Ulf Samuelsson was a guest on TSN Radio yesterday:
- On coming back to the NHL and to the Rangers, “I took the job in Sweden to get a head coaching gig on my resume and I was always intrigued about coming back to the NHL and working with the top athletes in the world again and this opportunity came about. It was a very easy decision to come aboard and join an organization where I knew a lot of people, not necessarily the coaching staff, not the coaching staff which is all new but I know people in manage and the team for sure.”
- On MODO and the caliber of hockey, “I worked with Markus Naslund and he was the GM and set up a great set up. We ran an NHL team on a lower budget and we had all the means we needed. The hockey side is the same but the biggest difference is that it’s hard to produce scoring chances on the bigger ice. They are both fun to play on, but with the bigger ice surface you have more space away from the net so you get a lot of choices for a forward coming down the wing, should I make a skill play or just glide wide and end up in the corner. A lot of times in the NHL the players try to make those high risk plays and it results in turnovers.”
- On his role with the Rangers, “I will work with the D and a little bit on PKing. We have had some meetings in NY and AV is very thorough. We have dug in deep and gone over a lot of details as we get going.”
- On working with the Rangers defense, “I am looking forward to it . It’s a different gig from when you are a head coach to an assistant coach. There is more time to dig into the details of each player on the bench and work on whatever they are good at and what they need to get better at. I take my experience as a player and knowing how they think and how they should react and act in each moment in the game. It’s so much fun and I am looking forward to it.”
- On Brad Richards and players looking lost, “I think, honestly, Brad is going to be a key player for us. He is only 33 years old and isn’t at the point where he is old and slowing down. The shortened season and the preparation of last year probably impacted him cause I have watched him so many years. He is tremendous at creating scoring chances for himself and other players. I know he has trained really hard this summer and is anxious to bounce back. He will be given every opportunity to succeed and I think he will take it and run.”
- On his style of play and how the game has evolved, “I think the game is great right now. It is so fast, when you are at ice level, it’s a tremendous thing to watch. The coaching is so structured, I think it’s the best game in the world and the league has done a great job at taking some of the gray areas out since they were slowing the talent down. Now it’s more of a free-wheeling skill game.”
- I am still very competitive and standing behind the bench I feel like I am almost playing. It’s one of the things that bring me back to coaching. It’s a great feeling to be part of a team and going for it.