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Transcript: 06.29 Don Sweeney Development Camp Presser - Day 2

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

Quotes - 2012 Development Camp


June 29

BOSTON BRUINS ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER DON SWEENEY

On Robbie O’Gara’s development…
I think Robbie’s made some really good strides. He’s still got a lot of strength to add, but you’re not changing the frame so to speak at 6’4”, so he’s got a lot of room for that. The level of play is probably below obviously what other kids played at last year. That’s not a disparaging comment against prep school hockey. But he’s looking forward to going to Yale and it’s a good program. He’s eager to continue to learn. You can see that – him applying that in his games. I would go to his games and talk to him afterwards and realizing that like all the players that their current teams are probably doing – you know, being Superman so to speak, and trying to do too much. And realizing that sometimes less is more and more effective at the next levels as the competition goes up, and that’s something he’s implementing. But he’s got a lot of great tools at work and he’s a great kid. He’s conscientious. Yesterday’s team building exercises, he jumped out to lead one of them, which you never would of saw last year. So that, to me, speaks volumes as to how comfortable he’s getting in terms of what he knows are the expectations in front of him. So that’s good.

On the team having two practices today after yesterday’s activities…
Well, physically they actually looked like they moved fine today and they worked equally hard in both sessions. We backed off in terms of what time we started to have them realize they got a chance to catch their breath. You know, mentally you could see right away when they got on the ice, it took a little bit. The first couple drills, Butch [Cassidy] was kind of scratching his head saying ‘uh-oh, how much did we leave on the beaches yesterday?’ But after they got going, they realize there’s more in the tank and I think that was part of the exercise yesterday. A lot of times it becomes the mental part of it. It’s not necessarily the physical part. At 18-19 years-old, it shouldn’t be.

On the development of Brian Ferlin
Well Brian had a really good year. He was Rookie of the Year in both the Ivy and the ECAC I believe. He had some injury troubles at two different times that set him back and obviously kept him out of the playoffs, which he was disappointed about. In having some consultation with their coaching staff, you know, offensively I think Brian’s game is pretty good. He understands how to protect pucks really well. He’s built for the cycle game. He’s got a good shot coming down the wing. He’s continued to work on his skating and his power part of his game because he’s a bigger kid. You know defensively, I think he’s still starting to understand how to apply the system work and sometimes just being in the right spot is as effective as trying to outwork somebody and get into that spot.

On if Brian Ferlin is comparable to any NHL player…
Well, we do that exercise all the time internally in terms of who does he necessarily – but to tell you the truth, in this environment, we want Brian to be who Brian’s going to be and be comfortable with what he’s bringing to the table and realize that some of the areas as I was describing that we can - you know – but he’s got that sort of a power-forward cycle game mentality that works real well at the NHL level.

On Matt Grzelcyk…
Very efficient, great skater, processes the game really, really well. I think that those are his strengths, and you’re not going to have to work to teach much more of that. The question is can he continue to do that against bigger, stronger players and keep himself necessarily - not invite trouble as I would say as a smaller defenseman and play in your own end for longer. Generally, the laws of physics start to apply and bigger players take advantage of that. So if he can be clean, efficient, second, maybe first power-play unit skill set – and get the opportunity to play in those situations, then BU [Boston University] will be very happy. I think he’s got a lot of upside. You cross your fingers that he, like we all do, at 5’10”, that you’re gonna grow. And if he doesn’t, then he’ll understand what his physical challenges are because he processes the game so well.

On if Niklas Svedberg needs to stand out based on his history…
Well, I tried to talk about that yesterday in terms of where guys are on a timeline so to speak. Ultimately, they’re going to dictate that as to when guys can play. If they stop more pucks, chances are they’re gonna play, no matter where they’re at. Now that being said, you’re sort of charting it along as I described with [Michael] Hutchinson. He’s gonna push for a starting role in Providence and be the go-to guy there. Svedberg we expect would go down and challenge that based on the success he’s had in Europe and being a little bit older. [Adam] Morrison’s gonna come in and say, ‘No no no, hold on, don’t forget about me because I’ve finished junior and I’m turning pro and I want to stop the puck as well.’ So again those are internal challenges we’re looking forward to. Lars [Volden] is making the next step over in Europe to the Elite League and that’s a good step for him as well. So short of where those guys start to merge is probably the question you’re asking as to if they arrive at the same time, then it becomes just about the competition aspect of the position because you can only have one in there at a time. Then we probably have to make some decisions. But those decisions generally come from what the players are providing on the ice and how well they’re doing.

On if he can tell if Niklas Svedberg’s development is ahead of some of the other goalies…
Well I mean obviously you hope so. You signed him and made him part of your organization. You feel like he’s ready for that challenge. There’ll be acclimatization and getting acclimated to North American hockey. There’s no question that that’s part of the exercise in making sure he was here and part of this camp. Realizing that rinks are smaller and where the shots are coming from and such are just different. So that will be part of it and how quickly he responds to that. I don’t think he changes his style as a result of that. I think we like where he’s positioning in the net, but maybe I’ll have a better idea at the end of it after Goalie Bob [Essensa] kind of goes through and says, ‘Okay X, Y, Z’s gonna translate.’

On the qualities they look for in someone that’s ready to turn pro…
I mean, the college sort of landscape is difficult at times because you never want to try to pull a young man out of college or even indicate that that’s the direction you’d like him to go. It ultimately has to be their decision and hopefully, you know, the players that we bring here understand that we’ve been watching you, we identified some stuff that we really, really like, we want to get to know you. If the time comes and you want to make that decision and we’ve done our due diligence then we’d like to be able to put our best foot forward and present something, an opportunity to them, that lines up. But between other teams, chances are they’re doing that and sometimes teams are on different, you know, what positions are open that other college free agents look at and say, ‘Oh, the opportunity’s better there. So, that’s always a difficult dynamic. I think the intent is to bring these kids in and really get to know them. So that when you do go make that decision as you have the benefit from the drafted player of getting to know, that’s the ideal situation, kind of knowing how do they feel with the group dynamic off the ice as well as on the ice and seeing if the skill set that they have, you know, blends with that. Because sometimes you have gaps. Sometimes, you know, you’ve had players that have moved on and they are gaps there that you go and try and backfill with.

On Torey Krug
Well, again, he did get off to a really good start having the chance to play two NHL games right off the hip hop, is something that, you know, you’re not going to be able to take away from him now. That experience thing, you have to go through at the NHL level in order to make sure you’re going to be able to play there. That being said, the bar kind of resets for Torey and he realizes that and he knows what’s in front of him. Now, the Dougie Hamilton’s of the world and all these other players – young players – are coming to step through and the guys who spent their time in Providence this year are gonna come in and compete for a job. He knows that, but he’s got things that he was able to do in college and move the puck and transition the puck that, you know, are going to help him at that pro level and help us and that’s why we went out and recruited him and brought him into our organization. He’s been a two-time captain at Michigan State, he’s got leadership qualities, he’s a confident kid that believes in himself and we love the transitional part of his game.

On producing the ‘puck moving’ defenseman…
I think you could say that at every position. Obviously we’ve tried to do it a little bit in the last few years. Of bringing in a player of that ilk and people would comment that Kaberle wasn’t a great fit. But he helped us win a Stanley Cup, I don’t care what anybody says. And he played with Adam McQuaid and he helped out McQuaid in terms of transitioning the puck and making sure we weren’t in our own end. And those were key ingredients. That being said, it is expensive to acquire that player as it would be to sign a player. Dennis Wideman’s contract is what it is, so ideally, you’d like, as I said, to develop that and that would be homegrown in every position. That we look for it, of course. You’re not going to be able to force that, even looking at this year’s draft, you know, would you go up and trade for a player? Well that player might not be there – ready for two or three years. You know, you look at what Doug Hamilton may or may not be able to bring and what he was able to do at the junior level and you hope that that translates and that he’s gonna be a puck mover. Is he a prototypical guy that’s - sometimes you describe those guys as being small and skilled wise? No, those guys are big and skilled now. So, I mean, it’s the best of both worlds in that regard. Torey Krug's another – you know, come in and move the puck in the couple of games that he played very effectively. I’m sure the guys in Providence in David Warsofsky would say the same thing. So, clearly we’re trying to make sure that we have that part of it covered because we feel like it’s a need. We can do something better at the NHL level, then we need to go out and develop it.

On Seth Griffith being drafted in the fifth round, despite his high scoring statistics…
Well, we look at it and say, well maybe we should have drafted him last year if he was gonna go and have that many goals. Obviously you look and say ok he’s a year older, he should have put up those goals. So there’s always a dynamic you’re trying to balance with, you know, is he gonna get – he might not get bigger, is he gonna get faster? Or, he already shoots the puck great ,so is that gonna make sure - is that shot good enough at the NHL level? I mean, to go back to your original question about players, you know Ray Whitney’s had a very successful career. I think he has a little bit of blend of those talents and, you know, those types of goals at the OHL level I think, speak volumes for that type of player that he is, and hopefully he can go and do that as he moves forward to play against stronger players. We like him, we like the player, didn’t necessarily know for sure whether or not he’d be there, but we’re happy that he was when he was.

On what he liked about Parker Milner and why he brought him into camp this year…
Well, he’s won. As I said yesterday, you can throw out all the statistics that you want, if your team doesn’t win, the chances are, you’re goalie’s been a part of that. And, you know, we’ve had player Tommy Cross at Boston College for four years and watched him develop and they’ve had a lot of success over there. I think they’re goaltending has been a big part of it and you know, watching Parker play, the bigger the game was, it seemed, the better he played. And, I think everybody likes that and it peaks everybody’s interest. You know, he’s local, he was around this summer. We felt like, even with a crowded camp in the goaltending position, he still felt strongly to come in and be a part of our group, which, again speaks to his confidence and what he thinks of his own abilities and I like that.

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