and the fans who once
cheered you, now "boo" you every time you touch the puck? I just want
you to know that when you are playing here in Buffalo, and thousands
of fans are booing you, there will be at least one fan cheering you
on in the 300 level of the Marine Midland Arena. You and the guys
have a great season and good luck. #1 Isle fan in Buffalo, Sean.
MP: That's the beauty of sports. It's a very emotional environment.
RepoManDillio: In your other emails, you said your "shoulder was as
good as it's going to get." Does that mean it's not healthy? Good
luck this season!
MP: It's as healthy as it's going to get! :)
Dashinitz: Do you think that you will ever come back to Buffalo --
and I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your career, you are
a great player!
MP: I enjoyed my time in Buffalo. Ownership at the time and the
general manager moved on and my time on Long Island here has been
great. I look forward to many more years on Long Island. But Buffalo
will always be my family's home.
Aanda92000: Hey Mike, after reading the first part of your e-mails,
you kept saying the lockerroom was "ok" last year. But why did the
team seem so disinterested in so many games near the end of the
season? This team is so much better than it showed last season.
MP: I believe many had different issues that we were dealing with
that we didn't communicate enough about. It resulted in to a lot of
confusion that was difficult.
Greg from West Islip: What team is harder to play for? Buffalo or the
MP: One isn't any tougher than the other.
Mango9090: Hey Mike! Best of luck next season! Just wanted to ask
you, where were you and what were you doing when the power went out
on 8/14? Thanks!
MP: I was golfing at Bethpage shooting the lights out!
ChiselNizzel316: Mike, why hasn't Ted Nolan gotten a crack at the NHL
level in terms of coaching? Wasn't he a good coach?
MP: He was a great coach I think he was blackballed early and now he
was just out of the game too long for GMs to consider bringing him
Larry Moriarty: Mike, thanks for taking the tough questions and
dealing with them like a professional. You mentioned that players
need to make those around them better, is there a feeling from the
guys that Yash's line with Oleg and Asham (maybe Czerk this year) is
the line that will keep Yash consistent through some steady play of
their own? What do you say, as a captain to a player like Oleg or
Czerkawski when their effort is not consistent?
MP: We don't know what the lines will be yet. But whatever they are,
we hope consistency is a mainstay. If anybody, not just myself, feels
anyone's effort isn't that of the hardest working player of the team
on any given night, than any one of us should say something.
Gary: Do the players realize there has to be some painful changes for
hockey to survive in many cities? I read you said that your family
has to be on a budget from a recent newspaper article. To be honest,
you are making millions of dollars. Don't get me wrong, I'm one of
your biggest fans. But I'll be honest, it's hard for people making a
lot less to empathize with anyone on either side of this labor
situation, with all of the money involved, to be talking about a
budget. Can't you guys just hash it out and get back to hockey? Sorry
if this is a hard question, but it worries all of us fans hearing
about the gloom and doom of next season.
MP: With respect to saving some cities, I believe the league expanded
too fast in too short of a time. It's an industry that has changed
rapidly and some cities are outdated as major sports cities. I can't
expect you to understand what our lives are like financially or not,
but any time a labor stoppage is a possibility, being responsible
financially plays into it. The tough part about going through labor
disputes is that the fans can only identify with the player. Salaries
are printed in the paper on a daily basis and we all realize that we
are being paid to play a sport millions of people would want to play,
but it's also a business at this level. And to just say you'd play
for anything isn't the responsible solution.
I'm sure there is a system that will work, and I think it is the one
we have now. I think the owners have shown this offseason that having
courage and making tougher business decisions, although probably more
difficult to do, is an easier way to run your business than having a
salary cap do it for you.