Here’s the transcript of the interview with Rob Blake:
Q: Rob, we’re at the start of another training camp. How many is this for you? Can you even count?
A: This is probably number 17, I think. Looking forward to it. Same feeling on every one of them.
Q: How are you doing physically? You’re coming off surgery, so how did that go and how did the recovery go?
A: The surgery went really well. It was a little longer than I had planned but we had some time here in the summer to rehab.
I should be able to participate full-on at the start of camp but it will probably be a couple months before it’s 100 percent.
Q: Where are you in the recovery right now?
A: If it was the regular season, I’d probably be playing in games. I’m cleared to play, but with training camp being a month
long, we can kind of ease our way into that.
Q: Does it get tougher as the years go on? Is this something you would have bounced back from a little quicker when you were
A: Yeah, just with age alone you probably would. It’s the unfortunate part of not making the playoffs, but fortunate for me,
in that I had a long summer to rehab and I wasn’t rushed back into things and I could take the time to get back to where I
want to be.
Q: You’re obviously going to be a guy who is looked to for leadership. Do you accept that as something you’ll have to do?
A: Yeah and I kind of knew, signing here, that that was going to be the process. We had the youth movement there last year,
with some veteran guys being moved out and some younger guys coming in, and then they’re filling up the roster this season
with some free agents and guys coming out of college. So it requires a little leadership from the top, and there’s quite a
few guys that they’ve brought in to help share that.
Q: It seems as though the depth is better here this year, with some veterans and younger guys. Does it feel better to you?
A: Well, I think we’ll have a more competitive training camp. I think last year you kind of knew what the team was. This year
, you know what the lines are supposed to be but there are a lot of guys on the outside who want to come in and fill that
roster spot. I think that, depth-wise, that will make for a competitive camp for us.
Q: Can you talk a little about your relationship with Jack Johnson? You’re expected to mentor him. What’s that been like so
far and what do you see from him?
A: You see the competitive nature. Obviously coming in last year for a handful of games, you saw how competitive he was and
how much he wanted to battle. I think he understands that his college career is done and now the next step is to play
professional hockey. He’s trained hard this summer, he’s been to a couple different camps and he’s here expressing himself
and knowing that he’s going to be a big part of this team. From the older guys’ perspective, he probably can show more things
off the ice. He understands that he’s going to compete on the ice, but it’s a long season and you do need a little guidance
Q: Talking to Dean, he stresses the importance of younger guys stepping up and taking responsibility for winning. Do you see
that happening, and what does that mean? How does that process go?
A: I think obviously when you first start in the league, you have to be a little selfish and play for yourself. You have to
play for contracts and become accountable in the league. Then you form a team and you become a leader of that team, then you
want to take that team to the playoffs. The unfortunate part is that this team hasn’t been to the playoffs in a number of
years, so the young guys haven’t had that experience. Until they get that, that’s the leadership we’re looking for. We want
them to be accountable, to get to the playoffs, show some leadership and understand what a different animal the playoffs are. it’s a great feeling, but you have to get there to understand it.