At some point last season, I stopped recording the post-game locker room interviews on my voice recorder. It was no longer necessary because by the time I got home after a game, video of all of interviews was already posted on Islanders TV.
As you may have noticed, the blanket coverage that used to be provided by ITV has been scaled back. Lately, you usually get Scott Gordon's press conference posted after each game and nothing further. That's the case so far tonight.
If you read Newsday and The New York Post, you will get some of the best quotes from the player post-game scrums in the game recaps by Greg Logan and Dan Martin. But, because the papers have deadlines and limited space, you'll never get the complete take from the night's interview subjects in the absence of the ITV videos. Since I don't have to write a gamer and I don't have a deadline or space restriction, I thought you might enjoy hearing a little more of what the players had to say.
Here, then, are the full quotes from Mark Streit and Sean Bergenheim following tonight's 3-2 loss to the Flyers. Please note that the questions were asked by multiple members of the media and are not presented here verbatim. The questions as stated here do reflect the intent and the spirit with which they were asked. The responses from the players are direct quotes.
How does today's game compare to recent efforts that resulted in lop-sided losses?
Well, obviously, you can't really compare it. We played way better tonight. Smarter and better effort, obviously. But you know what, at the end of the day it's a loss, too.
What's behind the recent losing after playing well for a long stretch?
Well, it's obviously frustrating. We played some pretty good hockey over a while and then we kind of lost it. I think we're missing consistency in our game and that's a big part in this league. If you want to play well, if you want to make the playoffs, you have to play consistent and we don't do that yet.
Are the recent results attributable to injuries or inexperience?
Obviously it would be nice to play healthy once in a while. It never happened this year. It's been one of those years. It's a very young team. You gotta make the experience and hopefully next year we're going to be better and improve in those certain areas.
How was the team's 5-on-5 play against the Flyers?
We played way better. We made smarter plays, we skated harder, and we kept it really simple. Still, against teams like that you make a couple of small mistakes and they take advantage of that right away. We have to learn and get better at it.
Has it been harder to be as effective against teams that are still playing for something?
I don't think so. Even before that kind of slump we had, we played well and we faced teams that are in the playoff race. The road trip we had in Canada, we played Montreal, we played well. We played in Boston, we played well. We played in Chicago, we played well. We have a young team, lots of injuries—that's just the way it is this year.
Does seeing a team like Philadelphia go from the bottom of the league to the playoffs so quickly give him hope?
Yeah, things can go really fast. I mean, even teams like Washington and Pittsburgh, obviously, Ovechkin and Crosby, Malkin, every year is draft choices. But, still, it can go really fast. You have a good core of young, very talented players and I think they make good experiences this year. You know, they play a lot, they play in key situations, they face good teams, and those experiences are very important for next year. And, you know what? The rest is up to the management. You know, just be here and try to do as good as possible as a player. That's basically what it is.
Does the team need to draft an offensive player or a defensive player?
Well, I think, yeah, we need kind of like a sniper, goal scorer. I think when Ricky's healthy and we have our whole D corps, we have a pretty good defense we can build on and a lot of good talent up front. And, obviously, one or the other guy who can put the puck in the net wouldn't hurt for next year. But, you know what? That's out of my hands and I do as good as possible to be ready for next year, be even better.
How does he think his line played?
I think our line played well. We should have had at least one, maybe two more goals. It's a little bit frustrating. I think we created chances, but we just didn't bury them. I mean, we got one, but it's a little bit frustrating because we feel we should have scored at least another one.
How did Okposo play in his first game back from 11 days off with an injury?
Great. He's such a good player you don't really notice it that much. I don't know how he felt. He said he felt really good. When I came back I noticed it a little bit in the conditioning, but I think Kyle skated well. I personally didn't notice anything. He played his game, which is always really good.
Does he himself feel close to 100% physically after a few games back?
Yeah, absolutely. I think the first, the Carolina game, the conditioning wasn't really at the game level, but these last two games have felt really good. Obviously, you want wins so you kind of feel a little bit down but the body feels good.
Have injuries caught up to the team and affected the last stretch, in which they've lost 9 of 11 after playing .500?
Yeah, I would say so. At some point, it's going to show. A game like today, also I think the Pittsburgh game, we played pretty well. Then they get a few goals and we really can't keep up after that. There's a lot of good stuff in our game, but we're a little bit off so we that don't get those wins. I would say that injuries are maybe catching up a little.
Which player should the team choose if they get the No. 1 draft pick?
I know there's talk about these two players, Tavares and Hedman. It's something that we can't control. I think both of those players would bring a lot to this team. Even if Hedman is a defensman, he's going to bring a lot offensively, too. That's why we have good scouts, and a good GM, and they're going to make the decision. So, it's not up to the players.
Has he seen Hedman?
Yeah, I've seen him. I think both players are impressively good, so we're going to see what comes out of the draft there for us.
Has he seen more of Hedman than Tavares? Has he played against Hedman?
I think I have. I can't remember—I'm sure I have because I played that one year in Sweden. I can't remember. But I've seen him on TV. I've probably seen him more than Tavares. Yeah, I would say so (Hedman has a lot of offensive skill). He's a pretty good all-around defenseman. You don't see those come that often.
Is the team headed in the right direction?
Absolutely. I think the coach had a pretty good quote there in one newspaper. He said that the first half of the season felt like three years and the last half was like a month and a half. That tells you something. I think a lot of the players, I know I feel the same way too, when things are fun, when things are going well and in the right direction, time goes by a little bit faster too. I think we're all positive and there's a good atmosphere here. We've got a few missing pieces to this team and then we're going to be...personally, I think there's a bright future here and I think everybody here thinks the same way.
(This post was originally published at http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=20590.)