Articles, Blog

Jamie Baker | Talks at Google

August 24, 2019

thanks for coming, everyone. Thanks to Jamie. We’ll do a little intro,
Jamie, in a sec here. Also, thanks for anybody
watching on the live stream. And we even have some people
in the Pittsburgh office who’ve joined. So we’ll– [BOOING] There they are. JAMIE BAKER: We’re
not happy with you. We know you’re good people, but
we’re not happy with you today. Trust me. SHANNON DEEGAN: So a little
gloating going on there, but that’s earned, well earned. So I want to thank
everyone again. Thanks, Jamie, for
taking time out of, obviously, a busy schedule
at the busy time of year. You saw the video. The most famous goal
in Shark history, Jamie scored, which was
to knock out Detroit in a big game a few years ago. Jamie played 10 years, NHL. Played for the Toronto Maple
Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Nordiques– they
started his career– and then, obviously, with the
Sharks a couple of times– so a great career. Started at the University–
I almost said my school– St. Lawrence University. And that’s where
I first met Jamie. We were– JAMIE BAKER: He’s getting
nervous right now. There’s a reason why. SHANNON DEEGAN: There’s
a reason why, yeah. So Jamie and I met
playing against each other in university. So I played at Vermont,
Jamie played at St. Lawrence. I think the worst defeat
my team ever suffered, my senior year, my last game,
we lost 9 to 1 in the playoffs. So that’s my memory of
playing St. Lawrence. I think I scored the goal. JAMIE BAKER: It didn’t
go very well for you. SHANNON DEEGAN: It
didn’t go very well. JAMIE BAKER: It’s good. I have eternal bragging
rights against you from a hockey standpoint. SHANNON DEEGAN: He does. He does. But you know– JAMIE BAKER: But
you’re doing OK now. SHANNON DEEGAN: You’re OK. But when you’re a
parent– I think one of the things
when you’re a parent is you want your children not to
make the same mistakes you did. And so I’m delighted
that Jamie’s daughter is a player who’s going
into her senior year at the University of Vermont. So she plays hockey there. So she made the right call,
anyway, where to go to school. So Jamie had a terrific
career– as I said, 10 years, played in 25 playoff games. So what we want to
do here is we really want to get it into
just a kind of Q&A around– I want to talk
first about the season, because it’s been
an amazing season, I think, for the Sharks. And then we’ll get into
this series in particular. But let’s try and do it
as much as a dialogue, open it up for questions. I’ve got a few, if we
need to, to kick it off. But I think I
really want everyone to have an opportunity to talk
to Jamie about what he’s seeing and what’s going on so far. So, I think, Jamie, the first
thing I’d love to understand is, two years ago– I think
it was two years ago, right around now– devastating
loss for the Sharks, going up three games
to nothing on the Kings and then losing in seven. And then they, last year,
didn’t make the playoffs. So you go down to, an
absolute bottom is last year. You’ve got the top
player having disputes with the general manager. So it’s just not going well. And then a year later, they have
the best results they’ve ever. So what do you think
took them– what happened to go from the bottom
to get where they are now? JAMIE BAKER: Well,
first of all, if you go back to when the Sharks
missed the playoffs, if you told me then
that they’d be here now, I’d be like, that’s awesome. I can’t wait to see this
unfold in front of my eyes, and I’m going to
have front-row seats. Because I would not have
predicted it whatsoever. I thought potentially, maybe,
Thornton– one of them, Thornton or Marleau– might
get traded or something, and that there was a little
bit of a rebuild in place as they’re trying to
bring in new blood. Instead, after the– not this
past season, the season before, it was a toxic environment
around the locker room. And there was some
friction between the head coach and the general manager. But just the whole atmosphere,
you just knew it wasn’t right. And we didn’t talk
about it on the air, because you don’t
know how it’s going to– they could fix things in
the second half of the year. But when everything
was said and done, they were not– they didn’t
have that chemistry as a team. There was no trust
throughout, at all the layers. And you can’t succeed. There was bickering
behind the scenes. It goes within any organization. Pro sports is different. There’s turnover and whatnot. There’s the media
profile and all that. Everything is
played out publicly. You guys are in different
teams here within your company. Well everything,
you’re not going to read about it tomorrow. Maybe there’s an internal
blog, might be something. But that’s it, maximum, and
you can ultimately try and get over the grievances. So what happened between then
and now– well, one, people, like key people, general
manager, the key players, the top players,
some of the leaders they checked their
ego at the door. They put their pride aside,
and they put the logo first. And at the end of the day,
you can learn from the past, but you can’t dwell on the past. If you dwell on the
past, you’re never going to be able
to move forward. And I don’t care what
vocation you’re in. That’s what they did. They put the stuff behind them. They say, forgive and forget. Just forget about it and move
on, because there were still some really good pieces here. And then Doug Wilson,
who was under fire, he was the architect of this. And they hadn’t succeeded. He was getting
called out publicly. He went out and
got Martin Jones, who’s been absolutely
phenomenal, the goaltender, now, of the future,
a great trade. He’s the one that
hired Peter DeBoer. And he went out
and got– and I’m going to talk about some other
guys, but he and his staff got– you on as
Joonas Donskoi, who has been– here’s a guy
that’s a top 6 forward that they didn’t draft. They’re tough to get. You look at Panarin in Chicago,
how he came over from Russia. And you’re like,
Chicago picked up. Well, I think we got one of the
best free agent acquisitions last year from someone coming
over from Europe in Donskoi. Great kid. True pro. Sticks his nose in there. Just loves to battle. Great hands. Great upside all across. So those three were
like home runs. And then, Pete DeBoer coming,
he was also instrumental. So Doug Wilson
makes the final call on bringing in Joel
Ward and Paul Martin, but Peter DeBoer also
communicated with them. So he was instrumental
in those acquisitions. Great acquisitions all aboard. And then, the ones they
made at the trade deadline, you’ve got a coach who–
all the pieces were in place from the fundamentals. The previous coaching regime
that was here did a great job, so the foundation and
structure was there. So it’s like a new leader coming
in, a new VP of marketing, or sales, or biz dev coming in. And you’ve got the
structure of all your group. The cohesion’s there. All the back-end
stuff’s in place. And now you’ve just got
to tweak a few things here to go and, not necessarily
knock it out of the park, but go above and beyond. So that was there. And everybody came
in this past year. Everybody came in
with a new attitude. I call it– it was a fresh
coat of paint, literally, a fresh coat of paint, because
they redid the practice facility and the Sharks’
dressing room at SAP center with new paint and everything. And so new attitude, dress rooms
were new, new coaching staff. You’ve got that goaltender, that
key piece that you can rely on. And then as the
season went on, you could just see it
start to unfold. And resiliency and perseverance
have been their trademarks. And they are now
getting tested more than they’ve been all year from
a resiliency and perseverance. And that might not
even be enough. Pittsburgh might be too good. We’re going to find out. But Pittsburgh hasn’t been
to the east coast– or west coast– in a while. And they haven’t played at the
Shark Tank in the playoffs. And we’ll see what happens on
Saturday, when the Sharks get to play in front of
their home crowd, and see if they can try and take
everybody in Pittsburgh right now, and they should be. And you’re thinking four or five
games out, you, in Pittsburgh. I know you are. You’re all nodding and agreeing. But you don’t know what it’s
like to play in the Shark Tank. I was listening to
Aaron Ward this morning. This guy’s won
three Stanley Cups. This was on the NHL
Sirius XM channel. And he said, I don’t think this
thing’s over, because, he goes, I didn’t get nervous or
intimidated in many buildings, but the Shark Tank
was one that I did. It was a distinct
home ice advantage. The crowd is so
loud, just the way it just bounces off the roof
and comes down, because it’s the steep building. The seats don’t go out. So we’ll see how
things play out. If Sharks win on Saturday, we
got ourselves a series here. Because we already know,
as good as Murray’s played for Pittsburgh in nets, he
hasn’t been tested much. We know how good
Martin Jones is. SHANNON DEEGAN:
Yeah, that’s great. One of the things
that surprised me– I guess I haven’t seen
Pittsburgh play that much, and you hear about it–
but it was the speed. We like to think
the Sharks, I think, certainly in the first
couple of series, the first three rounds
there with the Sharks, their speed was
the talk, how they were dumping in and beating
the players to the– beating the other team to the puck. And clearly, it’s
flipped the other way. Pittsburgh just looks like
they’re at a whole other speed level. And how do the Sharks
adjust to that? And what’s been your
reaction to that watching it? JAMIE BAKER: Disruptive. It’s a good, popular word in the
technology world, disruptive. Speed, first to market,
all of that stuff, that’s what they are. Their speed is
disrupting everything that San Jose is
trying to accomplish. Things that they
could do, now, they’re not being able to do it. And I knew their speed was good. What I didn’t know
was their details, like their stick position. They’re winning more
battles right now. They’ve won more 50/50 battles. That’s really surprised me. That was one area I thought
we would have the advantage. We out-battled LA. We out-battled St. Louis. That’s as hard as it gets. So I’m like, well, we might
give them a little bit here on the speed,
but we’re going to get more if we can push
the game to the perimeter outside the dots. And we can get some
more board battles. But that hasn’t been the case. But sometimes, you
watch– I’ll give you just some examples of what I’ve
been watching, what I look for. There’s two things–
well, three kinds of concepts how I watch,
and teach, and talk about the game of hockey. One is time and space. Now, it’s a cliche in
sports, but it’s real. Football’s the classic
example of time and space. Like, the line of scrimmage–
the quarterback comes back. And if he hands it off to
a running back, lineman, their job is to create space. That’s it. That’s what they do. They provide space
for the running back to go, and get out,
and get some opening. And then he’s got
to find more space. That’s what they do. If it’s a passing
play, the linemen have to block to create
time for the receivers to go out and find an open
space and for the quarterback to have enough time
to be in good position and to make the pass. Time and space– very simple. It’s there in basketball. It’s soccer, all the
team sports, you know? The other two things I
watch for are outnumbering and controlling the lanes. So controlling the lanes–
if our net was back here, I’d be between you and that net. So you want to control the lanes
with your body or your stick position. So you’re always trying to
establish an reestablish body position. If I’m in the offensive zone,
I want the guy from their team to be behind me so I’ve got
an open lane to their net– so controlling the lanes
using your body or your stick. The other one is outnumbering. If we got one guy in the
corner and they have two, advantage them. So if you watch– if
you just were watching the game at home on your DVR and
you pause it, you can just see. And you’re like, well, yeah,
Pittsburgh’s got three guys. The sharks have two. That’s why they’re
winning battles. And that’s what they’re doing. So they’re controlling
the lanes and outnumbering using their team speed
all over the ice. And it is absolutely
frustrating the Sharks, not allowing them to execute. So they’re going into
some battle situations. They’re not going in
to win the battle. Their first guy’s going
in using a stick position to influence the Sharks
one way or the other, push him up the boards or
take away a D-to-D pass. But they’re getting
in on the first guy. They’re not necessarily
trying to win the battle, they just don’t want the
Sharks to win the battle. They go in and, like,
don’t lose the battle. And then, because
they’re so fast and they’re so disciplined–
and they’ve been doing this now. They’ve been playing this
way for so long here, you know, the last
month and half of the season in the playoffs–
that the next guy’s there. And then he’s
winning the battle. So the Sharks have
some things to– and that’s what the
Sharks were doing. Sharks were doing it. They did it to LA. They did it to Nashville. They did it to St. Louis. And now it’s happening to them. SHANNON DEEGAN: So
how do you control it if you’re the Sharks? How to you get on top of that? JAMIE BAKER: Geez, it’s
not going to be easy. So you’ve got to
simplify your game. You’re not going to
be able to execute. And I don’t know, I couldn’t
make a comparison in business. Sometimes you go
into one scenario, and then there’s another. And whatever worked here isn’t
necessarily going to work, and you have to be creative. In this case, they
need to simplify. I think they have
to just get away, a little bit, from trying to
execute these breakout passes. I think they need to
just start chipping the puck out in
the neutral zone, and creating races there, and
then getting the puck deep. Because there have been
too many turnovers. And when there’s a turnover,
Pittsburgh’s feasting on it. So I think they have
to simplify the game, slow the game down a little bit. And then if they spend less
time in the defensive zone– you’ve got to slow the speed of
Pittsburgh in the neutral zone. And if they get their
forecheck going– simplify their game
in the defense, neutral zone, get
the puck deep, go to work on the forecheck–
that’s their bread and butter. They’re going to get
outnumbered down low. If you watch– again, if
you’re at the game, watch. Because Pittsburgh’s
forwards are so fast, they collapse even
lower in the defensive. They’re going to have all
five guys down below the dots guaranteed. So what do you have to do? Kick it back to the
defensemen, keep getting shots on net, things
like that, like real simple. And then try and frustrate
Pittsburgh from that regard, and hopefully draw
some penalties too. They’ve only had three
powerplays so far this series. SHANNON DEEGAN:
Yeah, and that’s been one of the impressive things, I
think, about Pittsburgh is– I think Malkin and Letang, in
particular, have a reputation for getting under their skin. And you saw Thornton
take a shot at Malkin, and you saw them go after Letang
a bit and try to goad them. Once you get these
guys– get their tempers, and it’s just not working. JAMIE BAKER: That’s
like you trying to get me– goad me,
from a hockey standpoint, knowing that I beat you
every time we’ve ever played against each other. SHANNON DEEGAN: Not
every time, right? JAMIE BAKER: Well, you won once. SHANNON DEEGAN:
Yeah, fair enough. JAMIE BAKER: But
how can you– like, you can’t frustrate
me when it comes to our head-to-head
match-ups, right? SHANNON DEEGAN:
That’s fair enough. JAMIE BAKER: Like, I’ll never
play him in a senior league game, because my record stands
for itself moving forward. I have bragging rights. I felt so bad for you, my
daughter goes to your school. SHANNON DEEGAN: Yeah, exactly. JAMIE BAKER: Malkin and
Letang aren’t frustrated, they’re in control
of the series. So they need– that’s where
the Sharks– but that’s what you want to see. You want to see them going
up banging their stick, because they’re not
having their way. But they have for five
of the six periods. SHANNON DEEGAN: Yeah, on
that, my old coach was saying, you should look up Jamie
when you’re out in San Jose. When I moved out here, I
said, I won’t, specifically for that reason. But I ended up doing it anyway. JAMIE BAKER: Then my
daughter went there, are we became friends. And here we are. SHANNON DEEGAN:
What have you liked what you’ve seen from the
Sharks in this series so far? JAMIE BAKER: Goaltending. SHANNON DEEGAN: That’s it? Next JAMIE BAKER: Question. SHANNON DEEGAN: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. JAMIE BAKER: That’s it,
honestly, yeah, goaltending. And actually, well,
the goaltending is the reason they’ve
stayed in there. Like, I had someone
text me this morning. They say, is Pittsburgh
really that fast? And if we got a
couple of breaks, could we be up 2-0
in this series? I’m like, yeah,
you’re right on both. Pittsburgh’s dominated the
series, first and foremost, with their speed, and
their compete level, and their ability to win
battles, and do all the things that I’ve already discussed. But yet the Sharks have hung on. If you were out of the
country and you just saw the scores, if you just
looked at the score sheet, you’re like, well, this series,
this is as close as it gets. Because it was a
broken– a couple of mistakes by the
Sharks in game 1. And Pittsburgh scored with
two and 1/2 minutes left. And last night, they
won in overtime. I don’t know if it’s
a glass is half full or glass is half empty. That’s the beautiful
thing about sports. We’re going to
find out Saturday. Shannon was saying,
well, maybe, is it good that they’ve been outplayed? You asked me that when
I was driving over. I said, is it good that
they’ve been outplayed, but yet the games are close? I’m like, yeah, it is good. But at the same time, Crosby
and Malkin haven’t scored yet. So is it good or not good? We’re going to find out. I just know– I think it’s
the two days between games, which I didn’t like at first
when the series came out. I think, for all the
travel that these teams are doing– there’s
two days between games whenever they have to go
from one coast to the other. It makes sense, but
all the other series is every other day. To me, this is an
advantage for Pittsburgh, who doesn’t– they’re
not used to the travel. The Sharks are used to it. So I didn’t like the schedule. I thought it favored
Pittsburgh, because they haven’t been out of
the Eastern time zone since, like, mid-January. That’s our life, you know,
like Nashville, St. Louis. So we’re used to it. We’re used to the long flights. It’s part of the
routine for the guys. But now, the way the
series has played out, I think the Sharks are
fortunate they have two days. They were frustrated
during the game. They were frustrated in
their post-game comments. And I think they’re a
little shell-shocked. And I think today’s
a travel day. And tomorrow, they can go and
meet, and watch some video, and have a closed-door practice. And then they can start
to ramp up for Saturday. So I think the two days prior
to that game 7 against Nashville helped San Jose, and I think
it’s going to help them here, in this case. SHANNON DEEGAN: Great. Let’s look for some questions. Anybody got any
questions for Jamie? AUDIENCE: My question is about
the Pittsburgh– San Jose and how they got here. I’ve got a theory, and I just
want to get your idea about it. And it kind of ties in with
the whole fact the, usually, present trophy winners have
this curse of not advancing. I’ve got a theory that,
for any championship team, especially in hockey, to
make it to the finals, there has to be an extended
period of strife or conflict in the regular season. Because that’s when the
team learns who they are, and what works,
and what doesn’t. With Washington, I think, as
soon as they got to Pittsburgh, they hadn’t really ever
been into a situation where things weren’t
working for them. And it’s kind of telling that
Pittsburgh and San Jose were making it to the final when
they were really mediocre teams the first half of the season. So is that a theory
that you think has to happen for a
championship to occur, or no? JAMIE BAKER: It’s
a good question. And I’ve asked coaches, over
the years, that question. And they’ll tell you, well, we
don’t go out seeking adversity, or strife, if you will. We don’t seek it out. But when it’s there,
you have to turn it into a positive
in the long term. When you’re going through
it, it’s not good. And this is– it’s in
your personal lives, it’s at work, whatever. There’s conflicts. Perseverance–
perseverance is what? It’s overcoming adversity,
and it takes time. It’s like going through
different experiences. And that’s what resiliency is. So I agree. I think it’s beneficial
to go through those during the course of the year. Part of the thing is, you
have to have the horses. Like, you’ve got
to have the horses. You’ve got to have the players. Both these teams
have the talent. They’ve got the coaching. They’ve got all of that. I mean, Pittsburgh went
through a coaching change. That’s not easy to
do, but it turned out to be a terrific
move on their part. So my belief is– and I
don’t think it’s a theory, but my belief is I
think it’s good to go through that type of adversity. I listen to Barry
Trotz, the head coach of Washington, his
post-series media press conference, you know? And he’s like, Pittsburgh was
the best team coming down. We finished with
the most points, but the last month and a half
of the season, Pittsburgh was the best team in the NHL. And they carried it through. And they’re a better
team, right now, than us. So when you look at the entire
season– because in sports, it is different. There can be trades or different
things, or teams have injuries. There’s more personnel
changes in such a short time than, necessarily, you see
in everyday work situations that you can’t necessarily–
like the Sharks power play– well, you can look at it. Or their home record,
the Sharks’ home record over the course of
the season wasn’t great. Well, now we’re not talking
about the regular season home record. We’re talking about how
they’ve been in the playoffs. SHANNON DEEGAN:
That’s 7-1, right? JAMIE BAKER: There was a
reason why they weren’t as good in the regular season. One, at the start
of the year, they were all still learning
Pete DeBoer’s new systems. They weren’t all
on the same page. They had some key injuries
with Logan Couture. Paul Martin was out. Vlasic, Braun, they were
all out for a few games. The other thing is, the
way the schedule is, the sharks travel so much
that– you look at their record, I think they were 07 or 08 and
1 whenever they’ve had a road trip two games or more. So they were so
good on the road, but they almost maxed out on
their road trips, especially the four- and
five-game road trips. They’d play so good in
games 4 and 5, but then– and I’ve talked to Doug Wilson
about this a little bit. And when they came
back– so let’s say they finished their road
trip somewhere like, say, Chicago on a Tuesday. Their next home
game was Thursday. So you fly home. I’m with them. You roll into your house
2:00, 3:00 in the morning, but that’s 5 o’clock
central time. So you’ve been
traveling all night. And you’ve got, the
next day’s a day off. And then you’re right
back, and you have a game. Those are the games
they were losing. So when you look at
the President’s Trophy, you’re looking at a
6-month time frame where Washington
had the most points. But if you look at the best team
coming in– the best two teams heading into the playoffs
coming down the stretch– it was the Pittsburgh
Penguins and San Jose Sharks. So sometimes, I think, that’s
where it’s not necessarily a theory. You’ve got to also study trends. And that’s the trend
right now, is the Sharks have been really good at home. And I said that at
the– people said, well, we want to start on the road. I’m like, meh, I don’t
want to start on the road. You’re like, you’re crazy. I’m like, no, I’m not. The regular season
doesn’t matter anymore. It’s the playoffs. I want last change. And if there’s a game
7, I want it here. And even in this
series, I’m like, I wanted– people ask
me, who do you want, when it was game 7,
Pittsburgh-Tampa. I said, I want Tampa. It had nothing to do–
if they beat Pittsburgh, they’re going to be
a great match-up. You could say, well, we
match up better than them. Do we? They knocked off Pittsburgh. And now we’re finding out
how good Pittsburgh is. So I don’t know if they
would’ve been a better match-up. I just know we’d have home ice. And if the series
went seven games, I want them traveling across
the country, three time zones, three times, not us. That was it. So it’s all about
trends, especially at this time of the season. SHANNON DEEGAN: Megan. JAMIE BAKER: Row three asking
a lot of questions today. How come it’s always row
three asking questions? I have a theory. AUDIENCE: This
kind of piggybacks on what you were
just saying, talking about how they did so well
on the road this season, set a record with that. In your opinion and
your experience, how important is
home ice advantage during the regular season, and
then, opposed to the playoff? JAMIE BAKER: More
so in the playoffs. In the regular
season, it’s there. But every game is– it’s
typically– sometimes, there’s back-to-back
games with the same team. But for the most part, every
game, you’re facing a new team. So you study the other
team a little bit, but you’re more focused
on your own play. And there’s no sugarcoating
it, these guys– 82 games is a long season. It is a marathon. And just from how
excited you get– like, they want to go to
the rink, but there’s times they’re just tired. I see it. I’m tired, and I’m just
broadcasting the games. So you can only imagine
how these guys are. So the adrenaline isn’t
going some nights. Like, it’s hard to get
up for some opponents, especially like
if– a New Jersey– SHANNON DEEGAN: Columbus on
a Tuesday night in January. JAMIE BAKER: Yeah. And it’s not
disregard to Columbus, but they’re not a
rival, and they’re not one of the top teams. It’s just the way it is. It’s easy to get up for
the LAs, and the Anaheims, and those types of games. That’s easy. Montreal, Toronto, they’re
pretty easy for the guys. It’s the original six teams. We’ve got a lot of guys
that are from those areas, so you get pretty jacked up. They have all their family. When we play Montreal,
the guys that are on our team from Montreal
or anywhere near there, or even eastern Canada, all
their familiy is watching. So you get a little
more amped up for it. So home ice helps more,
I think, from a coaching, from a last change standpoint. In the playoffs, I don’t
know if last change– it helps on face-offs
in the offensive zone, but otherwise, not as much. Because the guys,
they’ll– if you watch– and you can’t necessarily
see it as much on TV. But if you’re at a game, you can
see, there could be a face-off. And within 15 seconds, if
San Jose– if Pittsburgh– on Saturday, if
Pittsburgh wins the draw and they want to change their
D to get Letang and his partner out there against
Thornton’s line, let’s say, and they just iced the puck,
and those guys aren’t out there, if they win the
face-off and chip it out and it goes into
the Sharks’ zone, they’ll change those
guys right away. So there’s a lot more live
changes in the playoffs to get the potential
match-ups you want. I think the crowd
is a bigger factor. Same thing– it’s more exciting. There’s more at stake. Crowd’s more amped up. Players feed off of it. And they can carry it through. SHANNON DEEGAN: That’s great. JAMIE BAKER: You’re
up next over there. You’re row three. I’m just joking. SHANNON DEEGAN: OK. Just keeping it real, exactly. AUDIENCE: Hi, Jamie. I wonder if you could talk about
the physical and the mental. I heard– I’ll start
with the mental– the announcer, last night’s
game, said, a few more minutes for a
last-minute meditation. What kind of mental
thing are they doing? Actually doing Zen
meditation in there? Visualization? What are they doing? And then the second part
is, well, [INAUDIBLE]. JAMIE BAKER: Yeah. Well, the physical’s
easier to answer, but I’ll answer that after. Joe Pavelski is a great example. Guys are thinking
about it all the time. You can’t get it out of your
mind at this time of the year. So they’re thinking about
last night’s game, what they could have done,
different areas and all that. Joe Pavelski gets to the
rink about an hour and a half before the game. He goes and sits
out on the bench. And he has a visualization
checklist that he goes through, starting in the defensive
zone, into the neutral zone, offensive zone. And he just goes over all
kinds of different sequences and plays. And he does face-off plays. It only takes– it takes,
three, four minutes. And I’ve talked to him about it. So guys do different
things from that. Some guys are
listening to music. They’re all doing it. But they’re also now–
the mental part can also– and this is what
this series is about. And Pittsburgh has
a huge lead in this. And you saw it, Thornton
going after Crosby, Crosby just whatever. Even Logan Couture
saying, after the game, that Crosby’s cheating
on the face-offs– well, I was a center. Like, if you’re not
cheating, you’re not trying when it
comes to face-offs. If the linesman’s not– if
he’s not kicking you out, then go cheat more. You gotta win the face-offs. So that’s frustration. That’s mental. So what the Sharks
are dealing with now and what they wanted to impose–
and Pete DeBoer talked it. Whoever imposes their will
will get into the heads of the other team. Huge advantage– huge
advantage Pittsburgh right now. That’s why I think the
two days is actually, now, a advantage for the Sharks. They need it. They need it mentally. They don’t need it physically. They need it, mentally,
To get rid of– again, the fans, the media, people
are going to be talking. These guys, turn the TV off. Don’t watch the
NHL Network, even though I’m going to
be on it later today, and they don’t want
hear what I said. No, I’m just joking. But don’t read anything. Don’t listen to XM radio. Block things out. Spend some time
with your family. Come down a little bit. And then remember
what got you here. And they know what
the opponent is now, but you can’t let them
get into your head that you start to lose your
confidence or anything. And then you start
to force plays. If you start doing
that, this thing’s over. So the mental part is the last
bastion you have to hold onto. And you see it in different
teams [INAUDIBLE] trying. You have to think of
this as a 7-game series. It’s like a 15-round
heavyweight title bout. Its body shots. Every shift is an investment. And we’ve seen the Sharks now. We’ve seen other teams when
they were getting frustrated. And we talk about it. We’re like, that’s good. When I played and
I coached– I’ve coached every amateur level–
but I would teach the kids. I’m like, let’s
watch the other team. And when they’re frustrated,
I’m like, don’t say anything. Don’t do anything. Just keep doing
what you’re doing. I’m like, we’re in
control right now. And that’s what’s going on. And it’s not going to
happen just in one game, it’s going to take, minimum, two
to start to get into the heads. You’ve got to plant
a seed of doubt. Like, right now, Pittsburgh’s
not walking around– the players aren’t saying, we’re
going to win the Stanley Cup. They know there’s a
lot of work to do. But they’re feeling real good. There’s no reason for them
to believe, right now, that they can’t win two
out of the next five games. But if the Sharks win
Saturday, and then they come out and win on Monday, now
there’s been a seed planted. It doesn’t matter what it is. And it starts to grow. And it doesn’t happen
to be in every guy. It could only be
in certain guys. So the mental part
is absolutely huge. And that’s what the Sharks
have to want, and use the physical prowess, their
skills, their execution, all of that. They’re going to be fine from–
they take care of their bodies. It’s all good. They need that to get into the
heads of Pittsburgh mentally. Good question. AUDIENCE: Where does hitting
come into this? [INAUDIBLE]. JAMIE BAKER: Hitting
can wear to other teams down and all that,
but first of all, you’re not going to
intimidate players in the NHL. You pass the stages and phases
of intimidation coming up. In college, I intimidated him. And I don’t want to
beat a dead horse, but it’s making me
feel better today. SHANNON DEEGAN: Oh, it’s dead. It’s dead. JAMIE BAKER: Right? Like, I intimidated
him back then. But no, you’re not going
to intimidate anybody at the NHL level. The physical part is just
to finish your checks. Wear them down a
little bit later on. Let them know that
they’re going to get hit. But trust me, if you
knock Crosby down with a good, hard hit– let’s
say he comes over the red line, and dumps it in, and gets
the puck into our end. And then, let’s just say
Justin Braun steps up and hits him good, and he goes down. You guys are all going to cheer. You’re all, yah, yah, yah. When Crosby goes
to the bench, you know what his guys
are going to say? Way to go, Sid. Way to take a hit
to make a play. So the physical
part, right now, it’s more about what I was talking
about, controlling the lanes. It’s getting in front of them,
establishing body position, slowing them down. Soft picks away from
the play without getting interference
penalties, that’s going to have more effect,
long-term, in this series, than the big hits. I mean, you’ve got
to make your hits, but you don’t want to chase. You don’t want to run out
of your way just looking for the big hits, because
Pittsburgh, that’s not going to work against them. AUDIENCE: Have you ever
thought or would like to be a head coach in the NHL. JAMIE BAKER: Yes and no. Yes, I’ve thought about it,
and no, I don’t want to do it. SHANNON DEEGAN: Why not? Why not? JAMIE BAKER: I don’t. No interest in coaching
at the NHL level. I like broadcasting. I love my job. I would maybe consider coaching
in the college or something like that, where
there’s more teaching and you’re in more control of
the acquisition of players. My first year doing
broadcasting on radio, I saw how much video they did. And I’ll use Columbus. It was a Tuesday game in
Columbus in mid-January. And it was like, we lost, and
it was just a boring game, just a boring game. And we’d be on. And at the time, Ron
Wilson and– who else– Tim Hunter, Rob
Zeller, they were all watching the game again. I’m like, oh my gosh, they
got to watch that again. I can’t do this. I couldn’t do it. They do so much video. It’s for a certain
mindset of a guy. So I love coaching. I don’t have an interest. You’re gone all the time. And you’re in front of
the– it’s too much video that I would want to sit
in front of the screens that much to watch it. So I love what I do. I’ve done a lot of coaching
at the amateur level. I actually am proud to
say, I spent a lot of time when my daughter was there. But I coached every amateur
level, so mite, squirt, all the way through. I actually coached ASU club. I’ve coached AAA,
AA, boys and girls. And I did it because I
was passionate about it. I was giving back. But also, as a
student of the game, I wanted– I had some
people, and even when my daughter was
young, well, just because you played
in the NHL doesn’t mean you know how to teach. I’m like, you’re right. But you know what, if
I learn how to teach, then I guess I got you, don’t I? No, because they did,
they pissed me off. They really pissed me off. Because he wasn’t
doing things right. He wasn’t listening to me. I’m like, you’re not
teaching it right. I’m telling my daughter, don’t
listen to what he’s saying. And his answer was,
just because you played doesn’t mean
you know how to teach. So I went and started
learning how to teach. That’s how I became a teacher. Even at youth sports,
they call it coach. I don’t think it’s a coach. I think you’re called a teacher. You’re really there to teach. And I hung out with
a guy who taught. He allowed– my
daughter got into– we were living in Arizona, but
she got to go to all his power skating clinics, whenever
they were, for free, which was great. And then I would go out
on the ice and help. But I would basically
just– every now and then, I’d chime in, and
take something he was teaching, and relate it to how it would
help you in a game situation. So it was an add-on for him. And my daughter was there,
and she hated it at the time. She’s like, I don’t want to go. We’re always doing
the same thing. I know. I know. That’s why you’re
going, repetition. Well, she’s got a college
scholarship right now, so it worked out. So I spent my time– SHANNON DEEGAN: To a top school. JAMIE BAKER: Yeah, great school. Great school. Great school. Great town, great
school, fantastic alumni. The warm fuzzies are happening. SHANNON DEEGAN: Yeah, exaclty. There we go. JAMIE BAKER: And I think
some of all that teaching– and I was a coach. But part of it–
and Dan Rusanowsky knows this, because I said
it to him at one point. I said, I want to spend more
time coaching the youth level than any other broadcaster. It was actually a goal. And the reason is you can go
look up stats, and do all this. Or you can have your contacts
that you can call and all that. But if I can teach the game, it
can also parlay in my analysis. And hopefully that
can come across in some of the broadcasts. Sometimes I’ll
catch something that comes from all the time I put
in at the youth sport level that, potentially, other
broadcasters may not have. During the seasons
or in the summers, I was doing camps and clinics,
and they were golfing. So it’s helped me
in my broadcasting career, which I love doing. SHANNON DEEGAN: And
all kidding aside, I think one of the things that
I’m most impressed with when I watch the Sharks since
I’ve been out here, in the eight years
I’ve been out here, is how detailed and
analytical Jamie is compared to a lot
of the color guys. JAMIE BAKER: It was
going to happen. Give me a hug here. SHANNON DEEGAN: Yeah, exactly. JAMIE BAKER: Come here. OK. I’ll never bring up
the Vermont stuff again in front of your staff. SHANNON DEEGAN: Yeah, please. I’m trying whatever I can. JAMIE BAKER: In
front of anyone that works with you or
in any capacity, I’ll never bring up
the records again. SHANNON DEEGAN: But it is true. JAMIE BAKER: A man hug
is always good, right? SHANNON DEEGAN: I
think it is true. You’re actually talking
about the analysis. A lot of color commentators are
just talking about the player or talking about something
that’s just general. But there’s a lot of stuff
that you’re watching, I’m watching and learning, which
is really cool to watch and see it at that level. So it’s real fun. AUDIENCE: So can you
give us a little insight into what the system is
that the new coach has and how it differs
from other systems? JAMIE BAKER: Pete DeBoer’s? AUDIENCE: Yeah. JAMIE BAKER: Well,
first of all, he inherited good details and
habits– so stick position, body position,
communication, all of this stuff that the
previous coaches have done, and the commitment
level of the players. And his whole thing is
to contest every puck, be pressure oriented, to do
what Pittsburgh’s doing to us. Don’t let the other team set up. Get on them so they’re
not in a position– their D don’t have time
to go back, get a puck, turn, and face the play. If a defenseman can come
back, turn, and face the play, he’s going to be
able to make a pass. Off you go. Then you’re back on your heels. You want to get to him before he
can do it– pressure, pressure, pressure. And that’s where the
Sharks, right now, they’re getting a lesson in
what they do to other teams. Now, it takes about, at the
NHL level, two to three months. Even Joe Thornton
talked about it. He says it took him
a couple of months to get used to all the
different pressure points. Because you’re skating
more, your shifts are going to be
a little shorter. It’s very reactionary,
very anticipatory. Like, you go right away. It’s great for a guy like Burns. There’s no thinking involved. It’s [SNAPS FINGERS] go. Take away time first, not space. So the previous coaching
staff, they would come up– and I’ll get up. They would sometimes come
in and influence you, try and get you to go to the corner. In this case, boom,
just get on the guy right away– right away–
don’t give him any time. And don’t worry about
forcing him to his backhand. Get on him so he can’t
make a pass either way. And we’re seeing,
that’s what– and that’s the system, more or less. I mean, there’s a few things
they did in the neutral zone. It’s called stay above. They’ve got one of their
forwards– the F1, whoever, the first forward–
back, closer to the D. He picks up the opposing
team’s player that’s cutting across the ice. And he’ll be like three feet
on the other side of him. So if the pass comes,
we’re right on him. And then one D takes
away the stretch play. The other D comes up
and moves in with him. So when you watch it, the game
of hockey is moving so fast. But it takes a few
months for everybody. If it takes Joe
Thornton two months, then it’s going to take younger,
inexperienced guys that don’t have the same amount
of hockey IQ– it’s going to take them
at least three months. And that’s when you
really started to see, the team really
started to click. I thought mid-December’s
when they started to go. Really took off in mid-January. SHANNON DEEGAN: On
that point, I think the guy who seems to have had
the most drastic turnaround in his style of play as a
result of DeBoer’s style is Patrick Marleau. He’s playing on top of the guys. He’s playing a lot
more aggressive. He’s hitting. He’s just doing
things in this playoff that he hasn’t done before. In terms of the style of play,
it’s completely different. Joe Thornton’s
playing at that level that we always see him play at. But Marleau is just
a different player compared to what he’s been in
the rest of his career, which is pretty amazing to see. JAMIE BAKER: Well,
you don’t want to be the one spoke
in the wheel that’s not fulfilling your obligation
from contesting and being aggressive. And it’s very noticeable
on film, you know? It’s not necessarily as
noticeable every game. Especially if you’re
watching it on TV, you don’t see everything. But when these coaches–
they’re seeing stuff live and breaking it down. But for Marleau,
this is just go. I mean, with your speed,
it just plays right into– his best asset is
his quickness and his speed. SHANNON DEEGAN: Absolutely. AUDIENCE: I want to go
back to the second round against Nashville, the black cat
that was laid out in the rink. Was it someone’s idea, or
did it happen by accident? JAMIE BAKER: It would be
great if somebody planned it, but I don’t think so. But it is a little weird that
the cat was on the bench, right? Like, how did the cat– and
then come out on the ice and warm up? But no, it was
totally accidental. I guess the cat had been in
the arena for a few days. And they knew about it,
but couldn’t catch it. And then after
that, it caught on. AUDIENCE: It was interesting how
the social media team picked it up. JAMIE BAKER: Yeah. Well, that’s our world. Social media picked it up
and ran with it, right? There’s something to go with. Yeah, interesting. And I guess the– went
to the Humane Society, and is now happy in a home. SHANNON DEEGAN: Happy
in a home, exactly. JAMIE BAKER: Pavelski. SHANNON DEEGAN:
Question here– I don’t know if we can get
the Pittsburgh people? Can we hear them if
they have questions or if we want to give
them an opportunity to– JAMIE BAKER: Do we want to? No. No. You guys just sit back there
comfortably, all smiles. You’re loving all this. You’re happy. You’re in a good position. What are you going to
do, start gloating now? Don’t do that. It’s too early. But I’ll tell you,
Pittsburgh, great town. And very impressed
by this hockey team, very, very impressed. I like the way they play, I do. They play fast. They play a real–
there they are. AUDIENCE: Yeah,
sorry about that. We were muted before. JAMIE BAKER: All right. Fire away. What do you got? AUDIENCE: Yeah, I don’t know. I was going to ask you about– JAMIE BAKER: Look at how
comfortable they are. AUDIENCE: –Couture’s comments
about cheating on the face-off there. JAMIE BAKER: Ah, you braggarts. SHANNON DEEGAN: Go ahead. Go ahead. AUDIENCE: I said, I
was going to ask you what you thought of Couture’s
comments about Crosby cheating on the face-off, but I
think you covered it there. I thought that was a well-known
thing, that every does it. JAMIE BAKER: Frustration. And it defers talking about
the X’s and O’s of the games. So I don’t know what
his motives are. SHANNON DEEGAN:
Yeah, I don’t think the refs are going
to look at it and go, ah, we better pay attention to
that a little more next game. That’s not going to cross
the linesman– his head. So I don’t know
what he was doing. It’s frustration. AUDIENCE: Is that part of it,
that kind of gamesmanship? Because I think the Penguins
did that a little bit in the Capitals series,
where I thought they were getting away with a
lot in the face-off circle. And then they seemed
to get it waved out a little more after that. Do the officials pay
any attention to that, or it doesn’t enter
their mind at all? JAMIE BAKER: Oh,
the officials, they pay attention to everything. There’s a lot of interaction
going down on ice level. And I’ll tell you,
toughest– I think hockey officials,
that’s the toughest sport to be an official in. I don’t even know how they
don’t get hit more often, either by players or pucks. If you’re ever at a game
down low, it is fast. And there’s no out of bounds. There’s nowhere to go. And these guys, somehow, they
have to stay out of the way and make calls at the
pace that’s going on. Extremely difficult. So what
you’re seeing is frustration and also deferring
potential questions. What do you want to talk about? Oh, you guys are
getting dominated. Well, no one’s
going to admit that. They’re like, well, these
games have been close. We hung in. We need to play better. So you’re getting
into, pack your bags, we’re move to
“clicheville” right now. And he said it. It doesn’t have any meaning. It doesn’t have any bearing
on next game other than, you know what, he needs to win
more face-offs against Crosby. I mean, that was the
game-deciding goal. It was an offensive
face-off win. And he set it up
right before it too. The cameras had him. He talked to Letang. It was a set play
executed to perfection, and it gave them a
commanding 2-0 lead. OK. Get out of here. Get out of here. Geez. I mean, I’m not
going to be nice yet. Yeah, wave away. Keep it going. Yeah, yeah, keep it going. SHANNON DEEGAN: Go ahead. AUDIENCE: So this question’s
all about the young players on the Sharks. I remember, I think you
were talking about some of the changes that Doug
Wilson made in between seasons. And I think one thing that I was
talking to some of my coworkers who are big sharks fans
was also looking at what the young players from the
Sharks from past season to this season– you’ve
seen Hertl come up. You’ve seen Wingels take
his game to another level. I think Couture finally
got that extra gear from the past season. So how do you think the young
players of the Sharks fit into this? And also, going
forward, how do you see this team where you have
a core that’s getting older, but they’ve also got some
young players coming up too? How do you see that panning
out into the future? JAMIE BAKER: You
know, the young guys, it starts with the
professionalism of the top guys. It’s leadership. It’s your core leaders. Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski,
Vlasic, those guys, Burns, these guys work
out, train so hard. You go look at how many
games that these guys play every single season, there’s
a reason why– knock on wood, but there’s a reason why–
they don’t get injured. It’s the way they train. And it’s also with
the training staff. Mike Potenza, the strength
and conditioning coach for the Sharks, he’s awesome. These guys, you’re reaching
success at a very young age. It’s something that most
people don’t really talk about. You’re in your early 20s,
and you’re at the peak. It doesn’t happen in your
world, usually– I mean, the odd start-up,
the odd start-up. But in sports, it
happens regularly. You’re making
millions of dollars. If you’re in the
NHL at 23 and you’re making a million dollars,
that’s it, the pinnacle. You can make a bit
more money, but you’ve reached the pinnacle
of what you can do. And now you’re just trying
to win a championship, right? But when you have
that leadership core and you watch those
guys work hard, and how they take care of each
other, take care of themselves, from nutrition to sleep,
everything, their training– I remember, a couple
of years ago– I think it was three
years ago– the Sharks lost out in the playoffs. And I was over at the
practice facility. This was like a week, 10
days after they’d lost. There’s Joe Thornton working
out already– not hard, but he was maintaining to get
ready for his summer training. He took a week off,
and then that was it. So I’ll bundle all those guys. Hertl– like, an
example for Hertl, he had that terrible
injury his first year. So the first summer
was basically rehab. So he lost a summer
of working out. It affected him his
sophomore year in the NHL. Then, last summer,
he got to train. First, they missed the playoffs. So now he’s got– SHANNON DEEGAN:
Five, six months. Yeah, five, six months. JAMIE BAKER: Yeah, he’s got
an extra month right there, of training. So he gets the training
and all that, puts it in. Well, we see, he reaps
the benefits this year. He’s stronger on the puck. His skating is better
because of that. He’s become an elite
power forward in the NHL. And you transfer that
through all the young guys. All the young guys coming
up, even the guys here, the Barracuda, now that
they’re here in San Jose, they get to see this. They get to see how these
guys prepare and train on a day-to-day basis. And Pete DeBoer has
talked about it. He knew these guys
were good players. He didn’t know the
level of professionalism that the Burns, the Thorntons,
the Marleaus, the Pavelskis, those guys have on
a day-to-day basis, and it makes it much
easier for a coach. It’s a good question. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]. Do you have any tips
for rapid recovery for cross-country
trips, like, say, if we had to visit
the Pittsburgh office and then be back here? JAMIE BAKER: I don’t even
know what the players do. I struggle with it. They’ve studied it from
a sleep standpoint. The hardest part is
nutrition and sleep, right? And if you’re working in
that, that’s the hardest part. So me, we’re out. You don’t even want to
know what it’s like. We’re a disaster. We’re the broadcasters. We’re out. We’re social guys. We go out. If there are sponsors,
we’re out with them. We’re eating, and having
some beers, and all that. It’s different though. My lifestyle is–
and my wife knows. If you travel, it’s not easy. And we travel for long periods. It wears you down. You get as used to it as
you can is the best way. And I don’t know, we
travel different time zones so often during the year. But even when I come back,
my lifestyle’s different. I work nights. So I’m drinking coffee
or tea at 7 o’clock, getting ready for a game. And you guys are–
you know, caffeinated. So you guys aren’t doing that. Your days are– well, maybe. See, I forgot. I forgot, I’m at Google. Know your crowd, Jamie. Read the room. Read the room. So we work nights. And then it takes me a little
while to wind down after games. You know, I go home. Typically, even a home game,
I won’t fall asleep til 1:00. I decompress. Because even though it’s not
out on the ice, trust me, if I screw up on the
broadcast, it’s on Twitter. I’ll be reading
about it somewhere, and hearing about it. And you want to do a good job. And you need energy. So the whole day builds up. Then you do the game. And there’s a little bit of
a progression to decompress. And then you start
the process over. SHANNON DEEGAN: It’s amazing
to watch the players today in terms of how they
focus on all that. You know, certainly,
when I played, that was not even part of it. I remember talking
to players– Gretzky, the year after he
won a Cup and he got traded to LA in training
camp– saying to him, when was the last time
you were on skates. And this is now September,
for training camp. And he says, when
we won the Cup. He hadn’t been on
skates all summer. Now it doesn’t matter
what player you are. Two weeks after
this Cup, Crosby’s going to be back on the
ice, or certainly training at a very intense level. And then the sleep
patterns– you talk to some of the
guys on the team now. I know Pavelski. And just the food, he’s
drinking a lot of tea. He’s got a whole rhythm to sleep
patterns that he has to manage, stuff that you didn’t
even think about. And you just see, the
physical level that they’re at is just phenomenal
to watch, right? JAMIE BAKER: These
guys make more money, we had way more stories–
that I can’t share. We had way more fun. It’s non-negotiable. But they’re in better shape,
and their abs look better, and they make more money. They look better on
Instagram with their shirt off than we did. SHANNON DEEGAN:
They certainly do. They certainly do. You to talk to them,
and that’s exactly– how was the road trip? Did you have a lot of fun? And the old days, the road
trips were the epic stories that– and the don’t have them
anymore when you talk to them. I mean, it’s just amazing
to watch the discipline. JAMIE BAKER: You guys– the
internet and the camera phone has changed pro
sports in that regard. I played with this guy
named Jamie McCallen when I was in Toronto. And he was an old-school guy. He told the trainers, he goes,
I don’t– they’d give him his equipment to bring home
for the summer at the end of the season. He goes, I don’t need it. And they didn’t believe him. He goes, I don’t skate. They don’t believe him. So one year, they put
a banana in his bag. When they came back, it was
this little shriveled-up, black banana sitting there,
right in the bag. He had never opened it up. He’s was like, the bastard,
he didn’t lie to us. He doesn’t skate at all. Yeah. Poor banana. If you were going
to be a banana, that’s a bad banana
to be right there. SHANNON DEEGAN: Go ahead. AUDIENCE: I was just going
to ask about Joel Ward. He’s become one of my
favorite players out there, and I didn’t really know him
before he came to the Sharks. But what do you think he’s
really brought to the club? JAMIE BAKER: Oh, everything. First of all, and
this is where this– I know Pittsburgh’s playing
great and everything. But this Sharks team, they’re
a resilient, persistent bunch, you know? I’m curious to see how they try
and climb out of this thing. And maybe they can’t. But if there’s a group
in this league that can, if there’s a team that
can overcome the and beat the Penguins, it’s
the San Jose Sharks. They have the goaltending,
but they have all these guys. Their history, their
bios, who they are is about resiliency
and perseverance. And I don’t overuse those words,
because they’re really, really important. But Joel Ward, he went and
played for years junior in Canada. And then, most players, you
go pro to some level, right? You’re playing, maybe, in the
minors, but you’re playing pro. He then went– he didn’t go pro. He went and played four years
Canadian college hockey, which is– the next step, you’re
preparing for adult hockey. I think he’s the only
player in the NHL right now that played Canadian
college hockey. US college hockey is still
a pipeline to the NHL. But Canadian colleges, guys
that have played juniors, it’s hockey’s graveyard. You’re going to
finish your education, and it’s your fraternity. It’s like an
athletic fraternity. You play hockey. You’re staying in shape. You love the sport. It keeps you busy,
helps you keep your schedule, all of that. And they try and win the
championships up there, and it’s awesome. It’s great. He played four years there. Then he went and
played in the minors. And then he made
his way to the NHL. And here he is. He said, I don’t
have any pressure. I have nothing to lose. He’s beaten the odds. You know he did last week? I got an email. He had a pizza day at SAP
Center for all the employees just a week ago–
yeah, last Friday, I think it was– just to send
an appreciation to everybody. And I’m like, that’s
the type of guy he is. We went back this year. When we were back in Washington,
you should see the people that– it was a love fest. But the people
behind the scenes, the janitors, the guy
that drives the Zamboni, he treats everyone the
same, with respect. And he works hard,
straight-line guy. You talk about just a great
guy on and off the ice– he’s a great player, and
he’s a better person. And the Sharks have
a lot of those guys. That’s where it’s tough seeing
them in this hole right now. But I’m excited to
see how– if and how– they can get out of it. Because I can tell
you right now, if Joel Ward was sitting
here, he wouldn’t really be able to say anything,
like tactically and all that. But he’s like, no, we’re
planning on winning the series. We’re not going down. This thing isn’t over yet. And that’s what he believes. That’s the type of person. And the same thing
with Joe Pavelski. He’s a great, great person. Here’s a guy that’s
seventh round draft pick. 204 guys were
drafted before him. 29 other teams would love
that guy on their team. He’s a captain. He’s huge. He’s not going away. He’s not packing his bags,
saying, we can’t do this. So it’s guys like
that, now, that have to lead the
charge come Saturday. AUDIENCE: So outside
of the current season, which team do you think has
all the right young elements to become the one team to beat
in the next, let’s say, four or five years? JAMIE BAKER: It’s
a tough question, because there’s so much
parity in the league. You know? Like, coming into
this year’s playoffs, the Western
Conference, I thought seven of the eight
teams could potentially win the Stanley Cup. I didn’t think Minnesota
was good enough. That was the only team. And in some teams, the
way they restack– I mean, you look at an Edmonton, they’re
loaded with young players, and they have McDavid. But they’re going to have
to make some changes, because their culture
is not winning. Their culture is losing. Their culture is
getting frustrated. That’s what it was. And it was a frustrating year. I think with Todd McLellan
and his staff there, they made some inroads. But I’m curious to see what
they do this summer, if they keep all those young players. Because some of them, that
they don’t know anything other than losing. And it’s like, maybe they
should move out and bring in– maybe they should
build it around McDavid. He’s a generational player. Like Edmonton, even Calgary’s
got some good young players. SHANNON DEEGAN: I think
Dallas, with Seguin and Benn, those are young guys
who are just turning up. JAMIE BAKER: Yeah. Phoenix is doing
some good moves. It could take a few years. But it’s tough to say,
because some of these guys don’t all develop the same. The thing about the NHL is,
it’s the best hockey league in the world for a reason. You’re coached by the best. You’re playing against the
best every single night. And if you have a weakness–
at the end of my career, I got sent back to the minors,
and I finished my career in the Chicago Wolves. There were players on that
team, and we won a championship. And I went to the coaching
staff two, three weeks before the playoffs. I said, just make me
a third-line center. That’s what I did in the NHL. I’m good at it. I’ll kill penalties. I’ll be good on face-offs. I’ll drive some of the top
players on the other team crazy. Don’t put me on a top line. We had other guys who
were more skilled. But they’d ask me, why’d you
make it, and why haven’t I? And I’m like, because
when you’re in the NHL, if you have a weakness,
it gets personified. Because we talk about every
player before every game. Whatever it is– if it’s
speed, you will get exposed. If you don’t like the physical
play, you will get exposed. If you don’t make
good backhand passes, you will get exposed,
because guys will know. And they will force you on
your backhand all the time. So we know all the
strengths and– and that’s what makes the great
players so amazing, because they don’t
have many weaknesses. You can’t exploit them. And you’ve got to play against
those guys every single night. So who, moving forward? We just touched on a
few of those teams. The Islanders have some good–
and the other thing you’ve got to remember– and this is good. It’s parity, but
it’s the salary cap. Tampa Bay is in trouble. They’re stockpiled, right
now, with young talent. But they’ve got a whole bunch
of guys in contract situations. I don’t think they’re going
to able to keep everybody. So you can be great now
and have a nice little run. And then if you
have any semblance of success and
contracts are coming up, good luck signing everybody. But I think it’s
good for the sport, because I don’t think we
can predict three, four, five years down the road. SHANNON DEEGAN: Well, look,
I thank everyone for coming. Jamie, thank you, in
particular, for coming. JAMIE BAKER: Yeah, thank you. SHANNON DEEGAN: I think
it’s been a great day. [APPLAUSE]

1 Comment

  • Reply Dj Logikal March 18, 2019 at 3:14 am

    Amazing talk Bakes! 🏒🥅👍👍

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