Wisconsin men's hockey head coach Mike Eaves' media address Monday covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from the team's upcoming series against Michigan Tech, to the team's ability to cope with last Saturday's shocking overtime loss at the hands of Minnesota-Duluth.
First, Eaves addressed the concept of simplifying the team's strategy for playing on the road, an idea that most coaches use.
This week coming up, going up to [Michigan] Tech, first of all it's a smaller rink, so the game becomes simplified,"" Eaves said. ""Things happen at a little quicker pace.""
The press conference then shifted to the mental state of the Badgers and whether the young squad could quickly put Saturday's loss behind them. Eaves believes in the ""24 hour rule,"" meaning that after 24 hours following a loss, it is time to move on.
The head coach said he thought his team has moved on, even though this often does not come easily for many young teams.
Eaves also talked about where his team was when they played Michigan Tech at the beginning of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association season compared to where they stand now.
""We have changed a whole deal, especially after Christmas time. Our freshmen are no longer freshmen,"" Eaves said. ""We have grown in so many areas ... But the fact is that we are a different team than the first time we played Tech.""
Wisconsin will finish up the season without having to play anyone currently higher than itself in the WCHA standings, which could be considered an advantage for UW. However, Eaves was quick to point out that the WCHA is tough from top to bottom.
""I don't think [an easier schedule] exists in our conference to be really honest,"" Eaves said. ""Anybody in this league can beat anybody on any given night if you are not ready to play and play well.""
Junior forward Ben Street was also a topic of discussion. The Coquitlam, B.C., native leads the team with 12 goals, yet none have come on the power play. While power-play goals seem to carry more merit, Eaves believes that Street is still making a difference, one that doesn't show up in the boxscores.
""[What] we have always said about Ben is he does a lot of little things ... He does a lot of those little things,"" Eaves said. ""He wins face-offs, he gets pucks. So yes, he doesn't have any power-play goals, but he's contributed in terms of our power play being successful.""
The question then arose as to whether Eaves himself would rather have a big power play scorer or a player who scores during five-on-five play. Eaves was unable to rank the two, seeing both of them as valuable parts to any team.
""I don't think you can put one importance above the other,"" Eaves said. ""They are both very vital.