1-On-1 With John Slaney

Roadrunners Assistant Coach John Slaney joined Adrian Denny, Kim Cota-Robles, and Arizona Daily Star Sports Editor Brett Fera this week on Roadrunners Happy Hour. Catch Happy Hour every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports 1450 AM and the complete conversation in the Roadrunners Happy Hour Podcast on the iHeartRadio app.

Listen to “John Slaney On The Show” on Spreaker.

Q: You’ve been around the game for a long time. What have you seen change over the years? Was there one big change that you have noticed?

The game has gotten way faster. I can tell you that for sure. The physical part, I guess, has kind of been removed a little bit. Back in the 70s and in the 80s there was a little bit more fighting. I wouldn’t say that’s out of the game. But for me, the biggest change is just how fast these kids play. I can really speak for the girls’ side, as well, how the game has been going and it’s a fast game for entertainment.

Q: Is it hard to take off your coaching hat and put on your dad hat or vice versa with your kids? Are you a dad all of the time or a coach all the time or somewhere in between?

You know I’m still a dad, I still watch the game as a dad, but there is no question that there are times that I pick things out and that’s where my wife comes in when there’s a positive thing. That’s always good, but when there’s a negative thing, we always talk about it; just say that it’s just one of those things. You try to teach your kids how to be on and off the ice, what’s the right thing, what’s the wrong thing to do. My daughter flew in last night, and sure enough, what do we end up doing? We end up watching one of her games and we just kind of walked through it. You right some wrongs, point out what she could have done right and what she should have did here and there kind of thing. But I try to still watch the game as a dad for sure as a parent.

Q: Are there any current players that you see a little bit of yourself in? Is there anybody who you see has your style of play?

Right now, Soda (Victor Soderstrom) a little bit, (Kyle) Capobianco back in a day. (J.J.) Moser who’s up top now with the Coyotes. I always told my mom, I was born 20 years too early, this is my kind of style. This is how I love to play the game. It’s my job to teach these guys to understand how to be ready every night. It’s just that the game is so quick that you almost have to read two plays at once. This is where the young kids have to understand how to play the game. That’s just because of how the game has been so fast. I always say the puck moves faster than a body, so if you move the puck and you move your body later, it’s always a good thing.

Q: How impressed have you been with this group and just how they’ve been able to adjust on the fly and keep having success. We’ve improved every single week and it’s been noticeable with different lineups, with different defensive pairings, power-play units, forward lines, Matt Villalta. has been our one constant. Everything else has been rotating and we’ve continued to have success as a team.

It’s always important that all six guys on the ice work well together. And Matt, he’s been doing great. If you have a goalie that you have confidence in and, when your goalies are playing well, that’s when everybody else really builds off of their confidence for the rest of the game. I don’t want to say you can cheat a little bit, but sometimes that’s when you can cheat a little bit. At the same time, these guys off of the ice, where at all starts, these guys are all pretty tight friends. There’s no question that once you get along, it’s easier to play the game on the ice because when you’re calling for a pass, you’re trying to help each other out, trying to avoid a hit, you always have each other’s backs. You could definitely see that off of the ice. It’s a very tight group and when you have a tight group like that, everything works well.

Q: You and Steve (Potvin) have been coaching for a long time together. How does that dynamic help the team and help the organization?

Steve and I have been close friends and it’s just that we love the game. We absolutely love the game together, and when we get to talk, everything’s going to be great. It just flows together, the understanding, what we have to do with our culture that we’re trying to build every day. It’s basically having good people that want to work hard and work hard the right way. If you work hard the right way, good things happen. It’s understanding what the Coyotes are looking for up top, and then we build these players and hopefully when they have success, we have success. It’s just a matter of understanding, for those guys, to buy into what we’re trying to build every day. Attitude determines altitude. And if you have that in your mind every night, it’s going to go in a positive way. That’s what we try to do every day.

Q: Online they said that ten percent of men believe that they could beat a lion in a fight. What is the biggest animal that you think that you can take in a fight?

I guess anybody my size or under. That’s the first time that I’ve been asked that one. That’s pretty funny.