A Coach’s Perspective
This year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs have lived up to the expectations as they are just as exciting and unpredictable as ever. Like most fans of hockey, Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris has been watching the playoffs on television but as he watches the games, he remains a coach ready to observe and analyze each team. Manchestermonarchs.com caught up with Morris to gain his perspective on the Conference Finals and some of his former players.
Q: Starting with the Eastern Conference Final, what are your thoughts on our neighbors to the south, the Boston Bruins?
Morris: “They (the Bruins) were dead in the water not too long ago. The Toronto (Game 7) comeback has ignited a flame of confidence and it’s been exciting to watch. Many of those guys with Boston were in Providence earlier in their careers so we got to see them a lot too. Guys like (Brad) Marchand, (Torey) Krug, Matt Bartkowski, (Adam) McQuaid, (Tuukka) Rask, (Johnny) Boychuk, (David) Krejci and some others. It is a strong endorsement for the American Hockey League and the large role they play in developing players for the NHL.”
Q: Chicago was one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup during the regular season and it seems like Los Angeles is determined to repeat as Champions. What do you make of the Western Conference Final so far?
Morris: “I think Chicago is back to playing the way they were when they started the year on a torrid pace. They are explosive offensively and Crawford has been very good in net for them. It was good to see the Kings bounce back on home ice on Tuesday with hard work and intensity that helped them win the Stanley Cup last season. Hopefully, the Kings tie the series at home tonight (Thursday).”
Q: A total of six players from this season’s Monarchs roster have played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs including two rookies in right wing Tyler Toffoli and left wing Tanner Pearson. What have you seen from them in their short time with Los Angeles?
Morris: “Those guys have impacted the Kings immediately and in a positive way. When you see them involved, it certainly makes you feel proud. Those experiences for the players can only help their confidence for next season.”
Q: Is it difficult being just a fan when you watch the Kings since you know so many of the players on a personal level as well?
Morris: “It is a little different. They are playing for different staffs but knowing each one’s capabilities makes it a little more personal. It is very exciting to see them contributing. Tyler Toffoli has played great. I am so happy for Jake Muzzin and his growth this season. Watching Slava Voynov be such a valuable piece to the Kings puzzle has been good too. You can go right down the list and it is just amazing to see them grow as a player.”