Forward Sebastian Aho and defenseman Jaccob Slavin spoke to the media via Zoom Tuesday about the team’s preparations for the postseason and their entertainment options in the bubble.
On the excitement for the playoffs: I’m pretty excited. It’s been a while since we last played. It’s going to be different for sure, but I’m really excited.
On a fresh start against the Rangers: We both know how each played and we both know what we try to do in the game, but playoff hockey is a little different than the regular season. I don’t think those games matter anymore. They were a long time ago and I’m sure we’ll be better in the playoffs.
On expanding on bubble life: I played some minigolf with Williams and Dzingel. Lost to Willy. Then I played a little bit of cards after a nice dinner with the boys. That’s it.
On assessing the offense and D Corps: The way I see it, how we play, it takes five guys to play defense and five guys to play offense. We’ve been working with the D-corp and they’ve been awesome so far. It’ll be fun.
On the D-corps: I think first we are just trying to get back into game shape and into the rhythm of things. From the stance of how deep the D-corps is, I think you can put just about any one of those guys in any situation and they’re going to do well. We’re loving where our D-corpa is at and once we get Dougie [Hamilton] back it’s going to be even better. We’re excited about tomorrow and just getting things going.
On the importance of the bubble and safety precautions: Some of the guys, we were talking about it, just yesterday, on how well of a job the NHL has done with all the protocols within the bubble and making sure they’re putting us in the best situation to stay safe. We’re thankful for that and just excited to be here.
On life in the bubble: It’s good. A little different than I was expecting in my mind, but it’s going really well. It’s been fun.
On the importance of keeping the first games simple: For any game it’s important to not make mistakes, but to a degree it’s going to be important just getting back to game rhythm and game shape and game mentality. I think whoever can limit those mistakes as well as just being aggressive, for us, just playing the style of game we know makes us successful is what is going to make the difference. We know we have a group here that can do it.
On how the upcoming exhibition game feels: It definitely has a little bit of a different feel to it. Just knowing that you have to get into it really quickly, mentally. Normally, regular preseason will have four to five games that get you up to speed, but now we have one and we’re straight to playoffs. Straight to the real deal.
On if the bubble will create any carry-over effects into the next weeks: Once playoffs get going and once we just get rolling with games, we’ll get into our rhythm. These first couple of days just with practices and figuring out bubble life is a little different, but once games get going and you’re back into that playoff mentality, I think just being on the ice will just be being back on the ice and doing what you need to win.
On expanding on bubble life: I was out there on the field playing some spikeball and getting back to the hotel, hung out for a little, went to dinner and then got a group of guys and we played a game of Catan last night, then went to bed. There’s things for us to do here in the bubble, but it’s just a lot of good quality time we’ll be having with the guys in the next coming weeks and months.
On assessing the offense and defense corps: Heading into the exhibition, I think for the most part we haven’t been able to get fully up to speed in practices so far, but I would say both are looking pretty even. We had a lot of really good drills where it looked like the defense seemed to dominate and then we’ve had some drills where the forwards are making plays, so I’m thinking both groups are doing well. Our forward group especially is finding their rhythm. The line chemistry is coming back. Just excited to see what they are going to be able to do.