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Transcript: 06.30 Bruce Cassidy Development Camp Presser - Day 3

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

Quotes - 2012 Development Camp


June 30

PROVIDENCE BRUINS HEAD COACH BRUCE CASSIDY

On Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner being close to taking the next step and what he has seen in Providence…
Well, [Ryan]Spooner is - two years in a row he’s come down, very creative - made some no look passes that some of the other players in our club just don’t have the ability to make. And it’s one of his best gifts. The difference I noticed from last spring to the previous one was his attention to detail - away from the puck, he’s starting to become more of a student of the game. A year older, he wants to know positionally where to be – have a good stick – the things that he’s going to need to do when the offense dries up in spurts. I noticed that difference about him. Shoots the puck better than he did the year before. And Just – you see him now – when he walked through the door two years ago he’s got - he looked like a 14-year-old kid. Now at least he’s starting – he’s got a little peach fuzz on his face – he looks, he’s starting to look like a little bit of a man now so that’s the biggest things I noticed about Spoons. Knight didn’t make it to us last year. But he looks a lot like the player we saw two years ago. Like he’s a straight line guy, drives to the net, great release. For him it’s, ‘Will he be able to create the separation he needs to get those chances?’ and until he gets to training camp with men, I think it’s hard to speculate on that.

On coaching players with such diverse experiences…
This week’s more – there’s a lot of different elements that go into this week, so we’re trying to keep it fairly simple. Do drills where, you know, you’re building in some systems but not a lot because a lot of them are going to leave here and go play on their own teams. So you’re trying to evaluate, do drills one-on-one’s two-on-two’s to see where guys footspeed’s at, you know, who thinks the game, who can create space in tight areas. And I think the scrimmages will get into those tomorrow be able to tell us a little more about, you know, let’s face it until you’re playing in a game a guy can look great or the opposite not look very good, and you get him in a game and it’s a different animal. So I think towards the end of the week you’ll get a better read on some of that stuff. But you can certainly see which guys have improved. Like for me for example [Justin] Florek came at the end of the year and he’s already skating better than he did at the end of the year, so he’s obviously done some work on his legs so that’s a noticeable difference, you know, for me.

On whether they address the work the players have noticeably done in the lead-up to camp…
I think at the end of camp – and Johnny Whitesides handles a lot of that - that’s his area of expertise so he’s able to let the guys know what their deficiencies are and what they’re doing well, and how it’s going to translate on the ice.

On whether he’s excited about the batch of prospects Providence will receive this season…
I think until the training camp’s done and you get your roster - but you know we can all predict what’s going to be down there - I think it’s fair to say this year’s crop – and I’m not being disrespectful to last year’s – is at least on paper, is a higher end group of players. So for me, yes, you know last year we had, I think at times we dressed 10 or 11 first year guys in Providence. A lot of teaching. We kind of changed our systems to be more in line with Boston’s so I enjoyed that but it took away from some on-ice success to a certain extent. I think when you look at Spooner and Knight, these are second round picks, [Torey] Krug, [Zach] Trotman and [Tommy] Cross all got a chance to play pro hockey. So going into, you know, if they end up in Providence they’ll have a bit of a leg up in that regards. So I agree with you I think it will be a better group, but until they start playing, you know, it’s not fair to say.

On how much winning plays into development in Providence…
Well, you develop a lot better in a winning environment. I mean, that’s what we’re trying to do, develop players for the Boston Bruins in a winning environment. Last year we won more than we lost, but not enough to make the playoffs and I think playoffs are important for young kids to feel that, you know, the atmosphere of that. So that’s ultimately our goal as a team, but again it can’t come at the expense of developing players. I mean I’m employed, I get paid by the Bruins, I’m here to get players up here to help the Bruins win a Stanley Cup and we want to win at the same time down there. So, you know, you’re juggling some things, but that’s our goal and hopefully we do more winning this year than we did last year.

On how much playoff experiences help when players turn pro…
Well, I would think the more winners you have in your locker room, you know, the more winning you’ll do at the end of the day if they have the talent to match. It’s just - it becomes a culture of what you’re going to accept and, you know, we’re trying – Providence for years was a winning environment, the last years not as much so we’re trying to get that back - that culture that, you know, we’re going to expect to win when we go out there. But, like I said, these kids -they need to play in order to learn and sometimes you learn by failing, and so you’ve always got to balance that. So this year, like I said, all of the young kids we had last year, you know, until the roster takes shape you hope that with the growing pains you went through that they’re a better, younger crop coming up, you know - will help you be better right out of the gate. So that’s kind of what we’re hoping for down there, but again until it all shakes out who knows.

On whether there’s a challenge coaching in the AHL where players want to move up…
Yeah, and it’s not unique to Boston, I think every coach in the American [Hockey] League has to get guys to understand that, you know, there’s a process and why they’re down in the American League and what it’s going to take. Some of them a lot of those kids have been the top players their whole life and you’ve got to get them to buy into what role they’re going to need to play to get up without taking away what they do well naturally. You don’t want to take a scorer and turn him into a checker necessarily. But if the top six spots, for example if you use Boston – fairly young guys still here so you may have to make the lineup doing something else. And I think a good example of that is Brad Marchand, he came up, you know, he was a guy that scored a lot for us in Providence came up and played in the fourth line and I don’t think he scored in his first 20-25 games whatever it was, but he contributed and he stayed in the lineup. And you can’t move up from the fourth line to the third line to the second line if you’re not in the lineup and that’s the thing he figured out than maybe someone else previously. That you know that’s a bit of a sell job down there to round out their game so that they can play and the coach can trust them in Boston and then hopefully as he gets acclimated with the league he starts scoring. And that’s kind of what Brad did, that was kind of his path so, you know, just trying to equate my answer to your question in that regard. But a lot of the guys are young they know that there’s a certain amount of time you’ve got to spend there. It’s just, you know, when they get a little antsy, it’s just part of your job to keep them focused. I don’t mind if a kid thinks he’s – there’s nothing wrong with having a little bit of confidence and thinking you should be there as long as it doesn’t affect the attitude in the locker room or how they approach and prepare. I think it’s good to have a chip on your shoulder in the minors because, you know, not everyone makes it out of there so, you know, to have that mentality is a good thing. Like I said, as long as it doesn’t cross the line of becoming selfish and, you know, negative when you don’t make it up.

On the physicality and tension between players on the ice…
Well some of it is they play together on these teams at a younger age so they’ve already formed friendships. The Under-16 or Under-18 World Juniors, so I don’t know if [Jared] Knight and [Tommy] Cross are buddies. They’ve been coming to camps here so I assume they are. Stuff happens on the ice. I just think in general, we try to tell the guys, ‘Listen you’re competing against one another, but you’re still teammates. You still wear the same crest.’ So we don’t want guys out there doing stuff unnecessarily. I want them to compete. I think it’s good for Tommy because for him to be a National Hockey League player, he’s got to develop a bit of that edge so that’s good for him. I think Knight naturally is a bit of a – if you watch him – he bulls his way to the net no matter who he’s playing against and Tommy’s going to have to defend those types of players. So this is good for him to show some push back. I didn’t get to see him in college. Obviously we’re playing at the same time. But if he develops that side of it, I think it’ll be a positive for him. But to get to your question, yes I think players aren’t as – it’s not as rambunctious for lack of a better term as maybe it was years ago, but that’s not the idea of the camp and I think that’s put to them early on. The first day they did – I don’t want to get too much into that – something called “The Program,” where they did a team-building thing. So they have become closer as a group even in the last 48 hours so I don’t imagine you’ll see any of that stuff going on, but hey, sometimes stuff happens and your tempers flare. But I think I would certainly try to put a stop to it. I don’t think this is the time or place for guys to be doing more than they have to other than just a good physical one-on-one battle.

On his impressions of Tommy Cross in Providence…
He was coming down for two games. We knew that. He knew that. His first game, he was a little tentative. We had a chat after – very short window to cope – 48 hours is what he was going to be there. They were back-to-back games. We talked about what he needed to do to be more of an impact player. The second game he was crisp with the puck, snapping passes, physical when he needed to be in terms of one-on-one confrontations when you’re there he was aggressive with them. I think he was on his heels a little bit the first game, so night and day between the two games. But such a small sample size that it’s hard to say which one you’re going to see more of but we need more of the second game and I think Tommy will bring that. He’s a very mature guy. He’s a winner and he’s gonna figure it out. Now whether he’s good enough, who knows down the road with any of them? But that’s the game Tommy should bring to us, or Boston - however it shakes out for him. Because he’s a big bodied guy – I know he’s not a, I don’t think he’s a fighter – but he can be like a [Dennis] Seidenberg-type player where he can out-muscle guys and move the puck, make a good first pass. That’s the kind of comparison I would use for Tommy if he ends up in Providence. Watch him play and that’s sort of maybe the type of player you could develop into because I think Dennis is a pretty valuable player in anybody’s lineup – especially in Boston. He showed that two years ago in the playoffs and he shows it every night, so that’d be a – for Tommy – I think it’d be a good guy to sort of emulate.

On what he looks to get out of bringing players into Providence near the end of the season…
I think for them, it’s to be around the environment – pro environment. How do I conduct myself? How are practices? How is preparation? Once they get on the ice, I mean they’re hockey players. They’ve played at a high level in college or juniors. It’s gonna be a little bit better obviously. Guys are stronger and faster, but it’s still hockey. I think it’s just to be around that environment to get a leg up so that you get rid of some of the nervousness or anxieties, whatever they may have going into the next year, so you sort of hit the ground running a little bit better.

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