Monday, August 12, 2013

Johnston and Morrow Interviews

The Portland Winterhawks website just released a written account of an interview done with Coach Mike Johnston and it is a fantastic read. The link to part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

This interview is a great insight into the different connections Mike still has from his days as an assistant for the Vancouver Canucks and L.A. Kings. One such connection allowed him to know the new Hawks Assistant Coach: Karl Taylor pretty well and figure out that he would fit in well with the Hawks players and other Assistants.

The most interesting part to me was to read about what type of players incoming Defensemen Garrett Haar and Anton Cederholm are. According to Johnston, he sees Haar as an offensive Defenseman who will jump up into the play and create scoring chances from the back end. If he does end up having this type of skill, he will obviously fit very well with the type of active system that the Hawks run. At no point in the interview, however, does Johnston address, his past issues at Western Michigan, that allowed for him to be available to the Hawks as a 20 year old.
Cederholm, as described by Johnston, is more of a sold 2-way Defenseman that won't contribute as much on the offensive side, but should use his size (6'1" 205 lbs) to help the Hawk's not get pushed around in their own end by bigger offensive teams. Obviously the Hawks either liked Cederholm enough to get rid of fellow import, Russian Kirill Vorobyev, or Vorobyev had gotten on the wrong side of the Hawk's coaching staff enough, that they were going to release him regardless. The latter can be argued, because of Shaun MacPherson slowly taking over his role as 7th D-man as the year progressed.

Johnston also did not shy away from the big question that is Portland's back end this coming season. He states that they are losing 3 or 4 of their top D-men from last year and is still working on addressing this issue. I would agree with him that it appears Seth Jones (the 3rd of the those 4) is most likely playing in Nashville next year ( just put him in the top 4 on the Predator's Defense in their depth chart), but I do not believe Derrick Pouliot will even come close to making the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins have 8 D-men under NHL contract ahead of him on the depth chart, so there is simply not room for Pouliot in those numbers. They even signed Rob Scuderi last month, meaning that they were not looking for Pouliot, or Olli Maata or Scott Harrington to make the jump to the NHL level.

Speaking of Penguins Defensive prospects; Joe Morrow gave an interview to the "Pipeline Show," where he went into detail over what it was like to be traded twice in your first professional season. The interview is in 3 parts and also has Calgary Hitmen D-man Jayden Rissling. Morrow seems to be quite jaded after his experience with first Pittsburgh trading him to Dallas at the deadline for former Hawks Brenden Morrow and then Dallas dealing him to Boston at the draft as part of a deal that sent Tyler Seguin to the lone star state. One has to really empathize with Morrow, who, it seems was not given a fair chance in Pittsburgh or Dallas. His style of Defense, has in the past taken longer to develop at the professional level and it seems like he is hunting for an organization that will have a little patience and wait for him to develop into a viable NHL player. Unfortuately for Morrow, he is far dwon on the depth chart for the Bruins. His contract does not expire until 2016, however, so it seems that he will be given a few years to develop into a consistent performer.

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