Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was on KFAN in Minneapolis yesterday morning, and he was surprisingly honest and candid about Erik Johnson's interview with ESPN.
Lucia said he talked with Johnson about the interview, and Johnson basically said that in the give and take of the interview, things kind of got misconstrued and ended up sounding worse than he meant. Lucia also talked with him about his comments about not being happy with the way he is used in Minnesota's system, and Lucia said that basically boiled down to Johnson wishing they could set him up for the one-timer a little more often on the powerplay.
Lucia went on to say that in the future, he may think of restricting media access to players to just people associated with college hockey, because of the distraction caused by people asking about the NHL. I can understand that, but at the same time, I know most college hockey fans aren't as interested in the nuances and details of junior and high school hockey, so much as they are interested in hearing about the guys that are going to be moving on to the next level, so it works both ways with college hockey.
Later in the interview, Lucia said that he talked to his team in practice about how at this time of year, he wants his players to stay away their "advisors" and be focused solely on college hockey, and not worrying about moving on to the next level. I thought it was surprising that Lucia directly addressed that with his team, and even more surprising that he publicly said that he talked to his team about it.
Once again, it's clear that there were some problems with the Gopher team last year, and this season, instead of hoping his team will play through them, Don Lucia is confronting them head on this year. Will that be the difference for the Gophers in the NCAA tournament this year? Only time will tell.