NOLAN: "I CARE ABOUT HOW MUCH WE COMPETE"
Islanders head coach Ted Nolan appeared on 660 WFAN Wednesday morning for over 30 minutes with much praise from host Joe Beningo.
Beningo wished Nolan the best and throughout the show expressed his disgust over Nolan's absence in the NHL for ten years, describing it as a shame to see him out of the NHL for so long.
Nolan described for Benigno his rejuvenation as a hockey coach.
"When I went to Moncton to coach last season, it was to find that love for the game again that I had lost, being out for so long," said Nolan. "In ten minutes, I knew the passion was back. When Charles (Wang) called me, it caught me by surprise. It was a great bonus to get the call from Charles. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Nolan went on to discuss his coaching philosophy.
"The trap was big when I coached in the league ten years ago, but I never coached the trap," explained Nolan. "When I was out of the league, I would watch games on TV and have to turn it off because it was too boring. We need to entertain the fans. Last season was exciting. A team would be down 4-3, but would end up winning 6-4. The new rules were the best thing to happen to the sport."
Islanders fans should look forward to a team that will come to play hard every night, and it all starts with the Nolan.
"My job is to get our players to be better than they think they can be," said Nolan. "I only have one philosophy and that's to win. Charles brought me here to win. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things. Our team will perform and work hard, and if they do that, the results should come. I don't care how much they're paid as long as they play hard. I care how the players compete. We have to create a new atmosphere and a new attitude. We want people who compete, play hard and want to win a championship. I don't just want to say I coached in the NHL, but that I coached and won in the NHL."
Nolan discussed his approval of the team's off-season acquisitions and also his respect for the Islanders new GM, Garth Snow.
"In the off-season we brought in guys like Mike Sillinger, Brendan Witt, Chris Simon and Tom Poti, character guys with strong capabilities," said Nolan. "These guys are character athletes who compete. You need guys with character who buy into a system to have success. I have to give Garth a lot of credit. He is working extremely hard. I get calls from him at 7:00 am and he's in the office. I talk to him later and he's still there at 11:00 at night. Every new position is going to be tough, but Garth has experience with players playing in front of him and against him. It's not like we're creating a new formula, we just need to get quality hockey players. If our organization sticks together and works to make our players compete, we should have success."
In the end, Nolan put things in perspective.
"I grew up in a small town in Ontario with only 400 or 500 people, but I always dreamed of playing hockey," replied Nolan. "We had no indoor plumbing and other amenities that people take for granted. It wasn't the easiest life. I was the only one of 12 brothers and sisters who left the community. I still get a kick out of the little things that other people take for granted."
Check WFAN.com this afternoon to hear the complete interview.