Head coach Mike Stothers, on Derek Army’s play in debut:
I liked Derek Army tonight. I thought he had a real good game for us. That’s a tough situation. He gets up this morning, he flies and gets here at noon and checks into a hotel and gets pregame and right back to the rink. Did a real good job. Won a faceoff for us, we ended up scoring a goal. Had another couple of good plays, shot off the pads and I think Backs just missed the net. He provided what we were looking for. He made some plays. He didn’t look out of place there. I’m sure he was a little bit nervous and probably a little overwhelmed. So, hopefully tomorrow he’ll be more comfortable and provide us with even more.
Stothers, on breaking power play’s scoreless streak of 0-for-+30:
You’re a numbers guy, huh? You an accountant? You can do my taxes, too. Yeah, I don’t put a number on it but it had been a long time. It was good to see. It was good to see it go in the back of the net. I was happy for those guys. I was happy for Dowder to score. Maybe it’s a good thing for him and maybe it’s a good thing for our power play and better things are in front of us.
Stothers, on Kris Newbury’s status after being out tonight:
It’s not the foot. (Note: Newbury broke his left foot earlier in the season, missing 12 games). It’s something new and I’m not trying to evade the question, but we’re not sure what it is or what’s going on yet. It could be quite a while.
Stothers, on the energy being better tonight than New Year’s Eve:
Listen, you can tell from my demeanor today that I’m a lot happier than I was after the previous game. I thought we played hard. I thought we did a lot of good things. The end result wasn’t what we were looking for, but when you consider what we have and what we’re capable of, I thought the guys played their backsides’ off. I told them that. I’ll never complain if we don’t win the game or we fall a little bit short so long’s the effort’s there. And we had energy, we had effort, we had chances, we had a physical presence, we skated. We did a lot of things a lot better than we did the other night. So, you know what, I’m excited for us to play tomorrow at 3 o’clock and get right back at it and build off of what we had going tonight.
Stothers, on if he watched Kempe today at World Juniors:
I did not. It’s been tough to watch those World Junior games. We’ve been busy preparing for opponents and running our own show here and trying to keep this ship going in the right direction. I can’t really control what Kempe’s doing with Team Sweden, the time change and everything else. It has been tough but I get updates and everything seems to be encouraging and positive. I’m just so glad that he wasn’t injured on that hit and he’s been able to respond and looks like he’s playing what we expected from Kempe. I guess I just keep crossing off the days till he can come back.
Derek Army, on his experience in his first game:
It’s a cool environment. When you get the call to come out to California and be in Ontario and guys said the crowd’s unbelievable here, the team’s unbelievable. For me, it was kind of a surreal moment. To come out here and play as well as we did, I think a couple bounces our way and you have a different result, but it was definitely a cool experience and a good way to start. Tough to not get the two points but you’ve got to build from that and coach said he liked our effort and we’ve just got to keep moving forward.
Army, on the last 24 hours for him:
I got the call yesterday. I was in Wheeling at like 4 and they were like, ‘hey, we might get you out tonight,’ and I was like, ‘OK, just let me know.’ And then it’s like, ‘no, we’re going to get you out in the morning.’ So, I drove to Pitt. Stayed in the hotel there. Left at 5:40 east, flew to Phoenix, Phoenix to Ontario. Missed pregame skate, got in and checked my gear in and went back, took a nap and here I am. It was a long few hours, but a good way to start the new year.
Army, on if the quickness of trip makes just playing the game easier:
I think for me, my game, especially coming in, I want to keep it simple. I want to do what they tell me to do and I want to try and help the team as best as I can. Get in and forecheck, get pucks to the net. I think that’s got to be the goal for me: keep it simple and do what coach says.
Army, on playing with Backman and Zykov:
Those guys are unbelievable players. You can see Z, he’s got some unbelievable skill and he’s got so much speed. Backs, a great player and real shifty. I thought we had some really good chances in the third, and second we were all over the net. Just didn’t go in. And that happens but I think you build from that and I thought they played unbelievable and made it easy to play with, that’s for sure.
Army, on what it was like joining the team on short notice:
It’s tough. Fortunately for me I’ve been called up a couple of times. It’s easy when there’s good guys and, for me, I came in and the guys were great right away, introduced themselves. Told me to keep it simple. Because I’m not going to lie to you, my heartbeat was like a 1,000 beats per minute and they were just like, ‘hey, keep it simple, play your game.’ They make it easy, they calmed me down pretty quickly so thankfully the guys were great.
Jonny Brodzinski, on team’s struggle scoring goals:
I thought we played a really good game today and we had a lot of really good chances. The puck just didn’t go in the net today. There’s some moments where we need to bear down on our opportunities and there’s some moments where maybe you need a kick or two. But I don’t think there’s really any excuse for it, just a matter of putting the puck in the back of the net.
Brodzinski, on the start today and if they felt better than the NYE loss:
Every period last game, the first, second and third we came out extremely slow so today I think that was the big thing, just get on them right away and just don’t let them up. They had a few bounces that went their way and I feel like we didn’t capitalize on some of our opportunities. The first three power plays we had we didn’t score on, so, I mean, that was huge. They scored on their first one.
Brodzinski, on the power play struggles and if the team had been talking about it:
Oh, for sure. Every single day that’s been harped on. It was huge to get that power play goal today, kind of get that off our backs now and we can hopefully take off on the power play. (Reporter: Is it a systematic change, are you trying to make adjustments to the system or just adhering to those systems and finding a spot to put the puck in the back of the net?) Just putting pucks to the net was basically the big thing. There were a few power plays where we didn’t even get a shot on goal. We tried it a little different, put two guys in front of the net and just throw pucks at the net. Literally get down to the basics, just putting pucks to the net and we had bodies in front so it worked out.
Andrew Crescenzi, on if him taking shot to the face provided a spark:
I heard it, I didn’t know if it was for us or them, but I heard the crowd go.
Crescenzi, on how many stitches he got to upper lip:
I’m not sure, 11 or 12.
Crescenzi, on the effort tonight being better than NYE:
We didn’t have our best effort (that night) … I think that was pretty obvious, but tonight we came out pretty well and the outcome wasn’t the way we wanted it but I feel like we’re making strides in the right direction and we’ve just got to build off that for tomorrow’s game.
Crescenzi, on the message from Stothers going into tomorrow:
Just build off it, like I said. We did some things right tonight and I think if we carry that over to tomorrow we’ll have success.
Crescenzi, on breaking the power play drought:
It was huge for us. We were in a pretty big drought there but hopefully that picks up the team and we keep rolling.
Crescenzi, on if he said anything to Gravel (whose shot hit him in face):
No, it’s part of the game. You can’t do anything about it. It’s all good.