Have you guys been to the Motown Classic before?
Yes a couple years ago.
So tell me why you’ve come back to the tournament and why you felt it was so important for your team to play here?
Well first of all the competition here in the midwest is second to none. And it’s an honor for us to come from the east coast, where hockey isn’t the biggest desirable sport, but to come here and face the best competition, that’s why we travel so much.
How does this compare to some of the other tournaments you guys have done in the past?
Well we travel to canada and upstate NY quite a bit, but the candadian teams and ontario teams are good, but it seems like in the midwest here, detroit chicago it seems like everybody comes from everywhere, so it makes it beneficial for all of us.
Being that the talent pool is so rich at this particular tournament, is that another factor of what draws you and your team back?
What it does for us, even back home, we play teams that probably aren’t as talented and don’t push us as much so we get into bad habits, and we start doing some lazy things. When we come here you have to be sharp, you have to be on top, you have to be on the puck, we really can work on things to make our team play a better game.
Is there anything particular you’re looking for coaching this age group?
I’ve coached the 97-96 group, and a lot of really good kids came through that program like Charlie McAvoy playing for the bruins from Long Island, Adam Fox played on the world junior team and my older son is in the Leaf organization. What we try to do, especially what I try to focus on, is all skill work. You can’t preach it enough. I’d rather take ten minutes in a game and make a mistake, than dump a puck and throw it deep just to preserve a 3-2 lead or something because when you get older it’s those kids who can make plays at the highest level.
What would be a success to you guys?
We’re growing as a team.. it’s early in the season, but I think for us it’s important that we keep growing as a team. So half way through the year and then by the end of the year everybody is buying in and doing the same thing. Listen, most of these kids love to be a little bit selfish, they love to do things a little bit outside their box just because whether their parents are in their ear, or what they want to do as an individual once they learn that when they play a complete game. Tonight we scored 2 to 3 goals where we really moved the puck beautifully to the weak side and really set up a good scoring chance. If we win this tournament, thats great, if we lose in the quarter finals, that’s great.. we’re really focusing on where we are at the end of the year.
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