JSG is talking about the Avs, but some of what he says seems to hit home for the Wings. At least in my opinion, but what the hell do I know?
Jiggy started off by talking about the Avs’ on-ice problems from tonight and in general:“As long as we don’t understand that we have to play better in our zone, we’ll never win any games. We have to do a better job in our own zone. That’s where it starts. We have to learn this at some point.”OK, pretty strong comment there, about never winning any games if they don’t play better in their own zone. That in itself would have been a lead quote in any hack beat writer’s story, so I was ready to run with that in my mind as Jiggy kept talking. But, oh, that was tame compared to what was coming…“The (allowing) the first goal is one part of it (problems), but I think it comes down to us not playing very well defensively. We spend too much time in our own zone, and that’s hard. That’s where it’s hard. We know we can score some goals, we have some offensive tools. But when you spend part of the second period in your zone and give up too many scoring chances, you’re not going to win games like that.“We talk about it every day. At some point, we have to understand. There’s no more excuses. It’s not about being young, it’s not about … we have to put our head into the game.”OK, still fairly strong stuff there. But after saying that, you could see Jiggy just sort of say to himself, “Screw this, I’m gonna go rogue here and really tell it like it is.” Which led to this:“Some guys are more worried about their Vegas trip at the end of the season than playing the games, than playing every minute of the games. Quite frankly, I don’t care about your Vegas trip right now.”Whoa. I gotta say, that is the strongest quote I’ve ever gotten from an Avs player in my 18 years covering the team. Patrick Roy came pretty close to that with a few statements. I remember one game, from the 1997-98 season I think, where Roy blew up at his teammates’ effort in a lopsided home loss to Dallas, saying something like, “All we do is make excuses around here.”But that quote about Vegas? That will go down in history I have a feeling. But wait, there’s more:“It’s not constructive. We have to find a way to get out of this losing mentality, you know? It starts with me and the guy beside me and everyone has to do their part.”Then this, as Jiggy got even more red in the face with anger:“It’s embarrassing. I’m embarrassed to be here right now. It’s not even funny.”I then asked Jiggy if the true problem with this team is just its lack of focus or preparation or pride or whatever, and he said:“I don’t know what it is. I’ve been around for 15 years in this league and I don’t know what it is. I don’t know why we seem like we don’t care at points. I don’t know, I don’t know we seem like, you know — some guys are fighting to show that they belong in the NHL, some guys are fighting for contracts. And it’s just embarrassing, the way we, you know, the energy we have in the room and the way we approach practices and the way we approach this game. It’s not how you’re going to win any games in this league. I mean, this is a team (Calgary) that we can beat if we set our minds to it, and every day is the same story. I don’t know what to say. I’m beyond words right now.”I then something to the effect of, “Hey, things are pretty good around here too about five weeks ago. You beat the Chicago Blackhawks and were at .500 and…” and then Jiggy cut me off to say:“But that was just one game. It’s easy to get going when you play a team that is going to embarrass you if you don’t play well. You’ve got to play like this against every team in this league. There’s not one easy game in this league, so you’ve got to play hard and you’ve got to play well every night. You’ve got to find a way to get yourself motivated and focused. It has nothing to do with who you’re playing. It’s about how you prepare yourself and how you approach the game. It’s not about which team you’re playing. Yeah, everybody’s going to get motivated when you play the Hawks. I mean, the building is full and that’s easy to do. But can you get yourself going when you play the Calgary Flames? Can you do that right now? And obviously, we’re too immature to do that.”