Gary Graham worked his first regular-season game behind the Komets' bench Saturday night. Despite rallying twice, the Komets lost to Toledo 4-3 in a shootout.
What did you think in general of tonight's performance?
I thought we out-played them, I thought we were the better team. Definitely had the better scoring chances. In the first period they hit us with a couple of odd-man rushes there, and (John) Muse came up with the big saves on a couple of 2-on-1s there. You look at when Nikky (Pokulok) went D-to-D across the slot there and it went in off that guy's stick. That 5-on-3 early on, we just made a mistake there. It's a correctable mistake on our PK forecheck. Overall, I thought we were really good. We kept their shot count down and did a good job defending in the D-zone. We did a good job controlling the neutral zone. I liked our grit, I liked our jam. I thought guys were in there winning races. There were a lot of positives tonight, but it was disappointing.
What did you think of Mickey Lang with his two goals?
That's why he's here. I expect nothing less from him. He's hungry to show and prove himself at this level. The guy has a great motor, and a great work ethic and he's going to fit in good here.
How much of this was about the guys could get into the zone, but they couldn't get in deep into the zone?
I thought we worked them from behind the goal line really well. Their defense couldn't handle us. The biggest thing that I've seen is when we worked the puck low to high, we weren't getting traffic on those point shots there quick enough. We were getting there, we were just getting there a little bit late. That's a big goaltender, an athletic goaltender. There's a reason why that kid led Portland up in the WHL deep into the playoffs. I'm most disappointed that we don't get a chance to respond tomorrow.
What did it feel like in your first game?
It felt like another game. I expect to win every game. We expect to win. That's what I just told the guys. We expect to get two points. In that shootout there was no doubt in my mind we were going to get the two points. It doesn't happen all the time. This is a confident group of guys, and there's a lot of positives and moving in the right direction. I really liked the way we played tonight. I like what we have.
How much can you take this first game and use it to teach?
A lot. We have a long week of prep next week. I told the guys to go out and enjoy themselves tonight. They can enjoy their day off tomorrow, but Monday is a work day. We'll see what Jace Coyle can do and how he looks. (Mike Vaskivuo) Vaskie should be back on the ice Monday.
The toughest thing is we have to sit around and wait to respond because every guy in that room feels like we should have won that game. We played well in front of a big crowd. We out-hit them, out-scoring-chanced, them, the stats don't lie. We out-shot them, but we didn't get that second point that we were looking for.
The goalies here you have to get traffic there. You have to get to the paint. I liked that we were getting to the net a lot, but I thought we weren't getting into his line of sight enough. He's a big goalie and a big part of our gameplan was to make him uncomfortable. I liked a lot of good things about some of the young guys.
I thought there were a lot of positives. For battling from behind the way we had to get that point, there's a lot of character in that locker room.
Their defense were doing a good job of boxing out and not allowing us to get across the net, but there are a couple of adjustments we can make. Instead of shooting on net, we need to shoot for sticks in the slots for some indirects. That's something we're going to work on. We need to do a better job of creating opportunities in the box, flashing into those areas and presenting ourselves to the defensemen.