Hockey Media Day Coverage: Player Quotes
 
 
 
Senior Will Yanakeff

 
Senior Will Yanakeff
 
 

Sept. 25, 2013

Senior Goalie Will Yanakeff

On what he is most excited for...
I think it is going to be fun playing in the Big Ten. It is what we are all looking forward to, to be honest. Different teams, even our schedule is going to be different this year. Playing a lot more out of conference games so just the schedule and who we are going to be playing is really interesting.

On Big Ten Hockey ...
There are a lot less teams; with only six teams in the Big Ten it's going to be a lot more competition in the standings. Playing the same teams in the second half of the year is going to be pretty important for us jumping up and down. And even playoffs as well it is going to be very different, shorter playoffs. It will give us a better chance to win that title.

What improvements he has made in the offseason ...
I think as a team we have to work hard and we have been doing that all summer. Staying here with Mike Vorkapich, working out, getting stronger, getting faster, and staying on the ice just working hard.

On the benefits of a two goalie system ...
I think it means a lot for a team knowing that you can have full confidence in two guys. Jake (Hildebrand) played really well last year I think he really stood on his head and we relied on him a lot especially at the beginning of the year when we were trying to find our game and figure things out. But that's everything for a team when you can fall back on your goaltenders.

Senior Defenseman Jake Chelios

On getting to play with his brother one more season...
Coming here I thought I'd be with him for three years I guess I get him the whole time now. So it's exciting, it was weird not having him in the lineup last year. He was around the rink but not having him in the locker room before games was different. I'm exciting to see what he does this year, if he regroups from the injury and has a good year.

 

 

On picking each other up...
Yes, especially when it first happened. We hadn't even played a game yet. It's tough seeing somebody go down, when he is not going to play for the full year. You just have to keep him focused, tell him to keep working hard and he'll be back in a year. Obviously he is one of the older guys in the locker room so he'd come in and he would talk to us. He's given a little outside perspective. It's different when you are in the locker room during those games from when you are not. So he provided an outside perspective and that helped a little bit too.

Thoughts on comfort level as a defense as a whole...
Way more confident than I was going into the season last year. Last year it was weird, you don't know who you were going to play with, you don't know how they are as a partner. This year we are definitely a closer knit group, I'd say. You can tell that the younger guys the freshman and transfers going into this year are much more confident than they were last year.

Redshirt Freshman Defenseman Rhett Holland

On competing for championships...
We have to be really focused on our defense. Keeping the pucks out and good things will happen.

Thoughts on utilizing his size this season...
Yeah, I had a lot of time off last year obviously so I worked on getting stronger and bigger. I want to use that to my advantage this year. Hopefully I can be really physical and use that to my advantage.

On the mentality of the defense...
I think that a lot of guys got a lot of minutes last year. That is going to be a great advantage for us. Getting guys in playing a lot of minutes will really help us. It's hard that we lost a little bit of our guys for a bit. With (Travis) Walsh he got a lot of minutes back there. He is going to be great defensively this year, he has learned a lot. I think it is going to help us a lot during the season.

Thoughts on his role on the team...
My role is kind of to shut guys down, shut down goal scorers, and stuff like that. Just be really hard to play against make it so that nobody really wants to play against me. Just be very physical and wear guys down. And to just block shots and just be really defensive zone mindset.

Senior Forward Greg Wolfe

On the most exciting thing to start this year after last year...
Well the most exciting thing is that we had a good base towards the end of last year and we've had a really great offseason. All the guys have been working really hard, pushing each other, pushing themselves. I think we have a really motivated group and I'm really excited to see what we can do this year.

Expectations for this year...
We have a good moral and we have a lot of guys that are really motivated. The sky is the limit. It's just about if we can perform every night and get that consistency that we were looking for last year and started to get it towards the end. If we can build off that and stay consistent and help our goalies out as much as possible then we should have a good year.

On what he learned from last year's season...
In college hockey it's all about experience, we had a lot of young guys last year. I was a junior caption and we all grew together and I think that was the most important thing for us last year. We faced some adversity, things didn't go our way all the time and being able to have that experience and battle through it, knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel is a big thing for us. I think we can take that and apply that to this year. If we do face some adversity this year we know that we'll be able to get out of it, we know that we'll be able to have success.

Sophomore Forward Michael Ferrantino

On what he is most excited for this season...
Obviously you look forward for this season I think the Big Ten is extremely exciting. You look forward to playing against the teams in our conference and being able to play some pretty cool out of conference games, which is really exciting. Also our team being a year older, we had a lot of experience last year and we still have a long way to go, but just being a year older and a year more of experience will really help us.

On expectations this season...
For me personally I want to take another step forward and improve my game at both ends of the ice. I want to start to contribute more offensively, be more of someone that we look to for offense as well as be someone that plays in critical defensive situations as well.

On how playing time last year will help in the long run...
That helps enormously. I think the experience I gained from playing so many minuets and getting to play in different situations will only help me this year. It has helped me speed up my transition from junior hockey to college, as well as improve my game that much faster for this upcoming season.

Freshman Forward Thomas Ebbing

On pressure to make an impact right away...
There is a little pressure there, but everyone has their role on the team. It a competition everyday when we step on the ice for that playing time and I try everyday to get better and better to try to get to that spot to helpfully help the team on goal scoring, power plays, penalty plays. Whatever it is I'm just trying to work my way up there.

On whether or not he has skated with any of the team growing up...
I have played against them, a couple of them who has actually attended Catholic Central. I actually played against one of the freshman last year; he was on the Muskegon Lumberjacks, Joe Cox, but other than that not really.

On decision to come to MSU...
Pretty much just the feel. Going around other campuses for visits, nothing really felt right to me besides Michigan State. It's a family environment, and I have a lot of family members that go here. The guys on the team when I met them were great, and the coaching staff is amazing. The organization and all of the history here just pulled me in.

On excitement for Big Ten Hockey...
It is going to be a blast. Growing up watching the CCHA, and now the creation of the Big Ten. Some of the top six teams in college hockey are here. The Big ten is a great conference with great hockey and its going to be a blast.

On the Michigan vs. Michigan State rivalry...
There is nothing like it. Growing up seeing the games at The Joe (Louis Arena) when I was younger allowed me to realize that I always wanted to be a part of a team like Michigan or Michigan State, or a rivalry like that. Those games are more than a game, its pride. The fans get you all riled up and excited and I can't wait for it.

Sophomore Defenseman John Draeger

On his thoughts regarding his personal contribution to the team last season...
I was satisfied I guess. Obviously I got a lot of ice time and probably more than I should have as a true freshman coming in. But it worked out because it ended up being a great developing year to get all that ice-time being on the power play and the penalty kill and pretty much every situation of the game. So looking at that aspect it was good for me.

On how frustrating having an injury at the moment is...
"It's frustrating, but it is what it is. I'll be back soon. It's not like it's the end of my career or anything like that so I'll be back.

Junior Forward Matt Berry

On whether he'll be back in time for the GLI tournament...
Yeah, I'll be back for the GLI I'm looking forward to that. I'm definitely looking forward to playing outside; I've never played outside before.

On how he can impact the team while off the ice recovering from injury...
I'll see them every day in practice and I'll encourage them to keep working hard. We're going to have to find some alternative scoring because we're going to be missing a few guys but we'll try and keep their heads straight and hopefully they'll have a good start to the year without me.

On his thoughts on Michigan State being a part of the inaugural season of Big Ten Hockey...
It's definitely huge that we're branching off into the Big Ten. We're going to get a lot more exposure and TV and media coverage which is always good for us. But, I did like the CCHA a lot, too - it was great.

Freshman Forward Mackenzie MacEachern

On how his class is being viewed as the beginning of a great stretch of Michigan State recruiting...
Well it's definitely and honor to be considered the class that can get it rolling. We have a great class, everyone works hard and everyone is fighting for a spot. We'll do anything to make the team better and hopefully succeed in the Big Ten."

On the reception of Michigan State Hockey as he was being recruited...
Obviously MSU hockey is a big name everyone wants to play there. When I was younger growing up watching them on TV I knew I always wanted to come here and when I got the opportunity I took advantage of it."

Redshirt Senior Forward Dean Chelios

On whether he is fully recovered from injury...
Yeah, for sure. I did a camp in the summer that was full contact and I felt pretty good then. I'm still working on getting my timing back here with all the guys but I've been hit a lot in practice and I'm feeling great.

On whether he is ready to step up and be a leader on the team...
Yeah, I've definitely matured. I'm 24 now the oldest guy on the team. But like I said I've definitely become way more mature and I think it's going to help the team out because me and Jake and a couple of other seniors are a big influences in the locker room. So us being a positive influence is going to help.

Freshman Forward Villiam Haag

On his transition from an international sized ice rink...
It is a bit of a different game. I've been here all summer adjusting so I'm getting used to it. I think I have an opportunity to bring my skills from the big rink and use them to my advantage in the small rink.

On the attention he will receive playing hockey at a big-time hockey program such as Michigan State...
Coming from Sweden where there was maybe two hundred fans in the crowd to Michigan State where there will be six to seven thousand is a big difference. It will be a new experience for me to take in the energy that is a part of every college campus in America.

Junior Forward Tanner Sorenson

On creating more offensive production this year...
We all want to improve and that translates off the ice as well. We're all very good friends and when it's not going well we let each other know. It was a hard thing for us last year but offense is kind of an up and down cycle and you need to be able to take what's given to you.

On how hard was it to endure a losing record last year...
As a team it was tough. For me personally I've never had a losing year, always had a winning record. Last year was something that you learn from obviously. All the returning players have learned what we don't want to happen, and our freshmen have come in and looked like they are going to be able to help out a lot.

Sophomore Goalie Jake Hildebrand

On the relationship between himself and Goaltender Will Yanakeff...
I think it's good to have a healthy relationship with the other goaltender. Whenever you have a rough night and bounces don't go your way it's nice to have someone there who knows what you're going through to talk to and help you out.

On whether it benefits both goalies to have an open competition in net...
Absolutely, you really have to work hard not to give anything up. Every day in practice you want to be the best guy on the ice. So yes I think it definitely helps you get better and develop as a goaltender.

On what he was working on specifically this summer to work on his game...
I think every summer you go home and work on your strength, flexibility and those types of things. I trained with my goalie coach back home as well as a strength coach. It's nice to see other college players back home during the summer and get a chance to train with them as well.