Coach Clark’s Midseason Report

Black Wolves head coach Glenn Clark took a few minutes this week to address the state of the team at the halfway point in the season.

On the need to make changes to the offense:
“It was unexpected. If you had asked me in the offseason, it was (not what I would have) predicted. We thought that, offensively, we were OK based on last year. But you react to what is in front of you, and what is in front of us is nine games of really not being very productive, to the point where we are either eighth or ninth in the league in offense. You can do a couple of things. You can make changes, you can make adjustments, you can do things within your own game, which we tried to do. Or you can try to change the puzzle pieces a little bit. Eventually we got to the point where we felt that’s what we had to do.”

On what each of the offensive players acquired by trade since December brings to the team:
“Getting bigger on offense, but not giving up mobility or anything like that is big. In some regards we got pushed around a little bit last year. And even this year, we didn’t have a real big group. But you add Johnny (Powless) and Stephan (Leblanc), who are both 200 pound guys with good size and now Callum (Crawford), who is a very good size and very athletic, we’ve changed the dynamic of our group and we’ve got three different pieces. In Steph, we have a hard worker who plays fast and is strong, a good shooter, real active, plays a nasty game, creates transition, shuts down transition, does a whole bunch of things. Then you have Johnny, who is very good at playing inside, catching in traffic, finishing around the crease. And then Callum, who is a triple threat. He’s got an outside shot, he can beat you one on one, and he can distribute the ball. Part of having a successful offense is having different pieces that complement each other, and we felt we didn’t have that compliment that we wanted. So when these parts became available, we were certainly interested in acquiring them.”

On what he is looking for in the second half of the season:
“More productivity out of our offense and more consistency out of our defense. It’s been a strange league. We felt like we haven’t had a good first half, but we’re still in the mix, so I think it’s just a product of the league and the game right now. Everybody’s taking their turns getting blown out or going on a little run and then losing a few in a row. It’s been an unusual season in that regard, so what we want is more consistency out of our goaltending and our defense and we certainly need an uptick out of our offense. We need to start scoring ourselves out of some problems and we haven’t done that.”

On the goaltending:
“I think they are struggling for consistency and if you talk to them they wouldn’t disagree. They are part of that formula that needs to be better and needs to be consistent. We need to get predictable goaltending. We need to have the stops that are expected, then they need to do the spectacular every once in a while. We’re letting in too many routine goals, and you can’t dig yourself out of those holes. We’ve had dialog. They know they need to be better and more consistent and that’s what we’re striving for moving forward.”

On what needs to happen in Toronto to be successful as the second half of the season starts:
“Toronto plays fast, pushes in transition, does a lot of things well. You have to be very disciplined against them. If you don’t play a consistent, sound game, and are looking for shortcuts, they’ll hurt you. We’ve got to be consistent from zero to 60 minutes, especially with their transition and the way they like to push the ball. Just play a very sound, principled game. When we get off script, we get ourselves in trouble.”

With so many changes, is it nice to have a bye week?
“Yeah, especially because we didn’t anticipate making another move, with Callum and Evy (Shawn Evans). I think so. I think it lets everyone take a breath and settle in and get used to the changes. Get used to the fact that this is our group now, this is our lineup and those are the things we’re looking at.”