John Stevens, on what was accomplished in training camp:
I think the whole purpose of training camp is to get everybody ready and get guys the minutes they need, get your situational ice time in with you special teams and there’s a lot going on in preseason, individually and collectively as a team. As you go through training camp you get put in those situations, and I think this year the way the rules are being enforced with the faceoffs and the penalties, I think there’s been an awful lot of special teams, which really made it tough for the five-on-five. It takes all the ebbs and flows out of the game and limits the ice time of certain players, which is tough. But I think overall you just want to get your team game in order, you want to get a sense of where players are at and a little bit of chemistry with lines. Some of that stuff I think you know already, but certainly you want to use training camp to get a better feel for that. And certainly in the case when you get new players on your team that either come from somewhere else, or in the case of Fantenberg come over and we weren’t that familiar with them. Iafallo coming out of college, so a good chance to see him tonight. There were a lot of questions you’re trying to get answered. I still think you’re going to continue to look for those answers in the season, but to me at the end of the day, you want to have your team game in order.
Stevens, on the biggest surprise in training camp:
I don’t know if there’s any one big surprise. We were hopeful some things would happen. Jake Muzzin was really determined over the summer to come in and get off to a good start, and we kind of made the decision going in that he was going to play five games. I think he really took advantage of that. I think our veteran guys wanted to come back and get their right foot on the ground. I think that’s happened. I saw Iafallo, I thought he was a pretty good player. I didn’t know Fantenberg that well. I thought he made a good account of himself. There probably wasn’t any one thing that really surprised me, but I’m certainly happy to see progress in a lot of areas.
Stevens, on whether the 5-1-1 training camp record was important:
The only thing that’s important is winning. I even said tonight they’re missing some guys in their lineup, but at the end of the day, winning is important. Every night we play, our guys understand we play to win. So winning’s important. To me, how you’re playing is more important. I would never discount the fact that a win is a win and it’s important, but to me how you’re playing at this point is the most important thing.
Stevens, on whether he saw offensive elements that he wanted to see:
Quite honestly, I was a little concerned defensively. We gave up a little too much in the Arizona game, so I thought we tightened up tonight. I thought the penalty kill was excellent. I thought the checking in terms of limiting opportunities was better. So that’s one area, for sure. But we’ve definitely seen some signs of our team, both on the rush and in the zone that are encouraging in terms of creating better opportunities in the middle of the ice, for sure, and the power play at times has looked really good. We want to score goals, obviously, but we want to create momentum. Some of the puck movement and the philosophy on that, especially the Arizona game, was excellent. Today it was kind of in and out. But there has definitely been points where we’re seeing progress, and I think it’s important to have success in those situations, because the guys feel good. They start to believe in what you’re doing when they have success doing it. We’ve certainly seen that.
Stevens, on Alex Iafallo:
I think he’s been excellent. Every game we’ve seen him play it just seems like he’s around the puck, he’s on the puck, he hunts the puck, he’s had a really well rounded 200-foot game. Even tonight we moved him around a little bit, and I thought every time he was on the ice something good was happening for us. He’s very responsible, but he’s got a dynamic component to his game where he can make things happen offensively. The question was asked , ‘was there a surprise?’ He may have been a surprise, just because we didn’t know what he’d do at this level, but he’s been a pleasant surprise.
Jake Muzzin, on what was accomplished in the preseason:
I think obviously minus tonight, we scored some goals and got some great looks without giving up too much defensively, which was our goal coming into this camp. Kind of a new little system and new players joining and the chemistry building, I think we did a great job doing it. The trip to China was a success, I thought. It was just us there, so it was a great bonding time and lots of travel with each other, so you get to know each other really well for the new guys coming in, and we got two wins over there, so the whole camp was a pretty good one.
Muzzin, on what he has liked about his own game:
Tonight, personally, I didn’t play that well. But overall I was getting good looks, making good plays. You can get a lot better still defensively and stuff like that. It was a good camp for myself. I felt good out there and I look to continue it come regular season.
Darcy Kuemper, on the importance of his strong performance:
You just want to go in and have a good last preseason game. You want something to build off and some momentum, so it was just nice to go out there and get a win as a team.
Kuemper, on the 5-on-3 penalty kills:
It was just guys digging in, blocking shots when they had to. It’s not a fun job, but it’s sacrificing for the team. Sometimes you get stuck out there on a five-on-three in your own zone. It’s a tiring job, but the guys did a good job sticking with it and from my perspective, I was just able to see the puck well, and I thought all around we did a solid job there.
Kuemper, on the similarities between Minnesota and Los Angeles, two structured teams:
I’d say here we’re a bigger and more physical team. A lot of the structure is very similar, which has made the adjustment easier. There are little tweaks here and there, but those are easy to pick up on, and it’s been easy to stay comfortable within the system here.
-Lead photo via Juan Ocampo/NHLI