Monday Press Conference: Mike Eaves

Men's hockey coach discussed his team's trip to Alaska and where his team is with the postseason on the horizon

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Worry about the travel or is there something to be said about the long trip?

"No it's no different than any other travel in the fact that we talked about the importance of re-hydrating when you're on the plane for that long...make sure that your comfortable. But we really don't bring it up. We all address it as a long trip and we know it's going to be hard, but there are always just little things that we talk about when we travel that we'll bring up again."

Mike, with special teams being such a crucial part of the game, especially down the stretch of the season, your power play hasn't fired lately. Is there anything you can do about that now? I think I remember you guys shifting up personnel a little bit during games this weekend. Is it just now a matter of trial and error on that?

"We took a look at the video and actually we had more chances this weekend than we had in any other weekend beforehand. When you take a look at goals and assists and whether or not you're putting the puck in the net, the first thing we take a look at is, "Are we creating scoring chances?" And yes we did. Just in those moments of truth again on the power play, we didn't put the puck away. That's the part that, how much do you pressure that with the kids, because they start squeezing their stick a little harder. I think if we go back and show them look it, right here you made the good plays, continue to do that and lets just find a way to finish it off."

Do you think after one series shutting down a pretty good power play that that problem is solved on your penalty kill?

"It's a matter of consistency Andy; we've talked about that before. If we continue…I thought we did a great job on out fore-check that limited the time that St Cloud was in our zone. Why do we do it one time and why do we do it one game and not versus others, it's a constancy factor. We got to keep working on that - keep selling it to do these things that help you in your penalty kill. We did a nice job of that, we lined up, blocked shots, cleared the puck, we had some poise and some confidence, when we had the puck we ragged a little bit. So we had some confidence in that area that grew as the weekend went on."

Some of the goals from this past weekend were the mucking, grinding, rebounding type of goals where its more effort than any type of athletic ability...Robbie Earl type from a couple weeks ago. Did you tell the team that come playoff time, come crunch time here at the end of the regular season that it's not as much about style points, that they're going to have to get those kind of goals to win?

"That's playoff goals. The goals that Robbie got are few and far between this time of year. They will happen occasionally, but when you're playing against a young goalie that was hot as the young St. Cloud goaltender is, something's got to go off the fanny and its going to be that type of goal and we had those this weekend. Its great for our kids. We're playing playoffs right now so that when the time comes for us to get involved in the real playoffs that we're in that mindset. We have that intrinsic understanding of what its going to take to win."

Do you know how many games this year you think you have been out worked? Second question; is there a reason why your defenseman have not scored as much in the second half of the season as they did in the first half?

"For your first question Andy, I haven't sat down and counted. I'd have to go back and look at my note book and look at each game. I don't think its very many, would be my off the cuff answer. As far as our defensemen not scoring as much, I just think that teams become better in the second half of scouting and they know what you're going to bring to them they know the fact that we like our defensemen to join the rush and be involved and they do a better job of backchecking and having their head on a swivel."

Sorry to get to ahead of you here Mike, but is it realistic to say that Bernd Brückler is the MVP of the WCHA?

"That's not for me to say, that's got to go to the other coaches but I know that in terms of our team he's been a main factor in why we've had the year we've had. As they year has gone on I've heard that comment from other coaches as they played us. They've been very impressed with his efforts. He's been a foundation for us. We've talked about the fact that we have such a young team and he's allowed our young players to make mistakes and have short-term memories and forget about those mistakes and continue to play on. So, he's been really important for us. Whether he's the MVP of the WCHA depends on how the other coaches view it, would be my answer."
 

Monday Press Conference Participants

Mike Eaves - men's hockey

Ed Nuttycombe - men's track and field

Lisa Stone - women's hockey

Bo Ryan - men's basketball


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