Jake Allen doesn’t change whether he’s in goal for the Chicago Wolves or talking about goaltending for the Wolves. He’s direct, intelligent and analytical — and not afraid to discuss things honestly.
As Allen and the Wolves prepare for Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Rochester (7 p.m. Thursday at Allstate Arena), here are some of the thoughts running through the head of the 2013-14 American Hockey League’s Most Outstanding Goaltender.
On Game 1 at Rochester:
“I feel like I was more anxious than anything. More jumpy. I think all of us were until the third period and then we finally relaxed and calmed down. I thought I played well the second game, but not good enough to win. We’ve got our hands full. They’re a great team and they showed us that in our first two games there.”
On preparing for games:
“I watch all my games (on video) and break them down. Blues goalie development coach Ty Conklin cuts them up for me. He watches all my games and sends them to me or shows them to me when he’s here.
“I get in a lot of our penalty kill and defensemen meetings and see what the other team’s tendencies are on the forecheck, going to the net and things like that. I try to learn as much as possible. That helps everyone.”
On having limited short-term memory:
“You have to. If you don’t do that, then I don’t think you can be a goalie. You’ve got to let it go. Goals happen. It’s part of the position. We chose it. Sometimes it’s hard, but I enjoy it. It’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders, but it’s pretty fun. If you make a mistake — turn the puck over, commit a penalty, who knows — you’ve got to let it go.”
On the team’s mood going into Game 3:
“It’s a clean slate right now. It’s a best-out-of-three games. We’ve got to get on our horse tomorrow night. We know they’re going to come out of the gate flying. They did that in both of the first two games. Credit to them for that. They came right at us and they’re going to do it again tomorrow, so we’ve got to be prepared.”
WELCOME BACK TO CRACKNELL AND CO.
Forward Adam Cracknell just wrapped up a grueling Stanley Cup playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks, during which he scored one goal and averaged 12 minutes, 43 seconds of ice time during the five games in which he played.
He could have decided his body’s not up to the challenge of joining the Calder Cup playoff fray, but the 28-year-old returned on loan Wednesday to the Wolves. He’s expected to be ready to go for Game 3 on Thursday.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Cracknell contributed 12 goals and 13 assists in 28 games for the Wolves before returning to St. Louis on April 11.
“It’s good to have him back, that’s for sure,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “He can score and he’s a big body. He gives us some size and some strength upfront. He balances our lines a little bit more and gives us more depth. “
Forwards Eric Kattelus and Yannick Veilleux, defenseman Brett Ponich, and goaltender Jordan Binnington also have rejoined the Wolves in the wake of Kalamazoo’s Game 6 loss to Greenville Tuesday night to close out the Wings’ ECHL playoff run.