Media Day interview w/ Kevin Sneddon

During media day, I had the privilege of speaking to men’s head coach Kevin Sneddon. This is what he had to say.

On what needed to be worked on to improve the team’s offense (2.15 GPG in 2015/16, T-8th worst in country)

“I think it’s puck possession. In particular, on offensive zone entries and not just panicking with the puck in the offensive zone. Having more interaction with our defensemen and our forwards so we have five people trying to possess and do some things and confuse the other team’s defense. The power play, we’ve got to find a way to click more. It was going pretty good two years ago, it was over 20% which was very good, and last year we got down to 12. Special teams were not a positive last year, so that kind of hurt us. But I think we have the right guys, we just have to be a bit more creative as coaches to put them in the right environment for it.”

On the newcomers

“Very, very excited about our group. I think we have two or three forwards that have really shown well early on. I think Ross Colton is one of the best freshmen in the country, and we’re fortunate to have him at the University of Vermont. Tampa Bay draft pick, I think he’s got a bright future here but also within the NHL. Our defensemen, what we tried to do there was to get a little bit more skill, more agility, guys who could think and make a play. I think all four of those guys can do that, it’s just going to take a little time to get used to college hockey and the speed of the game. They’ve been excellent and I think we have one of the best goaltenders coming in as well, Stefanos Lekkas.”

On the goaltending situation in an optimal scenario

“That really depends. Sometimes going in a rotation is good until you feel someone really earns it. There’s other times where, like at any position, I look at it and say ‘okay, who’s playing the most confident? Who gives us the best chance to win a hockey game?’ while developing them. It doesn’t do a goalie any good to not play in a game for a month. So you’re factoring all of these things in, I don’t know that there is a perfect scenario, I think you have to see what your team has and put it to best use. I rely a lot on Jeff Hill, who’s been our goalie coach, he’s in a different role now as our hockey ops, but he can still have an opinion on who looks the best out there and most confident. So I’ll rely on my staff a lot for that.”

On which returning player has improved the most over the summer

“I think Robbie Darrar. He’s come back confident, he’s stronger, he’s looks even faster this year. He had an unbelievable playoff last year; he was probably our best player in the playoffs, and he’s kinda taken off where he left off.”

On the schedule

“People talk about it because of preseason rankings, and that’s what everyone focuses on. ‘Whoa, you’re playing the #4 team in the country!’ Well, this early on in the season, there could be a team that’s not even ranked that might end up being one of the best teams in the country, and I think we have some of those on our schedule. I think UNO’s going to be great, I think Clarkson’s going to be a great team, obviously Michigan’s always, always good, Northeastern…It’s not any easier this year, I think our team our team’s going to be challenged from Saturday this weekend all the way through to the end of the year.”

On polls/preseason rankings

“I try to fill out the darn poll and I can’t figure it out. Especially in Hockey East. I almost feel like ‘Aw, I’m disrespecting someone here because they’re better than where I’m putting them!’ I think all of coaches kind of  feel that way.  I think what’s great about polls, people always ask me ‘do you not like the polls?’ I don’t pay attention to them, because that’s just taking away from what I need to do to prepare our team, but I think it’s great that we’re talking about it. Polls get people to talk about college hockey.  Preseason polls are awesome because everyone’s focusing on ‘hey, the start of the hockey season,’ and during the season it gets people to continue to talk about things. I’m a big fan of them, I just don’t put a whole lot of stock in them.”

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