By Mike Harrington
We had not heard from Henrik Tallinder since he was traded back to the Sabres from New Jersey in July. But everyone figured he would be happy with the deal -- and he confirmed the feeling Wednesday in his first meeting with the Buffalo media.
"I was a little bit surprised," Tallinder said today after taking his pre-camp physical. "I didn't know that Buffalo was interested. I knew something was going to happen because I had a long conversation with the [Devils GM Lou Lamoriello] after the season and we made it both pretty clear what we wanted. Then Buffalo got involved and I was a little bit surprised."
Tallinder spoke to the media before coach Ron Rolston, who surprised the gathering by saying Tallinder will start camp paired with Mark Pysyk and not with Tyler Myers. The prevailing wisdom was that a Myers-Tallinder pairing was a lock, giving Myers' Calder Trophy-winning season in 2010 with Tallinder. Rolston, however, said Myers will start with Christian Ehrhoff.
For his part, Tallinder said Myers can quickly get back to his star-studded rookie season.
"I think Tyler is an exceptional young man and player," Tallinder said. "When he came in his first year, I've never seen a guy that talented and that good at that age. Or very few of them, that I"ve played with at least. I think he's still young. I think you guys have been pretty hard on him too. He's going to be an exceptionally good player still. Just give him time. Let him play."
Tallinder played just 64 games with the Devils the last two years due to injuries and the fact he fell out of favor with coach Peter DeBoer. He said his goal this year is to be a regular on the crowded Buffalo blueline and he knows the team needs him to be a leader with its young defense corps.
"I might not be the most vocal guy but if I have something to say, I'm saying it," Tallinder noted. "I'm not afraid any more of saying what I want."
Click below to hear Tallinder's welcome-back session with the media today: