After the first official on ice sessions of training camp yesterday, Bruce Boudreau took some questions from Brian Hayward and the fans in attendance. As you might expect he was very entertaining, and positive about most everything he saw on the ice, while playing to the crowd HARD. Here are some of the highlights:
Boudreau Opening comments
"To me, I thought they looked pretty good. For the first hour I thought the pace was pretty good. I was happy with it I didn't have to do too much cursing out there so things are going ok."
On Coach Scotty
"He was a little nervous out there ‘cause, you know, he had never been in big pressure games before. But any time we can get somebody with the status of Scott Niedermayer on our staff I think we hit a home run. Just his little insight on the power play and what he'll be able to do with the nuances of being able to talk to the defensemen is irreplaceable plus he knows what it takes to win. And when you can get guys who know what it takes to win it's always an advantage so I think we got a big advantage this week and hopefully it will run right through the whole year."
On Allen and Souray
"I was pleasantly surprised with both of them. I mean if you watched Sheldon he wasn't shooting the puck hard at all he'd shoot and Corey Perry said he's going to have to go out and buy some new armor just to stand in front of the net [Perry got hit in the glove with a Souray shot early in the PP session] but he can bring it and I think he's going to be a great asset on the power play, with him being able to shoot the puck the way it is."
"Bryan Allen is a big body. I've [coached] against him for a lot of years and he blocks shots he's really good defensively and he's going to be a tough guy to play against. So those guys in themselves have made us a better team."
On practices going forward through training camp (Jan. 14-16, 10:30am, Anaheim Ice)
"Tomorrow we're going to work on the neutral zone. Forechecking is the easiest thing to work on, tomorrow we'll do the neutral zone and then Tuesday we'll work on D-Zone and every time practice is over we'll come back and have a practice of special teams. "
On the fast start in condensed schedule
"I just think if we are prepared, and that's our goal is to be prepared, if we're prepared to go it doesn't matter if we're on the road. We love playing in front of you guys a lot more than being on the road but at the same time we're no strangers to the road and I think we had a pretty successful last half of the year on the road. So, we'll go in and we'll scare a few teams starting Saturday."
On opposing fans in Honda Center
"When Detroit comes in here, I'm serious, if I hear their fans yelling louder than you guys I'm going to be pissed off. Last year between them and Vancouver I wanted to go up there and grab those guys in the red jerseys or Vancouver jerseys and start shaking them, going ‘You're in our house you don't do that crap here.'" [Hazy quickly noted that fans are not encouraged to do that]
On the Kings
"How much trouble do you want me to get in? I think I said it about a month ago, it took them 45 years to get it right, let's hope it takes another 45 years. We don't like them and they don't like us. It's 1-1 let's see who wins two out of three."
"Let them predict all they want because reality is going to show them different. I haven't met a prognosticator yet that's got it right. So, If that's what they think it's great to be the underdog and show up everybody, that's what we'll do. We'll show them up. We've got a good hockey club here and we're going to go out and prove we're a good hockey club. It's going to be tough to play against the Anaheim Ducks this year. We're doing something; I told the players today I said ‘Don't feel like you're the underdog. From January to the end of the season last year we had the third best record in the National Hockey League' and I don't see why that shouldn't continue right now. We're a better team than we were last year."
Making the fans Whole (Crackpot Idea)
"So I was thinking coming up the stairs, we owe an awful lot to the fans and I think the best way to repay is if we play an extra two months this year after the season."
Do Gibson and Rakell have a shot at making the team?
"Anything's possible." (Then he extolled the virtues of USA Hockey, for winning the U-17s the WJC and the women's world championship within the last few years.)
On physicality in front of Hiller
"I think Bob Murray did a great job in addressing that. Bryan Allen is 6'5" 235 and plays a physical game and Sheldon Souray, we've talked about his prowess offensively but he's a 6'3" 230 lb beast, I'm telling you right now. He's tough, he takes no prisoners and he doesn't care who's in front of the net, he'll make them pay. So, I think the addition of those two players will really help as far as the physicality in front of the net."
On enforcers and rolling four lines (I LOVED this answer)
"I don't think that's a job that gets elected. We've got a lot of team toughness here right now I don't think we have the one super heavyweight that's going to come in and sit on the end of the bench and go out there and fight automatically. You're going to find guys that you gravitate toward but with a 48 game season you better be able to play four lines on a consistent basis because that's a lot of hockey in a very short amount of time. I don't think any NHL team now can afford to have one player that can't play either penalty kill or the power play and is just relegated to being an enforcer. Now George is a little bit different, he can play 5-on-5 and we tried to sign him, but what are you going to do?"
"When I got here last year the third and fourth line combined had one goal and you can't win unless you're getting production from your fourth line. We're not asking the fourth line guys to score 20 goals each but they have to be able to contribute five to eight goals in a season. And I firmly believe that they've got to be able to play, especially on the road when they go out there. Say we go to Vancouver this Saturday and all of a sudden there's a faceoff, the fourth line is out and they put the Sedins on. They better sure as Hell be able to play against them and that's what I want. They better be able to play against anybody and if they do it's very difficult to match lines against you and it gives you an advantage."
On Hiller playing too much
"Hilly played 34 games in a row last season; I'm not worried about him playing a lot of games. He's going to play. We saw him out there at that game in the end [of practice] and they couldn't score on him at all. He's ready and raring to go and we're gonna ride him as much as we can because he's as good as there is in the league."
Boudreau also touched on the Ryan-Bonino-Selanne line to say that they looked pretty good together, praised the skating of the Cogliano-Koivu-Winnik line and said he was most impressed over the past couple of days by Beleskey.