On having a longer practice:
We just looked at the break. The guys had a day off yesterday, and we just looked at the four-day break. It’s one of the last opportunities we’re going to get to get some really good, fundamental work in our game, and just try and set the table. We’re sitting idle here in terms of not playing games, but we need to make sure that we’re getting ready to go into a really important stretch coming out of this break. [Reporter: You’re taking the day off tomorrow-] No, we’re not taking the day off. We’re not going on the ice. Guys are here. It’s not a day off. [Reporter: What’s that process like with Matt Price? Do you guys schedule that together? How can you talk about that process?] What we do is we sit down and look at the schedule. We’ve got a whole system of tracking fatigue with Catapult – minutes played translates into loads over time, and we just kind of come up with the best equation on how much work the guys need, what sets ‘em up for the best situation moving forward. If you look at the 11 games in 19 days we just finished, we’ve got the same stretch coming out of this. You’ve got to get some work in. You’ve got to build up the workloads, but then you have to have enough in the tank to really go into this stretch of games here, so we sat down and just felt that both physically and mentally it was a good time to get ‘em on the ice and really get work, pull back, get ‘em on again and get ready to go.
On whether Trevor Lewis is getting closer:
Yeah. Full practice today, which is great to see. His conditioning is not an issue with him. He’s been able to do lots in terms of conditioning. We just had to get him in situations where it’s a little more of a hockey environment with contact along the walls and pushing and pulling, and he did well with everything. We’ll see how he responds after today, but he looks like he’s progressing along very well. [Reporter: This break comes at a good time for him to test this stuff out?] It’s tough – when Jeff was coming back, we didn’t have any practice days. With Lewie, we’ve had a few practice days, but not a lot. But he’s missed a significant amount of time. This is one of the few breaks, if you want to call it a break, left prior to the stretch drive her I think it’s a good opportunity for him to get in some game situations just to fully evaluate where he’s at.
On whether Drew Doughty will avoid interactions with the referees such as Saturday’s:
Well, let’s make it clear. Let’s not sit here and blame the referees for anything. They’re quality people, the best in the business. They’re out there trying to do a good job. I’ve always said referees are like lines on the ice. They’re a part of the game, so if the blue line’s there, you’ve got to stay on side. If the red line’s there, you’ve got to get it before they ice the puck. If the referee makes a call, you deal with it. I’ve always felt as a player and as a team you need to take full control of the things that you can control, and that’s certainly one of ‘em. You never want to put your team on a situation that you have full control over. I always tell athletes you get to decide how fit you want to be. You get to decide how disciplined you want to be, and you get to decide how hard you want to compete. Those are all things we can control. Bad bounce, an unbelievable play by an opponent where he makes an extraordinary play – those are all things that you might not be able to control, but there are an awful lot of games in the game that we can control, and we need to control the things that we can control. [Reporter: He seemed like he felt really bad about it the other night. Did you kind of get that feeling from him, too?] Yes, and I sure hope so. The great thing about hockey is it’s the ultimate team game, in my opinion, and everything we do as athletes should have the best interests of the hockey team at the forefront of what we’re thinking. Drew is one of the most competitive people that I’ve ever been around. He knows how to win. He can make a difference in the hockey game. I’m sure he’s going to learn from that situation the other night because it had a big effect on the game. But we love how competitive that he is. We just want him to use that competitiveness in the right direction.
On the extent to which he was familiar with Michael Amadio prior to this season:
We’ve seen him quite a bit. He’s been with us a few years now. We certainly have seen him progress along. We’ve had a chance to see him in development camp, you see him in rookie camp, you see him in main camp, and you’ve got an opportunity to see some of his talent and ability, skill set, what he’s capable of, and we talk to the guys in Ontario quite a bit, the development guys, just to see where his game’s at and how he’s come along. You see what you see, and then you hear what you hear from people that you trust. He’s made a good progression in terms of getting established as a pro, and I think he started this year in the American League to perform at a level with the poise and offensive intuition that he showed in junior. He’s a 50-goal scorer in the Ontario Hockey League. That didn’t happen by accident. You have to have some ability, so we’ve certainly had a glimpse of what he’s capable of, but we didn’t get a chance to see him a whole lot, especially this year and being away from training camp. Missed an opportunity to see him, but we certainly had an awareness of what his skill set was and what he might be capable of.
-Additional detail on Michael Amadio saved for today’s practice report
-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI