Game 23: Pre-Game Notes

5:55 PM — Titans lines for the night…




zollars5:35 PM — Remember Gentry Zollars (pictured)?  Sure you do.  He signed with ECHL Orlando today.  He had two assists and was a -5 in 13 games with the Titans last season.  Had been playing in the FHL’s Danbury Whalers, who I’m told are actually a Titans affiliate.  Sure wouldn’t know it…

5:20 PM — Scott Darling will be in goal for Wheeling and will be opposed by Scott Wedgewood.  Don’t at all be shocked if you see Wedgewood continue to get at least two thirds of the games going forward.

Ryan Hayes and Alexandre Carrier may find some sort of dog house to sit in, as they’ve again been scratched tonight.

4:00 PM — If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Titans fans, it’s that they all really love head coach Vince Williams and support everything he does…and if there’s one thing you should have learned about my coverage by now, it’s that it tends to be dripping with sarcasm at times.

With all that said, I was at practice yesterday and spoke with Williams, Scott Wedgewood, Marcel Alvarez and Andrew Johnston.  The Wedgewood stuff was for my latest endeavor in The Hockey News, and I’m saving the Alvarez stuff for now in the hopes that it follows a similar path.

But I did want to pass along what Williams said about various topics in his office yesterday morning…

“We’ll probably look to do something (with a new captain) pretty soon.  We want to them, as a group, to take ownership of this dressing room.  There’s a lot of guys that I felt, even over the weekend, really stepped up.  There are leaders in that dressing room, and guys who have been past captains, even first-year guys like Drewiske, Slater and Marcel Alvarez were all captains on their college teams.  I did some research and there are a lot of guys who wore letters in the past.  Obviously, we need one guy.  One guy who is going to lead the way and be that sounding board for us and an extension of what we believe in here.”

“I think it’s important (to have a captain).  But you can be a leader in your own right, you don’t need a letter.  I know that’s an old cliche, but that’s the truth.  The more leaders you have in that dressing room, the better your team is going to be.  With a younger group now, everyone’s starting to contribute in their own right.  Our dressing room and our bench presence is the best it has ever been since the beginning of the year this weekend, and even in the last few days of practice.  There’s been a significant change, and the people that have been here on a day-to-day basis are noticing.  It’s that evident.  But it’s important to have someone to want to take charge of this hockey team and be an extension.”

“We didn’t get the results (last weekend), but we were good enough to get, by far, five out of six points.  We didn’t, but we were.  We should have got two the first night.  Last goal, last minute, I didn’t think it was a great goal.  But we battled and competed harder than we did all year, in every facet.  The telltale point, to be honest, and we were talking about it in here earlier…you play a high emotion game on Friday and lose in overtime, you play a higher emotion game on Saturday and you lose in a shootout.  Now, you get two points, and it should have been three or four, but then you into Gwinnett after getting in late — I played too and I’ve been in those games — and those games, if you wake up a little tired or cranky, you don’t know how it’s going to go.  But we battled and competed with the best team in the league for 60 minutes, hard.”

“(With Conboy), it started with a bit of a melee and I know Slater was getting pulled into the bench.  He came in there to grab a couple guys, one guy grabbed him, and then he grabbed another guy.  So he almost had two guys on him at one point.  It wasn’t an overhand motion.  I think he just kind of grabbed his helmet and he didn’t know where he was on the ice, and it ended up being in the stands.  He was remorseful.  We were proactive with the situation, we supported him.  Right off the bus, we wanted to make sure we addressed it right away even before the league.  Andrew was forthright with an apology that he sent to the league and to the Gwinnett organization before anything was even handed out, because he knew once it happened.  On the other side of it, it was a ten-minute misconduct, he wasn’t kicked out of the game.  He can’t do that, though.  They do a good job of policing the players on the ice, but when it’s fans involved, it’s totally different.  I’ve gone through this with Dan Charleston…I think he knows what he did was wrong.  He’s a guy that has to channel his emotions at times, but it’s something that’s been a pattern in his history back to college and junior.  It’s something he was to work on.  He brings a lot to this team energy-wise, even in practice.  But I think he knew he made a mistake.”

“(On Hayes sitting) We’ve got a lot of guys right now, we’ve got 15 forwards.  I mean, when you’re putting your lineup together, you’re looking at your skill set group, but then you look at how impactful guys like Slater, Nagy, Drewiske and Conboy are, and that’s a huge part of it.  From a skill set standpoint, it’s unfortunate that you can dress 10 guys.  Each guy has their role on this team…the one flexibility we do have is that we can put Mangene on the blue line if we have to.  But it’s bodies, it’s numbers, it’s opportunity…you can read into it that’s sending a message, but we just have a lot of players.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT


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