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The Athletic ?

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: , 29 2018 10:06:54

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: , 13 2018 07:09:14

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: , 12 2018 02:27:18

FrodoBeggins ():


Bruce Boudreau enters his third season with the Wild after coaching them to consecutive 100-plus-point seasons. He owns a career regular-season record of 503-243-99 in 12 seasons and has the second-highest points percentage in the history of the NHL (.654) behind Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman.

Still, theres a lot of pressure on Boudreau and the Wild to finally take the next step in the playoffs after six consecutive appearances ended in disappointment.

With training camp starting Thursday, Boudreau gave The Athletic a primer on this season. The questions were asked by listeners and hockey writer Michael Russo during a KFAN appearance at the State Fair and by Russo during a sitdown with Boudreau at TRIA Rink on Monday.

Boudreau discussed everything from potential roles of some of his key players, to roster hopefuls fighting for jobs, to potential line combinations and defense pairs, to the new practice rink, to the possibility that he enters this season on the proverbial hot seat.

Here we go:

How excited are you that it looks like Ryan Suter is ready?

Very. He looks like Ryan Suter to me when I watch him skate, but well still keep an eye on him. I just want him at 100 percent. You cant afford to lose a player that plays between 25 and 30 minutes and as your No. 1 defenseman for any length of time. And Ryan is that. Hes our rock back there. We just want him healthy.

How are you going to use Charlie Coyle this year?

Im really, really looking forward to seeing Charlie this year. I know he was disappointed in his numbers last year. Its the first time hes ever had injuries that sort of derailed what he can really do. Im planning on using him on right wing. Im planning right now hes either going to start with Zach (Parise) and Mikko (Koivu) or hes going to start with (Jordan) Greenway and (Joel) Eriksson Ek. Either way, I think hes going to be used in a penalty-killing role and a regular role and hell probably play a lot. If hes what I think he is, which is I think hes a very good hockey player and determined because of last year, I think hell have a great year this year.

So deciphering from that, Nino Niederreiter is either on the right with Greenway and Eriksson Ek or Parise and Koivu?

Yeah. I wasnt expecting you to throw that little caveat into that, but thats where it looks like hes going to end up right now. We can always use Charlie at center, by the way, but right now I think right wing will be best suited for him.

With the lack of any big moves this past offseason, how hampered were Nino and Coyle and do you expect big improvements from those two players?

Personally, I really think were going to see a big improvement. Theyve never been hurt before, either one of them. And I think it took its toll, and I think even more so on Charlie. Nino did the same leg twice in two different things and I dont think he ever got going because of it. With Charlie, (he had the leg) and he played through two injuries to his wrists and ended up getting wrist surgery on both of them in the summer, so I would be shocked if these guys dont come in and are so good this year, like as good as theyve ever been. And you add that to Zach being healthy for the first time in two years at least that Ive been here and if Suters ready to play, then I think were going to surprise an awful lot of teams.

D pairs last training camp you used Suter and Matt Dumba together all camp until the last practice when you reunited Suter with Jared Spurgeon. Suter loves playing with Spurgeon. What will you do this camp?

Um, you know what, weve debated that the whole time (smiling). Theres going to be movement in training camp on all of them. I know who hed love to play with, but its funny because and you know how I feel about Spurge, but Dumbas numbers and Suters numbers are better when they play together, so

Hows Luke Kunin doing after tearing his ACL in March?

Ive seen him a lot this summer, as a matter of fact probably more than Ive seen any other player. Hes always training and rehabbing at Xcel or recently TRIA (Rink). His leg is coming along fine, hes skating, he works tremendously hard. And if you knew Luke at all, you knew that he was going to work extremely hard to get back and ready for the season. If hes going to be ready its like a six-to-eight month injury and its now just over five months, hes probably skating fine and feeling fine. But at his age, we want to make sure hes 100 percent before we get back. Hes pushing to be there in training camp and practicing with us. I hope he is. But were not going to rush him. And when he does come on, hes another guy that played center at Wisconsin, but wed probably look at him more as a right wing.

I have heard though Kunin hasnt been cleared for the start of camp. True?

It doesnt look like hell start contact.

So does that mean he probably wont play any exhibition games?

At least early.

So theres a good chance he starts in Iowa and has to be patient?

I think so. I think theres a good chance. Lets get this right. If anybody comes to camp and blows us away, then I think its incumbent on us to make the best team possible that we have. If Luke comes in, if hes given the green light for contact and hes given the green light to play and hes great, I cant see him not starting. If its, We have to get you some games and he has to go to the minors, then hell have to go to the minors. Thats true for anyone.

Is Jason Zucker going to get a lot of power-play time this year?

Good question. Two years ago he never played on the power play at all and got (22) goals. Last year he played power play and he led our team with (seven) goals on the power play. So Ive got to think that when we sign a guy to that kind of money (five years, $27.5 million), he better play the power play. So hes going to start off there and I would venture to guess hell do very well there.

Ill be interested to see, if Greenway makes the team, how you navigate that because Id think youd want him as a net-front guy but that could affect a guy like Nino, right?

Yes. It could (laughing).

Zach Parise had 12 goals in the last 19 games of the season and a goal in each of his three playoff games. How big of a coup could it be for the team if Parise could start the way that he finished?

Man, weve missed him for two years pretty well off and on with his injuries. So if he could play like he did in the last 20 games of the year and the first three games of the playoffs, thats a tremendous get for us and a tremendous get mentally for Zach, I think. People dont realize when you miss half the season with back surgery, youre not just going to come even if youve practiced for a week and played good the first night youre in, its going to take you 20 games to get back in the feel of things. And in the last 20 games he was the Zach of New Jersey. And if we can get the Zach from New Jersey, then weve got one of the best players going.

Mikko Koivus role, will it be the same or will he have to take a step back in terms of ice time?

No. I look at him being a little more offensive-minded this year. I mean, hes always been and always will be a great defensive player, but I think watching both Greenway and Eriksson Ek, they can take a little bit of the defensive responsibilities from Mikko.

With Eriksson Ek, youve compared him with Rickard Rakell, that this is the point in his career that he took a big leap for Anaheim?

Yeah, but were not talking offensively because Rakell is a very, very skilled individual. Not that Joels not, but I mean hes a different kind of player. But what Im talking about is in basically his third year, this was when Rickard started to assert himself as, Hey Im going to be a good player in this league.

Last year Eriksson Ek was one of the worst regular centermen in the league in the faceoff circle (.426). How much does he have to improve in that area for you to feel comfortable putting him out there in really key situations?

He has to improve. He got better at the end of the year. All young guys have problems with that because theyre going against experienced guys that know how to take draws. And to be quite honest, the linesmen give all the older guys breaks.

We saw Eriksson Ek come on at the end of the year, Jordan Greenway youre on record saying he was maybe your best player at the end of the Winnipeg series, Nick Seeler had a heck of a debut in the second half last year. So youve really got some bright young kids potentially making the team. Which of these guys are you most looking forward to seeing?

All of them. People ask me, Im really excited about this year. I mean, when you listen to programs and I happen to listen to a lot of hockey programs all summer long they dont really give our team much of a chance, they think were aging and were falling down with the Central Division having so many teams improving themselves. But I really believe that this is going to be the best year since Ive been here. I really like Nick Seeler. I think he played great for (22) games for us and continued in the playoffs. I think Eriksson Ek moving up in the lineup as a player this year he was a first-year player and we asked a lot of him last year. I think hes going to be really good. And I think this Jordan Greenway is a much better player than writers and people think he is. I really think its going to add to our team. So Im really looking forward to this version of our squad this year and I think were going to do really well.

It does seem a lot of prognosticators are expecting you guys to take a step back because theres no weak sisters in the Central and West and non-playoff teams like St. Louis, Arizona and Calgary got better on paper. You disagree with them?

I really disagree. Theres a picture right off the bat (in our practice facility) of our opening night lineup we had (last year), there were 10 different guys than we had the year before. I just didnt think we were healthy all year. In Game 3 when you lose Nino, (Marcus) Foligno and Coyle for the better part of the next six weeks, we were doing a lot of scrambling. And I think with all of these guys being healthy with Zach being healthy, with the addition and I think its a big addition of Greg Pateryn and the emergence of Seeler and Greenway and Eriksson Ek, I think were going to be really good. The biggest thing is people think were old age-wise. Mikkos (turning) 36 (this season), Staals (turning 34), Zachs 34, Suter is 33, so they can say that, but if they dont get old this year, if they stay at the same level and (Devan) Dubnyk stays at the same level, Im really looking forward to having a great year with this team.

How hard will it be for Greenway, Kunin, Kyle Rau, Matt Read, Sam Anas to know theres really one spot available to them out of training camp if youre healthy?

To me, you come in and sometimes you know theres no spots for you. But you have to leave an impression that makes them want to call you back first moments notice here. What we do or what Ive done, the prospects that we think are going to (fight for a spot), they play two, three, four exhibition games. If they show something and you still have to send them down you make it a very positive send-down. If its a negative thing you tell them theyve got to really work on stuff. Those are easy calls because the players are not stupid. They know exactly what theyre up against when they come, which is why I was so mad two years ago because there were opportunities to make this team and be a regular and nobody took advantage of it.

You expect a fairly motivated Matt Read in camp with his NHL career hanging by a thread?

Its a very cheap gamble. Hes always had the determination and everything. Ive always liked him. I said (to management), I dont know, does he have anything left? Well find out. One of the things Ive liked, hes had to do everything the hard way. Hes a smaller guy. Wasnt drafted. Goes to Philadelphia, makes the team, does great, gets a good deal and competed. And he must know both ends of the ice because even when Philly didnt have great teams, he was never minus more than (4 or 5) when a lot of others Flyers had some pretty good minuses.

How good of an insurance policy is he if Greenway doesnt show hes ready or you have injuries?

Hes got (seven) years National Hockey League experience, so it would be a great insurance policy. He was brought up to Philly the last portion of the year again last year and I thought he did a pretty good job. I thought it was a great signing by us. I just expect that were going to see the best of Matt Read in camp.

On the blue line, you do seem excited with the potential of Seeler?

Its contained excitement. My thing is if he can be as good as he was last year, Im really happy with it. I dont think hes reached the level of how good he can be. And when he starts to get a little more confidence with the puck and everything else, I think hell be great.

I know Gustav Olofsson met with you a few weeks ago. What was his message?

He said he was a lot better suited for coming to camp this year and that he would put his best foot forward. He knew he wasnt as good as he should have been last year and he was really excited about the challenge.

Itll actually be a pretty good battle between Seeler, Olofsson and Nate Prosser?

Seeler, Prosser, Olofsson and I would venture to guess that hes not ready in my mind, but (Carson) Soucy and (Ryan) Murphy are not giving up on this because theyve played at the end. Murphy played (21) games and had some good numbers, so Ill bet you hes coming in here trying to make the team. Im thinking theres 10 defensemen that are coming in here thinking theyre going to be on our team, which is great competition.

Your goalie situation with Alex Stalock and Andrew Hammond, is it still Stalocks backup job to lose?

Well, anytime youve been here the year before, whoever comes in has got to beat you out. I would think that would be the case.

Whats the practice facility like?

Its unbelievable. Its 22nd-Century stuff. Its incredible. The spoilage from where we grew up playing and the buildings that we used to have to practice in to what this is, it just goes to show that (owner) Craig Leipold and the management and everybody, from (former GM) Chuck Fletcher and (right-hand man) Brent (Flahr) to whoever designed the whole scheme of things deserves tremendous kudos because nothing was spared. Nothing.

If you want to yell at a player, youre going to have to take a 200-yard walk.

Ive asked for a golf cart, but Mr. Fenton said this is might be the best form of getting you in shape (laughing). So, well have to see how it goes.

Game-day morning skates at the X, though?

Yes. If were going to be practicing here (at TRIA) all the time, it does make it easier for (the players) to go there, the trainers dont have to move a lot of stuff on game-days. And if we havent played at home in awhile, I want them feeling the ice and everything else. Plus, it makes it easier on (the media).

Whats your relationship with new general manager Paul Fenton?

I think its very good. Weve both known each other for like 30 years without (really) knowing each other. Paul was in the minors up and down for a long time even though he ended up playing in the NHL for a long time, but when youre a scout or an assistant GM, you travel the minors an awful lot. And thats where weve seen each other. And we have one really good mutual friend. But I didnt get to know him until he signed on here and we went to dinner the first night and then I had his family over for dinner and I thought we got along really well. And hopefully this continues as a relationship goes. I think we talk a lot. The other thing is we listen to each other. Ive told him what I think about in players and hes told me what he wants as an organization, as a team, and I think were trying to combine the two and get to a happy situation. So Im looking forward to a really good relationship and I hope it lasts a long time.

Six straight playoffs without getting to the conference final, three straight first-round exits. Why will this year be different?

I know people are going to think, OK, they didnt make a big splash, we didnt do this I just feel that this team is different. I feel that coming in we have something to prove and I think this core has something to prove. I think we will play that way with that little chip on our shoulder all year long. I think the young guys are going to come of age and I think the older guys that weve got are really going to make a big improvement. Most importantly, I think our defense is as good as any team in the league right now. And when youve got good defense and good goaltending, I think youre going to win.

Even though you have two years left on your contract, Paul did inherit you as a coach and hired his old Milwaukee coach, Dean Evason, as an assistant. Do you feel pressure coming into this season with your job?

The best way for me to answer that question, I feel pressure every year. I was 33 years in the minors. I never take anything for granted. Im nervous all the time. The only time I am probably never nervous is the first month that you sign a new deal. Even, I said to Chuck last year, Am I safe? And he said, Dont worry, youre here. Believe me, I know I want to show the new GM that Im a good coach. For that, we have to have success.



: , 12 2018 00:06:18





: , 22 2018 13:55:41




: , 22 2018 13:18:00

2Dominik, !
Telegram https://t.me/joinchat/DhPxAQ8SKYAhwlt9RAgdnQ




: , 22 2018 01:15:48


We Are All Kings



: , 21 2018 20:22:23

In terms of the most fascinating prospect pool out there, nobody beats the Kings in my view.

They have two very dynamic talents at the top of their system that fell into their laps due to various concerns. Gabe Vilardi is continuously hurt but a gamebreaker when healthy, and Rasmus Kupari barely played with his club team last season. Elsewhere they have some older college prospects who impressed me, a Russian who came over to North America once and who knows if he will again, another defected prospect whose prospect status has been debated in scouting circles, a mid-20s defenseman who some scouts still swear by, a goalie they got by college free agency and was an AHL All-Star, and another Russian who tore up the MHL. I could go on and on.

If anyone told you they conclusively felt like they had a grasp on how good the Kings system was, Id call them a liar. I place them 10th with caution, but theres so much talent here that it was hard to get them lower

Teams 2017 ranking*: No. 17

Prospect Rankings

1. Gabriel Vilardi, C, Kingston-OHL

Vilardi is one of the better players outside the NHL. He has the unique combination of being a high-end playmaker and tough to handle physically. Hes big, strong and can make fantastic passes and dekes seem routine. When he returned from injury this season and was traded from Windsor to Kingston he dominated the OHL. Hes a below-average skater, which is a reasonable concern about his game, and the biggest reason why he may not end up a star, but I still believe a lot in his skill set. Hes such an advanced player physically that he could possibly make the Kings next season and be a good top-six forward for them soon. Staying healthy will be important for him and its something he has struggled to do.

2. Rasmus Kupari, C, Karpat-Liiga

There are a lot of tools to like in Kuparis game. Hes a very strong skater who explodes out of his first few strides and puts pressure on defenders using his speed. His stride is incredibly smooth, with so much power coming from every push off. Kupari also has high-end puck skills and can make skilled plays in tight and off the rush. Ive seen flashes of good playmaking from him, but I dont think hes a high-end passer but hes fine in that area. He also has an above-average shot. He needs time to round out his game, and to learn when to play quick and when to slow plays down.


3. Kale Clague, D, Moose Jaw-WHL

Clague was the top defenseman in the WHL this season. Hes an excellent skater with the mobility to evade pressure and lead a rush. Hes skilled with the puck, but his offense comes more from his feet and his great vision as a puck-mover. He can make unique plays as a distributor and projects to be able to QB a power play at the NHL level. Clague can be decent defensively, but hes not the biggest guy and can be prone to being exposed a little too much on the defensive side of the puck. Hes smart and mobile enough though to make enough stops to be reliable as a pro. Projecting him into the NHL, Kale will be part of any teams healthy blueline.

4. Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C, Spokane-WHL

I went from being lukewarm on Anderson-Dolan last season to becoming a huge fan of his this season. Clague gets more of the press from the Kings system but for my money Anderson-Dolan is as good a prospect. He was one of the best players in the WHL this season. He has great speed, plays hard, but I was really impressed this season by the level of skill and playmaking he showed on top of his quality shot. Hes not like his teammate, Kailer Yamamoto, but hes not miles off in terms of the quality of plays he makes. You add in the fact hes a competent two-way center and the only issue with him is size. He was one of the youngest players in his draft and with added development were seeing a player who could make the Kings lineup shortly.

5. Daniel Brickley, D, Minnesota State-WCHA

I discussed Brickley in-depth here. The premier college free agent this season projects to be a regular for the Kings next season due to the size and puck-moving skills he brings, even if hes not exceptionally quick.

6. Akil Thomas, C, Niagara-OHL

Thomas was the go-to guy for Niagara. He makes a ton of smart plays with the puck on his stick, gets a lot of controlled zone entries and shows high-level instincts in creating chances. Thomas skating has improved a lot to where it was a strength last season. Despite his speed, I dont see him push the pace too much. Ive seen the occasional good burst, but, in general, he prefers to play a slow game, especially with the puck on his stick. His two-way game has developed. Hes looked competent playing center at the OHL level, has some bite in his game and has killed penalties for Niagara.

7. Mikey Eyssimont, LW, St. Cloud State-NCHC

Eyssimonts numbers dont jump off the page, but he was one of my favorite players to watch in college the last two years in the unofficial L.A. Kings farm team, St. Cloud State University. Hes really, really skilled, a great playmaker and was on highlight reels more than once. Hes not small, but Eyssimont is physically underdeveloped and needs to become a better skater, but he certainly has the offensive upside to be a real player if he develops well the next few years.


8. Paul LaDue, D, Ontario-AHL

I had an interesting conversation with a scout during the season about LaDue. He argued while LaDue is an older player at 25 years of age, he said physically when he turned pro he looked like a teenager. I get the case, and LaDue is intriguing due to his size, mobility and ability to handle the puck. I think that argument only goes so far though and LaDue will be 26 entering next season. If hes a player, it will be time to show it already.

9. Nikolai Prokhorkin, LW, SKA-KHL

Prokhorkin was a member of the OAR team that won Olympic Gold. Kings fans have heard his name every year since 2012 and bringing up the 24-year-old likely rolls their eyes, but he still remains relevant! Hes skilled, he makes plays, and hes a big-body forward. I dont think hes developed exceptionally. Hes not a game-breaker skill wise, and hes not very quick, but I think he could still be a decent NHL player if he ever crosses the pond. His KHL deal expires at the end of the 2018-19 season.

10. Dominik Kubalik, LW, Ambri-Piotta-NLA

Kubalik is one of the more interesting players in the prospect world. The intrigue is not due to his skill set, which is fine, but due to his rights. There have been NHL teams who have argued that Kubalik is a free agent, whereas the Kings believe he is their player. This controversy comes from the fact Switzerland, like Russia, does not have a transfer agreement with the NHL and players who go there are considered defected players. Kubaliks rights were held by the Kings for four years, and he apparently left for Switzerland right before that timeframe ended. According to several NHL sources I trust, he is a Kings prospect, but it is not an unanimous opinion.

On his skill set, Kubalik is a big-body winger who wont blow you away, but he has speed and skill in his game and has the work ethic to win back pucks using his frame. He was fantastic at the recent World Championships for the Czech Republic and could be a solid bottom-six forward.

11. Cal Petersen, G, Ontario-AHL:

Petersens performance was up and down this season as a rookie, but had dominant stretches. Hes a smart goalie, with economical movements and decent ability to get across the net. Hes not the biggest guy or the most explosive but he can make the difficult save and there were some moments during the season where he showed the ability to steal a game.


12. Markus Phillips, D, Owen Sound-OHL: Phillips isnt a real flashy player, but he does a lot well. Hes mobile and can escape the forecheck. Hes got enough skill to make some plays, but I wouldnt describe his skill level as super high. His main offensive asset is his brain as he moves the puck quite well and makes good decisions at both ends of the rink. Hes not a big guy, but hes strong and makes good defensive plays.

13. Cole Hults, D, Penn State-Big Ten: Hults had a surprisingly good freshman season. I like his offensive instincts. Hes not the best defender due to the occasional bad read and his size, but hes quite physical and typically hes steady. His skating will be a major hurdle to becoming an NHLer, but he does have some upside.

14. Sheldon Rempal, LW, Clarkson-ECAC: Rempal has nice skills and can finish, but hes a small guy who isnt a blazing skater. Well see how he adjusts to the pro level.

15. Bulat Shafigulin, RW, Nizhnekamsk-MHL: Shafigulins a very smooth and gifted puckhandler who can control the play for lengthy stretches and make defenders miss. Id like to see him make more plays with his skill set, and his skating is just OK. He put up massive numbers this season.

16. Mikey Anderson, D, Minnesota-Duluth-NCHC: Anderson is a smart two-way defenseman. Hes competitive, moves the puck well, and skates OK but lacks a standout component to his game.

17. Austin Wagner, LW, Ontario-AHL: Wagner is a really good skater who can push the pace and pressure physically, but the offensive upside is quite low.

18. Aidan Dudas, C, Owen Sound-OHL: Dudas defining trait is his work ethic. Hes a fierce competitor at both ends of the rink, delivering offense by out-willing players for pucks. Despite his size, hes quite good defensively due to his effort and smarts. I wish I saw more dynamic hands and more speed for his size, but Dudas is still skilled with the puck.

19. Matthew Villalta, G, Sault Ste. Marie-OHL: Villalta has size and athleticism but is still a bit raw as a goalie. He showed improvement in his reads this season though.

20. Spencer Watson, RW, Manchester-AHL: Watson played all season in the ECHL at 21 which isnt a great sign, but his skill and IQ, both of which are very good, give him a chance. Hes an undersized guy who doesnt battle or skate well though.

21. Matt Luff, RW, Ontario-AHL: Luff has size, battles well and has a good shot. He had a nice rookie pro season but realistically the upside for him is limited.

2018-19 Impact
I expect Vilardi is a full-time player, whether at center or on the wing. The more intriguing players for me at camp are Anderson-Dolan and Clague. I expect Clague needs an AHL year, and Anderson-Dolan goes back to the WHL, but I expect them both to have long camps. Brickley is full-timer likely and if LaDue is ever going to be an NHLer, this seasons seems like a good time.

Organizational Top 10 (23 and Under)
Gabriel Vilardi, C
Rasmus Kupari, C
Adrian Kempe, C
Kale Clague, D
Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C
Daniel Brickley, D
Akil Thomas, C
Michael Amadio, C
Mikey Eyssimont, LW
Dominik Kubalik, LW
I like Kempe. Hes got great speed, has offense to his game, and I like how hes converted to center at the highest level. Im sure some L.A. fans eyebrows will raise about his placement, but I dont think his upside is super-high though and the ones above him I think have a chance to make more of an impact. Amadio is a smart two-way forward. I dont think hes going to be a legit top-six forward in the NHL, but hes proved me wrong at every level so far.



: , 21 2018 01:35:14

, :

We Are All Kings



: , 18 2018 15:16:18

Its been a whirlwind two months since Barry Trotz took the Islanders coaching job. His new team has changed quite a bit and, while hes been adjusting to his new gig and bringing on a coaching staff, hes also been planning his day with the Stanley Cup, which comes on Aug. 22 in his hometown of Dauphin, Manitoba.

Trotz took some time this week to chat with The Athletic while back in his office on Long Island for a few days.

Youve been on the job here for just about two months and a lot has changed in that time. Whats the process been from hiring to now?

Ive had a lot of things on my plate this summer. We obviously went deep in the playoffs and then the celebration of winning a Cup, followed by a quick transition over to the Island. Im actually, for the first time since I resigned in Washington, Im actually getting back to Washington. My daughters getting married, weve got a Cup date, looking for a house. Been a very busy summer. Weve gotten a lot done and theres still a lot to do. Its good that weve got a month to go before training camp. I feel very confident in what were doing. Communicating with Lou (Lamoriello), were knocking out one thing at a time. Romes not built in a day so we dont expect it to be.

Speaking of that day with the Stanley Cup, it must be a bit strange to plan a celebration of a win with your former team. Is that a strange scenario?

Its obviously a little different. Youre focused on winning a Cup in Washington, you work with some great people and have some fantastic memories and all of a sudden youre with another organization and your focus is on your new team, getting to know the people there and how things are done, how youd like things done, all that. I probably havent been able to celebrate the Cup victory as much as probably other people in the organization, but its still been very special. And when Im able to have that day with the Cup, bringing it to the people who are incredibly special to me, especially the family members who have made the sacrifices for so many years, bringing the Cup back to my hometown, thats really who its meant for. Its meant for my mom and dad, my immediate family, my wife and children, as well as my sister and her family and some very close friends.

When it arrives, I think it gets there at 9 a.m. Im going to take it to some people who cant get out to see it, be it the hospital, the senior center, a home for special-needs children and maybe ARC Industries, one of the big employers in town. From there, I think theres a parade my hometown (Dauphin) is 8,000 people, so theres a little parade. My town is known for the National Ukrainian Festival, so were going to have some Cossacks who are going to secure the Cup and protect it. Itll bring some pride to the town.

Well end up at the arena (Trotz coached the Dauphin Kings of the MJHL until 1987) and well share the Cup the rest of the day with anyone who wants to share it. Well do a little bit of a fundraiser so we can leave a bit of a legacy for the town, the place where my parents still live and where I grew up. At night, well have a friends and family supper where I can share that with my immediate family. They can do the cool things people get to do with the Cup.

And then around 10 p.m., well have some alone time with just my folks, my immediate family. I think thats the time thats most special its sitting in the living room, the backyard, thats when you learn how special it is to have the Cup around. Thats what I learned from the few days we had it in Washington. You want to share it with the world, but the really great thing is when you have a small group and you relax with it, you study it and look at it. Its almost like when youre relaxing in the summer, just staring at the fire and you feel completely relaxed. The Cup has that same effect.

Youve been balancing a lot with planning that day and the new job. Once that day comes and goes, will that feel like closure with your time in Washington?

It is, it is quite symbolic actually. That will be the closure for me recognizing we did something fantastic in Washington with some great people, winning a Stanley Cup for the first time after winning championships in some other leagues. The one thing all those championship teams have in common is that bond that never goes away. Time doesnt erode it. Its always there. That group will always be closer to each other than any other team. Thats my experience from winning at the AHL level (Trotz coached the Portland Pirates to the 1994 Calder Cup). The players and coaches from that team are still close because you understand you did something together that very few people get to do.

For me, that will be closure. Theyre going to go on, drop the banner for the Cup, the White House tour. Ive had someone from the White House reach out to me but obviously I wont be there, that would be a little awkward I think. You miss out on a couple things that are special with that group.

When I went to Washington, the first thing I did once we picked our team was we went to the Iwo Jima Memorial at Arlington. I had everybody put the jerseys on and I said, We need to raise our flag. We need to raise the Cup flag and when we win the Cup, I want to take another picture here. I didnt get a chance to do that, but Todd Reirden is still there and hopefully he remembers what we did and maybe they do that.

My job now is to see if we can raise the flag on Long Island. Theres some great traditions here, the teams that were the best in the league for a number of years. The Trottiers, the Bossys, the Torreys and those people. We need to get back to that tradition. Theres some good pieces here and we need to get back to the Cup again. What intrigued me about coming here was working with Lou. Hes won in this league. And I can bring a lot to the table in terms of culture. Ive won a lot in this league. I think we have the same sort of moral basis of how we do things.

We can get this going in the right direction. The changes Lous made to this point are extraordinary were under construction. Its a great thing. We want to build something great here.

Between the time you were hired and barely two weeks after, the team changed pretty drastically, including John Tavares leaving. When that all happens right after you sign on, are you prepared for it?

I think you go in with a plan, knowing we want to put the best possible team we can put out there. Theres windows of opportunity to go out and add players and Lous certainly done that. Now its our job to find out how all these pieces fit together. Obviously, we have a vision we want this guy to fill this hole, is this a long-term or short-term player? You go in hoping they all fit. If they dont, then you adjust. Quite honestly, until we get on the ice were not going to know who works best with who. Were watching some film, doing all our due diligence, talking to players, finding out what worked and what didnt work.

And also getting out some of the clutter. Theres going to be change. Its going to be structurally, on and off the ice, expectations are going to change. Nothing against any former regimes, but we have our own vision of what we want to do, how were going to do it. Lou has painted a good picture of where he wants this organization to go and I want to be a part of it. On the ice, I have a vision of how we can play to be better.

This team can score, with John Tavares or without John Tavares. The area its failed in maybe the last year and a half is on the defensive end. Just looking at the trends over the last four years, its clear thats an area we need to fix. The great thing about the game, one of the hardest things to do in this league is create offense and score goals. This team has been able to do that in the last four years.

One of the easiest things to correct, if theres a commitment and a buy-in, is keeping the puck out of your net. Well need a bigger buy-in, well put some structure, well make sure the details are there and well make players accountable. If theyre not, well get someone who can be accountable. And weve got to build our players. Weve got some unfinished products who can certainly be better. Get them to play to their capabilities, thats all we ask. We want them to be consistent and play to their capabilities, we never ask guys to do more than theyre capable of.

Thats one of the things we were able to do in Washington. In the four years we were there, we became a pretty consistent team. After the first 20 games of my first year, we became a consistent team that didnt go into six or seven-game slides. We lost one game and the next game was the most important game of the season, then we moved in. I didnt look at 10-game segments, I looked at the week ahead and how many points we needed to get. And I didnt care how we got them.

When you use that phrase culture change, what does that mean to you?

Sometimes when you say that it comes off as a slam to the previous regime. Theyve done a lot of good things here. Theres certain things in the way things are managed or established, the rules or how you do things. To me, culture change is an attitude getting the right attitude, standing for something.

A small example: If a guys late for a meeting, late for a bus, you have to wait for him and nothings ever addressed, then things start to slide. Your standards slip. What you want to do is hold a high standard and make sure everybody understands what the standard is. Once thats established, then you can create something pretty good. In a couple areas, the standard needs to be a little higher. What were trying to do now is figure out where that standard is, where the bar needs to be set. We have a lot of experience between Lou and myself, weve seen a lot on our own teams and other teams. You see what works.

Ive been very fortunate to work with great people like David Poile and Brian MacLellan, my staff in both those places. And you work with other coaches at the World Cup or World Championships. Some of my best friends are in the coaching fraternity the Ken Hitchcocks, the Mike Babcocks, the Joel Quennevilles, the Claude Juliens. We share ideas and you see what works for their teams. What you do with all those experiences is you take note. What experience does, it takes all the clutter out. When I was younger I thought you needed to control 100 things and everybody and everything. What experience does is it helps you filter things out. If you get the four or five things corrected, everything else falls into place.

When youve got a situation like you have, with your longtime captain and leader gone, are you already having conversations with players about leadership roles and filling that void?

I think you wait to see who emerges. Leadership doesnt have to be your best player, its the guy that drives your team. That could be a fourth-line guy. Its the guys who drive your team and stand for the right things. Those are your leaders and sometimes youll be surprised when youre in the inner sanctum about which guys step forward. With the John Tavares situation, we look forward, we cant look back. Guys are up to the challenge. Johns a fantastic player, face of the franchise and its a hole you cant fill with one guy. Its collectively with the group.

The one thing thats great is when John decided he was going to Toronto, the guys I was in touch with said, Dont worry. Were still a really good team. I wasnt worried at all because those guys were saying they can still be a good team, that they are a good team. Thats the attitude you need. Everybodys going to step up their game and were going to be a good team.

When you look at some of the analytics from your time in Washington, in particular last season, your team was last in shots on goal but tied for first in shooting percentage. Was that a byproduct of something structural or was that a stated goal, to focus less on attempts and more on creating good shooting opportunities?

It was a goal. Were looking for quality. A lot of people put a lot of value in analytics into shots on goal, or shot attempts. I put more value on quality shots. Its like quality chances vs. regular scoring chances. An unscreened shot from the blue line goes in maybe one percent of the time. If you get into the hash marks, below the circles, lateral plays, they go up to 20, 30, 40, 50 percent. Id rather have one 40-percenter than 40 one-percenters. And thats where the league is going I think. Most of the high-scoring teams arent just putting pucks to net for volume. Sometimes the analytic world puts a lot of value on shots for, but if youre shooting from the blue line 100 times a game, my Corsi is going to be fantastic but Im not scoring any goals.



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: , 03 2018 20:33:28

She always found a way: Behind Jordan Greenways success is a mother who did whatever it took

Every​ person​ in every hockey​ family remembers​ the car rides ​ early-risers​ in the minivan​ for​ 6 a.m. practice, late​​ nights following a game. Its a time made for questions on the game, and on life.

For Shannon Sullivan, mom of Minnesota Wild forward Jordan Greenway, those questions were sometimes harder than most.

One of the things (Jordan and his brother JD) would always talk about when they were younger, back and forth in the car rides from games, was their biological father. Why isnt he here or what have you, Shannon recalled in a recent interview. When they got older 10, 11, 12 those questions went away because they just knew he wasnt going to be around.

Those car rides and those conversations, whether they be about their father or the game, it made them understand my world as a single mom, and it made them understand the struggles that I had.

Jordan Greenway may share the same last name as his biological father, but thats where the relationship ends. When Jordan was 3, his dad walked away from the family, leaving Shannon to raise two toddlers in Jordan and his younger brother JD, 14 months and 11 days Jordans junior.

Hard as it was, if anyone was up for the task of being a young, single mom, it was Shannon.

Its never easy, you know, growing up with a single mom, but thats the thing about my mom, she made it work, Jordan said. She always found a way. All of the sports we wanted to play, or whatever, she always supported me in whatever I wanted to do. She really allowed me to chase my dreams.

Those car rides were pivotal for Shannon and her family, often trekking back and forth from their hometown of Potsdam, N.Y., to various cities throughout Canada for hockey tournaments. After the game was over theyd load up the car and head home in an effort to save money on overnight hotel stays.

Whether it was Shannon in the drivers seat or any number of relatives quick to help aunts, uncles, grandma and grandpa Jordan and JD learned about hockey and life from that backseat.

I was never ashamed of (our situation), and I explained it to them, Shannon said. I think thats why my boys are so strong today. I guess I take credit for that because Jordan saw the struggles I went through and those car rides were part of that motivation to help him move forward.

Still just 21, Jordan is embarking on what promises to be a bright NHL career. At 20, Shannon was pregnant with that same kid whose dreams are coming to fruition.

Then a student at Canton College (finishing her bachelors degree at Clarkson University after JD was born), Shannon was thrilled to become a mom. She already had the multitasking quality down, waiting tables at a local restaurant and bartending in the evenings to make additional income, all while trying to balance college classes and pregnancy.

On Feb. 16, 1997, she gave birth to seven-pound, eight-ounce baby Jordan.

All throughout my pregnancy I was so excited, and then he finally came into the world and it was so amazing, she said. I loved being a mom from the instant it happened.

Shannon grew up in a hockey-crazed family. Her three brothers played growing up and the entire family attended local Clarkson and St. Lawrence hockey games on the weekends.

Jordan had a surplus of energy from the get-go and by age 3, he was on the ice with a mix of hand-me-down pads and new hockey sticks a thought that still makes Shannon cringe remembering how often those sticks broke.

We always took hand-me-downs, and to this day we still take hand-me-downs. But I worked and eventually owned my own business for eight years and we did what we had to do, she said. When we traveled, we brought our lunches. We didnt eat out like all the other hockey families every single weekend, so we did little things to save money, but at the same time my boys were never without. They had everything. I think my biggest expense would have been those sticks because they broke every other game.

But the cost was worth it. By age 7, Jordans abilities were being recognized.

It was during those Canadian hockey tournaments that Shannon realized Jordan had an immeasurable amount of hockey talent. The family began getting approached by coaches for travel teams, and there were often whispers of how gifted and skilled Jordan was.

You dont really think that your son is going to go to the NHL, Shannon said. Its just not something that happens often here (in Potsdam). Its not something that entered my mind. I thought, Oh, great, I have a gifted kid. Maybe hell do well and go to college. Maybe hell go to St. Lawrence or Clarkson, but the NHL never entered my mind until he brought up going to a prep school. Thats when I sat back and said OK, hes looking to make this his life and thats how that started.

Shannon put the onus of finding a preparatory school on Jordan. She also told him that if she was going to pay for prep school, he would need to work hard and earn a college scholarship if this continued to be the path he wanted to pursue.

That path led him to a noted hockey factory in Faribault, Minn.

I went through the research, gave her the layout, took a visit to Shattuck-St. Marys, and she made it happen, said Jordan, who at 13 made the move to play at Shattuck. It wasnt easy going so far away from home at a young age. It was pretty hard at first, but its what I wanted to do. Its what I signed up for (and) once I got into a routine and started playing hockey and everything, all those things went away.

Fears might have disappeared for Jordan, but tears for Shannon took a little bit longer to clear out.

Ill tell you, the first year he was there, I cried a lot, Shannon says now with a laugh. I cried a lot because No. 1, I missed him, and No. 2 I didnt know what was going on over there. Was he getting meals? Was he having fun? All the normal worrying a mom does.

Shannon and her kids, which now included a younger sister, Maria, made it to plenty of games in Minnesota to ease the angst of missing her eldest. She continued a mix of flights and road trips to watch Jordan play when he moved to Plymouth, Mich., to suit up at USA Hockeys National Team Development Program. He earned gold with Team USA three times (2014 U-17 Hockey Challenge, 2015 U-18 Championships, 2017 World Junior Championships), earning even more attention, leading to fulfillment of his moms college wish with a Division-I scholarship to Boston University.

In three years and 112 games at BU, Jordan scored 28 goals and totaled 92 points along with 192 penalty minutes as Shannon looked on with pride.

Things just kept happening the right way for Jordan, Shannon said. He worked so hard to get to each next level. It was and has been really awesome to see.

Shannon remembers the first time she had to literally look up to her Jordan, who now towers over most NHL competition at 6-6, 226 pounds.

It was during his timem at Shattuck when the 6-foot Shannon had to reach up to give her son a kiss on the cheek.

But Shannon admits shes always looked up to Jordan in a way.

I used to call him the little man of the house, she said. Hes very protective of JD, his sister and myself. We are an extremely close family and Jordan, if I had to say, he would be the man of the family. Hes the glue that holds the family together besides myself.

That protective behavior is why Shannon and Jordan agreed it was best for Shannon to stay home and cheer on Jordan from afar while he was with Team USA in PyeongChang, South Korea, at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Jordan had one goal in five games during his Olympic debut, with the U.S. finishing seventh.

The reason he did not want me there was because I would be by myself and he didnt want me in a foreign country by myself being shuttled back and forth to the arena, she said. Im OK with that too, so we decided I would stay here, and we watched everything on TV.

Having my son in the Olympics was a very surreal time for me. I think when I first saw him on TV is when it first hit me that, holy cow, my son is in the Olympics. Its almost like its unreal. Its a very exciting thing for him. Its awesome.

The only thing that could top that excitement was an NHL debut, which came 34 days later on March 27. The Wilds second-round draft pick, 50th overall, in 2015 signed an entry-level contract on March 26 after forgoing his senior year at BU and slotted in to the lineup right away against one the leagues best squads in the Nashville Predators.

That was scary because the Predators are this crazy good team, so I was scared for him because it was his first (NHL) game, Shannon said. But it was one of the best games Ive attended in his hockey career.

Shannon and JD were in the crowd, cheering Minnesota and Jordan on in what ended up as a 2-1 shootout loss at Bridgestone Arena. Jordan suited up for six games during the regular season, tallying one assist against the San Jose Sharks on April 7. He played in all five of the Wilds postseason games against the Winnipeg Jets, recording his first NHL goal in Game 3 in Minnesotas lone playoff victory.

But Shannon knows the best is yet to come. Like any mom who has been through the car rides, the highs and lows and ups and downs, the single mom couldnt have scripted a better life for Jordan or herself.

Its very exciting. I would not have expected this in my wildest dreams for this to happen, she said. This has been an amazing year and watching him, Ive watched every single game on TV and Im one of the proudest moms in the world, for sure.

And Jordan is not one to lose perspective about his biggest fan.

Shes always been my No. 1 supporter, and she did a great job always finding a way to make things work, he said. I think it gave me a lot of motivation growing up just seeing all the hard work that my mom and family put in to helping us out. It gave me the sense to work hard and showed me what I had to do to make it to the next level.

(Making it to the NHL) is a way of paying them back.



: , 03 2018 20:31:40

On the mend from injury, Luke Kunin attends draft with friend Brady Tkachuk

DALLAS​ ​ Luke Kunin was​ a lot more​ at ease Friday night​ than​ he was two​ years​ before in Buffalo when​​ he was drafted 15th overall by the Wild.

The 20-year-old was relaxed while attending the first round of the 2018 draft to support his childhood friend, Brady Tkachuk, who went fourth overall to the Ottawa Senators. Kunin is best friends with Tkachuks brother, Matthew Tkachuk, who plays for the Calgary Flames. When Bradys name was announced, Kunin was sitting right there with Tkachuks family, including his father, former NHLer Keith Tkachuk.

Its a lot nicer to be on this side of it, Kunin said, laughing. Growing up with the Tkachuks and the whole family, I wanted to be here for Brady and share the experience with him.

As a kid, Kunin and Matthew Tkachuk were always on the same team often with Keith, a former 500-goal, 1,000-point star, coaching. Brady would always play hockey with both of them, both on the ice, in the driveway and in the basement playing mini-sticks.

So, the Tkachuks mean a ton to Kunin.

Keith is almost like a second father to me, Kunin said. Having a guy like that in my life at such a young age to look up to is pretty special. Brady was always around, always right there with us, me and Matthew, and just to see him grow and see what hes turned into as a hockey player is pretty amazing. To see him get rewarded and go this high in the draft is pretty cool.

Brady is more all-around than Matthew, where Matthew might try a few extra skill plays and force it a little bit more. Both are unbelievable players and both will have great NHL careers.

As for Kunin, he scored two goals and two assists in 19 games during his rookie season and tore his ACL in only his second game after being called up for good after the trade deadline.

He says rehab is going tremendously and his goal is to be cleared by the start of training camp in September.

Feel great. Doctors are happy, everythings right on track. Things are good, Kunin said. Im going in with the same mindset as I did last year, to make the team and help contribute any way I can. Thats what Im going to try to do.

-> The Athletic ? [ : : ]
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(2863) , 09 2011 05:39:05
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