Head Coach Rich Kromm discusses the importance of the three-game home stand, new acquisitions, and tonight’s matchup with the Komets.
Q: In arguably the biggest week of the season thus far, how important is it to come out of it successfully with five or six points?
A: It’s important that we keep pushing forward here. We can’t lay off the gas right now, we’re in a position where we’ve done some things in the past few games to give ourselves a chance to get in the playoffs, so we want to keep building on that.
Q: What do new acquisitions, defenseman Donnie Harris and goaltender Ross MacKinnon, bring to the team?
A: We obviously needed some bodies back there with the lockout ending and Ponich being called up, also with some of the injuries to the back-end. Donnie has certainly been able to fill that role for us and has done a real good job of playing with Obie (Obermeyer). That pairing has been good for us in games and hasn’t really hurt us at all, so I’m real happy with his play. And MacKinnon, with Dainton up, we needed a guy to be here so we could have two goalies. I don’t know if he’ll get a chance to play right now, but Karpy (Karpowich) is carrying the ball right now.
Q: What are some attributes of the most recent acquisition, forward Dylan Gilbert?
A: He’s a guy that we just had at camp and unfortunately with the lockout there wasn’t a place for him to play, so he’s just been training back home in Saginaw (Mich.) with the junior team there. He’s a guy who I think has a lot of promise. He’s a young guy who has good skills and sees the ice real well. He’s going to be here just shortly then will probably play some games in the southern league to get himself going.
Q: How does this team’s chemistry translate into it’s recent success?
A: I think it’s good right now. The guys have to enjoy being around each other and when you’re winning hockey games it makes it a lot easier and solves all the problems. Overall, the guys are getting along. The St. Louis guys here, Nigro and Wannstrom, have bought in and work hard for us. Same with Blomqvist, he seems to be playing well right now and we’re happy with that. Mooner and Vogie (Vogelhuber) have been key guys so all the guys we have here that are NHL-signed players are really buying into what we’re doing here and trying to help us win games.
Q: With the team playing the last few games with just four true defensemen, how would rate the play of transplanted defensemen Jason Dale and Patrick Kennedy?
A: They both did a great job over the weekend. I thought Kennedy was good in the three games he’s played back there, because he shows a lot of pose with the puck. He and (Aaron) Gens seems to have pretty good chemistry together. I think that with Jason, we adjusted our system a little bit with those five guys and he was able to fill in there and try to eliminate the times he was going to have to skate backwards. It allow him to be more of just a pinching defenseman and it was successful for us. I think the guys like to play that way and he did a great job back there.
Q: What is the key to victory tonight against a Komets roster that has been depleted by call-ups due to the end of the NHL lockout?
A: I think the key for sure is to not think just because they’ve lost some key players that it’s going to be an easy game. They always give us a difficult run and we have to be prepared to play. It’s going to be the team that wants to skate and work tonight that’s going to get the two points.