Quotes from Practice: November 27
On reassigning Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly to Norfolk
One, we want them to play a little more. Devo [Devante Smith-Pelly] sat out the one night and it was going to be Emerson’s turn. We want to make sure they’re playing more often. The other thing is, and I talked to both of them last night about it, is the consistency. They played good games and bad games, then a good game and a bad game. We want them to play on a consistent basis with good games, and in this league it’s tough. We don’t know if any of them are going to be long-term or short-term, but the last time we sent Emerson down last year, he came back a much better player. We’re thinking that’s going to happen again.
On the message he's giving to the team as a result of recent struggles on the road
I’m telling them we have to be better. I don’t understand what the thought process is on a lot of them. We went through all the video on the breakdowns from last night and it’s stuff we just talked about in the third period. Guys are losing their concentration a little bit quicker than they’ve done in the past. It’s one of the things we worked on today and we'll work on it more tomorrow. Hopefully this weekend and beyond, we’re a lot better at it.
On the Calgary Flames
If you look back at the history, I think the last five games in our building have been 3-2 or something like that. Every game we’ve played them has been a one-goal game. In the last 12 or 13 games we’ve played them, every game has been a one-goal game. It’s going to be a tough game. It always is with Calgary. They have a definite advantage being the road team on the day after Thanksgiving because they don’t have relatives in and all the distractions the home team has. We’re going to have to be especially cognizant of that. We talked about it already. Hopefully we’re ready and prepared.
On if he needs to undergo further tests
It depends on how I feel. I’m probably going to see a doctor briefly, but I’ve seen him in the last week, so I don’t know how much that’s going to make a difference. I’ll re-evaluate myself on how I feel tomorrow and take it from there.
On how many consecutive days he’s been symptom-free
It’s tough to say because the team was on the road yesterday and we had Sunday off. They were on the road on Saturday, so this was a light team practice over the last week. We’re probably going to get a little more contact tomorrow and see how to go from there. When I’m skating on my own, I don’t have any problems. Like I said, the next step is getting contact in practice, and hopefully everything goes well.
On how frustrating it is not being able to play
It’s very hard to watch the games when you’re injured. You want to be out there. But if you want to have a team that has a legitimate chance at winning the Stanley Cup or go far in the playoffs, you’re going to have some ups and downs and some adversity. It doesn’t really matter who’s in the lineup. You want to have everybody healthy, and that’s the bottom line. When you’re missing some guys, it’s an opportunity for everyone to step up, and you have to be able to win in the long period of time if you’re missing key guys. We played some great hockey for the first two weeks when I was out there, but you’re always going to go through some moments and stretches where you’re not going to play your best. Right now we’re looking forward to getting a win on Friday and getting back to the way we know we can play.
On the focus of today’s practice
We just wanted to get out there and have a quick practice. Focus on some of the things we felt weren’t very good last night. After watching video, we felt we weren’t very good off the rush or backchecking. We weren’t picking up the late guys and that’s why they scored a couple goals in the third.
On having multiple days between games
We haven’t had a lot of days like this, with two days between games. It was a good day to have a good, short practice. Then, it’s more about having a good practice tomorrow to get ready for Calgary. We have five tough games coming up and it starts on Friday with a game against Calgary at home. That’s a big start for us to propel us for the next four games.
On what the team is doing to stay upbeat and motivated
There are ups and downs, and [last night] was probably one of the lowest you could go to after allowing three goals in a minute and giving up the game. But, stuff happens and you’re going to lose games. The only thing that bothered us was we shouldn’t have lost that one because were in a position to win. But, it happens and we move on. We have to focus on what we did wrong and focus on the good things. Hopefully we correct them.