Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich checked in with “The Sports Junkies, coming off a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the Capitals first game under new head coach, Dale Hunter.
Laich immediately noticed the difference between Coach Bruce to Coach Hunter. “They have a little bit different styles of coaching especially yesterday when we were matching lines we really had to be sharp on the bench. It’s something we’ll get used”.
Coach Hunter had a short and sweet approach to addressing his new team, said Laich. “He was only in the room for about 30-40 seconds, just gave us a couple little things to focus on, something in the d-zone, something in the offensive zone and then get back out there.”
Brooks went on to say that keeping things natural for the players was the best coaching approach. “In a transition phase like this, you still want to allow your guys to play with a natural instinct, you can tweek a few things but you don’t want to overload them too much”
Brooks was very conscious of the team’s recent hard times on the ice. “There’s a lot of hockey left to go, one thing that we’ve learned in the past is that regular season success doesn’t mean anything. I still believe we’re a playoff team, there’s no reason to panic and blow this thing up…and come April we’ll be in the playoffs.”
Brooks already began preparing for Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh Penguins, comparing Pitt’s defense style to St. Louis’. “I don’t think they’re a whole lot differently, I think they’re very tight defensively as well. Just watched the highlights of their [Pitttsburg] games last night and New York scored 4 goals against Pitt on a couple of turnovers”.
To hear the whole interview, including Brooks’ response to the importance of the much speculated team captain position, click below.