Rob Blake Interview Part 2 – on Zykov, Dowd, and Bissonnette

Blake Rob Kings NHL MayorsManor
Continued from Part 1

On having veterans like Paul Bissonnette and Ray Emery on the Reign team:

“They won last year with those guys helping out.  You know the young guys coming out of college, coming out of junior they need help understanding that.  When you can have guys that have played in the pro and I mean we have Budaj and Emery and Schultz and you can add these guys in the mix and they’re all so not just down here putting the time in, they’re putting the work in and they’re helping the young kids.  Very, very important, I think you saw the rewards from last year.”

On Valetin Zykov’s adjustments:

“Another guy who you counted on big things coming out of junior.  You know waiting to make that step to turn pro.  I think they surround him with some good players here and he gets his stuff ready to compete at that level.  I think that’s what Mike Stothers is real good about with these young guys is mixing them with some of the older guys.  They fit into different lines here.”

On Zykov and Cernak’s language barrier with the coaching staff:

“It’s all part of that learning curve, not only are they trying to figure out the pro style of game and that, but understanding the language.  Cernak a little more than Zykov at least he’s older, but he’s playing in the Quebec League so now he’s trying to understand California language [laughing] and that’s a little different.  So there’s all different steps.  I think just the living habits, living on their own too.  A lot of these guys have been with billet families or you know have been in different situations and now they’re turning pro.  There’s that whole part of that game, and that’s where I think those veteran guys I’ve talked about really have come in”

On Nic Dowd:

“Nic’s same thing, along the lines of Michael Mersch here, you know they really developed with their first year of pro, now it’s time to take that next step.  He was a big factor in that lineup down the middle, I mean obviously the success to win the Calder Cup, you have good goaltending,  you have good defense, and you have a strong middle and I think we had all of that last year with this team.  Now with the absence of Weal, he’s already jumped up to that top unit now.”

On Dowd’s leadership wearing an A for the Reign:

“You know he’s a little older coming out of college, you know the age part isn’t there.  He’s not a typical 20 year old coming out of junior and that, but I do think when we talk about the leadership part, being able to win the Calder Cup and being able to go through all those different rounds all the way through the experience those guys are gaining coming out of those playoff rounds will be with them for a long time.”

On Dowd having a leg up coming out of college:

“Yup, it starts to kind of get your life in order in college in different things.  The maturity part is there, the pro experience wasn’t.  But they’ve been able to take it a little faster than what a 20 year old may look like at first”

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