Willie Mitchell: Morning Skate 2/6/14

On if a win tonight would help them feel better about things going into the Olympic break:

“Yeah, we made a few mistakes last game, but I don’t think anyone can hide it. The effort was there, I think we had a little bit more energy as a hockey club. We played against a good team, when you fall behind it’s tough to get back. We played hard, we played really hard. This team’s been on such a good roll, Columbus. It’s going to take everything from us. They’re playing with a lot of confidence. They’re a really good, underrated group of forwards. They’ve got a lot of speed. Strong on pucks. Make plays. Anytime you’re in a funk, like I said earlier when we tried the other day, you’ve got to find a way to play a tight game and squeak out a game winner, whether it’s 2-1, 3-2 or 1-0, you have to be. What usually happens when you’re not scoring goals is, you’ve got to win a game that way and next thing you know, it seems like, because you’re playing good defense, the rest of the stuff starts to come. We’ll look to try to do that tonight.”

On Ryan Johansen, who is from Vancouver Island and what Mitchell has seen in him this year:

“Well, I haven’t played against him a lot, to be honest, because he was kind of up and down. I hadn’t seen him a lot, but I saw him the game in Columbus (this year) and he’s a heck of a player. He’s big, strong and he kind of reminds me, I’d say, of a Kopi or a Getzlaf, but in a sense that he doesn’t look like he’s skating that fast, but he skates really well for a big man. He’s just strong on the puck, he’s got slick little moves. He sees the ice well, so he’s definitely someone that’s a great young player in our game and you’ve got to be aware of on the ice.”

On if he ever shares the ice with Johansen training in the off-season:

“No. No, I think he’s south island, I believe, down Victoria way, right? Him and Jamie Benn are hanging out, I’m sure.”

On the practice today seeming more up tempo:

“Yeah, it seemed like that. Our first game back from the road trip (Pittsburgh), that morning we had great jump, as well, and it just didn’t carry over to the game. Sometimes, you can’t figure it out. There’s no rhyme or reason for it, but it did. It seemed like there was a lot of good jump out there. It looked crisp, but then again, talk to any player. I’ve had some really great morning skates and a terrible game at night. I’ve had some shitty morning skates and felt unbelievable at night. As a player, we always try to figure out what that is and what makes that tick, because you want to bottle that the days when you feel great and you feel good at night. Sometimes there’s just no rhyme or reason. You prepare the same way, you sleep the same way, you eat the same way. You focus. Your preparation, sometimes it doesn’t turn out exactly the way you want. It probably has to do with 25, 26 other guys on the other side and coaches as well, right? There’s two teams. But yeah, if we can carry that energy that we had this morning, I think that we’ll be in a really good spot tonight.”

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