Phantoms Post Season Interview: Associate Coach Kjell Samuelsson

Published on April 21st, 2011

With Fran Rubert

Center Ice: The team had a good second half of the season. You had to be pleased with their performance?
Kjell Samuelsson: Yeah, I think since Christmas we got a lot better and we played better in the system. Even in the end when we were eliminated from the playoffs the effort was there.

Center Ice: Back in December I saw the team play and looked like the defense had problems breaking out of the zone. Was that because of youth or inexperience?
Kjell Samuelsson: I think it was a combination of them not having outlet passes and the defense in being too slow to read the situation. Also the forwards not coming back and then there is pressure and then they have no outlets. I think in the end we made a lot of progress. We were playing some decent coverage and we actually started generating some chances and doing the right thing. Overall it was a lot better game since Christmas.

Center Ice: Who were some of the players that made good strides this season?
Kjell Samuelsson: These players are prospects but Ben Holmstrom and Erik Gustafsson are very mature; they really know how to prepare themselves and they do everything they can to succeed; I think both of them will play in the NHL and will be not for the lack of trying. Both of them have very bright futures.

Center Ice: You had a veteran in Michael Leighton come down and play with the team. Did that help even though you had Johan Backlund?
Kjell Samuelsson: Well Backlund was hurt and I think that is why he struggled because he was not fully recovered. Leighton absolutely helped; he stabilized everything, he is a good goaltender and in any level of hockey if you have that it stabilizes everything.

Kjell Samuelsson

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