clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Joe Nieuwendyk: "We'll take our time putting a new coach in place."

New, comments

Here's most of the transcribed Joe Nieuwendyk press conference from earlier today. We'll have more on Nieuwendyk's decision later today and tomorrow.

These decisions are always tough and they don't come easy and I really proud of some of the things we've accomplished in the last couple seasons. I feel much stronger about our group today than where we were at this time last year. And Marc deserves a lot of credit for that and our players do as well. They bought in to what we are trying to do and we have a lot of good pieces that are starting to come together. The future is bright in my opinion.

It's difficult when you don't make the playoffs because that is ultimately the goal. The goal is to win playoff series and challenge for the Stanley Cup. I believe we are making steps towards that and unfortunately it wasn't good enough this year, even with 95 points in an extremely tough conference and an even more tough division.

This is why we have to get better and be with the elite teams.

More after the jump.

It's something I looked at as the season progressed. We faced some adversity, and our team play fell off during those adverse times. It wasn't a decision that came easily. You sit back and you evaluate and you look at where the team is at and how we can take the next step.

I think that it was very disappointing that with one game on the line that we had an opportunity to get to where we needed to go....I don't think we missed the playoffs because of one game. This is a long season and there's ups and downs and there's a lot of pain and sweat that goes into it; we had dips that we couldn't seem to get out of at different times the second half of the season that ultimately cost us.

We needed to beat the teams that we had to in order to get to the playoffs. It wasn't going to be a situation as we saw the last month of the season where we were going to be able to back into the playoffs, even though we had a lead in the division at one point. Teams were charging and teams were playing hard and hurting their way into the playoffs and we faced adversity with injuries and we weren't able to get the job done. Congratulations to the teams that did make it, but we want to be one of those teams.

I think Marc is a terrific coach. I don't know if there are any specifics or if I need to get into any specifics. I do know that in the two years I was around him, Marc gave 110% of his energy and commitment to this team. Whether people think it was right or wrong with the circumstances, he gave it everything he had. He really put a lot of heart into it and I think him for that.

No time frame [on finding a new coach]. This week is about clean up and sending the players off with the right message. I know that our players already have a different tone about them than at this time last year. There's a real disappointment of wanting to make the playoffs and they're already talking about the steps...'how do I get there and how do I train differently'...I'm hearing that theme from there. There's the playoffs and the draft and things that lead up to the draft. We'll take out time putting a new coach in place.

On whether the new coach would be able to coach strong offensive and defensive systems:

I think in a lot of ways we played to a lot of the strengths of some of our players. We have some highly skilled players and if you look at our point totals of Ribiero, Richards, Morrow...there's definitely some things being done the right way. Obviously we need to become a well rounded team and make the best use of all of our people. We have a responsibility to make improvements in areas we need to make improvement in; not just up front but in the back end as well.

Again, I feel we have some good pieces in place. The addition of Alex Goligoski was huge for us and allowed the defense to move the puck a lot better. Just some of the pieces we've added over the years... we want to continue to build on that.

What about the assistant coaches?

I'm going to meet with them individually over the next little while after we get done with some of our player evaluations. Those things will get done in a timely manner. Obviously with a new coach coming in they'll have some input on the assistants as well.

On whether Willie Desjardins or Glen Gulutzan are options:

Possibly. We'll do our due diligence in the office and look at what direction we want to go and there'll be a number of good candidates.

Is it a race for the best candidates?

I don't know if it's a race. I think that can be different. I think you have to do your homework and every organization is different. What's good for the Dallas Stars might not be good for the Florida Panthers.

Ownership situation affecting decisions?

I know we've been fighting this battle for quite some time. I know the lenders have been extremely supportive of our decisions and they know we're trying to make our franchise better and they appreciate that. I appreciate their support. At some point we will have a new owner and that owner will have a vision as well and will communicate that.

I don't think any of us in these walls are complaining or waving the white flag. We make decisions with the intention of improving our hockey club and sometimes they are cost related. As I've said before the people making these decisions along with us have been supportive. It really hasn't affected us. We're going to continue to try to add good pieces and good players and develop a culture of winning.

Any update on Brad Richards?

We had discussions with Brad right up until the trade deadline. I think things then got quiet because he was trying to get back playing. Our position hasn't changed. He's an important player on this team. Obviously he has to make sense for Brad but it also has to make sense for us as well.

Mentions that Brenden Morrow, Steve Ott, Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn have been asked to represent Canada in the World Championships. Alex Goligoski has been asked by the US team.