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February 10, 1992 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-02-10

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - February 10, 1992 - Page 3

The ex-Michigan hockey player
talks about his life in the NHL

Jeff Sheran

Carr content with


assistant post

Brad Jones has seen it all in his
relatively short hockey career. He
was a member of the 1984 U. S.
Junior National team. He played on
the Bronze Medal winning squads in
the 1985 and '86 National Sports
Festivals. He played for two
coaches at the University of Mich-
igan from 1983 to 1987, where he
was a CCHA First-Team (1987) and
Second-Team All-Star (1986).
He spent part of the 1987-88 sea-
son with the U.S. National team.
From 1988 through 1990 he had
stints with Moncton and New
Haven of the American Hockey
League. He has played for three dif-
ferent National Hockey League or-
ganizations: Winnipeg, Los Angeles
and Philadelphia. Brad is currently
out of the Flyers lineup with an an-
kle injury. Recently, Daily Sports
Writer Brett Forrest spoke with
Jones about his experiences in
Daily: What was it like playing
with Wayne Gretzky in Los
Jones: It was a great experience,
not only through being a part of a
team such as LA, but just being a
part of one of the greatest players of
all time, being associated with him,
seeing him practice. A few times I
got to play a couple games with him
(on the same line), so it was a pretty
good experience.
D: Have you ever played with
anyone even close to him?
J: No. Never.
D: In your opinion, would you
say that he is the greatest player to
ever strap on a pair of skates?
J: It is tough to compare eras.
D: Would you say that he is the
greatest player of this era? Many
people say it would be Mario
Lemieux. You have played with
Gretzky and played against Lemieux
- what do you say?
J: They are two players who are
relatively the same (in terms of
ability), but I think they are quite
different in how they go about the
game. But I think, from what I saw,
Gretzky is better.
D: What was it like living in Los
J: It was a little different
lifestyle. It was tough getting used
to it at first because of the weather
situation and everything I had heard
about LA before going out there -
it was not a hockey town, it was
tough to play there. It was a little
bit of an adjustment at first, but I
found out it was a real strong
hockey town. The fans really treat
you well. They get to know you. A
lot of the fans really go out of their
way to make you feel welcome. It
was a real positive experience the
whole year.
D: In 1988.you played for the
United States National team. You
were a member of the team for the
entire 50-game Olympic warm-up,
yet you did not play in the
* Olympics. How did that come to
J: The training camps started the
previous summer, in July. I was
with the team from that point until

the day before they left for Calgary
when I told I was cut. A lot of poli-
tics were involved there.
D: Coach Dave Peterson ('88 and
'92 Olympic head coach) just re-
cently made the final cut for the '92
squad. He told Dan Keczmer that he
was booked on the next flight to the
States instead of with the team to
Europe. It was very poorly handled
on Peterson's part and Keczmer har-
bors much bitterness towards him.
J: It does not surprise me. I do
not have any respect for him what-
soever, just how he has handled a
few things, not only my situation,
but especially how he handled this
past situation. There were too many

D: How would you compare the
talent pools of the CCHA and the
American Hockey League?
J: The AHL is supposedly a
notch below the NHL in terms of
talent. I found out that in the mi-
nors, the game is a lot more scramb-
ley, not as disciplined, not as con-
trolled. It is much rougher. The
guys basically are not as disciplined
as far as their position goes. From
the AHL to the NHL is a big differ-
ence, and I find from college to the
AHL, if you had to make a compari-
son, would be kind of the same
thing. The game is a lot more wide
open in college compared to the mi-

jured your knee and were not able to
compete in the tournament. Now,
this season, you have an ankle injury
which will keep you out of action
for at least a month. What is it like
when you are trying to get back into
action from an injury?
J: This is the first time since I
have been a pro that I have really
been injured where I have been out
for more than a week or two. It is
tough because you more or less get
separated from the team because you
have to do your thing and the team
carries on and you have to keep your-
self in shape, work yourself back
into the lineup. Basically being part
of the team, pursay, is being on the
ice, being around the guys all the
time, and travelling. It is a little
tougher in that aspect. But it is part
of the job. It is part of the situation.
You just have to work yourself
around it.
D: Summarize a typical game day
in the life of an NHL player.
J: I would leave the house at
8:30 a.m. to go over to th'e Spectrum
for a 10:30 practice. We would have
a stretch at 9:45, be on the ice for a
half hour. We would have a team
meeting at 11:30. I would then go
home where my wife would start
cooking my pre-game meal of
spaghetti and a baked potato, that
kind of stuff. I would sleep from 1
to 4, get up, take a shower, and head
on over to the rink by 5. Then after
the game, I would try and get some-
thing to eat and maybe go out.
D: What are some quick
thoughts you have on Berenson?
J: I was happy with the three
years that I was with him. He
helped me out a great deal individu-
ally, especially my junior and senior
years. He kind of prepared me and
gave me some insight as to what it
was like to play in the NHL, the day
in and day out rigors and what was
expected. I learned a great deal from
him and I respect him a lot, espe-
cially that first year coming in, I
think everybody did. I think he
helped out all the guys a great deal.
D: In the early '80s, when you
were to make a decision as to where
to play your college hockey, Mich-
igan State was a definite pow-
erhouse, while Michigan was rather
mediocre. What made you choose
Ann Arbor over East Lansing?
J: I was recruited by State but I
never took a visit there. I just did
not care for Michigan State at all. I
respected the program, but, well I
do not want to name names, but I
just did not feel I would be as happy
there as maybe other places. I kind
of looked at Michigan, went in for a
visit. I liked everything about it. I
felt that coming in as a freshman, I
would have an opportunity to step
right in and help out. I loved the
campus and everything that it had to
D: What are your fondest memo-
ries of your career at Michigan?
J: Probably, the ones I can think
of are just the overall experience I
had there with hockey and school,
and meeting my wife there in my
sophomore year.

Michigan defensive coordinator Lloyd Carr loves his job. As he says,
he has the finest assistant coaching job in America.
But that's like saying you drive the fastest Pinto in America. It's
inherently second-best.
Which is why this Carr is ready to change into the faster lane; he
wants a head coaching job.
These jobs are hard to come by, though. Even with the addition of
Penn State to the Big Ten, there are only 11 such positions in the
However, six schools - Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin,
Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan - have made coaching changes in the
last three years.
So maybe Carr's goal isn't so unrealistic.
But when you're the top assistant at the school which has won the
last four Big Ten Championships, not too many jobs at other schools
seem appealing.
"Because of the success here, there are a lot of situations out there
that really don't interest me," Carr says. "I guess I'm in a position
where the number of jobs I'm interested in are limited, and they're jobs a
lot of other people are interested in."
One such head coaching position opened up at Wisconsin in 1989. The
Badgers hired a new athletic director who, in turn, was entrusted with
hiring a new football coach.
Carr was a strong applicant - not only was Michigan the defending
Rose Bowl Champion at the time, but Carr specialized in recruiting
players from the Wisconsin area.
The list of candidates was trimmed to two: Notre Dame defensive
coordinator Barry Alvarez and Carr. Alvarez got the job.
"That was a disappointment," Carr recalls.
"Anytime you put your name up there and don't get it,
it's disappointing. And I felt like Wisconsin had a
chance; they'd hired a new athletic director, and they
have a fine university academically."
Wisconsin's prospect for success made the job
attractive, but few opprtunities have arisen since.
"The important thing is to try to get a coaching job
4Fwhere there's a legitimate chance," Carr says. "If you
have a program where there's support administra-
arrtively and financially, then you're going to walk in,
C iand four years later you're going to walk out."
Soon after Alvarez' hiring, Gary Moeller took over for the retiring
Bo Schembechler and named Carr his top assistant. The two had worked
together since 1978, when Moeller hired Carr as a defensive coach.
The following year, Moeller and his staff left Illinois amid contro-
versy. The incident resurfaced last November, when Moeller returned to
Champaign for the first time at the Michigan helm.
It wasn't a big deal when Moeller was an assistant. Only when he was
the head coach did everyone want to resurrect the heated 1979 departure.
By this logic, it followed that Carr, still an assistant, didn't have to
answer questions about his own feelings toward Illinois. Good thing.
"I have and and probably always will have a deep bitterness for
Illinois," Carr says, declining to specify the way the university treated
the coaches.
But throughout November, Moeller denied harboring any resentment
toward Illinois.
"He's a better man than I am," Carr concedes. So being an assistant
has its advantages after all?
"Well, you always have to be careful what you say, but..." Carr
breaks out into a wide smile.
After clinching the Big Ten Championship with a 20-0 shutout of the
Illini, Moeller again reserved taking a stab at Illinois. And again, no one
asked Carr what he thought.
"To clinch a Big Ten Championship in Champaign and to play so well
defensively was something," Carr says between more of his ear-to-ear
smiles. "I can't tell you the elation."
But then there was the time Michigan lost to Michigan State in 1990.
People remember Desmond Howard bobbling the two-point conversion
pass after being tripped. Yet it was the defense, letting the Spartans drive
at will in the second half, that lost the game and the No. 1 ranking.
Once again, Moeller had to answer the questions. And Carr had to
watch his friend and boss face the media.
"It's such a terrible feeling," Carr remembers. "There aren't many
things in life that can make you feel worse, outside of something wih
your family or friends. It was absolutely sickening. I never, ever want to
feel like that again.
"Particularly because it was the defense that cost us the game. You
take losing hard even if you play well on your side of the ball. But if you
lose because your side cost the team the game, there's no worse feeling."
Not even being passed up for a head coaching job, Carr maintains.
"If it so happens in my career that I never be a head coach, it would
not be the worst thing in the world," he says. "I hope that isn't the case,
but I love coaching here. We have a great university and a great football
tradition, and as a result of those things, we win. And it's exhilarating."

other factors, politically, that he
used to base his judgement on.
D: That must have been a huge
disappointment for you.
J: When you get to that level
you would think some of that stuff
would be put to the wayside, but it
just intensifies. I really questioned
his judgement.
D: Was it a huge jump for you,
coming out of Michigan and the
CCHA, to try and make it with
Winnipeg in the NHL?
J: Yes, it was a big step from
college to the pros. But playing for
the National team, I got a lot of
training and learned a lot from the
assistant coaches. It is different
from league to league, but from col-
lege to the pros was a big jump. I
learned a lot from (coach) Red
(Berenson) in my time at Michigan
that helped me through the transi-

D: The players in the AHL are
trying to make a splash, make a name
for themselves, so to make it to the
NHL. Do they sacrifice the team as-
pect of the game in order to do this?
J: Maybe at times, but you will
find in the minors, the teams are a
lot closer because of all the time
they spend together on the road
travelling. You will find that the
guys are much closer because of that
situation. The pressure, as far as
working together as a team, is not as
severe compared to the NHL. I think
it is more individual pressure of you
playing well and doing the things
the organization wants you to do
and trying to get to the NHL.
D: In 1984, when you were 19,
you played for the U.S. Junior
National team that was to play in
the World Junior Championships.
Before you got to the WJC, you in-

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Applications are available Jan. 31 at the Campus Information Center in the
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Tuesdav- Fehrarv 11th. 1992


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