Here’s the transcript of yesterday’s interview with Cammalleri:
Q: How did the summer go for you? It started out with a successful trip to Russia for the World Championships. What was that like?
A: That was a blast. The best part about it was winning, obviously. We went over to Russia with Team Canada and were able to come back with a gold medal, so that was really special. The one thing I realized was that the further you get in hockey, the harder it is to win things. When you’re a kid playing at a high level, you’re playing in tournaments all the time and you’re winning championships and you’re being handed trophies all the time, but as you get older it gets harder and harder. Obviously at this level, it’s the ultimate and it’s the hardest level to win, so winning there was the ultimate. So winning there was a lot of fun, and then after that I just went back to Toronto and spent the summer with family and friends there and trained and got ready for this year.
Q: That was your first real chance to represent your country at a high level. What is it like to play for your country?
A: Actually I played for Canada at the World Championships last year. It was great. That was actually my fifth time playing for Canada, with the World Juniors and the Under-18, so I always love playing for Canada. It’s a big honor for me. Now I’ve got five Canada jerseys and two gold medals, a silver, a bronze and a non-medal. So it’s been quite the run and hopefully it continues.
Q: Obviously you got a new contract this summer and you went through a process that isn’t fun for either side. Can you take us through that a little and talk about what the process was like for you?
A: Yeah, obviously I applied for salary arbitration and that’s how we ended up settling a deal. I don’t really have much to say about that. It was what it was, and now training camp starts. So that’s really pretty much all I’ve got to say about that.
Q: Were you able to put that behind you pretty quick and focus on the upcoming season?
A: Well, nothing’s going to change the way I approach the game or my enjoyment for playing the game or my desire to win and be part of a team. Nothing will ever change that, so I’m here, ready to go.
Q: Talking to Dean a few days ago, he was pretty adament about the young guys stepping forward and being team leaders. Do you accept that as kind of a challenge?
A: I don’t know. Who are you talking about? Are we still the young guys? I turned 25 and I’m pretty sure Fro did. Brownie, he’s growing up but he’s a couple years younger than us. I guess Kopi and Sully are the young guys now. I don’t know if we’re the young guys any more. We’ve got to carry the load. We’ve got to be huge contributors to this team’s success.
Q: Even though last year was frustrating, you were a guy who was optimistic about the future. Are you still optimistic that this year can be a lot better than last year?
A: Every year when you come to camp and you strap `em on, you plan on winning the Cup. I think every team around the league does. That’s going to be the goal and we’re going to do everything we can to reach that goal.
Q: For the guys who have been here for a couple years, does it get tiring? I mean, is this maybe a year in particular in which you really want to make the playoffs?
A: Yeah, it’s not maybe. That’s cut and dried. It’s a fact that we want to make the playoffs. We’ve wanted to every year, and definitely some frustration builds, and you have to realize how to funnel that energy and how to turn it into something positive and how to make it happen. We’re in control of our own destiny and everybody starts the season on an even playing field. No one’s in the lead, no one’s behind, we don’t have to do interviews about where we are and what position we put ourselves in. It’s being ready to go from the start and it’s optimism. The playoffs are a huge goal for us and I’m really excited about the idea of getting there.
Q: Talk about yourself personally. You had a big breakthrough year last season. Is the motivation there just to do it again, to show it wasn’t just a one-year thing.
A: Yeah, I think I’ve been able to progress pretty much every year in my career so I don’t plan on changing that now. I plan on building on what I did last year. I don’t think it’s the idea of me proving anything. That’s my job, that’s my role and that’s what I do, so that’s what’s going to happen.