Morris interview: Part II

Here is the second installment with Manchester Monarchs coach Mark Morris. It covers Teddy Purcell, Brian Boyle, Richard Petiot and the challenges of coaching at the AHL level. Stay tuned for Part III …

Kings fans got a taste of Teddy Purcell and liked what they saw. With his style of play and skill set, who would you say he compares to in the NHL today?
“I think of him in terms of older pros during my time as a player. He reminds me of a young Bernie Nicholls. He’s got a great stick, long reach, very creative, knack for making the right play at the right time in the offensive end. He seems to spot the open man and with puck on his stick hes pretty dangerous. His long reach and ability to get the puck to the net or spotting someone is pretty special.”

Did playing defense make Brian Boyle a better center?
“(Sigh) You’re asking the wrong guy. I think it may have helped his understanding of the defensive end. I personally always viewed him as a forward but he did learn to appreciate the fact that playing defense can help a centerman. He’s an intimidating presence in front of the net. It’s a credit to Brian to accept the challenge to do whatever the organization asked. I give him high marks for being patient. His first response was, `Did I do something wrong?’ I think the organization just felt he’d be better suited to help the forward position. He does have a great scoring touch. He’s one of the top scorers in the AHL only playing half the season up front.”

How is he on faceoffs?
“Very good. He’s got great leverage and he’s a strong guy. He has huge hands, very powerful.”

Does he play to his physical potential?
“When he realizes what an intimidating presence he is to opposition, his game will grow in leaps and bounds. He’s a pleasure to coach. He’s a very coachable guy. He’s very concerned with improving himself and giving himself the best opportunity to stick. I just think sometimes he doesnt understand that being a big guy you can bet people are going to come looking for you. He’s a big target.”

Is Richard Petiot fully healed from last seasons injury and how has it affected his development?
“We’re working on his consistency. I didnt see him a whole lot last year. I saw him in training camp and then he was pretty much injured all last year. He started skating in the playoffs. I think the injury set him back a little bit with his development but he continued to work hard to try to improve his game. He spent a lot of time doing videotape to get him up to speed on everything. There’s potential there. He’s a big body and it’s hard to teach that size.”

What positions do you see needing upgrading in Manchester? What areas have good depth?
“It appears as though we have good potential at the forward positions. Matt Moulson made some great strides and I’m not sure if we’ll see him again or not. It appears as though our forwards have the most likelihood of making an impact for the Kings.”

Is that the biggest challenge as a coach at that level, especially under an organization that will use the rest of this season to look at their future, that you lose your best players in the middle of the season?
“Absolutely. Thats our challenge. We’ve got to be quick on our feet. Peter Harrold was called off the bus the other day. It’s the trials and tribulations of developing players and doing whats right for the big team. The way I describe it for our players is that it’s a great opportunity. If someone goes up, it creates opportunities for someone not playing as many minutes to get what they ask for. A lot of guys are always asking for more minutes or more responsibility, I say, “OK, you were asking for it. Here it is. Deliver.’ ”

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  • daveS

    wow! great posts matt. i’ve been a kings fan for more than 20 years and never more optomistic about our team than i am now.
    with all the free agents brought in at the start of this season, and the prospects at manchester used as trade options, i believe lombardy can get any top defensive player he wants and maybe a center, but right now i don’t know if we even will need that center.
    labs is having a great first year and with next year still rebuilding, 2010 should be the start of what we have been waiting for.
    “knock on wood”.

  • Joe Dirt

    Great great posts once again Matt. Boyle is a beast. Not only does he have good hands, but he seems to be at the right spot every time.