Guy Gadowsky and several other members of the Penn State men’s hockey program held a media day on Monday, September 30. This time, unlike last week’s media arena tour, I was able to attend the event – my first ever media coverage for Victory Bell Rings! There was a lot to cover all around so let’s get down to it.
Coach Guy Gadowsky
- Official team practices won’t start until October 5 so Gadowsky and crew haven’t seen much of the team together yet. “Our viewings have been very limited…” Gadowsky said when asked to compare the team from this year to last year. “Obviously you don’t have a lot of time from October 5th to October 11th so we have a lot of work to do in a short period of time but I think everybody’s really itching to get at it”. He also gave props to captain Tommy Olczyk, citing his leadership on and off the ice and in the unofficial captain’s practices.
- Recruitment has changed a little with the addition of the new arena. Mostly because “seeing it is certainly different from trying to explain it” but Gadowsky said that the atmosphere is going to be extremely special since that’s what’s going to “separate Penn State from a lot of other hockey programs”. Gadowsky also said that “the fact that we now have a Big Ten conference is huge” in terms of recruiting as well since it’s easier to pitch the program now that the Big Ten conference name is attached.
- When asked how long it would take for Penn State to become a top caliber team in the conference, Gadowsky did not have an answer, saying that it’s hard to gauge when they would reach certain levels of expectations. Gadowsky then went on to say that winning national championships was one of their future goals and “if you don’t have that in your mind, you’re not coming to Penn State”.
- In response to the wins against now current Big Ten opponents last season, Gadowsky said “it gets a little bit addictive, you want to do it over and over again” and that “people were certainly surprised” when they beat out teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin last season.
- As for what to do with the three goaltenders the team has this season, Gadowsky said that “we’re going to let [them] handle it” but explains that “it’s positive to have three very capable goaltenders” and that all three of them are “supportive of each other”.
- Last season the team was riddled with injuries in defense as they lost both Luke Juha and Mark Yanis for a good portion of the year. But this year they’ve gotten back their injured players, and added a few more such as Mike Williamson, Patrick Koudys, and David Thompson. Compared to last year, the depth this year is like “night and day”, according to Gadowsky.
- However, injured forward from last year, Jonathan Milley may not be 100% to start the year but Gadowsky expects him to play “a number of games” for the team.
- NHL draft picks on the outside look good but Gadowsky said they have “equally high expectations of everybody [they've] brought in here, NHL draft choice or not” on and off the ice, even after they graduate from the university as well.
- On the Big Ten Conference and rivalries, Gadowsky said rivalries just happen and that you can’t really think about them beforehand. However, he said it’s going to be “tough not to have a rivalry” with every one of the teams in the conference and that he has “personal history” with all of them as well, having coached in the CCHA and played in the WCHA.
- As for the underdog status of the team, Coach Gadowsky said that he doesn’t know how the players feel but said they “all feel hungry and honored to compete against these programs”.
- Gadowsky said that he feels that having no players on the Players to Watch list wasn’t a shot to the program, saying that they weren’t in a conference last year so they had nothing to be compared to. “I know we have great players… whether we’re recognized by the rest of the conference doesn’t matter to us”.
- On the style of play, Gadowsky said they’re going to stick to the same style as last year. “I think we play an extremely exciting brand of hockey… we’re going to go hard to the net and we’re going protect our own net”. He also said we won’t see a difference in how they play from this season to last season, but we will see a difference in the overall depth of the team.
- On the players they’re bringing in this year, Gadowsky said “we do address the size issue, especially on the back” and that they had a lot of areas they wanted to address from last year and they feel they did.