Not a bad start for Coleman considering he missed five weeks…
“Yeah. I thought he lost the puck a couple times. He’s actually got really good rebound control, I thought he had a couple rebounds there. But it’s not different than a player or a skater, a goalie’s a little different bcause he gets a lot of shots in practice, but it’s a little different in a game with your angles and the way guys are coming at you. But he was fine.”
Do you think you guys played more confident from a defensive standpoint?
“No, to tell you the truth, I didn’t really like us through half the game. Even with the lead, I thought we kind of sat back a little bit in our own end. We protected the middle of the ice, but they send their D and they’re active and they’ll get three guys deep. Early in the first, we caught them a bunch of times and we scored off the rush, then we didn’t manage the puck well and I thought we were a little passive in our coverage. But when you have a goaltender who makes that first save, and even when Coleman didn’t control his rebounds, he’s an older guy and he knows how to direct everything into the corner. I don’t know how many shots tonight went straight over the glass, he’s doing that on purpose. He’s been around and he’s got some experience. But I don’t think it was a confidence thing, I thought we played well as a team still, and then in the third period there, they kind of imploded and we took advantage of it.”
Two kind of fluky goals in the first, but how about that play by Snetsinger?
“Actually, I’ve been on him about trying to beat guys one-on-one, and when you look at it on the video, he actually tried to dump it and it hit the guy in the leg. (Laughs) So, you know what, it just shows you that if you play simple hockey, you get rewarded. He had a really good two days of practice here, and he’s a guy that I said a couple weeks ago, we need him to be a top guy in this league and contribute. And he’s been doing the little things better, and that’s what it’s going to take for him to get back to the American League, just moving his feet like he did tonight.”
Nice to see Tony get on the scoresheet too?
“Yeah, this is five or six games for him now, so he’s a long way from where everybody else is, but he’s going to be an energy guy, he’s going to be a faceoff guy, good penalty killer, good defensively. He’s going to chip in once he gets confidence and gets comfortable. I think it’s still going to be a bit yet, but there’s no question with him in the lineup, he contributes a lot more than in the scoresheet.”
How does Tyler being up in Lowell affect the lines?
“With Henkel, Zancanaro and Burton up the middle, there’s no question we were a little deeper. Scotty Bartlett played there the other night and he’s been in and out of the lineup. He’s fine there, and he’s smart enough to play there, I’d just prefer to use him on the wing. Jeff Prough can skate and play the position, but it’s not his natural position. The only issue with that is guys that get put in situations in the middle that they’re not used to. Jeff’s smart enough to play that area and so is Barts, so we may use both of them there, depending on just juggling lines and trying combinations until we get three natural centermen.
It might be a little early to ask, but is Coleman the starter on this team?
“Yeah, no question. No question, that’s why we went and got him.”
What does Cormier have to do to get back in the lineup?
“Right now, after the break, he wasn’t feeling 100 percent. We have a couple guys with a bit of a bug. But for him, it’s depending on the lineup and depending on the team we’re playing and depending on the building. But he’s still not where we need him to be from a conditioning standpoint. He was starting to make the right strides after the break, but we’ve got guys that are mobile and can play, so depending on what type of lineup or team we’re playing, we may change things a bit, but for right now it’s probably going to stay status quo.”
Is having three goalies on the roster something you expect to do for a long period of time?
“Knock on wood, it’s not going to be too long, because our roster space doesn’t give us much room to work with. Matt Torti is probably not going to be back for the weekend, Dan Eves is close, so keeping three goalies is going to be tough. We’re going to have to, at some point here, make a decision. Burton goes up, and him going up gave us that space today.”
How nice was it to get back to a game for the first time in five weeks?
“It was awesome. The guys did a great job in front of me, I was seeing a lot of shots and we played well defensively. It’s been frustrating for me, I was playing well before I got injured and I was watching the games. But I was happy the team was doing well and winning games and now I can just come back and do the same.”
Did you feel rusty at all?
“Not really. I’ve been pretty much ready to go for the past couple of weeks, but they’ve been holding me back just in case. But I’ve been ready to go, and I felt good out there. The team did a great job.”
Nice to finally get to play here, too?
“Yeah, definitely. I like to play at home, but I like to play on the road a lot better, just because you love to shove it down the fans faces. But it’s also nice to see the home crowd, finally. They probably don’t even know who I am, I haven’t played here in five weeks.”
Do you expect to handle the majority of the workload from here on out?
“I would like to, but it’s up to the coaches on a day-to-day basis. I’ve still got to see how I feel tomorrow after not playing for five weeks and getting in there. But it wasn’t a relatively difficult game for me, so it’s up to the coaches and if I play well. It’s in their hands.”
Is it kind of tough to get in a rhythm after you really only get tested a couple times early on?
“Not necessarily. When I was in juniors, I played for an unbelievable team and we really only gave up like three scoring chances, so I kind of got used to being mentally tough. And that’s the way the NHL is, you really only get four or five scoring chances a game. Playing in the AHL and getting to the NHL, you kind of learn how to get focused mentally during different situations. It’s definitely easier to play when you get a lot of shots, but for me, just playing the puck and talking to the D really helps me stay in the game.”