Members of the Laredo Bucks and Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs convened Thursday afternoon at a Palenque Grill location in Laredo to discuss the upcoming 2006-2007 Ray Miron Presidents Cup Finals, beginning Friday evening at 7:30 PM at the Laredo Entertainment Center. Both clubs advanced to the Finals with five game series wins, setting up a rematch of the 2003-2004 Finals.
Bossier-Shreveport handled the defending champion Colorado Eagles to claim the Northern Conference title, while Laredo knocked off the Odessa Jackalopes and will represent the Southern Conference for the third consecutive season.
Among those in attendance Thursday were coaches Terry Ruskowski and Scott Muscutt, along with team captains Brent Cullaton and Dan Wildfong.
Quotables from todays press event:
(Courtesy of Racquel Torres of the Laredo Morning Times)
Terry Ruskowski, Laredo Coach:
"They're a team that uses their home ice advantage to the best of their ability and they have a great home record. It's up to us to keep serve and try and win these first two games at home and steal one there and try and bring it back home for our own sake. We basically know what we have to do to be successful and that's to work hard and be physical and execute our game plan. We have to limit their goal scoring opportunities, stay out of the penalty box as much as we can and be disciplined. Looking at their power play they move the puck around very well, they've got experienced people and guys that can score goals on the power play. If we give them an opportunity more than three or four times in a game they're going to be scoring more than one or two goals, I guarantee you. We've got to make our opportunities count when they come our way."
Scott Muscutt, Bossier-Shreveport Coach
"There is no magic formula for this (Mudbugs) hockey club. We're a team of blue-collar meat and potatoes guys that have to go out and work hard every night. If we can go out and work hard and try and maintain some of that offensive punch that Laredo has and try to hold them at bay as much as we possibly can than we'll roll the dice and hopefully we can throw a few in the net ourselves. In the end we understand where we are and we understand the competition we're up against and our guys just have to go out and do what we do best, and that's just work hard every night."
Brent Cullaton, Laredo Captain
"I feel good. There is only a few guys left from both teams so it's a whole new series. They're a good team and we're a good team. I expect everyone to play hard. We've been working hard in practice. If we work hard we'll be fine. We've got to just keep things simple. If you're nervous play simple just put the puck in deep and go out there and finish your checks and basically just play the way we have been through the playoffs. The Finals is always exciting. I can't wait to start the games on Friday. There is a little nervousness plus the excitement so it's all mixing together. We're pretty much even. We have to match their work ethic. All the players that Scott Muscutt brings in he breeds them as workhorses and they're guys that work hard and have really skilled players. We have to match their skill and work extremely hard to keep up with what they do."
Dan Wildfong, Bossier-Shreveport Captain
"We're excited to get back to the finals. We missed it last year so I think the guys are ready to go. We're a hard working team and we're really excited about our upcoming challenge. We definitely remember what happened two years ago. We would be crazy not to but it would be no justice to us to be worrying about that at this time. Right now we really have to focus on this upcoming series because if we don't then we're going to get caught up in the past and it's going to hurt us more than help us. I just feel bad for the guys that were on that team that can't come out and help us win. I really would like to win it for those guys as well. It's definitely going to take good defense to win because Laredo has one of the highest powered offenses in the league and some of the best players that have definitely ever played in the CHL. We really have to focus on playing good, strong team defense. It can't be individuals it has to be a team game and that's what we've been playing the last few series' so hopefully we can carry it on into the Finals."