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In The CreaseIn The Crease Q & A: Rob Blake

Sunday, October 07, 2001

By Dejan Kovacevic, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Rob Blake, perennial All-Star defenseman for the Avalanche, answered questions Wednesday at Mellon Arena. In Colorado's 3-1 victory against the Penguins, he logged a game-high 29:54 and was his team's best penalty-killer, hounding Mario Lemieux on every power play. It was his first game since wife Brandy delivered the Blakes' first child, Jack, last week in Los Angeles.

Rob Blake

Q: Without having Raymond Bourque in your lineup this season, do you expect you'll have to play more, have a bigger role?

A: It's going to be pretty much what I've done my whole career. It's pretty tough to play more than 30 minutes a game, no matter what lineup you're in, but I'll give it what I can. We'll see how it goes.

Q: Do you feel your team can repeat as champions?

A: Why not? If you look at our forwards, it's the same team we had in the Stanley Cup final. On defense, obviously, we've lost a few guys. We lost Ray, and I don't think you ever really replace a guy like Ray. There are only a few guys like that who will come along in the history of hockey. But we all understood that it was probably going to be his last year, and the team has brought in other guys to make up for that. Pascal Trepanier is here, and now Rick Berry is going to get his chance finally. It's up to all of us together to fill that void. You just have to look at each game. Sometimes, you can look too far down the road and thing about repeating rather than winning.

Q: How is it that this team seems to just keep plugging in players who fit right in?

A: The strength of this organization is our depth. I was fortunate to come here last year and get to play with two All-Stars in Ray and Adam Foote, whereas in other years in Los Angeles, there would be six guys, and you just had to make do with them. I think we'll be fine here with the guys we've got.

Q: It seems like only yesterday your team beat New Jersey, and now you go to Sweden for part of your preseason, and you're playing real games again. Does the off-season seem short to you?

A: It is short. But if you ask anyone in the league, they wouldn't want anything different than that. I mean I've been on the other end, where I've had five months off, and you come in and everybody complains about being rusty. I don't know if there's anything in between.

The timing was perfect. It worked out so that I was able to spend three days there. Everyone's doing fine, and I couldn't be happier.

Q: How does it feel to be a father?

A: Oh, it's great. The timing was perfect, coming right before the season, and everyone is fine. I was glad I was able to spend three days out there with everyone.

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