Recap: Behind The Bench Episode One

  • TortorellaMike Keenan was not on the show.
  • On the shortened season, “It’s important to try and win each and every game and not go through a process where you need 10 or 15 games to find your team. You need to be ready right now and try to get into the win column as soon as you can.”
  • On shortening the bench, “I am on open book when the game starts but I am going to play my top players quite a bit because it will help them come March and April with the conditioning part of it. I am not going to wait for a process of trying to chip out mistakes or let a player play through it. You wont bench a guy for one mistake, but you need short term thinking as you try to win that game. We have 8 or 9 guys who have played over 20 minutes a night so far and that will probably continue.”
  • Expectations, “our team has changed a little bit. We make a deal and lose a couple of players, but it was the right deal. To get a player like Nash, that only comes around a couple of times in this game. We lose a Fedotenko, a Prust, a Mitchell, we lose a little bit of the middle of our lineup. It’s been a bit of a struggle with the middle of our lineup so far. The expectations, we need to learn to handle that.”
  • “I am not able to move people like I did last year. Our depth is hurt with the deal and losing some of those people. I think we upgraded in our top end but we got a little weaker in the middle of our lineup. We gotta work through that and try to find our team and our identity.”
  • On Nash, “He is a world class player. It was the right deal, we gave up good players, but Nasher can do everything. He is becoming a penalty killer. He is a power forward coming off the right side. He was very well coached in Columbus and he understands the play away from the puck. He is a guy I am going to count on him for 22, 23, 24 minutes per game, but he can handle that. The thing that I love about him is that he is a star player in our league but he has no maintenance to him. Very quiet, just wants to play and wants to be here at this time in his career. I think it’s a good situation for both parties.”

  • On line changes and too many men on the ice, “it isn’t complicated and that is what has frustrated me so much. I usually have two lines ready to go. Each one of the lines knows the center or winger they are going to take. They need to know and watch that player come to the bench before they can make the change. To have it happened as often as we have, it has nothing to do with a lockout or training camp, it’s just a lack of concentration.
  • Brian Boyle is “driven” and when asked what drives him, he says “My family has sacrificed a lot, time, money, to get me to where I am now. I want to make my folks proud. I look at it like it’s my life, it’s my passion, it’s what I do and am very lucky. What drives me is trying to win and being a champion.”
  • Marty Biron is mic’d up.
  • Mike Sullivan and Benoit Allaire share an office and Biron and Allaire speak in french and mention Sullivan’s name to mess with him.
  • Marian Gaborik put snow in Sullivan’s gloves and Jim Schoenfeld was blamed for it.
  • On Marty Biron, “the way I handle Marty is that I walk away when I am starting to talk to him because if you stand still you never get away from him. I talk quite a bit over my shoulder with him, no lie. Him and Hank are polar opposites in how they handle themselves. I think Marty has been good for Hank, he is a great teammate. We don’t do what we do last year if he doesn’t play the way he plays. With Marty Biron he is at a great stage, along with the organization, for where he is in his career.”
  • On how many games Biron may play, “It’s nine, ten, eleven. If we get behind the eight ball then you never know what changes. I have changed a lot of different things just as we have gotten started.”
  • John Tortorella explains battles along the wall and how important that is
  • On teaching with tape, “there is more of it this year. I think that is where teaching the concept will happen. The guys came to me, and we lost to Pittsburgh with no legs, and they asked me if we could do our teaching in the tape room rather than the ice. We will lose energy in the games if we keep practicing on the ice.”
  • On being flexible, “A lot of people don’t think I am, but I am anyway. I think being flexible and being stubborn and knowing when to be either or is very important for a coach. I’m relying on the players as far as the information they give me. I have been with the guys of our team for three or four years and I trust them and I think they trust me and the coaching staff. That is what needs to happen this year because I just don’t know how they feel. I may have practiced them too hard and I think it impacted them in a few games. They basically told me that.”
  • On the players who talk to Tortorella, “It’s usually Cally, Richie and Staalsie that will come talk to me and throw some thoughts at me. Then I will ask them to get a consensus from the team and they did that last week. They told me “we’re dead, we haven”t been able to recover from your practices. We know you hate hearing this, but we have to be honest with you.” I was upset because I didn’t think they should be so tired from a 35 minute practice so I told them to talk to the team and then come back to me. They came back to me and it was a consensus that they couldn’t recover.”
  • “There is a mutual respect and that is what is so neat and I am very fortunate to have. I know that this isn’t a lazy hockey team and they want to take the next step and I know they care.”
  • Can you be patient? “It’s a great question and a loaded question. With some things you need to be patient and others you can’t be, you just don’t have the time. I need to be patient with the players and listen to the players as we go through here and I am going to, already have. When it’s game time, I can’t keep putting out a player who I don’t think is going to help us win that game. In a normal season you give them more time to go through the process. I need to see what the flow of the game is and what the momentum is. I will overload with that this year.”
  • On what he did during the lockout, “I spent a lot of time working with the animal shelters and dog shelters. We spent a ton of our time there working with them and other charities.”