Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott appeared on BaD Radio this afternoon on The Ticket, discussing the disappointing end to the season and the surprising coaching change. Here is most of what Ott had to say, and he was a bit more diplomatic than usual. You got the feeling there was more he wanted to say but held back, which is probably for the best.
After saying that the Stars players were all gathered around televisions at the hotel watching the Detroit and Chicago game, "hootin' and hollerin'", Ott said that they were a tense group as they got ready to play Minnesota with the game on the line:
"Everyone was pretty tense. You could feel the pressure, but you dream about those games. For us, this game was a Game 7 mentality. The nerves were there, the tension was there. There was no lack of energy throughout the game, just a lot of things didn't go our way. We didn't get out to a good start from the first shift on and by the end of it, it was an ugly result."
On whether he was surprised that Marc Crawford was fired:
"Yes there was suprise in the essence that it happened so quickly and the team had improved...but no, because of the result. The result is that the past couple of years we haven't made the playoffs and when that happens, obviously things need to be changed. Sometimes it's players, sometimes it's management. All in all, I'll take the experience he's given me the past two years and I'm sure other players will as well and we'll move on."
On whether the firing had anything to do with Crawford's coaching style or how he handled business off the ice:
'I think it was more the result on the ice. We completely as a group were still getting to a point where had possibly leveled off and we were being pushed as hard as we possibly could, as hard as we could possibly get and I think we all feel that we could still get a little bit better -- as players as well, not just coaching.
"In situations like that sometimes it's easier to let the coach go and continue to move on. It's kind of an underlying issue of who do you want running your bench and the rest of all the assistant stuff." *
*Very interesting bit here from Ott, as he specifically brings up how the bench was run and how the assistants were coached. You wonder if perhaps this is where most of the trouble started.
More after the jump:
On whether changed expectations from the beginning of the season had to do with the firing:
"I don't think so at all. We set ourselves up to be in a pretty good position the first 50 games. We threw a lot of points away in big, big games as well. When you add up all those issues, like you said, and you continue to go forward those are big underlying problems. A lot of lost points.
"I can think of the L.A. game, the Anaheim game...some late, late games we still had a chance in. When all that happens you can see the team kind of sputter out as well. You add it all up...it's probably hard to understand and figure out for a lot of people that probably aren't around the team as much as obviously I am and some other people.
"All in all, it just wasn't the right situation."
On the Brad Richards Situation:
"I think there's a really big chance to keep him. I think the big reason that he's not signed right now is the ownership issue that's been lingering with Brad. He wants to be sure that the Dallas Stars are in contention for a lot of years and right now with our situation...we're not there yet.
"He only has so many years left in his career and I know he wants to play for a long time and he wants to find the best situation he can possibly get."
The current mood of the team headed into the summer:
"The guys feel very strongly about this group, for a lot of years now. We have a heck of an extremely, great core group and with some extra added pieces could be a heck of a hockey team for a lot of years to come.
"Our leader was phenomenal in Brenden Morrow this year, our goaltending was great with Kari...if we pick up some new guys or whatnot and hopefully Brad does sign here and we can continue to move forward as a group. This group together is so close and that's what making it fun right now."
On the type of coach that would be ideal with this team:
"It's a fun group. You don't want a guy beating every player up and screaming and hollering as well. You want a demanding coach, a coach that all the guys continue to respect throughout the season and you want a structured coach, a guy that you can continue to rely on that's making sure the guys stick to the structured systems in the game that help you win.
"I don't know if there's a dream coach that's like that but who knows. Obviously, Joe is going to have his hands full and he's going to take his time finding that guy and once he does, hopefully it puts it in the next level."