Puck Daddy - NHL

When defenseman Anton Volchenkov(notes) left the Ottawa Senators on Thursday for a 6-year, $4.25 million-per-season deal with the New Jersey Devils, he left the only team he's played for in the NHL. 

In finding a new hockey home, Volchenkov's main motivation was the length of the deal; the security of a contract given the shot-blocking, physical game he plays.

I spoke with Volchenkov on Thursday night about his decision to sign with New Jersey and how this challenge will be different than the one in Ottawa:

Q. Congratulations of the new contract. What are your feelings now that you signed a 6-year contract with the New Jersey Devils?

VOLCHENKOV: Well, actually, these are some unusual feelings, because I have been playing in the NHL for eight years now and all for the same team. Of course it was tough to leave and change teams, but on the other hand I am very happy that I signed with a club that always plays in the playoffs. I am looking forward to all the future battles.

Were the Devils your first choice? Or were there any other clubs that were in serious contention?

Well, there was a choice for me. I did have it. But the Devils' offer was a really firm one. And since they were the most persuasive that's the one I was seriously considering. So I decided to sign with New Jersey.

The style of hockey of the Devils must fit you well.

Yes, I know that New Jersey plays a more defensive hockey. They don't score a lot but they don't let in a lot of goals either. But at the same time the Devils have a lot of great young players like Zach Parise(notes), for example. I know how good they are because I played against them. And what about the goalie! Marty [Brodeur] is an awesome goaltender. That's why the Devils' style of hockey fits me.

And now you're joining a team that is also a contender and has been one for a long time. Does it change your philosophy?

I wouldn't say that the expectations were different in Ottawa. In the eight years I was there, we only missed the playoffs once. I know what it's like to play in the playoffs. We played a lot of playoff hockey and even made it to the finals. It's something that is never forgotten and this experience can't be forgotten. New Jersey is a strong team. They have always been amongst the leaders. They have always been a contender. I am ready to offer everything I have, I am ready to play my hardest to make sure we win. Let's look to the future and play.

There have been quite a few players who were not able to play the Devils system and handle everything about being a Devil. Are you ready for it?

I have heard about it. I have seen it. It's not new to me. I will try my best to fit in on the Devils, to fit in their style of play. Right now it is still difficult to talk about what's going to happen. Ask me that question after the first couple of practices, after the first exhibition games. Let's see what happens and let's hope I am a perfect fit there.

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