Update on Boogaard:
“Nope. We’re trying to stimulate him, trying to get him moving around, but he still doesn’t feel well.
Can he imagine getting him back?
“Very difficult. It would be very difficult (both to guess when, or to actually get him back). Both. It’s something we have to wait out. It’ll be very difficult as far as a lineup … but again, we’ll see what happens. But he’s not close.”
“Vinny’s been skating. Had a good day today, a good day yesterday. No swelling. So he’s moving forward. Cally skated with him today.”
Updated status on those guys?
“Nope. Cally’s a couple of weeks. I’m hoping after the all-star break.”
On whether this is a test game tonight?
“You know what? I’ve had 10 people ask me that. Is this a barometer game, a test game? I don’t look at it that way. We know they’re a really good team. We feel we’re a good team. We want to get back to winning a hockey game after losing the other night. We’re trying to be a better team tonight. We’re going to have to be. You have to respect them. They’re a very good club, but we’re going to play, and we’ll see what happens after 60 minutes.”
On Gilroy playing the power-play point:
“He will. … He’s shooting the puck. He’s playing well. We’ve tried a number of different people. We’re going to leave (Stepan) alone a little bit and put him up front. So we’re going to try Gilly on the right side, with Marc Staal, probably, to start as far as a lead power-play point man.”
On cutting down odd-man rushes lately:
“Well, we’ve defended well. I mean, I think we gathered ourselves after—I forget what games they were when we got sloppy—we’ve defended well. It’s just concentration. We have to defend first, and your offense comes off of that, and that’s the next step for us, is creating more chances, and I think rebound chances and chances that aren’t coming in numbers as they were earlier in the year. I think we’ve got to play in the blue a little bit more. But defending, I think our team has grown. We’ve had some rough spots during the year, but I think for the most part, our defense and our coverage has been pretty good most of the year.”
On the power-play problems:
“I don’t think it’s a single (issue). We don’t have an ideal point man. That’s very important for a power play. I think Marc’s trying to develop into one. We’ve tried Step—at times he was decent; I don’t think he was ever real good at it. I think he’ll be better served up front. I think that far outweighs what he’s doing on the point. So that’s a problem that we’re still trying to work through.
“Gabby’s a big reason why our power play worked last year. Him not totally dead on; losing Vinny Prospal from the get-go—he’s a good power-play guy. So it’s a number of things. I think, from a point-man’s point of view, and how quick we move the puck … when we start moving the puck and let the puck do the work, I think that’s when we have success. I don’t think the movement has been quick enough. So those are the two main things. We are what we are. I don’t think we have ideal situations, but we have scored some goals. I think we were 13th and 12th at one time in this league. But our puck movement hasn’t been quick enough.”
On putting a big man in front on the power play:
“I believe in it, sure. I believe in men in front. But we end up struggling getting shots through. And it goes back … we just don’t have the big bomb (from the point) where we can say, ‘OK, let’s shoot the puck.’ It is an area of our club … I think the two detail areas where we have struggled all year long is 5-on-5, 5-on-4, our defense getting shots through, and faceoffs. And we work on it quite a bit.
“So I don’t want you to think we’re looking to tic-tac-toe without anybody in front of the net. We want people in front. In fact, we’re trying to stress that as far as a man in the high slot to take some pressure off our points, and then slowly sink down to the front of the net. So I certainly do believe in it. But it’s a matter of, are we getting our shots there?”
Is that a role for Wolski:
“I think he’s a pretty talented guy with the puck. I’d like to see him with the puck, too. He’s a big man, but I look at him as a guy who’s going to be able to make some plays, also, and not just stand in front of the net and tip pucks. Everybody has to do that, because you can have your setup on the power play, but within a game it does get scrambly. You end up setting up on the other side, and we do talk about it: ‘If it’s on this side, then you need to go to the front of the net.’ So people are going to be there, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to put that guy, with a little bit of skill, to just stand in front of the net to tip pucks. Brian Boyle may get some work there. Fedotenko will get some work there tonight. It’s something we’re trying to figure out, because it’s something that’s going to be very important if we’re going to be successful in the second half.”
On “re-habbing” a player’s game (which was Glen Sather’s word for what he hopes for Wolski):
“Teaching. I don’t even know who he is. I get all these reports from people and I seeked out people’s thoughts, some people I respect over in that conference. You hear different things. Every player has warts. No one’s perfect. It’s a matter of working with them. It’s a matter of working with him, understanding him, trying to get to understand him, and him understanding the coaching staff. And teach how we’re going to play, teach what we want done, teach our standard of whether it be work habit, turnovers, all parts of the game. Let him know through the tape—and we do a lot of it—what we’re looking for from him. Offensively, I’m not going to teach him offense. I can’t teach him the skill and creativity. It’s the other parts. If I think he’s struggling as far as decision-making, we’re going to show him that. If I think he’s struggling because he’s not pushing hard enough, we’re going to show him that. So it’s a matter of teaching once we get to know him, as far as what his strengths and weaknesses are.”
On getting Gaborik going, and whether it’s just one of those years:
“No, it can’t be one of those years because this team won’t succeed if it continues. And I think he’s close. I think his legs are moving and that’s the most important thing with Gabby—his legs. Not letting the play get caught up to him by gliding and looking for plays. More and more, within his game, he’s trying to beat people and skate through the neutral zone with speed and that’s the most important part that’s come back to his game. So we’re going to keep on trying to get him there and I know he wants to do it. Listen, this guy, he wants to do it. It’s just a matter of getting through it. Maybe there’s a little bit of a mental block. Who knows when they go through a little bit of a slump like this? But I think he’s close, I really do.”
On not juggling too much just to get one player going:
“You’ve got to be careful. It’s a hard question to answer because it depends on the situation and depends on the player and it’s a read by the coaches, as far as robbing Peter to pay Paul or continuing to play him in those situations. That’s an ongoing assessment that we make during the year and through games.
“I think he’s going to get there. I really do. He’s knocking on the door, if I can use that silly term. I think he’s close. Tonight would be a nice night, because we’re going to need some goals tonight. We’re not going to win a hockey game tonight 1-0. We won’t. We’re going to need some goals. Not just get chances. We’re going to need some goals tonight.”
Stepan will center Wolski and Gaborik, Anisimov will center Dubinsky and Zuccarello.
Lunqvist (and his three-game point streak) in goal.