February 8 morning skate quotes: Mark Morris
On the Providence Bruins:
They’re a quick team. If you turn the puck over, they’re going to make you pay. They always give us all we can handle. (Niklas) Svedberg’s been really good against us. I’m not sure who we’re going to see tonight. He’s always played very well. If we’re jumping on rebounds, we might be able to find the back of the net. He tends to turn pucks back into the slot area. I know they’ve made a few changes in their lineup, and they’ve had some juggling going on between them and the Bruins. It’ll be interesting to see what they throw at us. What we do know is (Ryan) Spooner’s a real key player for them, as is (Craig) Cunningham, and they seem to have a good blend of size and speed. They’ve got some toughness in (Bobby) Robins and (Tyler) Randell. They’re well constructed, and I think that their team mirrors what they bring at the NHL level.
On having a full roster, and whether it energizes the players:
They were having fun out there. Now we’ve got to bring it. I think that it’s a big challenge for the guys that come back this way to get excited, but it’s more ice for them. They’ve got to be happy about that, and being reunited with a line that at one time was one of the better lines in this league last year and early on this year. So I’m hopeful that sparks Tyler to play up to the standards that we’re accustomed to seeing him at, and then also getting Linden and Pearson to play really well together. I think that it’s tough. Nic Deslauriers got bumped down a line, and he’s now with Nick Shore and Zach O’Brien, and then Jordan Weal has been going really well with the two Yalies, (Sean) Backman and (Brian) O’Neill. They call ‘em the Bulldog line. They play a real good brand of hockey. They put a lot of pressure on things. Andy Andreoff has played anywhere from the first line to fourth line and has done a great job wherever we put him. So we’re hopeful that he can help bring up that other line with his physicality. He and (Scott) Sabourin on the same line – they stand tall together. I’ve got to make a game-time decision on who goes on their left side.
On coaching two Yale forwards and Harvard defenseman Chris Huxley:
That’s funny. At one time our guys that were our heavyweights were both Ivy League guys in Westgarth and Paul Crosty. I don’t know what they’re teaching them in the Ivies, but they certainly aren’t quick to back down. These guys, although they’re not big in size, they’re big in heart and intelligent kids. They help the leadership group in a big way. They bring a lot of game savvy, and they’re a little bit older, so they’re good to have around our young prospects because they bring a great work ethic.
On Linden Vey and Tanner Pearson’s performances since rejoining the team:
They’ve had their moments when they’ve been brilliant, and I think that Pearson and Deslauriers were really good down low last game. I think Linden, when he’s really focused, he can be very dynamic. We’re still trying to shore up his defensive game and trying to get him more acclimated to playing with that same type of vision in the defensive zone that he plays with in the offensive zone. That’s how I tried to sell it to him.
Whether he needs to reinforce any message so close to the All-Star break:
Well, they know that I don’t put up with 50 percent efforts. I think our guys have to understand that they’re pros, and this is a good test for us. There’s two great teams. Providence has always been a great opponent for us. We’ve had our butts handed to us more times than not. And then when we play Albany, Albany might be the best team we’ve played this year at their building. They were big. That was an NHL defense that we played against that particular night. We didn’t have much room, and it was hard to get to their net. If our guys are thinking that we can tiptoe around out there and be perimeter, they’re going to be in for a real shocker. We have to get to the net in order to score goals, and we’ve got to be hard on pucks. When we’re doing that, we can be highly effective.