Here’s a summary of UND assistant hockey coach Dane Jackson’s comments on tonight’s special Frozen Four edition Fighting Sioux Coaches’ Show with Tim Hennessy and Scott Swygman on KFAN (1440 AM).
On being in the Frozen Four his first two years as assistant coach:
It’s an exciting time and we’re excited to get it done again this year. Dave Hakstol’s going to watch a couple of our kids for next year to make sure we have the right ones coming in. Getting to the Frozen Four helps a lot with recruiting. Players know what they’re getting when they come here. They know they’re getting into a big-time program. Our players do such a good job of recruiting. We always have the recruits talk to our players and tell them what it’s like to play here.
On the team being in four straight Frozen Fours:
It says a lot about Hakstol and the guys we have here now. It’s been a standard of excellence and we all feel accountable to the guys who came before us who started it. It was a standard Gino Gasparini set when he became head coach at UND in 1979. It’s not just a sign on the wall. It’s something we talk about. We have former players come in and talk about what it was like to play at UND and what a neat thing it is a part of. Sometimes it takes the younger guys a while to understand what it takes to play here. You find out that the guys who really want to be Fighting Sioux are the most successful in our program.
On starting slow and finishing strong:
It’s a matter of amalgamating the new guys into the process. They need to learn how hard they have to practice and play. Hakstol does a good job of letting the guys run their own team. He wants them to figure some things out and learn how to lead. It’s important that we have character guys and big-time leaders. It’s the guys beside you like Rylan Kaip who say, “I’m going to get the first one. Follow me.”
What impresses him about Hakstol:
It’s his calm under fire. When we’re down a couple, he’s always so stern on the bench. A lot of NHL coaches are like that. They’re planning the next move because they know what needs to be done. They’re the coaches who hold themselves accountable and they’re not freaking out. Hakstol’s under control at all times.
What he likes about coaching at UND:
I love the access we have to our rink. I like running the penalty kill. My role on the team is to be a go-between. The guys like to play for Hakstol, but sometimes I’m a little more approachable. I might talk with them a little bit more about school and other problems. It’s important to have a go-between to get a little more information to the head guy. Hak’s not aloof to our players. They know that he’s hard, but he cares about them. Some of the younger guys are a little more intimidated about talking to him than the older guys. Rick Wilson, the former Sioux player who coaches with the Dallas Stars, takes care of his defensemen. He sticks up for his D-corps if he thinks the coach is messing with them too much. They have their own little tight group. I feel like we have that with our penalty kill guys.
On T.J. Oshie, Ryan Duncan, Taylor Chorney and Joe Finley coming back for another season:
They all had firm offers. We had a meeting in St. Louis a couple hours after our Frozen Four game where there were agents and general managers talking to guys about leaving. We didn’t include Jonathan Toews because we thought he was ready. We thought Oshie could use one more year. It’s a dream the guys have been working at and chasing all their lives. It says a lot about the character of the guys and how much they care about UND when they decided to come back. You don’t want guys to come back and have a “big wheel” attitude when they think they have to be treated special. We don’t have that. It’s more than just putting a bunch of great talent together. We thought Michigan had the most talent last year. You have to have talent, will and team attitude.
On practicing at Gambucci Arena instead of Engelstad Arena:
They treat us great over there. It’s been great. We had a good skate over there. The ice is nice and cold and hard. It makes for good practices.
On preparation for Boston College:
The emphasis is on their speed. They play so fast and have so many quick skill guys. We have to attack, attack and go to the net. We’ll have to play better than we’ve played our last two years at the Frozen Four. They’re a quality team that plays well in big games. Against Princeton we had some nerves because people think they’re a team that you’re supposed to beat. That doesn’t happen any more. They were actually a good team. With Wisconsin, the crowd got them going and got them pumped up. When we battled through that and got a goal, they didn’t seem so much like Supermen. Our guys showed their champion’s heart. We settled down and took over the game after we took a few punches.
On the difference between NHL and NCAA playoffs:
In the NHL, I played in some seven-game playoff series. You struggle to get your mind around the finality of the NCAA tournament. In the NHL, you play to get to game seven and then you realize that this is it, you have to elevate your level of play to its highest. We will have to raise our level of play a lot for Boston College.
On Jean-Philippe Lamoureux not being in the Hobey Hat Trick:
We felt that the numbers Phil had were remarkable. He’s had an incredible year. Look at the weekend he just had. I talked to Oshie and Phil after practice to let them know that they weren’t finalists and they were totally fine with it. They’re team guys.
On how well Duncan plays for his size:
Robbie Bina can eat apples off the top of his head. Those little guys, I give them a lot of credit. Duncan might not give a lot of hits, but he goes into hard areas where he takes a lot of elbows to the jaw and crosschecks to the back. Boy, did he come up big for us last weekend. He’s such a focused kid. He’s one who has maturity beyond his years. We’re fortunate to have a lot of our guys who can be professional, no matter what.
Is there extra motivation knowing that BC ended UND’s season last two years?
There’s definitely going to be a readiness in knowing that we have to play very well to win. They’ve been successful and you better be ready when the puck drops. They can score a couple goals in a hurry.
Senior goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux
The win over the Badgers at the Kohl Center was one of the most exciting, unbelievable wins I’ve been part of. I couldn’t be prouder. I saw the picture of me at InsideCollegeHockey.com. My Mom printed it off. It was embarrassing. I tried to jump on the pile and I fell off. I hit the ice face first. I thought I chipped my tooth. We were watching it on YouTube last night. I’m getting made fun of on a national scale now, but I’d rather be the one jumping in the air than the one hanging his head.
On playing at UND with four Frozen Four teams:
I’m equally proud of each team I’ve been on. We’ve got a veteran crew here and hopefully we can figure out what we need to do to beat Boston College.
On playing his best in the biggest games of the season:
I like to think I’ve been turning it on at the right time. My preparation is always the same, both physically and mentally. I felt pretty loose going into this weekend. Now that we’re going into the one-game shots, I wanted to make sure that I left it out all on the ice. I’m going to do the same thing against BC and leave it all out on the ice. I try to do everything that I can to make timely saves for the team. Whether I’m facing a lot of shots or a few, I’m comfortable in either situation. I’m focused and ready for whatever situation I’m in.
Is he ever critical of a teammate’s mistakes?
I just know what my job is. I have 100 percent confidence in our coaching staff and the guys in front of me. The guys always answer the bell when it matters the most. That’s all you can ask of your players. They play their hearts out for me I and I try to do the same for them. I feel like if I’m going to ridicule a teammate, then it’s going to come around to me.
On whether he’s a leader in the locker room:
I’m not really a big talker. I just try to lead by example through my work ethic and preparation. If there’s a spur-of-the-moment thing where I feel I need to say something, I will. But our captains do a really good job with that. The nature of the position is that you’re playing more of an individual position in a team sport. In practice, the coaches and players give me my space to prepare and do my thing. I just do what I can to play on the weekend.
On how much goalies need to know:
I need to know the offensive zone systems of other teams. I’m always in our penalty kill meetings. I need to know which opposing players have a lot of goals and assists and who shoots with which hand. I haven’t had a chance to look at any tape of BC. You have to have your eye on Nate Gerbe, Dan Bertram and Ryan Whitney. He’s a guy who’s been scoring timely goals for them.
Is he disappointed about the Hobey?
I haven’t thought about it. I don’t really care. Playing for UND isn’t about individual stats or rewards. My focus has always been on extending our season. If anything, it’s nice because it’s not going to be a distraction. It might be something to help motivate my game.
Junior defenseman Joe Finley
On the Sioux peaking at the right time:
It’s a marathon not a sprint. This week, we have to take time to let bumps and bruises heal up to be at 100 percent going into the game with BC.
On wanting to pay back Boston College:
At first glance, that’s what it seems like. This BC team is different from their past teams and the makeup of our team is different, too. This year, they might have a little more depth up front. I’d compare them to Colorado College with their team speed. Gerbe and Whitney really get things going for them offensively. Getting back on the NHL ice is going help us do what we do well, which is making them take shots from the outside.
Comparing this season to last season at the same time:
Maybe we were a little burnt out or self satisfied last year after beating Michigan and Minnesota. The most important thing at this time of year is to put yourself in the position to win the game.
On the Eagles being a quick, small team:
Getting back on NHL ice sheet will be good for our defenseman. It makes it easier to get into the shooting lanes because you know exactly where the net is. Getting back on an ice sheet that we’re more accustomed to gets us back into our comfort zone and what we’ve done well all season long.
On improving his game each season:
Looking at my game and some of the things I do, I try to simplify my game. It’s learning the decision-making and knowing what the right play is. Once you get that down, you get to the comfort level where you can advance the puck out of your zone.
On playing in his third Frozen Four:
We’re accustomed to playing in big games. All we’re looking to do is advance. All the stuff that goes with it, that’s other stuff we have to put out of sight, out of mind. We’re familiar with Denver since we played at the regional there last year. It was like playing in the Kohl Center last weekend. It wasn’t something new to us. This time of year, it’s all about making that smart play about getting the puck past the defensive blue line and letting our forwards take care of things.