John Anderson has several strengths as a coach. One of them is his willingness not to mince words.
The Chicago Wolves flew out of Rochester on Sunday after splitting the first two games of their best-of-five Western Conference Quarterfinals series. Considering the Wolves get to host the final three games (if necessary), conventional hockey wisdom suggests Anderson ought to be happy to come back to Allstate Arena with a split on enemy ice.
Anderson declared himself happy, but not for that reason.
“We won three periods,” he said. “They won four. They really played desperate in the second game. They played very hard. Gotta give them credit where credit’s due. We didn’t play as good as we should have — or as hard as we should have. We were in regular-season mode. They were in postseason mode.“
Rest assured Anderson has shared his opinion with his players.
“It could have been 2-0 (Rochester),” he said. “I do not like this mode, but everybody’s in it and just deal with it. Unfortunately.”
JASKIN’S LONG FRIDAY
Dmitrij Jaskin was the hero of Game 1 Friday night when he knocked home the winning goal 66 seconds into overtime. It was a thrilling way for the 21-year-old rookie to end a long day that required a lot of extra adrenalin.
Jaskin opened Friday in St. Louis as he had been in the NHL since March 16. When he found out during the morning that he was reassigned to the Wolves, he caught a flight to Chicago and tried to get a little sleep. Once he landed at O’Hare, he joined Wolves owners Don Levin and Buddy Meyers on a private flight to Rochester and reached the locker room about two hours before puck drop.
“It was a pretty crazy day,” Jaskin said. “I just tried to stay focused that first game because it was pretty long and I played a lot and I hadn’t been playing much for the last month.”
Jaskin hadn’t played since April 13 against Detroit, yet John Anderson didn’t see a rusty or out-of-shape player. As he pointed out, Jaskin was on the ice for the entire 66-second overtime.
“This guy likes to play,” Anderson said. “He takes 1 minute, 30-second shifts. He likes taking long shifts.”
Jaskin admitted his lengthy Friday left him tired on Saturday — not that it matters at this time of year.
“It’s the playoffs and you work all year for that,” Jaskin said. “So no excuses.”
SAYING GOODBYE IN SEARCH OF THE ACTION
Defenseman Henrik Odegaard showed up at the practice rink in Hoffman Estates on Monday morning. Instead of joining the rest of the Wolves on the ice, he stayed in the locker room and packed his blue equipment bag with a logo that features a polar bear and the phrase NORGES ISHOCKEYFORBUND 18-9-1934.