Talbot Brings Experience, Passion Into First Coaching OpportunityOct 6, 2021
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
IRVINE, Calif. – Max Talbot greets each practice day the same – a smile on his face and plenty of on-ice chatter.
The 2009 Stanley Cup champion is attacking a new challenge, a rookie assistant coach getting his first taste of life behind the bench this season with San Diego. Talbot posted 91-113=204 points in 704 career games over 11 seasons in the National Hockey League and added 18-21=39 points in 84 postseason games. His decorated professional career exposed him to a plethora of quality coaches, experiences he’s leaned on as he starts charting his own path.
“I was lucky enough as a player to be coached by a lot of great coaches,” he said following today’s training camp practice at Great Park Ice and FivePoint Arena. “I'm taking the best of all the coaches that coached me and trying to bring my own personality in, my own ideas behind this. Yes, I'm new into coaching, but it's not like I'm very raw. I enjoy what I'm doing. I'm growing; I'm going to learn from mistakes and try different things, but my past experience will help me greatly in that.”
He is encouraged with San Diego’s first two days of camp. A day after head coach Joel Bouchard identified an investment and engagement with the team, Talbot noticed new players coming from Anaheim Ducks camp bought in before they hit the ice with the Gulls.
“I think it's just been great all around,” he explained. “It's just two days, but guys are very receptive. They have a good attitude, a good mindset, and they came to work. Joel's practices are pretty intense. They're not long, but they're very intense and demanding. The guys, whether it's thinking or work ethic, there's a lot of details and new stuff guys need to think about. They were very receptive and the energy was great.”
For many of the players, the sting of a training camp reassignment could bring disappointment. Talbot knows the feeling, experiencing it in his own professional career. He complimented those veteran players – and the young hopefuls – who shifted their focus to make themselves stand out at this camp.
“The goal of a hockey player is to play in the NHL, at the highest level,” Talbot said. “When there's a decision like this, you're getting sent down, it's about the attitude, how you take it, how you show up at the AHL level and how you can actually have success there. That's the goal of it, keep improving and be a factor in games. Show that you can dominate or play a good role in the AHL so you can be an option when the NHL needs you. Guys today really came down here, had a smile on their face, and it helps their job. At the same time, it helps the team. It's good for them.”
Talbot’s focus in on the team’s forwards, a young group with players like Jacob Perreault, Alex Limoges and Bryce Kindopp looking to take the next step. It’s an area where the former center can use his professional career to help them transition and succeed at the professional level.
“I feel the younger they are, the more they're open to new advice and new things,” he said. “Their eyes and ears are wide open and they want to learn. That's the positive thing about that. They're pretty raw in their professional experience and they're here to learn. For us, it's a pleasure to be able to work with those guys.
“You can put yourself in the skates of (Jacob Perreault) and know what he's going through. Sometimes, instead of making the easy play, he's got a habit of trying to be the guy. When you get to this level, it's about making the pass and jump in the play. It's going to come back to you. It's about teaching skill that you can maybe take a player and make him understand as fast as possible and not do the same mistakes we did as players.”
Talbot finds himself in a similar situation to those players under his supervision. He’ll continue to learn in the upcoming preseason series with the Ontario Reign, a two-game exhibition schedule starting tomorrow at Toyota Arena.
“The experience at the rookie camp was great for me,” he said. “I was around the game, I played long enough. I was always thinking about coaching when I was playing. I'm learning from a great head coach, Joel, and I thought rookie camp went great. Now, it's real. The real season is starting, and I'm very excited to learn and grow as a coach and help these guys have success in their own individual career and as a team.”