On whether any aspect on the road trip “concerns” him or will be reinforced:
I wouldn’t say there’s anything that ‘concerns’ us the most, I think you go on the road, and this is a trip we knew going into the year was going to be a big trip for us with some very quality opponents, so we’re going to look at each game as it comes and not try to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ve got Columbus tonight. They’re playing extremely well, they’ve got lots of depth, they forecheck hard, their D are very, very active and can control the game if you let them, and they’ve got a great goalie, so we’ve got some really good challenges and we’re excited to see how our team responds to the challenges they’re faced with on this road trip.
On Jonathan Quick’s impact, and any differences in confidence between last year and this year:
I don’t know if I would compare last year to this year in terms of him. I think in terms of Jonny, he’s a guy that’s got a lot of experience and composure in the game. I think outside of just stopping the puck he has an ability – at least I’ve seen it this year in his game – where he’s really conscious of where he’s steering pucks and rebounds. When he can’t hold on to ‘em, he’s kicking ‘em maybe past a guy driving the net so it’s out of harm’s way. He hangs onto pucks and gets us whistles when we need whistles. He’s not a guy that’s going to shoot the puck from goal line to goal line like Mike Smith, but he’s a very good help in terms of just stopping pucks and making little handoff plays for us, so I just think his experience in net on top of his ability to make key saves at key times has been really helpful to our hockey team.
On Adrian Kempe getting to the net, and acceptance of penalties in which players drive to the net:
Yeah, absolutely. Brownie, I think the same game, took a penalty where he was running a guy over trying to get to the net. If we’re playing the game the right way with a real competitive atmosphere to what we’re doing, I think that’s a good thing. We just don’t want to take unnecessary penalties. I mean, Columbus is probably a great example of that. They play as hard as anybody in the league and they take very few penalties, so they’re a good team to emulate in terms of that. But we want guys going to the net, we want guys digging in the blue paint. Even the other night, there were a couple plays where it looked like they might challenge for goalie interference because guys were getting around the blue paint. We think that’s a good thing. If you look at Cammalleri the other night, he was winning a battle at the netfront and boxing a guy out to get to a loose puck, and that’s something I think we’re seeing in our game, and we’d just like to see a lot more of it.
On options at center with Jeff Carter out of the lineup:
I think the things we see in the game now, there are a lot of people that can play center. Shoresy’s done a good job, he can move around for us. Adrian’s played center and wing, Cammalleri’s even played a lot of center, Andreoff’s played a lot of center, Andreoff’s played a lot of center, Dowd’s played center and wing. We’ve signed Brooks Laich now, he’s played lots at center, so we think we have lots of people that can fill in at the center position. I don’t think any one player’s going to eat up the minutes of JeffCarter because you have a guy that plays in all situations. He’s a primary power play guy, a primary penalty kill guy, and just a primary guy. He and Kopi play in key situations big minutes. So I think what’s going to happen, you’re going to see guys get asked, everybody give a little bit to pick up for his minutes lost, but I think we have lots of guys that always want to play more, we have young guys that want to play more, we have guys that want to play in more key situations, and they’re going to get that opportunity.
On the biggest strengths of Brooks Laich’s game:
I just think he’s got a well-rounded game where I would call him a 200-foot player. He still skates really well, he scored 20 goals three times in the league, so it shows his ability to finish and create. We played him in the Vegas game, he was far and away our best faceoff guy in that game, and he can kill penalties. He’s got a well-rounded 200-foot game that I think can help you at both ends of the rink, and he’s got a lot of experience in the league. If you look at our lines, sometimes you like to have a veteran, experienced guy with some young guys because it really helps bring stability to the line. I think he can do that. [Reporter: Did it help, too, that he was already in-house, and systems-wise he was already integrated with everyone?] Well, I think it’s a huge advantage, for sure, getting a guy that’s trying to familiar with how we want to play, and he’s heard the message from Day 1 of training camp and he’s been in every practice, he’s been in every meeting. It’s kind of unique that you’d have a guy that you can add to your team that’s so familiar with what you’re doing, but I think it’s obviously a nice luxury to have.
On Kempe gaining confidence, and any inklings that more goals will come:
Well, we’re not sure, to be honest with you. I think Adrian’s a guy that everyone loves his skill set. He’s never put up big numbers as a scorer, but it looks like he should. I think he gets chances, he makes plays, he gets to the net. We believe he can score. We believe if he goes to the right areas and he plays hard in the right areas and pays the price in the right areas that he’s got a skill set that he should score, and I think he proved that the other night. With any young player, whether it’s Adrian or anybody else, you want to see consistency in those areas, but we’ve really liked him. We liked him last year, we thought he had a terrific camp last year and showed a lot of improvement in his game. He’s learned to compete at a high level every night, and if he’s willing to go to those areas like he was the other night, I think he’s going to be rewarded with some offense.
-One omitted quote will be used in a story to follow.
-Lead photo via Dave Sandford/NHLI