Heads up for tomorrow’s Reign feature.

Karl Taylor spoke at length Friday about what the off-season looks like for an ECHL coach, what he expects of the players, and how he’ll go about building next year’s team. Here’s some of what won’t make it into tomorrow’s story…

For a lot of our guys, their work starts now. their season is over, they need to get a little rest and get right back on the horse, make sure they’re in the best shape possible. We’ve got guys who weren’t in the best shape, and they need to be in better shape come the fall, whether it’s with us or someone else.

We’ve got lots of guys who have a great future. It depends on how they approach it. Hockey’s one of the only sports where it’s ‘see you later, good luck training,’ and hopefully they do the work. We’re going to be monitoring a lot of the guys, I’m going to be monitoring guys. They have progress reports they’re going to be sending in to me. It doesn’t stop now. We have a solid base here, but now we start over because of your turnover.

It’s not like your relationship ends with guys. We’ve been working with guys a full season, and if Player X decides he wants to go to Europe, I’m going to help him go to Europe. We’re going to do whatever we can to help our guys. They’re part of our fabric now. This is our first year and they set the table on ethics, work ethic.

These end-of-the-year meetings are all based on planning for next season. It’s hard when you lose, because nothing is planned. We didn’t plan on losing, ever. We had to cancel busses and hotel rooms in two different cities, and so you’re planning to play until the end. It’s very sudden when it happens. We’d all worked so hard that, when it does occur, it’s really hard to take. Whether you deserved it or not, when you’re finished playing it stinks. You want to keep playing.

What we’ve done here, what the players have done, they’re part of what we are. That doesn’t change. They aren’t forgotten. The relationship doesn’t stop. I still talk to players I’ve had two and three years ago. That’s the way it is, and that’s the way I like it. These guys stay in contact, and if I can help them move on to teams we don’t play against, I’ll help them do that.

(On his own off-season🙂 Usually I’ll get through this part, clean the guys out, get everything done with the apartments and the rest of it. Then I’ll usually take at least 10 days and disappear. Give my family a reward, some time that they deserve, but you never stop working. Any day you’re not recruiting, you’re a day behind someone else. You have to be on it 24-7. I wish I had no time (to recruit). That means you’re still playing. I didn’t start recruiting until July, early August (last year).

(On what goes into rebuilding the roster🙂 If you can’t play defense, you can’t play here, period. If we can get six Bud Holloways here next year, we’ll take it. He’s a pretty dynamic player. If we can get six guys as good as Bud, we’re going to be a pretty good team. Not at the expense of giving up defnese. You look at our team and you look at Bakersfield — they were really high octane. Once they got roling in the second half, all offense. Not that they didn’t preach defense, but they relied on transition and scoring more than the opposition and it worked really well for them. So for us, we’re not going to be that team. That’s not how I coach. That doesn’t make it wrong; it’s just not how I coach.

(On recruiting🙂 In Reading we had Rich Peverley there a couple months my first year. I used him for about two years. He’s in the National Hockey League now. He’s a guy I used to call recruits. They’re all tricks that you use to try and convince players that this is a good place to play — and it is, so there’s no tricking. It’s just letting them know and getting the word out.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.