Monday presser: Mike Eaves

Wisconsin men's hockey coach spoke with the media about the stretch run this season

Audio file (5:28)

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Mike, you talked a little bit about lasting memories, but lasting effects for this team from the experience on Saturday, what can you guys, besides the energy you talked about, draw out of that and build on for these next three weeks going into the playoffs?

"Well, I hope the energy will continue. It's probably as good an emotional energizer as we could have hoped for, and just take that energy this week and build on it. As far as, you know, as far as, watched the game yesterday, broke it down, it's the same process that we always go through. We're going to give them feedback, things we did well and things we can do better, and continue to grow as far as being a good hockey team."

Mike, could you quantify the likelihood of Brian Elliot playing this weekend?

"I'll know more today, Andy. He's going to go on the ice with Coach Howard before practice. And they'll go through a regular goalie practice, and that'll be an indicator of where he's at."

Coach, do you foresee any bad blood after what happened towards the end of the last Michigan Tech game, with the fighting?

"I talked to Greg Shepherd today and, you know, he's talked to both coaches. The referee is going to be informed as to the situation the last game. But again, as we talked about going up to CC, I mean, college hockey isn't built around revenge. It's just not part of our game. Now if this was junior hockey, then that might be the case. But we've talked about it with our team and their coach is going to talk about it with their team. And I think our game just doesn't behoove that kind of behavior."

Mike, in what sense, you talked about this time of the year being the dog days of hockey, but in what sense just do injuries and nagging injuries and things that guys play through play into that and what makes it the dog days?

"Well, we're into our last three weeks here getting ready for the playoffs, and really injuries won't play that much, unless a young man can't walk, I mean, they're going to do everything they can to play. And that's just the nature of athletics when you get close to big games, and so that'll be the case for our young men as well."

Mike, you said you had, you and Mark and Kevin had talked about suggestions for, if there were another outdoor game, some things to improve it. What type of suggestions did you come up with?

"Well, I think the, that the path out to the rink was a big thing just because it was all plywood and the carpet that they had to come down the tunnel was indoor/outdoor. There was a lot of pebbles in it, and, you know, the fact that the kids had to scramble to put their skate guards on. The bench could have been bigger. There should have been glass in between the two benches. Instead we had to get a police officer there.

"And, you know, just detail stuff that would have made it, but, I mean, overall, I mean, those are just minute details. The grand scheme of things, the people there did such a tremendous job. You can't say enough about how they treated the kids, the insights they gave them about Lambeau Field, all those kind of things were, far outmatched those. But in terms of if they wanted some feedback, those are some stuff we would give them."

Coach, what's Pavelski's status? I saw him limp off the ice at the end of the game on Saturday.

"He's fine. He just got a, hit a nerve in his knee and couldn't feel his knee from his knee down. So that's why when he put weight on it he just dropped. But that sometimes happens. There's a nerve right on the outside of your knee and he just got it dinged. He's fine."

Mike, when you went through a rough stretch last year, you never truly recovered from it, I guess. Is there something different about this team or this situation that makes you think you're going to really bounce back here and get a head of steam up for the playoffs?

"Well, I think one of the differences, the differences this year, A, are that we're older. I think we have more experience. The lessons from last year I think our kids have applied. And we're getting a key personnel back that wasn't part of the issue last year, so that's a big factor as well."

Do you get the sense that Shane grew a little bit more in Saturday's game, even though the goalie gave the first goal, I mean, it skipped. There wasn't a whole lot he could do there. It seemed like one of his better games. And given the surroundings and the pressure and all those kind of things, he really did appear to take another step.

"I thought his control of the shots, he didn't give a lot of rebounds. He seemed to be on top of controlling the puck on the initial shot. And then playing in that atmosphere, it was good to see him do that kind of thing. That's the kind of detail work that he had to put into his game. He had that. And you saw it. You saw it except for that skipping puck, seeing-eye puck, whatever you want to call it, but it didn't seem to throw him off. He bounced right back and made some saves for us."


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