February 17: Postgame quotes

Reign head coach Mike Stothers, on breaking three-game losing streak:
It’s always good when you win. The skid, as you referred to it, had gone on long enough. To me, one loss is a skid. I think we played well in those losses and how you explain and how you figure out tonight the pucks went in and other nights they weren’t. It’s just the nature of the game I guess. But it was good, it was good for everybody. Obviously the demeanor and the mood in the dressing room with the guys, they’re all happy and carrying on as hockey players do. So, that’s good.

Stothers, on how to keep the offense going:
It’s something that we talk about but if there was a magic phrase you could use, you’d use it all the time. During the course of the season you’re going to have stretches where you can’t buy a goal and tonight I don’t think we changed anything really other than what we talked about this morning … we went to the net a little bit better and had a little bit of traffic in front. We made it a little bit more difficult for their goalie to make saves. Maybe we were just due. I’m not going to overanalyze it because I lost enough sleep over the fact that we weren’t scoring, so we’ll just move on.

Stothers, on secondary scoring from Andrew Crescenzi:
He had a great game. Goes in, makes contact on the forecheck and we ended up scoring off of that one. And he works hard to get above in the offensive zone and make sure that they’ve got to skate through us, makes a nice play to JST. He was huge tonight. That’s exactly what we want. We need it from all the lines. If I’m not mistaken, Biss made a pass to Cres, made a pass. But that’s the contributions you need. It can’t just be the Mersches and the guys like that. It’s got to be everybody and we got that tonight. We got contributions from everybody so it was good to see.

Stothers, on Reign’s pace in the game:
I thought we skated well tonight. I thought we skated well in San Jose. I thought we skated well at home here against Bakersfield, both of those were losses. And then I didn’t think we skated as well in Stockton. That was probably one of the times … it was funny because we watched the game live obviously and then both (assistant coach) Chris (Hajt) and I, we watch the games after we play, we talk about the games. And we both said the same thing: We look slow. And that’s something we never use for our team. I don’t know how to explain that one in Stockton. Maybe Stockton was playing a quicker game and tonight we looked like a quicker team. That’s the way we need to play. We need to play with pace and we need to be the team that’s initiating and being assertive and going north. When you’re doing so, I guess everybody looks fast.

Stothers, on chemistry on Samuels-Thomas-Crescenzi-Zykov line:
Cres is the guy that probably makes things happen because he’s the centerman. We’ve had different guys, sometimes it’s Augey. It’s not always Z. But the constant is JST and Cres. If you notice, they seem to work well together. There seems to be some kind of chemistry there. And that’s basically how you put lines together. You have three guys but you usually base it on two, two guys that really get along well … and then you try to throw in that third piece. Tonight, it was Z’s turn and I thought he did a real good job for us, scored a nice goal. That’s what he needs to do. And actually, on that one Cres really outskated their defensemen and stuff like that.

Stothers, on allowing the late goal in the first:
You mean the shorthanded one we gave up? Well, we gave up one the other day with one second left in the second period, wasn’t it? Bakersfield. No, I wasn’t happy with that one. [Reporter: Is there something you try to do specifically to get out of that?] We talk about it. And then we watch it. And then we watch it again. And we watch it again. And we talk about it some more. And clearly we need to talk about it some more because it happened again. I think Newbs was trying to force something that wasn’t there, clearly. Unless he’s colorblind and didn’t realize he was passing it right onto their stick. Nobody was fooled by that one. But that happens. It’s a game. It’s a game of mistakes. What do you do? You just shrug it off and you keep marching ahead.

Stothers, on Michael Mersch’s breakaway goal:
Big Mike’s goal, did you see him pulling away with that great breakaway speed of his? Want that duly noted: There was some great speed by shown by Michael Mersch. That was a huge goal. You come back and that was what, 26 seconds into the period. So, it’s big. And that’s what you want to do. You get scored on, you respond right away. Get one back. That’s what Merschy does, makes great plays. But that was a heck of a pass from MacDermid, too. When you’ve got Big Mike at full flight, give him the puck, that’s what you do.

Stothers, on Kurtis MacDermid’s play:
He looked like he was on a mission. He made it through, oh he did take one minor. He’s been good. He’s got so much passion in his game. He’s a great teammate. For a big guy who’s probably trying to convince people that it’s not all just big and brawn and strong and tough, he can actually play. He makes some real nice plays, passes, good reads. Every once in a while he gets caught because he’s so eager to make a big hit he might get caught. He’s pretty reliable. He’s pretty dependable and he’s a big man. When he’s on the ice the other team’s not so anxious to get him wound up. That makes everybody else on our team be able to play a little bit bigger. [Reporter: How much dialog is there between the coaches and him and the leadership group too on getting him to hold back a little bit?] Depends on the game and depends on my mood. Sometimes I like when he’s a little worked up. But that’s something he has to learn and Vinny is a good veteran guy who says, “hey, now’s not the time.” You’ve got to know the clock, you’ve got to know the game, you’ve got to know the situation. There’s a time and a place for everything.

Stothers, on Scott Sabourin’s progression and game tonight:
I’m sure he would like to play a lot more than he has been and I would like to play him a lot more than he has. So, it’s a work in progress but I can tell you one thing, he’s a terrific individual, he’s a hard-working guy. Whether he’s in the lineup or he’s not in the lineup he’s a great teammate. … As you saw tonight, he hasn’t played in a month, went out and played a real good game for us. That’s what you need to do.

Michael Mersch, on any message between periods after the late goal in the first:
We thought we had a really good period. Stutts told us to keep doing what we were doing. Little breakdown there but we just kept doing what we were doing the first period. I think we had close to a little under 20 shots on goal, which is huge. We stuck to that game plan. We’ve been doing it the past couple games and just didn’t see results and tonight we were able to put six on the board. We just kept the same game plan. I thought yesterday in practice we had a really hard practice and all the guys were committed to getting pucks on net, getting in front of the net in practice and scoring goals. I think it carried over a bit into tonight’s game.

Mersch, on his goal when asked if it was on the goal line when he roofed it:
Ya, no kidding. It was a good pass by Dermy and I think with the start of the period the ice was really fresh. It kind of shot in front of me there and just kept going. Maybe that gave me a little more room behind the defenseman. Maybe the goalie was caught between coming out and pokechecking it and staying in his net. I was able to get it over. [Reporter: I just thought you surprised him.] I honestly just knew I was going to try to get it upstairs and it worked out. [Reporter: Did you know you had hands like that?] I try to work on that stuff around the net after practice and there’s a bunch of guys who do it. It pays off maybe once or twice and year and that’s it and it makes a difference.

Mersch, on getting up ice quicker and working on what the Kings want him to:
Yeah, for sure. It’s always a work in progress. Kind of just getting that speed more up ice and coming across ice a little bit more. Wingers and Dowder are really good at making plays and getting pucks up the ice. Something I’ve been working on and something I can keep working on but I think it’s getting better, I’m getting more comfortable with it. [Reporter: Are you trying to hold onto the puck a little bit longer, make some more plays?] Yeah. That’s another thing I thought coming back, I think my shot total’s probably down a little bit but I’m making a few more plays and getting other guys the puck. I think it’s allowed us to get more opportunities on goal. It’s fun when you’re making plays and giving your teammates passing and they’re scoring and stuff but that’s not just for me because that’s for everybody on this team.

Andrew Crescenzi, on his game overall and his goal:
First of all it was good to get the two points after a three-game skid. I think the team played well and my linemates kind of helped me out with that. I haven’t seen the play or hit so I have no comment on that but it was a good pass by Biss and it kind of caught the goalie off guard. I think the goalie thought he was going to shoot it. So, it was just an easy tap-in for me.

Crescenzi, on his linemates:
I think our game is just keeping it simple and kind of wearing down their defense. Whenever we can play in their zone instead of ours, cycle the puck, get shots to the net, anything like that helps our team out and gives our team momentum. That’s just what we try to do. [Reporter: What kind of things do you talk about on the bench?] Just little quick plays to the net, spinning off guys, jamming pucks. We’re not going to make the tic-tac-toe plays like other lines but we try to play heavy and a strong game down in their zone.

Crescenzi, on his two assists:
On Z’s goal I got the puck on the wing and I was going to drive the guy wide and I heard Z call for it so I just threw it back to him and he got a great shot. And then on J’s goal I kind of pick-pocketed the guy, kind of saw that he was going to throw it up the boards and [JST] opened up and I just gave him a one-timer and it’s a good shot.

Crescenzi, on how big this win is:
It’s huge. It’s big. We talk about seven-game segments we need to come out at least .500 or more. We started out 0-3 on this one so it’s good to get on the winning track and we have three more games to kind of come ahead of that.

Crescenzi, on keeping the offense going:
You just kind of don’t think about it. We kind of keep it simple and you don’t want to play it over in your head and say, “we’ve got to score, we’ve got to score.” You start gripping your stick too much. Just keeping it simple and like I said get pucks to the net, we want to get at least 30-35 shots a game. They’re going to go in eventually so you just have to keep playing the right way.

Sean Backman, on his goal off Hail Mary pass from Nic Dowd:
It’s certainly one of a kind for me. I’ve never done anything like that. Just good recognition by Dowder, seeing me get a step on the defenseman there. I thought it was going to land in front of me but when I looked up it was coming kind of short but it was still right to me so I kind of just grabbed it and got it on net.

Backman, on breaking through the scoring slump as a team:
Stutts made it loud and clear that we need to score, especially guys like me need to pick it up. To get the goals that we did tonight was good and I think it’s good for our confidence going into the weekend.

Peter Budaj, on when he got back and when he knew he would play:
I got back today at like 2 o’clock in the afternoon and talked to Stuttsy and he asked me if I was ready to go and obviously I wanted to play. Glad that he gave me a chance to play.

Budaj, on how he felt in the return:
Felt good. Obviously when we score six goals the games become much easier. I think we were due for a lot of goals the last past games I wasn’t here but I saw that we outshot the other teams heavily. … So, I think that was great of the guys. Everybody contributed. A lot of guys scored goals and got points so that’s really good for our team to kind of get over that hump of three games. … And I think the guys played great in front of me so it made my job much easier.

Budaj, on keeping tabs on the Reign while with the Kings:
Oh yeah, definitely. I talked to the boys and obviously when you lose three in a row it doesn’t matter how you play, you need to win, it’s all about winning. Sometimes … there’s going to be tough bounces, tough luck. But glad we overcomed it. They came out, they scored a goal at the end of the first to make it a game and right off the hop in the second period we took it to them and it was great. We never looked back afterwards so I think we played really hard.

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