Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers
I’ve been here a long time. This is home now for me and my family. So yes, it’s not an easy day. But at the same time, I’ve seen all the rumors and reality was it was going to happen. It’s sad, but at the same time hopefully it’s new doors that open and new opportunities. Obviously I’m not very happy with the way last season went, but it’s also extra motivation moving forward to prove I can still play. Hopefully I have a few more years.
Is there a perfect situation out there for you?
I don’t know at this point. I haven’t really thought about that. In my mind I’m trying to get ready for the next season, I’ve started working out. It’s tough to picture because I have no clue where I’m going to be. We’re not allowed to talk to teams yet; you have no clue who’s interested and where you might end up. So at this time it’s hard to see what’s going to happen. But you try to fight through it and try to get back in shape. At the same time, it’s tough to work out when you’re watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs going on and wishing you were on the ice.
Is there something that stands out as the best moment in your Flyers career?
There’s a lot of good times. The first five years here were amazing. Obviously last year, not making the playoffs was a tough year – the lockout, the short season. That was the tough one. But before that, the previous five, there were a lot of good memories. The one that I think stands out the most was the  playoff run – making the playoffs on the last regular season game, on a shootout, and going on that run all the way to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. That’s definitely probably the best little stretch of my time here.
I know your kids are important. When you’re deciding where to go, will distance be something that factors in?
To be honest, I’m not sure at this point. There’s a lot of things that we will have to consider. Obviously the kids… we’ll have to consider also if it’s a team that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup or not, a team that might have a role for me or not. So those are all questions that at this point I don’t really know, and I don’t know which one’s going to take over. Obviously I would prefer to be close to the kids, but we don’t know if it’s going to be an option or not.
Your boys have heard these rumors for a while. What was it like having that conversation with them?
I’ve prepared them. But don’t forget, they grew up this way. They grew up in a hockey family, I guess. They’re used to moving around. They’re at an age where it’s getting tougher to move them around, and that’s why this is going to stay home for me and them. But they’re used to that. Not just with me, but they see players come and go, and players having to move. We’ve had to do it ourselves a few times. It’s never an easy situation, but I think they’re prepared for it. Their whole lives, they’ve been dealing with things like that.
When the new CBA was signed, did you think right away that this could be an option for you?
Even before I had the chance to think about it, I think a few names popped out as possible buyouts, and my name was up there. So right away, I knew it was definitely going to be a possible issue. But you try not to think about it too much. You try to play and not think about that it might happen and you might have to move. But at the same time, the toughest part wasn’t dealing with that. The toughest part was not winning, was not being in the playoffs and not having a good year as a team. That was definitely a lot tougher than having to deal with my own personal issues?
When were you informed?
Last week. That’s why I have so much respect for the Flyers organization – Mr. Holmgren, Mr. Luukko, Mr. Snider and everybody that works in the Flyers organization. They were respectful the whole time. It wasn’t an easy thing for them either, meeting with me and having to break the news. But they did it with a lot of class. I’ll always be grateful for that and also my time here as a Flyer.
You’ve been so entrenched in this community – will you continue to keep a home here?
Yes. Like I said, this is my home. Wherever I’m going to end up, the kids are staying here and I’m coming back here. This is my home – this is what we consider home now.
How many good years do you have left in you?
I don’t know. It’s tough to tell. At this point, I definitely want to play at least two or three more years. After that, we’ll see how the body holds up and we’ll go from there.
Is there any sense of relief for you at all now that this is over?
Not really. I’ve been here two, three, four times a week, working out, around everybody. There’s no sense of relief, that’s for sure. It’s a sad day that it’s finally official. But I’ve known for a little bit, and I guess I was just trying to get ready for it.
What are your thoughts on the Flyers going forward with Bryzgalov?
That’s a tough situation for me. I don’t want to try to push one way or the other on what the Flyers might want to do with Bryz. It’s their decision; they know it’s not easy for the players and the organization to be in that situation. I’m sure they’ll handle it with class as well, and try to do the best for the team and also for Bryz.
Has anybody said anything about this to you while you’ve been here working out?
I don’t think it’s something we’ve talked much about. I guess they’re aware, but it’s kind of the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. I’ve already received a few texts from some of the guys wishing me good luck. The hockey world – it’s a small world. I know we’ll run into each other at some point, whoever it is.
When kids come from a family where their parents aren’t together, a lot of it is personal. Will that be the number one thing moving forward for you is their well-being?
Well, definitely. Whatever happens in the future, wherever I’m going to go, it’s not going to be strictly my decision. The kids are going to be involved in that, and I’m going to make sure they’re OK wherever I’m going to go. They’re going to have a say just as much as me in what the future lies ahead.
Will they go with you?
I’m sure they’ll come visit me, but their home base will be here. School, hockey, all their friends, all the sports they play, they’re already set up. They’re at an age where it becomes tougher to move them around. So they will be staying back.
What are all their ages?
12, 13 and 14. The two oldest will actually be 14 and 15 by the time the end of the summer arrives.