Mike from what you've seen in Minnesota should anyone be surprised that they've been able to turn around the season the way that they have?
"Nope, it's just been a matter of time. We felt it when they were here, they were awful good when they had the puck in the offensive zone and we got great goaltending and timely goals, which we talked about all year as kind of our formula to get wins. I know the kids are excited about going into Minneapolis; we've got some Minnesota boys that are going back home and it's always a big series."
Coach, as a player in the past and a coach now what does Wisconsin- Minnesota mean to you?
"Well, its still a big rivalry just because we're neighboring states and we've got kids from there and they really want to do well and their one of the best teams in the country, although their record doesn't dictate it right now, so there are a lot of reasons to point to this weekend and be really excited about."
To draw on your memory once again, do you think the issues the freshman face on your team are the same issues that you faced as a freshman and if so what are similarities and what are the major differences in your mind?
"Well first of all for our freshman that are 20 years old there's a big difference between coming into play Minnesota when they're 18 years old as opposed to 20. They've been through a lot more wars. For our true freshman the kids that come out of the national team development program, they played against some of the best in the world so it's not such a big gap there in terms of going in there. So I think as opposed to when I was a freshman, being two years older or having a higher level of competition takes away from that gap."
Hey coach, do you have a goal or set point total that you want to get out of these next couple series when you look at the level of competition. Do you look at it like that or is it just one game at a time over the next two three series?
"I hate to sound like a boring coach but it is really one game at a time. That's all that we can control. I think that in the back of our minds you can set something in your mind as a goal point wise, that you can speculate you might need to get to be where you want to be but to really share that with anybody is…I don't think has any real substance. So we need to just take a look at our next game on Friday night, that's the realistic way to look at it Joe."
Mike is there any concern in your mind about some of your freshman maybe hitting a wall right now. You look at what Jake (Dowell) has done, that could certainly be attributed to going over to Europe, you look at what Andrew (Joudrey) has done here recently, when you look at that do you still see that they're having the same impact on your team that maybe they did a month ago, or is there a wall here right now for them?
"Well I think they're in a little bit of a slump. I don't
think Jake's the same player that he was or that we've talked about. I think
partial of it with Jake is that he might have lost a little bit of conditioning
being over in Europe, he didn't play the same amount of minutes so we talked
about that a little bit like he needs to get shored up a little bit. Andrew
just…Andrew had a couple of great chances near the end of the game so he's still
getting his opportunities and his work ethic is there, he's going to be fine and
he's just in a little bit of a lull. And I'll tell you, I'd rather have that
lull now than later on when we're getting ready for the playoffs or in the
playoffs. So you have to kind of take a look at the big picture on that and the
fact that we got two grueling weekends here coming up and then we got a week off
I think will really…the timing on that will really be good for us as a team."