Nov. 15, 2011
MADISON, Wis. -- Head men's hockey coach Mike Eaves made his weekly Monday news conference appearance in the Camp Randall Media Room this week prior to Wisconsin's road series at Colorado College. A full transcript follows.
Watch the archived video of the news conference
QUESTION #1: Mike, how long did it take you to get the experiences that ended last season with CC out of your system?
Mike Eaves: Not long at all. We played really good hockey, and there was no regrets. We left everything on the ice. I think the coaching staff felt that. The players felt that. That’s all we could ask from them. J.P. Parisé played with the Islanders for many years, and coached at Shattuck when we were there, he used to, in his broken English or French accent, and used to talk about, people don’t understand the fact that the other team wants to win pretty bad too. It’s a hard thing to do. So we played our hearts out. And so, to get it out of our system, the quick answer to your question, not very long, because we left it all out there.
QUESTION #2: I know it’s a what have you done for me lately type of thing, but to split with the top-ranked team in the country, I mean, that’s a feather in your cap, is it not?
EAVES: Well, with this young group it is. And there was a lot of disappointment in that locker room after the game, because you’re 1-1 going into the third period, and you had an opportunity to get a sweep against a number one team. And so there’s no question that it hurt, and rightfully should hurt, when you’re a competitive group.
But if you step back, as we did on Sunday, and you take a look at the big picture, we beat the number, we swept the number five team in the country, and we split with the number one team, so we’re doing some good things. And like Bobbie (Kelsey) was just up here saying, we’re going to continue to get better.
QUESTION #3: Mike, after starting the season playing really well in the third period, I think you allowed one goal in your first five games in the third period, it’s kind of gone to the other side here of late with the exception of Friday night. Is it just a young team learning its way, or is there more to it than that?
EAVES: No. It’s probably just that, Andy. I haven’t even looked at that. You know, I know, I don’t overanalyze numbers like that, I really don’t, especially with the young group. So we’ll, you know, we’re going to continue to go back. We’re going to have a Dutch uncle session today in the video session, look at the truth, and be honest with each other, and continue to grow.
QUESTION #4: Tyler Barnes has put the puck away a little bit. He looks to, he looks like he’s a pretty good playmaker, has skills to do those types of things too, doesn’t he?
EAVES: Tyler can do a lot of things with the puck. There’s a level of consistency that we’ve sat down with Tyler and explained. He can be a big-time player, if he can find that level of consistency. What you’re talking about, you’re seeing, obviously, as you describe the game. We, as coaches, are seeing those same things, but there’s a level of consistency. If he can find that, it’s going to be a big thing for our team to have him play at that high level all the time.
QUESTION #5: Mike, what have you seen that impresses you about Brendan Woods, and the way he seems to have picked up his game every week?
EAVES: Well, it’s funny you bring that, because I think Brendan struggled this weekend. He’s a big man to play against. He’s one of those guys you’re going to run into, because he’s 6’3”. He’s all elbows and knees, and he’s shown with his long reach he can protect the puck.
The pace of the game, you can still see he’s adapting at times. He gets his pocket picked from behind and has lost the puck at times, but he’s got a nose for the game. He understands how it fits together, so he has that sense about the game. It’s been fun to kind of get to know him and see the things he can do. And the things that he’s done has impressed us. As, like with most of our young guys, there’s still room for growth.
QUESTION #6: Do you like how your team moves the puck? There’s been sequences where we’ve seen, you know, you catch the puck, boom, boom, boom. Do you like how they pass and share the puck?
EAVES: Again, that word consistency comes to mind. I think that, at times, we look very good. There’s been times that we don’t move it as well as we could, as quick as we could, and working on that skill set is something that we do every week.
As a matter of fact, one of the things that is going to happen today, it seems to me, and I don’t know if you noticed, Brian, but it seems to me that the back pressure of our opponents has allowed them to have takeaways against us, which is something that hasn’t happened before. So we’re either not moving our feet quick enough or moving the puck, and we’re going to address that this week a little bit.
QUESTION #7: As far as recruiting, have you received all the letters of intent as of yet or no?
EAVES: We’ve received two out of three of the fax copies and one of the originals, so we’re in the process of getting that done. When you’re dealing with billets and Canadian mail, things become a little hectic.