San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson discusses 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with KNBR

Photo courtesy of sharks.nhl.com

On Wednesday April 27, San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson {pictured above} sat down with Rod Brooks of KNBR Radio to discuss the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Wilson gave his thoughts on the Los Angeles Kings series, his goaltender’s Antti Niemi and Antero Niittymaki, Joe Thornton, the Detroit Red Wings, the Sharks special teams, being good enough at the right time, attention from the Bay Area and winning the Stanley Cup.  To listen to the full mp3 audio of the interview, please click HERE

On the Los Angeles Kings series:
“Well first of all, we didn’t expect it to be a short series.  In the Western Conference, just to make the playoffs means your a very good hockey team.  In the playoffs, you have to expect the unexpected.  I think their goaltender played really well.  What I loved about our group is they didn’t get distracted, whether it be a penalty called at a bad time or certain things.  They stayed focused and they got it done against a very good hockey team and the Kings deserve credit.”

On Antti Niemi and Antero Niittymaki:
“First of all, he {Niemi} has earned a lot of equity with his performance the last couple of years and often when a coach pulls a goaltender it’s reflective of the whole group, not just how the goaltender’s played and you’ve seen that in the playoffs this year probably more so than ever.  He {Niemi} is a guy that our coaches, our players, they all believe in tremendously and want to play for him.  But Niitty also is a very good goalie and we feel we have a very strong tandem but you can expect Niemi to be our number one guy.  But we have confidence that if we need to change the emotion or direction of a game by having Niitty go in in a minute’s notice.  We have a tandem and we look at him {Niitty} and he’s very capable of being a number one but he’s also has great respect for not only our other goaltender but the rest of our team.  Our team has mentioned this before, the sum of all our parts, different people are have to going to step up on different nights and that makes the difference as long as they understand the team comes first and deliver what you can when asked for.”

On Joe Thornton’s series winning goal against LA and criticism of Thornton:
“Well Joe is so respected within the game, he’s one of the great players in our game and his teammates certainly look up to him and do have that respect.  I think Joe, a lot of the emotions were we just overcome killing off a five minute major to win the game and Joe is a team first guy. I think he’s playing his best hockey, all three zone hockey, in that game. I think he was 12-to-5 in winning face-offs, winning battles and that’s what he’s done this year.  The coaching staff believes in him immensely and I think he would have been just as happy if Logan Couture or Seto scored that goal.  That was a team first celebration overcoming a little challenge just prior to that on the PK.”

On the familiarity and success against the Detroit Red Wings last year and this year:
“Well we do.  Playoff history last year and games this year are players know a lot about their team our coaching staff knows a lot about their team and vice-versa.  So I think as always it’ll be played out on the ice.  Our team I think is looking forward to the challenge that’s ahead of them and I think we’ve played well as a team. We’ve had seven guys score over 20 goals this year and five guys were 60 points plus.  I think we’ve got more depth but it will be a heck of a series with two very good hockey teams playing.”

On fixing Special Teams and if they will be a concern:
“Well, just like goaltending is making the right save at the right time, getting a big Power Play goal is as much the right goal at the right time take advantage of your opportunity.  Penalty Killing, which we weren’t pleased with our Penalty Killing most of the season this year but they’ve come up very big when its mattered, particularly the last game and our Power Play was top two or three in the league so we know what our capabilities are now its just being efficient and executing up to the levels we expect.”

On being “good enough at the right time”:
“Well I think the commitment to the details in our coaching staff, I think uh….oh back in January had to revisit that because you’ve got to be really efficient.  You can get by certain games and there were times I don’t think we liked how we played in the LA series, and there’s other period of times where we very played well.  The first period in the final game against LA, we were like a machine.  We did all the things with puck support, preparation and how we played in our own zone, that’s what we’re striving.  As you move forward in the playoffs, you’ve got to get better and better and play longer period of times at the high level of expectations to beat good hockey teams.  So were gonna have to play better this series than we did  last series but we have had a good body of work since mid January of playing the right way and that’s what were gonna push for our guys.”

On getting more attention from the Bay Area the more the Sharks win in the playoffs:
“Well we’ve got a great fan base here and our rink is arguably the loudest rink in the league and that does make a difference.  We feel that we like high expectations.  We’ve got a group of athletes and coaches that welcome that, the pressure, and expectations and challenges and that’s what pro sports is all about.  So you look forward to this time of year and you look forward to the opportunity in front of you.”

On the Sharks winning a Stanley Cup Championship:
“Well the one word you just said is the most important…..”WE.”  We do it as a group and we stay in the moment. Our big focus is to just to get ready for our first game against the Red Wings.  If you have the right people and you’ve got the right commitment and effort, results will take care of themselves and you want this group to have the success it deserve but you’ve just got to go one day at a time and be ready for that first shift on Friday.”

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About Jon Allred

Life long San Jose and Worcester Sharks fan that bleeds teal and black.

Posted on April 29, 2011, in Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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