Three young Coyotes players are getting their first taste of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Kyle Turris, David Schlemko and Mikkel Boedker all took the ice inside Joe Louis Arena for their first two NHL playoff games last week, and while the trio isn’t satisfied with the outcomes of those games, they still have memories that will stick with them.
“Obviously, we haven’t been as successful as we’d like, but personally, it’s been really exciting,” Schlemko said. “(You) get those nerves, kind of the butterflies in your stomach, and you try to soak it all in and enjoy it.”
The biggest difference between the NHL regular season and the postseason is the amplified style of play, and the young players have learned that firsthand during the first two games of the series, which Detroit leads 2-0.
“Everything is just intensified,” Schlemko said. “Every play means so much more, there’s not as much space, there’s not as much time to think and make plays. Everything means a lot more; every little play, every shot.”
“The atmosphere keeps the intensity high, but every little play counts,” Boedker said. “And that’s what you see out there. It’s two teams going at it to get to the next round.”
Typically, young players need a few minutes of ice time to rid themselves of the “butterflies,” and Schlemko said he was no different.
“I was probably more nervous to just get on the ice,” said Schlemko, who averaged 16:01 of ice time in the first two games. “Sitting on the bench, I just wanted to get those first couple of shifts under my belt. Honestly, they’re a bit of a blur. I really don’t remember anything that happened in them, but it’s definitely exciting.”
Turris also enjoyed his first taste of the NHL playoff atmosphere.
“I found it a lot of fun,” said Turris, who averaged 12:05 of ice time in the first two games. “I didn’t find it overwhelming at all, and I think that’s the (most fun) part of hockey, just hearing how loud the crowd gets and how intense they are.”
Not only did Turris embrace the atmosphere in Detroit, but he excelled in it, scoring the first goal of the series in the opening moments of Game 1.
“I was just excited to chip in and help out when I can,” Turris said. “To get that chance and capitalize on it, I was really pumped up and just happy to help.”
And while all three players have had a chance to experience playoff hockey on the road, they say they’re now ready to play their first playoff games at Jobing.com Arena and experience the WhiteOut.
“I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure our fans will all be amped up, and hopefully we can get our wins on home ice,” Schlemko said.