Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/14/06 at 01:14 PM ET
Q. I guess my first question is about Vyacheslav Koslov, your teammate. People have just been talking more lately about his leadership role on that team, and I wonder what you thought he added to the team? MARIAN HOSSA: The Professor? Q. Yeah. MARIAN HOSSA: The Professor, he's one of the smartest players I ever played with. He sees plays really well, and doesn't have to use speed or quickness as much because he's smart and he can make the play and hit you when get open, and that's what makes the other players around him better. Q. What's behind the chemistry that you guys have had all season? The three or four of you guys really have been on fire since the season started. What's behind how you've been playing? MARIAN HOSSA: You mean the three of us or you mean the whole team? Q. Well, I mean, the three of you guys are above the league leaders in scoring. But really the whole team has been off to such a wonderful start. MARIAN HOSSA: Yeah. Well, I got two things to say: I think we are committed to the defense much better than last year. I think everyone is playing much better defensively and more responsible in our zone. Second thing is definitely our goalies are healthy. We’ve got great goaltending, and we're playing well and we got great goaltending right now in the league. The special teams are working well, also.
Q. Do you have the same systems that you had last year, or have there been any changes made to the offense this year?
MARIAN HOSSA: Not really. The thing is there are lots of new players from last year. We had a new system last year, for many of us anyway. Right now, basically the team expects from few players the same. We understand the system much better and we know what to do. We are all playing much better, on the same page. So I mean, everyone is clicking much better than last year and understand the system better and everybody is more mature under the same system, so that’s the result right now.
Q. Would you say it took you a full season to really get comfortable in Atlanta because last year was your first year there?
MARIAN HOSSA: I didn’t say a full season, I would probably say Christmas. You know, it was kind of first time to change for me, from one team to the other. New city, new teammates, everything was new to me, so it took a while to get comfortable again. Soon as Christmas came I felt pretty comfortable in Atlanta and I started playing my hockey again and felt somewhat comfortable.
Q. But this is the most comfortable you’ve been in Atlanta so far, right?
MARIAN HOSSA: Definitely. We are on a winning streak. I mean, it’s much more fun right now. It’s always fun winning, and we got a great group of guys right now with everybody playing well.
Q. What’s been the key variabl e to the equation of your success so far this season?
MARIAN HOSSA: I said earlier like everyone’s playing more committed to the defensive side. Last year we played lots of offense, but we got scored on a lot. This year seems like everybody is playing more responsible in our zone. But also our goaltending is much stronger this year and healthy and playing well. So that’s another thing. We’re creating lots of offense from that.
Q. Besides the teammates around you helping you, what have you done personally, do you think, to better your game, your own game?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, in the summer I work out pretty much the same, on the same program I always did. I don’t know, I feel pretty much more comfortable with my teammates. Playing with Vyacheslav Kozlov he is one of the smartest players I ever play with. There’s just good chemistry. On a power play, everyone is clicking. Kovy has an unbelievable one-timer, so we know we can set him up for that, and he pretty much when he shoots he scores, so the chemistry is there.
Q. Have you been paying attention to the Ottawa Senators and how they’re struggling this year? I think they said they wouldn’t have made that change for Dany Heatley in hindsight. And looking back on it, have you been paying attention to how the Senators have been doing and what you think is maybe going wrong there?
MARIAN HOSSA: I wouldn’t say I’m paying too much attention, but obviously I look at the standings to see how other team is doing. I know the Senators are kind of like sleeping giant because they got unbelievable team. Just a matter of time before they put it together and start winning. On the other hand, it’s not my issue how they’re doing. But when I look at the standings I see the teams, and obviously I can see how the Senators are doing, too.
Q. My first question I’ve got two this time: Just about the way the Thrashers are being received in Atlanta this year. I know you guys aren’t getting full houses every night, but is there a difference in the way the team is being recognized?
MARIAN HOSSA: I mean, the way we’re playing and winning more games and more people are coming to the games, I think that is good for the city. We’re playing good hockey right now, and it’s great for us and the city. We are having more and more people. And when I came here first it was something like 13, 14,000 and, right now it’s about 15,000. So it’s just great.
Q. Second question is: Regarding the International Ice Hockey Federation report by European players and European leagues, I’m wondering if, A, you had read anything about that? I know you came over here to Portland to play a year and learn the system here, but do you think it’s important also that the European leagues are well maintained and the amateur game improves over there?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, to tell you the truth, I didn’t follow up much about what’s going on right now. I didn’t read much about it, so I cannot answer this question.
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