ONE-ON-ONE WITH COACH ROB RILEY
Rob Riley Interview #1
Rob: …It’s been kind of an interesting ride, the process, getting the experience at Columbus as a scout. Working there for four years. This opportunity arose here very recently and I’m very excited to be part of the organization.
Q: The last couple of season haven’t been ideal, any thoughts on what the next step is?
Rob: Well, I think the good thing is it’s a new start for all of us. You know we have a whole new team that we’re going to bring here. We have a great nucleus of young players. We have a good returning cast. So we’re optimistic that we’re going to bring a very good team here to Springfield.
Q: The season starts late October, is that right?
Rob: Early October.
Q: What are the goals for this season?
Rob: Well I think right now we’re still kind of in the early stages. We have a coaches’ meeting next week with the entire staff of the Blue Jackets, myself, goalie coach. We’re going to go over personnel. I think at that time we’ll have a pretty good idea of exactly where we are, what players might be playing on which team, and I think then we’ll probably have team goals for each of the teams. But personally I expect us to be in the playoffs here at the end of the season. That’s number one.
Q: Why do you think you’re the right guy for this job?
Rob: I think I have a good understanding of the Blue Jacket organization, which is important. I think my communication, not only with Bruce Landon, but also with Chris MacFarland and Scott Howson with the Blue Jackets will be very strong and I think that’s the key to success.
Q: Anything that I didn’t ask you?
Rob: Bruce Landon and this area and the fans deserve a winner and that’s what I’m here for.
Rob Riley Interview #2
Q: So a couple years away from the bench now, what made you want to go back into coaching?
Rob: I think the excitement of pro hockey, working with the Columbus Blue Jackets for four years as a scout I got to know a lot of our personnel; I was involved in the draft. So I think just being able to kind of acclimate myself to the pro game excited me, number one, and here I am back doing what I love to do and that’s coaching. So I was kind of very fortunate to be hired at this point in time, but I think I’m the right guy for the job.
Q: (beginning of question cut off)…should we expect a little bit of a mix of what we’re going to see on the ice this year?
Rob: Well the staff is going to meet this week starting on Sunday out in Columbus with all the coaches for Columbus, and myself, and our goalie coach so we’re going to really go over systems. We’re going to go over how we expect to play, how to prepare guys in the AHL for the NHL games, so I think there will be a lot of similarities to what we’re trying to do here and they’re trying to do there. But I’ll know a little more in another week.
Q: Coming from Army are you more of a disciplinarian coach or is that just more of a stereotype from my end?
Rob: I think that’s a little bit of a stereotype. I think at West Point the discipline is already instilled in people before you get them in the afternoon. But I think you just need to treat people with respect and you have to be a good communicator, especially at the pro level. All the guys here are trying to make Columbus, it’s my job to help develop them along with my assistant, who’s out there somewhere. We’ll have to figure out who that is in the next couple of weeks.
Q: When do you expect to get a staff together?
Rob: I hope within two weeks.
Q: Working with the scouting department in Columbus, are there guys there that made you excited to be here; some of the younger guys that you’ve looked at, and worked with, and brought into this system that the city should be excited about?
Rob: Well I think we’ll probably see them in the next couple of years. Three of them are still in college that I was partially instrumental in drafting; Cam Atkinson at BC and Thomas Larkin out at Colgate. Martin Ouellette is going up to Maine this year as a freshman. So personally I’m still a couple years away from seeing my direct draft, but overall we’ve seen a lot of good young players come through the Quebec league and come through the rest of the leagues in Canada predominantly and have a couple good college defensemen who will be joining us this year so we’re really excited.
Q: I know the age difference probably isn’t much, but is there any concern in you going from the college to professional coaching level?
Rob: No. Once again I think as a coach, regardless of what level, if you treat your players with respect and work hard to earn their respect there will be no problems with that and I’m just really excited to have this opportunity.