Social Icons

twitterfacebookgoogle pluslinkedinrss feedemail


Hockey Challenge 2014

Recent Articles


Part 2 of my Q and A with Coach Rob Sumner

Hunnex: Can I act like a fan for just a moment and ask… how awesome is the new building going to be and should we not expect that the fans are going to pack that place, make it loud and provide a great home ice advantage?

Sumner: We are very much looking forward to the new building to state the obvious. There are things like the noise and excitement as you mention that will create a great environment inside the building but there is actually more to it than that for us. We will finally have our game rink, practice rink, and office under the same roof. Combine that with a new group of fans merging with a strong, loyal, current fan base. So, yes, I do expect it to be packed and contribute towards a great home ice advantage.

Hunnex: Talk a little bit about the players that have been acquired or listed in the off season. What kind of player is Mike Krgovich (I heard he is “your” type of player)? Spencer Edwards? Warg? Palat? (I heard he is likely not coming until next year?) Devon LeBlanc? Houston?

Sumner: A very brief comment on each guy…

Krgovich – a tenacious responsible player, yet has untapped offensive potential as well.

Edwards – a very fast top end skater.

Warg – good all around skill, good size, good skater. He appears to be a very competitive player.

Palat – you’re correct, probably a next year player.

LeBlanc – good size and skill level. I believe he will reach a whole new level to his game.

Hewson – fresh start will be beneficial. Great size and very good person who could just be a great fit.

Hunnex: Address if you would like, the most common criticism that I have heard from fans since you took over as head coach, that your system heavily favors defense and does not allow for forwards and offensive players to take aggressive chances to create scoring opportunities? It seems to me that our forwards are taught not to leave the zone and stretch towards the neutral zone until after the puck has cleared the zone… whereas it seems to me that other teams take more chances attempting to stretch before the puck has been fully cleared from their own zone. I’m not sure if I’m describing this very well….

Sumner: I think I understand your question so I will attempt to answer it. Perhaps I am a bit misunderstood if the perception from some is that I limit players offensively. It couldn’t be further from the truth, as a matter of fact we have spent huge chunks of practice time trying to develop and encourage offensive play. I also stress a strong team oriented defensive system and that won’t change.

The best teams are the teams that are consistently strong on offence and defence. The winner of our league over the past 4 seasons has been in the top 4 of both categories. Look at last year’s champions, Detroit in the NHL, and Spokane in the WHL, were not run and gun teams, instead very good at both ends.

The numbers say that in the last 4 years we have been in the top half of the league defensively for all 4 years, and offensively for 2 of the 4 years. I think if you take it a step further, our powerplay has held us back in overall offensive production. I have more concern about getting better results there than I do with our 5 on 5 offensive play.

Finally, to address the specific example you made…I encourage our players to break for holes and break ahead of the play through the neutral zone once possession is gained, not once the puck has cleared the zone. We will keep working towards playing a top end offensive style along with a top end defensive game, not in place of it. I hope that helps the fans that you are referring to understand my way of thinking.

Hunnex: I’ve heard from various sources that there could be some surprise kids that are coming to Seattle next year from the U.S. and other parts. What players, who were not with the team last year, are being invited to camp and/or could make an impact this year or next? For example… maybe one of the kids from Minnesota, Matt Betker or Brandon Carlson?

Sumner: We will have several players who were not with last year’s team in Training Camp. I don’t think there are any big secrets but there are a couple of guys with experience in the league with other teams that will be in camp. LeBlanc, Hewson, Hallick, Betker, Krgovich, Edwards, Jahraus and Petrino will all be there, along with other players who are without experience in the league. I’m not too hung up on experience, my job along with Russ is to select the best players and work towards making those players into a team.

No comments :

WHL Scoreboard