December 13: Postgame quotes

Reign head coach Mike Stothers, on the game:
It was great that we tied it up and then found a way to win in overtime but I mean that’s a long time to play without scoring. That’s a long time to play with, they got one goal and any breakdown or penalty or something could cost ya. It’s nerve-wracking, but you know what, that’s a good way for us to learn and play in those close games, important games and pressure games. We’ll take it.

Stothers, on having a tough time breaking out:
We talked about it before the game. They’ve always forechecked us hard and they come in, they’re aggressive. Not so much on a physical part. They get in on ya in a hurry. They try to rush your plays. Some of them we just didn’t execute very well. I don’t think so much it was our D getting it to the forwards, but the forwards weren’t quite in the right position to receive it properly. Some of that I attribute to maybe taking poor routes to handle the puck clean. But overall, again you get four points on the weekend I’m not going to be too critical.

Stothers, on Valentin Zykov’s play developing:
The key is to just sit him out (laughs). Z’s awesome. He’s a great kid and he’s got the world of ability and he’s going to be a great player and he’s going to play. Again, I talked about it before. He sat out because of numbers. I do want to emphasize the fact that these guys have to earn the right to be in the lineup. … You’ve got to earn it every night. He’s played hard. He’s played extremely well. When he’s on the ice things are happening so I think that’s a great attribute that he has and he took that sitting out and took it as a positive to make sure once he got in it’s going to be pretty hard to take him back out.

Stothers, on first impressions of Curt Gogol:
Well I saw a pretty good dustup today. Looked like both of those guys were swinging for the fences. Wasn’t much defense involved in that fight. They weren’t really feeling each other out. It was spirited and I think that’s kind of what we were expecting when we got him. He’s an energy guy. He’s fearless and I thought he gave us two good games.

Stothers, on Peter Budaj’s play:
He’s been rock solid for us. He just has a calming influence from the net out. Even when it looks like there’s chaos in our zone at times, he has a unique way of just staying cool and calm under pressure and making big saves when we need him.

Stothers, on Michael Mersch’s call-up:
The first game I watched it from start to finish. Every time he was on the ice I keyed right in. I thought he was great. I thought he did a great job. I didn’t get to see as much yesterday. Something got in the way yesterday (laughs) … I thought he played extremely well. I guess the most telling thing for me is obviously there’s some confidence that Daryl has in him, the way he was used, the situations late in the game he’s on the ice. I think he’s impressed them. I don’t know if he’s impressed them as much as he’s impressed us here. It’s just a matter of time before they can see what Big Mike can do. I’m happy for him. I hope he just keeps playing.

Stothers, on Kevin Gravel’s game:
Gravs is so reliable, so dependable. He’s such a good defender. He’s got a great stick. Another guy that seems to elevate his play when you need a big play or a goal. Not that he’s an offensive guy, but you know what, he just seems to have an ability to raise the level of his play. I see him all the time so I can say what I want about him but I think he’s close. I think he’s really close and he’s knocking on the door. If he gets an opportunity he’s going to do the same thing as Big Mike – he’ll impress.

Stothers, on why he scratched Ryan Horvat:
I affectionally call him Bronco. I think he’s had seven fights for us and I admire him for that but I wasn’t overly enamored with the two penalties he took last night. We’re 21 games into it, we talked about it, said we didn’t have any extra bodies and both penalties are in the offensive zone … both of them behind the net. Little details. I think as we talked about with the other guys, sometimes you just need a little gentle reminder the details that all of us need to have. He won’t be out long. He’s too valuable to us.

Stothers, on changing the lines a lot:
Right out of the bullet blender. Whatever was spitting out that’s what was coming out. We threw Kempe in there a couple times. It was hard, Gogol took the fighting major and then we changed things up. We tried to get it back, but you know what, I think Bronco will come back even hungrier than he was before. He’s a darn good player for us. Every once in a while I even get mad at my own kids. Doesn’t mean I don’t love them. We’ll hug it out.

Stothers, on Adrian Kempe leaving to play in World Juniors for Sweden:
They’re just taking all our left wingers. Yes, Kempe’s leaving tomorrow. He’ll be going to joining World Juniors so he’ll be out of the lineup a little bit, which again, creates opportunities for other guys. I’m hoping that Kempe goes over there and shows the world how good he is. I hope he’s the best player in the tournament and I hope Canada wins.

Kevin Gravel, on staying positive during what could be a frustrating game:
I think one of attributes of our team that we do really well is we stay positive, we stick with the process. We were getting our chances. They weren’t going in first, but we don’t really let frustration set in. We kind of just stuck to what we did well and that was continuing to get pucks to the net, crashing the net and eventually two fell for us there.

Gravel, on San Jose and their forechecking success:
I think (what) San Jose does really well is stay over the top of our forwards in the neutral zone and our D-zone. Their D come down on our winger and puts a lot of pressure on us. Their forwards come hard on our D. The onus is on the defensemen to make a couple plays, couple quick bumps to the middle or short area passes that kind of open it up a little bit and get the puck in our forwards’ hands with speed. Once we started to do that a little bit we started to get more chances in the offensive zone which is what we’re looking for.

Gravel, on his goal and if he saw an opening:
I saw Dowder cut to the middle and I just tried to beat my guy up the ice and then he made a good play and dropped it to me there. To be honest I didn’t really see anything open. I just kind of threw it on net. I was originally looking for Brodzinski back door but I then I kind of got a little too in tight and decided to throw it on net. I don’t how it went in. I didn’t even know it went in. I rounded the net and saw the puck in the back of the net. I’ll take that every day though.

Gravel, on 3-on-3 overtime:
That’s the thing with 3-on-3, if you miss your chance one way it’s normally going back the other way on an odd-man rush so you’ve got to make your opportunities count. Three-on-three is kind of fun to play.

Gravel, on Mersch’s call-up:
He’s one of my best friends too, he’s my roommate right now. I watched his first game, I thought he played well. I talked to him after the game just to see how he felt, see how things were going. I thought he made a lot of nice plays out there. He was out there with two minutes left up by a goal, which is a good sign. We had a game the next night when his game was so we weren’t able to watch that one but he’s playing well. I think he played something like 15 minutes the second game so that’s a good sign.

Justin Auger, on the resiliency of the group:
We never give up. That’s what Stuttsy preaches and there’s been many times where we’ve scored four or five goals within five minutes. Everyone’s confident that they can do it. There’s no remorse from our team. We’re just going to keep pouncing no matter what the score is.

Auger, on his goal:
I was just rolling high and I saw Backy shoot it. Obviously I’m going to try to get to the front of the net and provide a screen or get in the shot lane, kind of interrupt the goalie in any way or the shot in any way and it just happened to hit my stick. I had my stick in the right place at the right time and obviously it just found its way in. We knew that was going to be how we were going to score, we weren’t going to get a pretty goal on this guy. We were battling all night and throwing pucks at his feet and those are the goals that we’re going to have to get on these nights.

Nic Dowd, on playing with different players all night:
It’s a little challenging for everybody. It’s nice to get in a rhythm playing with the guys that you’re on the board with at the beginning of the game. You get out there and then you have new guys every shift and eventually good players are going to make plays and we’re going to be fine and we’re going to be all right. Stuttsy’s not going to let you use that as an excuse. I thought we did well. Stuff like that happens, it’s going to happen.

Dowd, on when he got hurt:
Gravs, fricking Gravs. He scores a goal but he (shoots a) one-timer right into my elbow. So yeah, it’s just one those things where it kept flaring up throughout the game in random points and I’m just glad I didn’t have to take a lot of faceoffs after it happened, but nothing too serious. I just blocked his shot in the O-zone. (Reporter: It seems like you fell awkwardly around that point, was it because of that?). It was just a shot. Someone else said I fell but probably just fell because I fell. I don’t know. (Laughs). Happens all the time. It was just a shot. Puck hit me there and that was it.

Dowd, on Mersch getting called up:
It’s good. Any time a teammate and a linemate especially, I’m pretty close with Mike so, anytime to see a guy like that have success and make his dream come true is awesome. Obviously it gives hope to the rest of us too that hopefully one day we can also have that same success and get called up and make our dream come true. I was really happy for Mike and hopefully we never see him again. (Reporter: Did you watch his game?). Yeah it was at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and I was taking my dog for a walk. I kept up with him. I was constantly updating my Twitter feed. I was half expecting to see ‘Mersch scores’ on there. I’m sure he’ll get his first soon.

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