Nov. 26, 2012
• Watch Eaves News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin men's hockey head coach Mike Eaves spoke Monday after the team was recently swept in a home series against Minnesota State. The Badgers head to Denver for a series this weekend, Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above and a complete transcript of Eaves' remarks can be found below.
Question: Mike, is Nic Kerdiles healthy and available for this weekend? If so, what should fans expect from this young man?
Eaves: Well, Nic will be at practice this week. He's healthy. He had hurt his knee playing for the national development team during his suspension. But he's healthy, and he will be in practice today. What they should expect from Nic is energy. One of his greatest assets is his skating ability. He can play at a high tempo and pace. He shoots the puck well. He has a nose for the net. He gets a lot of goals down there. In the back of my mind, I hope that his teammates and he don't expect him to be the guy that does everything. He's got to be part of the solution here that we have going, and I think he can be. I certainly hope he doesn't feel he has to show in everything and change the role. That's something we have to talk about. But he'll bring a level of energy to our team.
Question: Just to kind of follow up on that. I was going to ask you if you were going to sit down and talk to him. I think human nature for him would be I've missed X number of games, and I have to get it all done.
Eaves: You're absolutely correct. Especially human nature of a young student-athlete. They want it now, and they want it all. I think just the understanding process that he's going to be a little rusty. I think he's got to understand he might fall down a couple times, not figuratively. And so I think it will be a good discussion with him. I think it will be something that will be done in front of the whole team so they understand the concept that Nic's not going to be the guy that leads us out of the desert here. He's going to be part of the solution, and he needs to recognize that. So hopefully, by having this, just talking about this elephant in corner of the room, it will help him play better and help our team understand better what we're dealing with.
Question: Do you have another injury update on Mark Zengerle. A week, two weeks, this weekend?
Eaves: I know he gets his stitches out this week, and much to his chagrin, the doctor is going to crank on that finger of his and see what kind of action he can get on it. Our next step is to get a stick in his hand. Once he gets the stick in his hand, I would say next weekend would be iffy, but the following week would be a good percent he'll be in there.
Question: Any idea about Morgan Zulinick?
Eaves: Morgan -- I talked to Andy this morning, and he's going to go on the ice and test it again. It's getting better. One thing you want to be careful about injuries to the thigh is you don't calcify. I actually had a roommate, teammate in the minors that his calcified and they had to operate, and it's a messy deal. So Andy is making sure that doesn't happen. His range of motion and the firing of the muscle is getting better, but you want to make sure that darn thing doesn't calcify. So go on the ice today and see what kind of reaction we get from stressing him a little bit and see if we're ready to get him in there regularly.
Question: You were very encouraged by the effort on Saturday. After seeing the film of that game again, do you feel the same way? Do you feel the guys are going to respond to that?
Eaves: No question. I mean, we out-chanced them both nights by our counts. We do a pretty serious job of doing that because we want to be honest with ourselves. It's not sugar coated. The interesting thing about Saturday night is on three of the goals we were there. We had coverage and didn't get the job done. And so those are mistakes that right now, because of the way we're scoring, they highlight it. If we're scoring goals, we're scoring five goals, we didn't do a good job. We can go back and fix that, but the fact that we were there and didn't get enough goals, it's like we're pulling our hair out. So we'll go back -- the thing I liked about Saturday, the things that we've been working on in practice, we saw similar things being done well. Again, as we talk to the boys, the ship in the ocean is starting to turn. The question to the boys after the game, do you feel that? Do you see that? And they agreed. We have to keep going with that. Today will be an interesting day because it's Monday, the weekend after getting beat at home, and how they come in and what their attitude when they walk in that locker room, that's what we as a staff will have to have a real pulse on because, if we're going to move forward and make sure we are still turning that ship, we need to see that from our leaders, and we as a staff have got to have that vision for them to make sure we're going in that direction.
Question: Is Joel Rumpel just fighting the puck? How do you explain in I'm sure he's disappointed in what transpired on Saturday.
Eaves: I haven't had a chance to talk to Joliet. I know Joel is disappointed. Sometimes it's their coach. Sometimes it's a gut feeling they've got to change. It's a little bit of both with me. I'll sit down with Jeff Sanger, and we'll see where we're at, and what he needs to work on and what he needs to focus on.
Question: We've heard Coach Bielema use the 1-0 mentality approach with his team. When you're in a situation like your team is in now, do you break it down to 1-0, sections of the season?
Eaves: We have our own formula. It's funny you bring that up. We watched Good Will Hunting going to Minneapolis. They put a formula up on the board, and the young janitor figured it out. We put a formula up on the board Friday night, and it was 1VO bracket squared. What does that mean? Is that's a pretty simple solution. It's us winning Friday night and Saturday night because we have a two-game weekend. We picked off Bret's 1-0 theory to make it a squared Friday and Saturday night. If we win, it's a great formula, right? We lost, so it's another wasted great speech.
Question: Denver got beat a couple of times this past weekend, but prior to that, they were scoring about five goals a game, and they lost a couple of their high end guys. I don't know if George can explain it or you can try to explain it, but they're certainly playing well.
Eaves: Talking to people about them, obviously, their goaltending is pretty solid. The thing that people talk about them mostly is their defensemen, what a great defensive corps they have. Also, their forwards. They're scoring off the charts. Right now they may have had that wind blowing at their back in terms of goal scoring, things going off legs, you don't know how they've been scoring. They'll be all ready for us now that they've lost a couple of games. George will have their attention in practice. But I think it's a great opportunity for us. Again, we have another quality opponent, and we're going in there blind. What better way to right this ship than playing well?