Here are some of defenseman Stephane Robidas' thoughts about the 2009-10 season.
On what the problem was for the team this season: “I think we didn’t really get on a roll, that good winning stretch. We never won more than two games all year. If you look at all the teams that are in the playoffs, they all had that one stretch where they won five, six, seven in a row. Coming out of the break, we were right there, three points behind Detroit. And the first two games here at home, we got beat pretty bad. We got beat by L.A., then St. Louis. They were behind us, and then they caught us with that win, and after that we were in Pittsburgh, up 3-1 in the second period, and they came back and beat us 6-3. I wouldn’t say the season got played there, but that definitely didn’t help us, because that was our chance. We were right there. We positioned ourselves to be in that playoff race, we were three points out. We just couldn’t get on a roll.”
The defensive struggles: “I think it’s the team attitude. We’ve got to be responsible defensively. When we don’t have the puck, we’ve got to be in a good position, and be willing to do the little things. It’s winning the one-on-one battles. If you look at our PK, it wasn’t good enough this year. We were one of the worst teams on the PK, and that’s one of the areas I think where we can improve. If we can do that, I think it’ll be beneficial for us.”
If he expects reinforcements for the blue line: “I don’t know. It’s not my job. My job is to play hockey. My job is getting ready for next season, to make sure I show up to training camp and be ready to be the best player that I can be. That’s the only thing I’ve got to focus on. I think for every player on this team, that’s all we can focus on, and let the GM and coaches and organization make decisions. That’s not really our business.”
Frustration of not making playoffs: “It’s never fun. You see the other teams, they’re getting ready the last couple of weeks of the season to go to the playoffs, and now it’s right around the corner. Wednesday, it’s going to start. It’s pretty painful, because to me, that’s the best time of the year. That’s the time when everybody wants to play, and I think for us it’s a wakeup call. Two years in a row -- we’ve got to learn from those two seasons. Obviously, it’s very disappointing, but hopefully we’ve learned a lot this year and last year, and we’ve got to move on.”
Challenge of playing solid defense in Crawford's system: “I think we’ve showed that we can play good defense. If you look at some games we played this year, we were unbelievable. We played really tight defensively, and we played really good. At times we were awful. To me, it doesn’t really matter which system you are playing, if you’re not willing to have the work ethic, and you’re not doing the little things – defense is pretty simple. It’s winning the one-on-one battles, and being in good position, and if you don’t do that as a team, it’s hard to win games. You can’t rely on your goalie to make 45 saves every night. Obviously, it’s nice when that happens, and we still won some like that. But you’ve got to realize that in the long run that it’s going to come back and haunt you. That’s what this team has always been known for, being a really good defensive team. Obviously, with the forwards that we’ve got, we’ve got a lot of scoring. We’ve got guys that can put the puck in the net. So that’s not really an issue. I think for us, we’ve got to realize that. If we play good defense, we’ve got enough power to win games.”