February 03, 2005

Interview With Asst Coach O’Brien, “Matt Spezza will get the start in Kingston”

Notes from an interview today with Bert O’Brien on the TEAM 1200/Dave Gross and Garry Galley. [paraphrasing]

Bert: I thought that we had a good game on Friday and on Saturday, but Sunday we didn’t play all that well. We watched the tape and it was Guadagnolo that made the difference. He kept us in the game until we scored enough goals.

Garry: Has there been a character change in this team?

Bert: If you make that many changes in a room it takes a while. You don’t want to be the holler guy right off the bat. The new guys expect the old ones to be the leaders – it takes a while before they realize what the role is that they can fill. Staubitz is definitely a leader, and he is starting to fill that role now.

Dave: Always have to tip your hat to the goaltender on this team, whether it’s Battochio, Guadagnolo, and even Spezza.

Bert: Yes. We thought that with the amount of defencemen coming back, the defence would not a problem, and with the two Europeans coming that that wouldn’t be a problem. But we were a little worried about the goal tending, what with Battochio’s injury last year, and Guadagnolo not playing as much. That has been a big surprise to us. Now, the defence is coming around, and the forwards are also coming around.

Garry: Who is the top line?

Bert: All three are starting right now. Although the Mancari/ Bonello line is staring to slow down a bit. They were the hot one before Christmas. But now the two European’s are back, and Bickell is playing well. Also, Talbot and Hulit - Hulit had 8 points last w/e. As long as we get two that are really firing, than one can sit back a bit.

Dave: It seemed that when Bickell picked up the physical play – he was in a scrap almost every game at one point – he became more involved.

Bert: Over the Christmas period a lot of people talked to Bryan, the Chicago organization and us too. He’s a power winger and if you are going to run over people, you are going to get into scraps. I think that he was trying to play a finesse game and go around players. But he is a power winger – he’s going to go over them and they’ll want to come back at him.

Dave: The trademark of this team this year has been inconsistency.

Bert: Kingston has been our nemesis this year – we haven’t beat them. We’ll be playing there this Sunday. And Matt Spezza is getting the start at Kingston, against his old team. We want to get the young guy playing, because Battochio is getting closer to coming back. [/paraphrasing]

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