Recap: Behind The Bench Episode Two (Stralman, Staal, Kreider, Miller)

John Tortorella

  • On the first quarter of the season, “the team is growing. Early struggles, getting better. We are getting better defensively. We are becoming more of a stiffer team.”
  • Keenan says that 94-95 is tough to compare to this shortened season because they had a training camp in the fall before the lockout.
  • On the push for the playoffs, “I think there will be some crazy thing happening. Some surprises with who makes it and who doesn’t make it. It is going to be a race until the bitter end. Three point games are huge in this situation.”
  • “I didn’t think the middle of the lineup was doing it’s job. I just wasn’t happy. I had struggles on the bench just with maneuvering people. The kids come in and play and it solidifies us. Henrik starting playing better, he had some struggles early. We have won as a team and lost as team together. “
  • Holding the lead, “we have a way to play that but no matter what happens it ends up being a bit of a cluster…a bit of a fire drill. It’s gone right through the league. There is no lead that is safe.

  • Training camp, “That camp is so important. All the teams are starting off the same. There is going to be sloppiness and it won’t settled throughout the year. It’s gonna be there all year long. That is how important that camp is, to get your concept down, to get your conditioning down. When you get tired you make some silly mistakes mentally. That turns into sloppiness. We have struggled with that”
  • What drives Marc Staal, “Winning games, playing good as a team drives you to be better as a player, a better teammate. When guys count on you they motivate you to be at your best. You don’t want to let them down. You need to hate to lose more than you love winning. Getting a big win, being part of a team is what I love the most. I love the team atmosphere. You count on your teammates like brothers.”
  • On Marc Staal, “from a coaches point of view he has played well but there are parts that have still been a struggle. I still want some bite in his game. He is not built that way, but he needs to have that demeanor on the ice. He has done a lot of good things for us.”
  • Keenan, “I think he is a cornerstone piece. Staal sets the bar on defense.”
  • On Stralman, “When he first came here I didn’t know who he was and I really didn’t like him that much. He has really grown on me. He has learned to play harder. He plays hard, he can move a puck. One of the things that I thought was that he gave in and give his problems to someone else when he was tired and I think he learned mentally to fight through it and finish a shift the proper way. He has made tremendous strides there. We are teaching all the time there. There is a lot of tape work involved and he has accepted it. We bounce him all over. He has been a really good pick up for us.
  • Hagelin, “the harder I work the more energy I have.”
  • On Carl Hagelin, “I joke with Hags because he doesn’t make pretty passes, he does it with his legs. He creates so much offense with his forechecking and his quickness when he ends up with the puck. Him and Stepan have really played well together.”
  • Keenan on speed, “it’s game breaking. He can get on the puck and get open quickly. He is dangerous. Speed is a huge component of a team.”
  • “yesterday, today and tomorrow” The three days a week for coaches according to Mike Keenan
  • Tortorella breaks down a shift in the final two minutes against Washington where he chose to put JT Miller on the ice over Jeff Halpern. Tortorella said that he wanted to see what Miller could do in that spot. Overall, Tortorella thought that Miller had good positioning, but after making a good play along the boards to steal the puck, he lost and Tortorella said “I’m wetting my pants on the bench thinking ‘why didn’t I put Halpern out.'” Miller was also late to cover a player in the slot that led to a broken play and a scoring chance for Washington.
  • On Miller, “he has made a difference. He has an arrogance about him. Some strut about him. I worry that it will go to the other side, and it has in certain situations. I like the kid. He isn’t afraid, he isn’t afraid to make something happen on the ice. The ice time he is getting and why he is here is because he deserves to be here. He is learning how we play defense, for a young kid it’s always you can’t hurt us. I like the way he carries himself as long as he stays on the right side of the line.”
  • On Kreider, “I think Chris can be a player like Hags is. I don’t think he is as quick as Hags, but his top end speed is a major asset. I don’t think he is using that. Our game today is played without the puck and that fits into Chris perfectly. I would like to see him create more offense with his fore check. I don’t think he has been assertive enough in that areas. He is still a young man and is going through the process.
  • On the playoffs, “Kreider came into the lineup and did some really good things, but I had to take him out of the lineup because there were some struggles. You gotta be really careful that when a kid comes in and does that you can’t just abandon it and say “he has arrived” Chris has not arrived, he has a lot of work to do. He has has tremendous assets with his size, skating, shot, balance, everything about him. I just don’t want to screw him up by asking him to do too much or put him in situations where he is always failing and that knocks him down. It could change in a week.
  • Friends with other head coaches, “it depends what part of the year, when it is during the season I wanna beat them like a drum. There are some really good people. One of the best parts is to meet those people and talk when not in a pressure situation.
  • On Torts and the media, “I am just handling the questions the best I can. Everyone has different perceptions about you and most of them are untrue. I really don’t care what people think. I care about the team and that is who I want to be with. I don’t want to offend anyone. I make my own bed. I am not good at it after games. I am so wrapped up in the game that it is very difficult, win or loss, to go answer questions.
  • Keenan, “it’s hard to make that separation  after games especially if you are so competitive like I know John is.”