Former Chicago Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon said he's comfortable with his new position as the team's senior adviser of hockey operations, and he said he wasn't offended by Rocky Wirtz's suggestion that he was too old to be the GM.
"I'm very fortunate to be with the Blackhawks," Tallon said during a teleconference Wednesday, which marked his first public statements after being replaced by Stan Bowman on Tuesday. "I'm comfortable with the position I'm in now. I'm in a good place.
"I'm still working for the Chicago Blackhawks, which is a franchise that's deep in my blood. I'm passionate about the Blackhawks, and about helping this team win a Stanley Cup."
There has been speculation that the move was triggered by a rift between Tallon and Hawks president John McDonough, but Tallon said while the two have different styles, the relationship is strong.
"It's a very good relationship," he said. 'It's open and honest.
"We're both different, but the whole organization has different styles. We're both open and honest with opinions. Our goals are the same. Winning the Stanley Cup, that's our goal."
McDonough implied on Tuesday that the communication between he and Tallon could have been better, and Tallon didn't disagree.
"Obviously, there were [communication issues]," Tallon said, "but there was no intent. Sometimes that has happened."
"I think it was a situation where we both agreed this was best for the franchise," Tallon continued. "We had a cordial discussion, John and I. He wanted to take the team in a different direction, and I was fine with it. Although my position has changed, my goal has not."
Tallon, who is very close to the Wirtz family, did not take offense to Rocky Wirtz saying the 58-year-old Tallon is at the tail end of his business career. Bowman is 36.
"[I was] never offended," Tallon said. "I am 58, but I have a very young mind. I'm very agile and very fit.
"I love the Wirtz family. They've been great to me. I still have some fight in me."
Tallon was asked about comments Martin Havlat was quoted saying in article on TSN.ca on Wednesday, alleging that negotiations to re-sign Havlat were conducted between Tallon and McDonough, rather than Tallon and the player's agent.
"The contract negotiations went on as they do with every p layer, between the agent and myself," said Tallon, who said he didn't know where Havlat would get such an idea. "No one else."
Tallon continued to state that the recent paperwork fiasco with restricted free agents was under his watch, and he took full responsibility. McDonough said Tuesday if that problem hadn't arisen, he probably would not have reassigned Tallon.
As far as possibly taking another GM job down the road, Tallon chuckled for a second and then said: "Right now, I'm focusing on winning the Cup with the Blackhawks. If we have success, who knows what will happen."
Tallon gave a ringing endorsement to Bowman, who was the assistant general manager for the last two seasons and takes over a young team that advanced to the Western Conference finals.
"I've been with Stan for a long time, and he's more than qualified," Tallon said. "He's a good scout, a good judge of talent."
Tallon said he didn't think the move was generated by McDonough, who came to the Hawks in 2007, simply wanting to bring in his own GM.
"I think every person who takes over has a different philosophy," Tallon said. "People need to do what they think is best for their franchise, and that's simply the case of what happened here."