Sunday, July 01, 2012

Leighton signed to one-year deal

The Philadelphia Flyers have found a backup for Ilya Bryzgalov, and it's from right inside the organization.

Paul Holmgren announced that Michael Leighton will return to the big club on a one-year deal worth $900,000. Leighton has suited up just once in the NHL since Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals -- a 7-4 win at Los Angeles on December 30, 2010.

He's spent the majority of the last two years with the Adirondack Phantoms in the American Hockey League.

Below is a transcript of Leighton's thoughts upon the announcement of the deal:

Q: Did you have any other offers?

“Well, no.  I signed the deal and agreed to it before free agency, when obviously you can’t talk to other teams.”

Q: What do you think you’ve learned over the past two seasons and are you comfortable being in a backup role?

“Well, I think the last two seasons I think I was put in a spot because of injuries.  I understand what Homer did and why he had to do it.  It was obviously tough for me.  But I’m happy about coming back to the NHL, I’m excited, and for me to be a backup, I’ve done it before.  I’ve just gotta work hard and show the team that I’m ready to go in if they need me.”

Q: On the 2010 Stanley Cup Final

“Obviously you think about it.  You’re that close to winning the Stanley Cup and you lose that way, it was tough.  I’m sure it’s going to be on my mind the rest of my life.  But in a way I think it’s helped me.  It’s made me change a few things about my game and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.  I’ve been working on my game the last two years.  But no, it’s not something that’s going to go away.  Maybe if I win the Stanley Cup next year it’ll go away.  There’s a lot of fans that are still sour about it, and obviously I’m not happy about the way things went either, but what happened happened, and I have to move on in my life, and this is a good step for me.”

Q: On playing with Ilya Bryzgalov

“Well, I don’t have to try to be friends with him, I am friends with him.  We’ve had not a close relationship because I haven’t been there, but I knew him from the Anaheim organization, and obviously the beginning of the year last year in training camp, I was there early.  I know what kind of guy he is.  He’s a nice guy, he’s a good goalie, and I’m actually really looking forward to playing with him, and watching him and learning from him.”

Q: How much of this played into your positive attitude over the last couple years?

“Even the last two years, I’ve gotten a lot of support from the Flyers organization.  We’ve had a good relationship the last two years, and even when I was in the minors, I was speaking to them frequently, and they were letting me know that they still liked me and were still interested in me.  My year-end meeting was no different.  I talked to Homer and he showed interest in me right away.  That’s a good feeling, and it would have been a lot different if I would have went down there and never heard from them, and didn’t know that they were still liking me as a goalie and as a person.”

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