March 6: Bus Texts with Stothers

After every Reign road game I’ll try to catch up with head coach Mike Stothers from the bus (this time, to the team hotel) to get some texts on his assessment of the game. Here’s what he had to say after Sunday’s road rout of San Antonio.

Reign 5, Rampage 1
Ontario used a three-goal first period (Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Sean Backman and Nic Dowd) to rout San Antonio in a road win after going a week without a game. It was Michael Mersch and Kevin Gravel’s first game back with Ontario since being with the Kings and Brett Sutter’s first with the team after being acquired at the NHL trade deadline. Defenseman Kurtis MacDermid had to leave the game in the third after a punch from behind by Daniel Maggio, which Stothers emphatically addresses in this post. MacDermid did return to the bench, but did not take another shift.

ORI: Obviously a great start. Guys looked fresh after not playing for a week. How pleased were you with the start and how much was that talked about going in?
Stothers: We scored ten seconds into the game, a good way to start but I did not think we played very well. We looked like a team that had a long layoff between games. Mishandling pucks, some missed assignments. Perhaps it was timing related, or the ice conditions. In any case we have played better, and lost. So I suppose I should be happy that we were a little off and still found a way to win.
ORI: Mersch scores in his return. Very Mersch-like goal. How were he and Gravel tonight in your opinion?
Stothers: It’s always great to have those two in the lineup. They bring so much to the team on, and off, the ice. Both very reliable and dependable. They help our penalty killing immensely (Note: PK finished 6-for-6). As a coach you just know what you are going to get from these guys every shift. They raise the level of their teammates as well.
ORI: How was Sutter in his debut? Saw he got some PK time already.
Stothers: Brett did very well considering it was his first game with a new team and systems. He may have been nervous but he certainly did not let on. He worked hard, played his position and played the right way.
ORI: Looked like MacDermid came back to the bench late, but did not play. How is he doing?
Stothers: Dermy took a hell of a shot to the face on a sucker punch from Maggio. No excuse, or explanation can ever justify what he did. That’s the type of crap that injures people and has no business in our game. He fights McGrattan toe to toe and knocks him out cold with a well placed punch to the jaw. What the hell does he think is going to happen when he sucker punches Dermy? He could have seriously injured Kurtis or ended his career. I have no time, and zero patience, for an act of such cowardice. The more I watch it the more sickened I become. That’s not a sign of toughness it’s an act of stupidity. There is no room for that crap in our game or anywhere else for that matter. First name gutless, last name stupid.

Here is video of the incident, courtesy of Sheng Peng:

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