WILD WORDS 11.22.17

WILD WORDS 11.22.17

Nov 22, 2017

The following are notes and quotes Tom Witosky (@toskyAHLWild) recently gathered from interviews and news conferences with Iowa Wild coaches and players.

Head Coach Derek Lalonde on the significance of the Wild’s 4-2 win over the defending Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins last week:

“They are the gold standard of our division and league. They’ve won two of last five championships and most of their team is back. They returned four of their top scorers. They have a swagger about them. It was a good win for us because they are a good team.”

Lalonde on what improvements have led the Wild on its first lengthy winning streak:

“Structurally, we are getting a lot better. Our neutral zone play, our tracking, our gap control has been good. We’ve been aggressive on the puck and away from the puck. We are eliminating time and space (when opponents have the puck). It is growth.”

Winger Kyle Rau on getting a goal and an assist in the Grand Rapids game:

“I am getting healthy. I am a little timid because of the [earlier] injury, but I am close to getting it back.”

Rau on the need for his line [with O’Reilly and Ferraro] to boost its offensive production:

“It’s no secret we were letting in a goal every game. Tonight, a +2 [rating] was a good feeling. It looks like it’s going to get going. I’m seeing chemistry beginning to develop.”

Goalie Steve Michalek, who is 3-0 after returning to the club following a personal leave of absence and a stint in the ECHL, argued vehemently he was interfered with on a Griffins power play goal Friday night:

“Then I saw the replay, so I went to ref after and told him, ‘Sorry, you were right.’ I sort of interfered with myself there.”

Winger Landon Ferraro on what the Wild needs to do to contend for a playoff spot:

“Just keep taking steps. There are things we can tidy up a bit, but once we do, we will have depth in scoring, good defense and two solid goalies. We’ll be able to do some pretty good things during the season. We also need the NHL team staying healthy, and we need to stay healthy.”

Defenseman Alex Grant on the team’s strength:

“We have a good team, but still have to get much more consistent. The skill level is there. We’ve just got to get the power play going at a high level if we want to be successful, and we need great goaltending.”

Ferraro on living in Des Moines for the first time:

“It’s a hidden gem. Everything is new, everything is clean, everything is nice and the fans are good. Rent compared to other cities is a bit cheaper. It’s everything you could look for in an American [Hockey] League city. Plus, the facilities are a step above 90 percent of the American 

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