With the NHL trade deadline just hours away, Rock the Red had the chance to talk with Capitals defenseman Scott Hannan. Hannan was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Tomas Fleischmann on November 30 [RtR Story]. The 12th year pro brings a veteran presence to the Capitals’ defensive corps and a tough presence in front of his own goal. He was kind enough to share his thoughts with us [and a few other reporters toward the end].
RtR: When you were traded to Washington from Colorado, what was the biggest adjustment for you?
SH: Moving across the country. With a family and a little one, that can be the biggest adjustment, trying to get here, trying to get settled.
RtR: You had to waive a No Trade Clause to come to DC, something had to excite you about the team.
SH: Yeah, obviously, they’re in the hunt. You know when I was first looking at it, there was a ton of talent, it’s an exciting team to come play for. Things didn’t work out in Colorado, I respect the management there, but it was time to move on. This is an exciting place to come play, and I have a shot at winning the Cup.
RtR: Was it helpful to have a couple former teammates here?
SH: It’s always nice to have some faces in the room, to help you come in and get settled. It’s always nice to know somebody. That part is, I think, pretty easy, I’ve done it a couple times. You tend to have the same group of guys everywhere, and it’s easy to fit in. Once you get playing games, you get on the road, you get to know the guys real quick.
SH: He’s a guy that brings it every night, he’s got a lot of speed up there on left wing, he comes to play, he’s got a great shot, he’s a proven scorer, he can put the puck in the net. He can bring some leadership and character, there’s so many parts to his game that can help us out.
RtR: If you re-sign with Washington, you’ll likely be heading to Russia in October, according to the New York Times. What was it like for you playing your first two NHL games in Japan?
SH: –[laughs] It was a little bit different, it was a long way to go, we were there for a week and a half. It was definitely something different playing there, but it was exciting at the same time. It was a different way to start my NHL career, that’s for sure.
Katie Carrera, Capitals Insider: Scott, you’ve been in the league such a long time, what’s your attitude going into this day every year? Is it something you don’t think about, or are you a little on edge because you never know what could happen?
SH: Yeah, I think it comes with the territory. Obviously guys are looking and waiting and watching, it’s something that, certain things are in the air, you’re kinda at the edge of your seat, it’s something you deal with, it’s part of the business, when you get down to it. We’ll get a good practice in tomorrow, see what happens.
Not RtR: Marco Sturm just got here, you went through this earlier in the year, adjusting to a new team. How long did it take you to feel comfortable?
SH:As far as in the room and playing, it was tough, we had that little skid when I showed up…
Not RtR: …And HBO cameras…
SH: …In front of everything. You know the guys in the room, it’s pretty easy once you get out there, play a few games, and you get the feel for the systems, get to know the coaches, but I think that stuff comes pretty easily. The toughest part is just the stuff away from the rink, and that was the thing, getting the family settled for myself, and hopefully Marco can adjust quickly.
Not RtR: Are you keeping your eye on [the trades] this afternoon?
SH: I’m gonna go home and hang out with my kid. That’s all I’m gonna do, relax this afternoon.
RtR: During the Rangers game, you took out Wojtek Wolski on a 3-on-1. Were you able to do something like that because you used to play together?
SH: No, I just had a good gap the way the puck turned over, and I was able to stay close enough to him. They weren’t able to build up enough speed, and I knew when he was gonna pass it over, he looked down for a second, and then I was able to jump on him. It was just the timing when you’re close enough to a guy, I figured I could get the puck, not let him get too much gap away from me.
RtR: What do you feel you bring to this young defense corps as they head into the playoffs?
SH: Anything I can, if it’s leadership, if it’s helping the guys out in certain situations, anything I can. Penalty killing, physicality, you just want to come out and help the team win every night.
Hannan is a veteran of 73 playoff games.
RtR: What are your personal goals for the remainder of the season?
SH: To win. It’s about winning every hockey game you can here and getting ready for the playoffs and go for a long run here. That’s the ultimate goal, is to win the Cup here. Any way we can do that.