Friday, March 30, 2012
Huska speaks after series loss
"We had a hard time with the line. No matter what we tried we had a hard time matching up against that line (Bartschi - Rattie - Noebels). Some of the decisions that we made while we were out there against them were not the smartest decisions when you are playing up against a line like that. That line did about 90 percent of their goal scoring in this series and we didn't have an answer for them in regards to shutting them down. We do a pretty good job against them and then we make one little mental mistake and they kill you."
What will this do for your young defensive core. What won't kill them will make them stronger?
"I think that is the strength of our team. Our back end right now. When you look at our group, it was 16 and 17 year-old's on the back end and Myles Bell and MacKenzie Johnston are 18. I think they are the most intelligent players on our team. They make good decisions as to when to jump into the play. I think they are smart enough to allows us to be more active with our back end next year and I really think those will be the guys that are going to generate, or help generate, a lot of offense for us. They have good instincts and good hockey sense and once they grow a little bit more and mature, and use some of the lessons they learned in this series, I think they are going to be very good - as a group - in the future."
Talk about the loss of Mitchell Chapman. Your oldest player didn't play a game in the series?
"Everyone talks about 19 or 20 year old players. You need your older guys at this time of the year. They are the guys that are able, or are physically able to handle the heavier minutes. Mitchell (Chapman) is also one of those guys, I am willing to bet, would have gotten a few good hits on one of those two guys over the course of the series, so it is difficult to lose your older most experienced defenceman."
What did you say to the players after the loss?
"We go in there after every game. It is tough after the game because you have that pit in your stomach. You see the guys. The eyes of some of the older players, they know what happens at this time of the year that everybody goes their separate way. I told them that I thought they competed at the end. I thought it was good that they didn't roll over these last couple of games here at home against a very good team."
What was it like to coach this group, the youngest team ever in Rockets history?
"This was the hardest year for me for sure, by far. Maybe I underestimated even the youth...the amount of youth in regards to our practices. I think their were times over the course of the year that they froze a few times and didn't play the way I feel they were capable of. That is a learning experience for me and a challenge finding the fine line between really pushing hard and getting a player to lose his confidence. I think in the five years I have been a head coach here their has been something different every year that we have had to deal with. You become a better coach for it."
Brett Bulmer played his final game in a Rockets uniform and he ended his career on a high note?
"He skated hard. I thought he was physical. He was able to keep his focus with him. That is the thing with Brett. When he wants to play the game he is a dangerous and special player. When he sometimes lets his emotions or his frustrations get the best of him, that's when he struggles and that's what we saw in game two when he ended up taking that suspension. He is a special player when he going and playing the way he is capable of. He skated very well, he has great size and he can do a lot of good things on the ice".
Outside of the obvious player graduations, do you expect this team to look differently next season?