DeKeyser talks outdoor hockey


ON WISCONSIN <b>Tracey DeKeyser and Mike Eaves were the first skaters Monday afternoon. </b>
ON WISCONSIN
Tracey DeKeyser and Mike Eaves were the first skaters Monday afternoon.
ON WISCONSIN

Feb. 2, 2010

MADISON, Wis. - Interim head coach Tracey DeKeyser met with the media Monday afternoon to discuss the upcoming weekend and the excitement surrounding the Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic. DeKeyser went out with men's head coach Mike Eaves as the first skaters on the Camp Randall ice rink following the press conference.

Wisconsin men's and women's hockey will begin skating on the outdoor rink starting today in preparation for the games on Saturday.

Watch the archived press conference here and find a complete transcript below.

Opening Statement


Well, we're looking forward to finally getting on the outdoor ice, and I think Coach Eaves and I are going to actually get to try out the ice here later this afternoon, so that's pretty exciting.  I know our players are very appreciative and just pumped up to be part of such a great hockey celebration with the Culver's Camp Randall Classic.  So that's the focus for the week. 

We've been struggling a little bit trying to get pucks in net or keeping pucks out of our net, so we'll be working on those two things this week.  It's been a learning opportunity for the players this season, and we just keep moving forward.

Some will look at this as an event or a celebration. Like you said, this is a big weekend for your team, isn't it?

It really is. I mean, with Bemidji right on our heels, with just one point behind us, every, every point that we're able to gather is so crucial.  It's not for the WCHA playoffs, but for national standings, and just for, hopefully, getting voted in at the end of the year.

Tracey, how difficult, following up on that, how difficult will it be to get your players to separate the two realities, that one is a pretty neat event and the other is that you need to win some games here?

Right.  Well, that will be the major challenge I think. Hopefully, getting out a couple days in advance and getting through the novelty of the whole situation will help. And, it's funny. I went out yesterday to Vilas Park to kind of prep myself for the week ahead.  And I got complete wind burn on my face. So my advice to them will be put Vaseline on your cheeks before you go out. So hopefully, we'll be ready to go by Saturday.

Power-play goals is something you've been struggling with all season, but you came away with I think three this weekend. Can you just talk about the success you had there, and if you changed anything up for the weekend?

We actually did, despite having scored two and the short-handed on Friday evening in Ohio. We changed things up in the second period Saturday, and put a couple different people together, and within 40 seconds, we had a puck in the back of the net. And we're coming to a point in the season where I think we've figured out where people level off and where, hopefully, we have the right people in the right positions from a special team's standpoint.

Even just line combinations and, you know, we need to get everyone involved and everyone needs to contribute.  But we've been talking a lot about trusting each other so that we're just doing our job and keeping the game simple.  And when you're out there, just obviously making the most of every opportunity, because we've been too close on too many occasions this year.

Knowing the people we have in the locker room, it's definitely a group that is capable of great things, but you know, with inexperience, you get a lot of either second-guessing or lack of confidence in time.  So hopefully, you know, with just a couple more special teams successes, that will again lend to confidence and continue to build on the trust.

Will it be difficult to determine who is going to play in this game on Saturday?

Are you talking goaltenders?  Anyone?  Well, we're going to try and get everyone involved to some degree, whether they're just dressed on the bench or, we do have some people with injuries and sicknesses, unfortunately, so they won't be able to be a part of the experience.  But I know everyone is, if they're ready and able, they'll be out there and dressed and chomping at the bit to get on the ice.

Are you excited to see what this is like just going out there?

I am. Hopefully, it will be better than Vilas Park. There are a lot of cracks out there, and I would kill myself. But I have total faith in our equipment people here and our facilities and maintenance guys. So again, I'm just excited to get out there, and it just reminds me of being a kid. I was a huge pond hockey enthusiast as a child. I remember, I had about an hour bike ride home, or sorry, bus ride home in Canada. I've been cold. 

And I used to sit by the window, and I used to like totally evaluate the ditches on the way home and see the ice conditions, because when I got home, if our ditch was just perfect, you know, I'd be shoveling it off and making sure that I could get out there for a couple hours before hockey practice. 

So this just brings me back to the reality of the game and what we all live for, when you grow up, when you're 8 to 15 years old. And as I got older, I was in charge of the rink down at our local community and watering it. So again, this is just a great reminder of our roots and I think a lot of our players have a shared experience.

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