I, along with some of my fellow Atlanta Thrashers bloggers, got the opportunity to interview John Torchetti today! Wondering what the deal is with the cartoon? One of Tochetti's old nicknames is "Barney." He was asked about it today and said it referred to the old cartoon Barney Google, seen above. Apparently he rolled his eyes and made faces when he was young and they called him Barney as in Barney Google.
There were other awesome questions asked and I will try and go over the ones I remember. I got two questions in:
- Who at prospect camp has stood out.
- Have you had your day with the cup.
In regards to his day with the cup, he has NOT had it yet. It is coming up on August 24th. I asked if he had big plans with it and he said "oh yeah." He plans on taking it to some establishments he used to frequent and then having fun with his family and the cup.
Now for some of the other questions asked.
Besides the guys from Chicago you know and a few you coached elsewhere, who on the Thrashers roster stood out and who are you looking forward to working with?
Of course, he gave the diplomatic "everyone" answer and as he mentioned, the Hawks only played the Thrashers once, and he commented it was a close game. The first name he mentioned was Evander Kane. He said he was going from one Kane to another. He also mentioned Bogosian and Enstrom.
Atlanta seemed to have a problem with teams that play "the trap." How do you deal with that.
Torch said that it requires coaches doing some prescouting and designing plays to counteract the trap. In another question he said "if they can't beat the trap, that's our (the coaches') fault, unless the players are turning over the puck. You must be disciplined with the puck as well.
Why did you agree to come to Atlanta in what seems to be a lateral move?
He made the point that in coaching, you don't often get to chose when you come and go, but you could tell there was one reason he was there; Rick Dudley. Torchetti has known Rick Dudley since he was 19, when Rick was his first hockey coach. He has immense respect for Dudley and said that as soon as he heard that Rick was a GM again, he knew he would try and work with him.
Atlanta had a terrible Goals Against Average last season, how do you stop that?
You have to be committed to defense. Defense doesn't start in the Dzone, it should start on the forecheck. You need commitment from all 5 guys on the ice to attack.
He was asked for a breakdown of the players coming from Chicago:
Andrew Ladd - Ladd is one of the hardest workers at practice and will be a huge asset. Holds the other players accountable and will go over and say "we need to work hard today."
Ben Eager - A grinding, physical winger. He's a good skater that finishes his checks and is intimidating on the forecheck.
Dustin Byfuglien - A presence in front of the net who plays physical. He is great in the locker room and keeps the players loose. He is always in charge of the locker room music (yay!)
Brent Sopel - Described him as a student of defense and one of the top 2 penalty killers in Chicago. He will bring good leadership to the team.
Akim Aliu - He has good size and skating ability. Someone asked why Akim had not made the jump to the NHL when others who entered the league at the same time had. Torchetti answered that it was a big jump and not everyone makes it at the same time.
Torchetti was asked a few questions about things (example: what pieces do we still need) and he said that would be Ramsay's call. He was also asked about his passion and how it would mesh with Ramsay. Torchetti said he had a lot of respect for "Rammer." He said he loves to teach and that it would be their job to make the team successful. He has worked with Ramsay before and said they worked well together and had a good rapport.
These questions and answers were paraphrased based on my notes. Over at Bird Watchers Anonymous, they are putting up video of the questions they asked on the site. I highly recommend checking it out. Torchetti is fun to speak with and you can see the passion in him.