January 5: Postgame quotes

Head coach Mike Stothers, on Justin Auger’s game and confidence:
It’s great for Augs. It was great for all of us. That was a major goal outburst by us. It was good. We needed it. It’s good for Augs. Actually, he’s played very well lately and hasn’t been getting much credit for it. He’s doing a lot of things. He wants to step up his game, he wants to be a difference-maker and he certainly was tonight. When you see a guy that’s that big, powerful, actually skates very well for his size, has deceptively good hands for his size too. I hope it can continue. It’s great to see and it’s much needed for our team.

Stothers, on what it is about Gravel and his ability to score big goals:
I don’t know. I don’t know, but man, oh man, he steps it up when you need him. That’s a sign of good character. And I think I mentioned it earlier in the year. I see a lot of leadership in Gravs. He could be a captain someday. That’s the type of response you want to see. He plays pretty consistent for us, plays steady, and the few nights that he’s off he takes it personally. He wants to be a big-game guy. It sure was nice to see that puck go in the back of the net.

Stothers, on if Monday’s recovery day achieved what he had hoped:
Anytime they get a day away from me they come back with some good energy. I keep hoping that you guys will get tired of me and give me a day. It was good. We talked about it with you guys after the game the other night. We’re a glass half full. We don’t beat each other up. It’s unnecessary and it can’t happen in a team sport. We know that we’re not always going to succeed, but as long as the effort’s there and we try and we work, which these guys do on most nights, you’ve got a chance, and that’s the way we approach them, hey, we’ve got a chance.

Stothers, on a wide-open first and any adjustments that were made for the second:
Well, we really didn’t want it to be wide open at all. I know you guys … You’ve done your homework and you saw how many goals that this team could score. I mean, that’s the wrong brand of hockey that we wanted to be playing against those guys. And then, of course, you see how quickly they can strike. They get one, they get two. So we wanted to make sure we were taking away their time and space. We wanted to make sure we had good gaps. We wanted to make sure we were taking away their speed. We wanted to make sure we were staying on top of them. And you know what, we did a good job. The few times we didn’t, they take advantage of it. Man, oh man, that team’s got a lot of … You’ve got your lineup card and you’re looking and you’re trying to match line for line. And you’ve got our guys’ points against their guys’ points and you’re looking right down the middle. There’s a big discrepancy there. We had to play a good team game.

Stothers, on how Dowd is doing taking on more minutes:
Dowder’s doing great. He takes a lot of responsibility upon himself. Sometimes he puts too much pressure on himself to be the guy. I trust him. Put him out there in all kinds of situations and because of that trust I saw him evolve and develop a lot last year and grow up and mature and he’s a real good hockey play. He thinks the game well. He understands the game. He’s a very sharp individual. Not much gets by Dowder.

Stothers, on what was said before OT and the team not getting discouraged:
Our philosophy on overtime is pretty much the same all the time: every shot’s a good shot. Never pass up an opportunity to put it at the net, never pass up an opportunity to put it into the blue paint. That’s a big part of it. The other thing you want to stress is don’t miss the net. Because it’s going around and it’s coming back and it’s an odd-man situation going the other way. You don’t too often finesse a puck into the back of the net. Just shoot it. Just put it on net. I was really happy with the way that we didn’t get discouraged. We had a two-nothing lead and it was different on the bench. The shoulders didn’t slump, the heads didn’t bow down. They were like, ‘hey, no big deal, we’ll get this.’ And that’s what you want to see from your team. Even if things haven’t been going great for us lately, and hey, one game does not make a winning streak. But, you know what, it could have been very easily with the way things have gone for us of late to say, ‘oh geez, tonight’s not the night either, maybe the next one.’ Not with this group. They’re never out of it and they stick together and they play hard. That’s why I like coming to the rink every day. I’ll be right back on the ice with them tomorrow.

Stothers, on if he’s seen the group discouraged at all this season:
I thought maybe for the first time I saw a little bit of it after the second period last game. You feel the mood of your guys and you just know their personalities. And I think you guys know our guys. They’re pretty boisterous and talkative and outgoing. When they’re quiet, there’s something wrong. Either they’re afraid of what’s going to come out of my mouth, or they’re just … you could just see it. They looked a little … for the first time I said to them, I said, you guys looked a little fragile. I don’t like that word. That’s not the makings of team. That’s not the makings of a rough and tough hockey team. So we addressed it between the second and third and I thought we were much better in the third. Maybe they needed to hear it from me that I wasn’t mad or pissed off at them. Hey, we got ourselves into this situation, we’ve got to get ourselves out. It’s just a gentle reminder, OK maybe not so gentle, but it was a reminder nonetheless.

Stothers, on when we can expect to see Adrian Kempe back from World Juniors:
I don’t know when Kempe’s coming back for sure. I know have some kind of an itinerary that’s buried on my desk somewhere, but it was kind of out of sight out of mind. I’m sure he’ll be back for the weekend. How he is when he comes back is anybody’s guess. I’ve had a lot of experience with em coming back it junior. It usually takes 3-5 games for the actual individual to show up. I will try to expedite that process for all of us. It’s going to be nice to see him come through the door, but he’s going to need some time.

Stothers, on if he has an update on Kris Newbury:
Oh boy. Yes and no. It’s not what we thought it was, which is good. The timeframe that they gave him was the same, so I was like, ‘OK then, why don’t we just go ahead and correct this situation,’ but it wasn’t what they thought it was. There’s a chance that with some time to let things settle down that he’ll be able to rejoin us, but realistically I don’t think it’s going to be this weekend. But hey, glass is half full. It’s not as bad as it was, so maybe he’ll be out there tomorrow at Center Ice with us.

Justin Auger, on his first goal of the game:
I thought he was going to cover it so I was just going in there trying to make him cover it and he decided to play it and luckily when [he] tried to play it it hit me right in the stomach, fell right in front and I just hit it in the net. (Reporter: Were you kind of surprised by that?) Yeah, I didn’t expect him to do that. Like I said I thought he was going to cover it and obviously he felt confident enough he was going to get it down and I just got in the way and it all worked out.

Auger, on his second goal and his confidence:
You get one and the confidence starts flowing a little bit. We’ve been having trouble putting pucks in the net lately. We got one there and obviously it felt good and you have more confidence shooting the puck.

Auger, on the OT goal and if he thought about shooting:
Obviously, I thought about it and I just figured Gravs was too wide open not to pass to him. He’s had some luck in overtime before too. He’s got the hot stick in overtime.

Auger, on the feeling after Texas tied it:
We’re never worried. We know what kind of team we have in there. We know what kind of guys we are. Never quit attitude and it’s been that way all year. They tied up the game and we were confident, you know, it was one shot away, one shot away. And we went into overtime there and it’s just throw pucks on net and we’re going to get the next one.

Kevin Gravel, on his game-winner in OT:
Dowder made a good play. He kind of chased the puck down to the corner off his rebound and then popped it to Augie. Augie made a good play. He hung onto it for a while, he got the goalie to bite on him and slid it over and I had nothing but net to shoot at and fortunately it went in for us.

Gravel, on his knack for OT winners this year:
I don’t know really. Those are both just ones I threw on net. Neither one of them left the ice. I think the combined mile an hour’s probably 50. That’s what it takes. Stutts before the overtime just said no shot’s a bad shot. I think you saw that before we scored guys were throwing pucks on net from everywhere on that 3 on 3 and that’s what that goal came off of was a rebound that went into the corner and Dowder went and chased it down and ultimately it ended up in the back of the net. When you get your chances, especially when we’ve been kind of hurting for goals, you throw pucks on net and good things happen.

Gravel, on snapping the losing streak and sticking with the process:
It’s a long season. You’ve just got to stick with it. Obviously we don’t want to go on a skid like we did but in the long run it’s three games out of a 68-game season. Those things are going to happen. It’s never going to go perfectly for you. We’ve got a lot of leadership, a lot of great guys in that locker room that just kind of stay the course. … Threw pucks on net tonight, got a couple goals. Augie had a great game for us, stepped up. We just stick with it. We’re confident in the group that we have and tonight we came out on top.

Nic Dowd, on finally getting a win:
It felt good. It was a little disappointing when they tied it up and forced us to go into overtime, but they’re a good team and that’ll happen. It was good. I’m glad we came out on top tonight. It was good for the morale, good for the team.

Dowd, on how important it was to have Monday off to regroup:
It is important and it’s important that guys take advantage of it. There’s a difference between a rest day, an active rest day, where you’re doing stuff to get yourself better away from the rink than sitting around on your couch and watching movies and eating junk food all day, which isn’t going to help you, might as well come to the rink. I know a lot of guys on our team took advantage of it yesterday because we don’t have a lot of off days in the upcoming days and we have so many games. It was good, it was a good mental break and I think the guys were refreshed today and I think it showed.

Dowd, on sticking with it after Texas scored two goals:
People are going to score. They’re going to tie games up. We’re going to do it to teams and teams are bound to do it to us. It’s a great league and they’re a really good team. I thought guys fought through a little bit of adversity tonight and nothing changed in our game and I think that kind of showed in overtime when we were able to finally seal it.

Peter Budaj, on the importance of the win and turning things around:
Sometimes during the course of the season you’re going to have some tough stretches and we just went through one. It’s very good to get this win, especially against a really, really good team. They have a really strong team with a lot of offensive power. We stuck together, we stuck with the game plan and guys played great in front of me and Augie had a great game and it was just a good team effort.

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