Julien BriseBois talks about taking over as Lightning GM

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Julien BriseBois joins the Lightning LIVE pregame show to discuss taking over as the team's general manager and what his plan for the franchise is.

- Tonight a first for the gentleman seated to our left. We welcome you back on Thunder Alley. 17 years in the National Hockey League as an executive, but for Julien BriseBois this is a night quite unlike any other. Your first as a general manager in the NHL. Talk about your emotions, the pride you feel to being elevated to this position.

- Well, it's a great night for hockey. It's nice and hot. Just the way we like it for hockey in October here in Florida. Drove up to the rink. Saw a nice, beautiful, colorful rainbow on the drive in, so hopefully it's a good omen for our season.

- I like that.

- You know what? Julien, a tremendous training camp. And again, 62 players. I remember you made a comment about a week ago saying that there was a bunch of young kids that really surprised you guys. That really were this close to making the hockey club and made the decision to come to the final 23 men a very difficult one.

- Yeah, that's what you want at camp. You want to have hard decisions at the end of a camp because players have pushed you and pushed for a roster spot. And we had a number of young players that pushed us all the way up to the end. Ultimately, Matthew Joseph-- he just had too good of a camp. We couldn't send him back. We had to see what he can do in a regular season game. So he'll play tonight, and hopefully he can hold his own and stick around for a while. That'd be a great surprise for us.

- Well, all of us as fans and the fans here, we're watching the game. As a GM, you got to look ahead. I said now, not necessarily this year but years down the road. The team has been set up pretty well with their contracts. Ryan McDonagh is signing. Talk about some of the signings that happened over the summer that allowed this team to be good for a few years to come.

JULIEN BRISEBOIS: Well, Ryan McDonagh was the first free agent we signed this summer. Steve took care of that early in the summer. When we did the trade at the trade deadline last year, where we acquired JT Miller and Ryan McDonagh, we knew that the value of that trade was not only-- they would help us for our playoff push in 2018, but they would help us for our playoff push at least in 2019.

Now with them both locked up long term, they're going to be part of the solution here and hopefully part of a cup winning team. It would be great if it was this spring, but if it's not this spring we get a few more cracks at the cup with them in the line up. So they were huge, and obviously then we signed Kucherov to an eight year extension.

So having one of the best offensive players in the league under contract for the next nine years-- it's exciting for us as a franchise. I think it's exciting for the fans as well. They get to see one of the most electrifying players in the NHL, and they know he's here for a long, long time.

- All of those men coached by John Cooper. You may not be aware of this fact, but it was Julian who brought John Cooper into the organization at the minor league level when you brought him into Norfolk. You have a strong relationship. Can you describe that now between general manager and head coach? He has been here. This will be his seventh season, sixth full, as he enters the final year of his arrangement-- his contract-- with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

- Coop and I go way back. We go back to that first year in 2010 when I hired him to take over our development program at the minor league level. And at the time there was a lot of work that needs to be done. Tampa hadn't traditionally been an organization that developed players or won at some minor league level, and I felt John was the best guy to change that culture, raise the standards.

Together at first we created what ended up being a really good development program, a really successful program on the ice. It started in Norfolk. It translated eventually and transferred to Syracuse, where over time we've been able to develop a lot of players that are going to be playing tonight for us in Tampa. And it all started when we hired Coop there in the summer of 2010.

- Matthew Joseph, case in point, as Bobby was alluding to. Coming in here tonight. And is it his speed that has him here at the age of 21? He was playing in juniors two years ago.

JULIEN BRISEBOIS: Yeah, and I keep repeating this ever since I have taken over as general manager. We want our identity to be based on speed. We want to push the pace. We want to be the fastest team possible. We want the other team to be on its heel all night. We want to be on the attack.

And that's why we're try to incorporate as many fast players as possible. Players that have the speed, the skill, and the hockey sense to push the pace. And Matthew Joseph fits perfectly in what we're trying to do, so like I said earlier, he's going to get a chance to see if he can stick around. Gets to play tonight his first NHL game. It's exciting for me. It's my first game as a GM, but it's his first game in the NHL. It must be wildly exciting for him and his family.

- Talk a little bit about the expectations this team has and how you got to control that. It's easy to say you're going to get back to that spot, but it's a lot harder to actually do it. We started 82 games to get back into the playoffs. I think that would be the first step back, correct?

- And we lived through this two years ago. Prior to the 2016-2017 season, a lot of the pundits had us as favorite to win the cup. We didn't even make the playoffs that year. We were a good team, but we still weren't able to get into the playoffs. Every year there are good teams that don't make the playoffs.

So right now we're not focused on what's going to happen in the springtime. We're focused on tonight trying to beat the Florida Panthers. They're our archrival in our division in our state, and we're going to be battling [INAUDIBLE] spot with them this year. So we need to put those two points in the bank tonight and start the season on the right foot.

- Julien, we wish you all the success in the world starting here this evening. And I hope the rainbow was foreshadowing a wonderful evening for you.

- Well, thank you. Have a good season all of you as well.

- The vice president, general--