On the difference of going into the off-season after having qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time
Going into the summer and now I think it’s important we talked about keeping a level head about last season because that is behind us. Once the dust settled I think we all realized that we wanted to learn from the experience and realized that’s what we want to get back to this season. With that being said, there’s a lot of work that has to go into it and our focus going into the summer was everyone doing what they needed to do to get better so that we could hopefully give ourselves an opportunity to be successful again at the end of next year.
On strengths and areas of concern going into this season
I think that it seems like we have good depth at all positions. I think it’s real competitive and I’m just looking to see where everything is going to shake out here when we play our first game as far as the line-up. I’m real happy with some of the decisions we have to make, being that we have some tough decisions to make on who’s going to be in the line-up every night. I really like our senior class and our guys that are going to be looked upon to lead us. I really like our leadership and our depth going into this season. I think that one of the things we want to focus on is just making sure we’re being consistent on everything that we’re doing in all facets of the program.
On candidates to pick up the offensive slack created by the departure of Dion Knelsen, and Andy Taranto’s line mates to start the season
Dion was obviously a great player for us at a bunch of different levels. He played in a lot of different situations and he was a good leader. I don’t know if we are going to have one guy just step up and be Dion Knelsen and take up his minutes. I guess it’s going to be by committee that we are going to fill up some of those minutes that Dion leaves behind. At the same time I feel good about our team and guys jumping up and taking advantage of that opportunity.
As far as Andy goes, right now we are mixing things up and trying to find some chemistry in there. I know that at the end of the season last year him, Dion and Dustin Sather had a real good run there going the last ten games going into the playoffs. So Dustin and Andy have been playing quite a bit together here in practice. We have been mixing some guys in there, trying to see where the chemistry is at. We are going to have a few opportunities coming up here in the next couple weeks with the tournament in Anchorage and our tournament to be ready to go for Michigan State to open up the CCHA.
On Nanooks being picked 3rd in coaches poll
It’s nice to be recognized, but at the same time everybody right now is 0-0-0. We are not going to worry about preseason polls or what’s behind us and some accomplishments we’ve had. We have to focus in on moving forwards and getting better every day. I told them two years ago when I came back from the meeting in Grand Rapids and we were picked 12th, our approach is going to be the same way. We are not going to focus in on those things. We are just going to focus in on getting better every day and being a strong group and I think if we do that it will give us the best opportunity to be successful.
On meeting the three ‘Big Ten’ teams four times
To be successful within the league throughout the regular season, you need to be successful in your cluster. We have a strong cluster, but every night you play in the CCHA is strong. You need to play your best every Friday and Saturday to be successful. Our approach needs to be the same. We can’t get up for some teams and not for others because if we do that we are not going to be successful at the end day. From our approach, it’s kind of the same every day for us. We know that it’s a battle. We aren’t a team that takes any team for granted and if we do we are not going to be winning very many hockey games. We are excited about the opportunity and we feel it’s a strong cluster but we tie that into the fact that we are in a great league and we need to be prepared every Friday and Saturday.
You can read quotes from the rest of the coaches here.