The whole process was what was so rewarding. From Day 1, we asked those guys to do what was needed and they responded on a continued basis and from a coach’s standpoint that was rewarding.
It was a great group of guys to be around and then through the playoffs they brought it to another level and to see it all come together and everybody reap the success of the hard work was fun.
What did you do in your free time this summer?
We headed to our house in northern Wisconsin for six weeks to just kind of get away, recharge the batteries, get out on the lake and do some fishing with family and friends up there.
I’m still skating with my son 14-year-old son, Ian, through the summer and I’m actually helping with his (Bantam) team, the Chicago Blues, until we get going.
We had it for the Fourth of July and we took it to a great little restaurant that some friends own and had friends and family with it. It was quite amazing how many people from Chicago were up there at the point and wanted pictures taken with the Cup and to talk about it.
We also took it to a couple of Fourth of July parties and had a really good time with it and we were also able to get family photos done.
You’re headed to Carolina for the Hurricanes’ rookie camp. What do you expect from that experience?
We’ll meet with (Canes coach) Rod Brind’Amour and his staff and kind of go over the expectations of the way we want to play.
Then the prospects come in and we’ll get to know those kids and put faces to the names. We’ll have a couple of days to work with them and see what their skill sets are and then we’ll play a nice little three-game tournament with Tampa and Florida to give opportunities for these kids to showcase them themselves in game situations. And then we’ll help Rod and his staff with the first little bit of (NHL) training camp.
You’re just starting out with Brock Sheahan as the Wolves’ new head coach. How has that gone?
I talked to him last week and he seems like a pretty bright guy who knows what he is talking about.
I think it’s kind of very similar philosophies with what we had under (former coach Ryan Warsofsky) with how he likes to play a fast game, have puck pressure and likes to transition.
I think one of the areas where Brock seems to have a passion and is really excited about trying to work on here is on the offensive side of the puck – holding onto the puck, cycling the puck and getting it into Grade A scoring areas.
And he’s also very well known as a player developer. I’m interested to get to work with him and see how he works on his day-to-day development philosophy with these young kids and how he incorporates it on and off the ice.
What do you guys do for an encore this season?
In major sports, it’s hard enough to win on its own and then to repeat is even harder. We don’t even really know the roster yet, but we do know we’re going to be quite a bit younger.
I was counting at the office the other day and I think we had 21 bodies that ended up moving on in some capacity so there’s going to be a lot of turnover. We’ll have a lot of young kids but it’s also a great opportunity for these young guys to take a big step in their development. They’re going to get more ice time, more special teams situations and more situations that maybe involve some more pressure.
It’s going to be important that we prepare these kids so that come game time they’re ready for those situations and they have an opportunity to develop.
Then once you get the development and they step up their games, that’s when you at stringing together some winning games.
Like any sport, your first goal is to get into the playoffs and then from there anything can happen.