On Thursday’s preseason win over Arizona:
Just in terms of the game, I thought we got off to a slow start. Just something we want to address. We kind of waited in the game and they came at us and then we got going, but I think once we got going I thought we started to move the puck and created some good opportunity on the rush and in the zone, and I thought our power play moved the puck really well and had much more of a shot mentality with people going to the net, which is something I really emphasized going into that game. There’s certainly a lot that I liked. I think we can do a lot better job in terms of our play in our zone and defending the rush. I think we had people in position, but just a little more detail and a little more firmness in our game, I think we’d like to see. We looked at some of that stuff this morning, but our message to our team was ‘we didn’t create anything offensively from what we gave up defensively.’ We can get better defensively and not get away with what we’re trying to do offensively, so it’s not as if we’re cheating to create offense. We can get better at both.
On Jonathan Quick’s performance:
If you were watching the same game I was, he looked pretty good. Johnny looked sharp. He had a lot of pucks the way they played last night because they were really pushing pucks up the ice with speed, so a lot of pucks trickled through to him, and I thought he was a big help in terms of just the handoffs with our D and our forwards going back for pucks. He looked really sharp, made key saves at key times, and we gave up some quality opportunities late in periods, which is something we addressed, but he made key saves at those key times, which really made a difference in the game. [Reporter: Physically, given his history, he’s had some significant injuries, do you monitor him a little bit more closely, especially in the early going here?] I don’t know if we monitor him any more closely – I think we’ve always monitored him closely. I think we have more resources now to monitor fatigue and where he’s at physiologocially, but certainly with the injuries he’s had, that’s something that we’re going to be in constant follow-up. He’s got maintenance programs, recovery plans to make sure that he’s as healthy as he can be. Nutrition, post-game, pre-game, all that stuff. I think it’s important not only for Jon, but certainly for everyone. But in his case, the fact that he’s had those injuries, there’s certainly a plan in place to try and keep him healthy. [Reporter: Do you have a number in mind about how many games you want him to play in the regular season?] I don’t. Jon’s capable of handling a big workload. A lot of it will be dependent on the schedule. I mean, there are times in the schedule where it’s spread out and there’s lots of rest in there, and there are times in there that it’ll be jammed in, and at the same time, you don’t want somebody going long stretches and not playing, either. But he’s proven in the past he’s capable of a heavy workload. I think that’s something we’ll just manage as we move along.
On the goaltending depth behind Quick, and whether it’s different from last year:
It is. I think that’s something that was addressed over the summer in terms of the guys that they signed all the way through to Petersen. You’ve got a kid that’s played college who’s just a little bit older who’s got lots of potential, and you put a kid in that role in the organization where you’ve got a guy in your system that’s going to play and might need some time but certainly has got some big upside. And then you’ve got two guys in between with Campbell, who came along way last year, and Kuemper, who’s got experience in the league, and Zatkoff’s got lots of experience in the league. Much, much different situation than we’ve had last year.
On whether Saturday’s game is a “dress rehearsal” for opening night in terms of the lineup:
Not necessarily. The guys that played last night, there are a couple guys that won’t play tomorrow, probably. That doesn’t mean anything towards decisions made. We just thought we had two games here, and there might be guys that get a chance to play in one game and then the other. But that’ll be an evaluation on the body of work over training camp and what our lineup looks like for that particular night. Decisions will be made at the end of training camp through Saturday on the body of work there on who stays and who goes, and then in terms of the lineup each night, we’ll have extra bodies here, so we’ll put the best lineup that we think is the best fit for that night, based on our opponent and how we’re playing. [Reporter: For the ‘bubble guys,’ like Laich and Auger, they don’t necessarily have to play in that game to be evaluated further – is that kind of how you look at it?] No, and again, we’ve kind of made the decision with guys like Kopi and Carts that we’d play them in four games. They’ve all missed a game to this point, so I think it’s important to get their games where they need to be. Especially with special teams and situational play and playing the minutes they need to play, and that only leaves so many spots for everybody else. We’ll have an evaluation on everybody at the end, and again, just because somebody plays tomorrow, that doesn’t mean that’s the lineup we’re submitting on Monday.
-lead photo via Juan Ocampo/NHLI