Is Randy Carlyle suddenly more loquacious?
No, there’s just more reporters around!
How will your team respond to Game 1?
I know our response will be, from my perspective, will be at a higher level. I think thats usually a trait that this group has been able to show. To respond to performances like the other night. We can talk all we want about itk but its about doing it on the ice, about doing it when they drop that puck.
On playing controlled vs. playing aggressively:
I think that its a tight rope to walk. Its always a tight rope to walk. The more pressure thats put on, the more important the games get, thats something you have to guard against. You have to be under control, you have to play with discipline, but you have to play with emotion, too. Thats what this games about. Its not about going out there, throwing your sticks out, thinking just because you appear here youre going to have success. You have to stay with a game plan, dont stray with the things that got us here. We have to reinforce some of the things we have to do to have success.
On Doug Weight:
Hes an option.
As we stated before, we felt that Doug Weight would get an opportunity to make a contribution. Thats basically what we told the player, and we didnt agree on some of the things that were going on previously. We werent happy with what was going on. He wasnt happy with not getting the opportunity to play. If he does get the opportunity, well see what he can bring to the table.
Did you play risky hockey in Game 1?
I dont think we played high-risk, high-reward hockey the other night. I think the penalty killing and our discipline was at the forefront of it. I dont think we were taking too many chances. I think our execution led to Dallas ability to get through neutral ice. Our execution in the neutral ice left a lot to be desired where we didnt enter the zone and then when we did, we gave the puck to Turco too many times. And hes like a third defenseman back there. So as far as high-risk, high-reward, I dont think we played that type of game at all. In reviewing it, its a) we didnt execute to the level; b) Dallas did a good job clogging up the neutral ice and they exploited us on our penalty killing and their power play.
The message that I sent yesterday, was I asked them and this was more or less in a casual setting how many of them went home and dreamt about putting the puck in a soft area or making a good chip rather than scoring a big goal. And how important that has become in todays game, where players envision themselves, visualize its all about scoring the big goal and making big play or making the big hit. It was so evident in our game, we turned the puck over so many times, we had upwards of 70 turnovers in the game. And that is unacceptable. We have to visualize making the good soft chip, putting it in areas where their teammates going to put pressure on the puck to keep it away from Turco. Those types of things. And they didnt really see it the same way I did, for whatever reason (laughter).
But were you at least doing those things in the wins against the Stars?
Its not just Dallas. Thats part of the mandate to play in the league. Everybody has defensive systems, be it trap, wedge 1-3-1 in the neutral ice to make it as difficult as possible for teams to get through there effectively. I dont think its any secret that at certain times you have to play that dump and chase game or chip and support game. Thats been evidenced in our game as long as Ive been here. This coaching staff is trying to develop a strong chip and support hockey game. Theres obviously, you have to make adjustments whether youre playing a trapping team, a wedge team or a 1-3-1 team, but you still have to get through neutral ice effectively and put pucks in the area that you can get back to or put pressure on the defense to recover the puck and thats where our strengths have been from a forechecking standpoint, where our group, weve done that effectively historically. Weve done it well this year at times, but the last game we did a very poor job of it.
On Chris Pronger:
I dont think he played with less of an edge, I dont think he had his best game. I dont think a lot of players had what they would describe as one of their best games. Chris Pronger would be the first one to agree with you that he didnt play to his potential.
Was he hanging back? No. I disagree.
Nervous that the team can the team turn it around?
Youre always nervous as a coach, but I know the character of our group. I know the veterans and the people in that room have been in this situation before, and well do the best to correct the way we played the other night. We have to live it, weve talked about it enough.
You cant go punch a guy in the head and not think youre going to get a penalty. Its stupid. You can understand the frustration level, but its the response in playoff hockey, sometimes you have to take a punch in the head to get a puck out, or you might have to block a shot, you might have to do something totally out of your character. We did a lot of the things that were out of our character, some of the individuals committing the offenses. We just said, hey, were going to talk about it until gametime tonight and well talk about it during the game. We cant afford to allow those types of things to creep into our game.
Last years 5-0 loss to Detroit in Conf. Finals did you remind them of it?
I think theyre well aware of a lot of things that have happened. Weve had lopsided scores against us in the course of the season, and weve been called upon to respond. When youre in playoff hockey, theres no other choice. You dont respond and youre putting more pressure on yourself for the next one. We think we have a group that can compete and resurrect what we did. Its not the end of the world. We lost game 1. Were not happy with the outcome. Now its up to us to make an impression and change some of the stuff we did.