Our Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) caught up with Jay Beagle in the dressing room Wednesday morning after practice. Issues surrounding the team were discussed. Also discussed, why it might not be a good idea to be an animal right now around the practice rink. Especially those of the bovine persuasion.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST ISSUE FACING THIS TEAM RIGHT NOW?
"I know we’ve got to play a full 60 minutes. There are some shifts where we hem them into their zone, it seems like for five minutes, and then they go down and score on like one rush so I don’t know if there is just one issue."
"I do know just from talking to my linemates that we’ve got to try to create more as a team at the net and try to, overall, play a way harder game, make it hard on the opposition throughout the whole game and not let them have those two or three-minute breaks where we almost let off. That’s where we get in trouble, I think."
TEAM HAS BEEN GUILTY OF MENTAL MISTAKES. IS IT DIFFICULT TO CORRECT THOSE?
"I think I’ve been one of the worst the last couple of games where it’s just one little mistake- someone strips you of the puck and it ends up in your net. It’s just about being mentally sharp and staying focused and not taking a shift off. Nobody is trying to do that- it just sort of happens- and you’ve got to keep fighting through it and mentally stay in check."
WHAT IS THE COACHES' MESSAGE?
"It’s been positive. From their standpoint, they’ve kept it really positive. Obviously they’ve picked out mistakes and we’re working on them, but it’s not a freaking out video [session] where coach is losing it. It’s been very positive, he’s obviously correcting us and making sure that he picks out the mistakes and lets us know, but then we go over lots of video that’s been positive and what we’re doing right."
EVER SEE A TEAM DO THE RIGHT THINGS BUT STILL HAVE A RECORD LIKE YOURS?
"No. Never. I’ve never actually seen the puck bounce- and it’s not all bounces- but there are a lot of bounces that aren’t going our way. I don’t know if we have to sacrifice a cow or something. I don’t know what we have to do."
START WITH A GOAT MAYBE?
"No, I’m starting big. There’s no time for starting small. It’s big."
THERE IS A DEAD MOUSE IN THE MEDIA ROOM.
"Good! Let’s start with that."
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER FROM '09 PLAYOFF SERIES vs. PENS & HOW HEATED THAT WAS?
"Yeah, I remember getting called up for it and kind of being thrown into it, into a huge series and just a battle of a series. It was some of the [most] fun hockey I ever played, just with the intensity and that memory will stay with me forever. Obviously it was my first [NHL] playoff game and there was just so much that I took and learned from that series."
CAN A PLAYOFF SERIES LIKE THAT CARRY INTO A RIVALRY?
"I mean yeah, there’s obviously a rivalry and it’s a team that we want to beat. It created a rivalry- I don’t know how the rivalry was before that or if there even was one, I wasn’t part of the team- but it definitely created one."
FOUR OF NEXT FIVE GAMES ARE ON THE ROAD… HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS STRETCH?
"Every game is so important and we’ve got to play like we do in the last five minutes of every game- with that kind of ‘go-get-it’ attitude. We’ve got to start like that, we’ve got to start [games] like we play the last five minutes and really play with intensity and really pressure early and right away because these games are huge and points that we’re wasting away are going to come back to bite us. The time is now and we’ve got to go."
YOU WERE IN A SLUMP TWO YEARS BEFORE WINTER CLASSIC, AND LAST YEAR IN NOVEMBER… CAN YOU DRAW ON THOSE EXPERIENCES AS YOU TRY TO BOUNCE BACK THIS YEAR?
"Yeah for sure. We’ve got the team and we’ve got the horses. It’s not a matter of not having the guys to get the job done. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and making sure that we play a full 60 and come out right out of the gate that we’ve shown in the last five minutes. Let’s just start winning hockey games."