Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano on Saturday addressed the notion that the team’s core players, himself included, were more to blame for another Game 7 defeat than coach Bruce Boudreau. He spoke at length about that subject. Here’s some of what he said during his season-ending interview with reporters:
“Questions about the core are fair. We haven’t gotten the job done. We’ve made some good strides during the year. We showed character in coming back. There’s positives. But we haven’t done the job at the right time and rhythm when it really counts. I think…I’m not sure what the factors are. Bob (Murray, the Ducks’ GM) is right. This isn’t on Bruce. I think a lot of guys need to know where they’re at and figure out where we went wrong. A lot of them have been here for a while. I’m not just talking the captains.. Myself, Cam (Fowler), guys like Hampus (Lindholm) and Sami (Vatanen) aren’t young anymore..Not singling them out, but we’ve been here for a while now. We don’t have a lot of young guys in the lineup. Like i said, guys have to figure out where we’re gone wrong. Today’s a much different feeling leaving the rink. In those years there’s been a sense of hope. Today there’s zero feeling like that.”
Cogliano also spoke about not doing enough individually this season, but especially during the playoffs. Here’s more:
“My meeting with ‘Murph’ (Murray) won’t go the same as it has. I wasn’t good enough, simple as that. Everyone can say the same thing. I had good moments but ultimately I didn’t do enough. Everyone wants to talk about that we have ‘Getz’ (Ryan Getzlaf) and ‘Pears’ (Corey Perry), but we have guys who have been here and need to play better. Guys could have stepped up more. They’re not the captains of the team. I’ve played over 700 games, Cam’s been in the league since 18. Hampus, Sami, ‘Raks’ (Rickard Rakell) … we’ve learned the hard way but it’s not acceptable, simple as that, and we let a real good opportunity get away from us. I don’t know why. Maybe we came into the playoffs thinking we were better than we thought. That wasn’t the case.”
Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen needs a new contract for next season. He can become a restricted free agent July 1. Here’s some of what he had to say Saturday about free agency and remaining with the Ducks:
“Tough to say right now. I think when the time comes some decisions will be made. I like playing here and all the guys love having me in the net. I like it here, so obviously I would love to play (here). It’s their decision to make, but I think I definitely proved that I can be a No. 1 goalie, especially in the playoffs to do well. Last year, I took the team deep. It didn’t pan out this year, but I feel like I personally did my part in trying … obviously, you’ve got to be better … but to get to a Game 7. It’s decided by a single goal or two goals early like that. Other than that, I played well. I liked my preparations before that. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.”
Andersen also cleared up the specifics of the injury that sidelined him for the last few weeks of the regular season, before he returned to shut out the Washington Capitals in the finale, helping the Ducks clinch their fourth straight Pacific Division title.
“I took a shot two days before (the Calgary game) in the jaw and it kind of locked up on me, some muscles around that area and messed with my eyes and made me feel dizzy,” he explained. “It took a couple of days to figure out, but after that I got the right treatment on my jaw and started working with my eye doctor to get back and make sure my eye movements were doing the right things. It was in practice. It was a tipped shot and kind of came from the side and locked up some muscles.”
Ducks center Rickard Rakell said Saturday he never regained his fitness after undergoing an appendectomy near the end of the regular season. He said he wasn’t himself for the Ducks’ first-round playoff loss to the Nashville Predators. Here’s more of his conversation with reporters:
“I don’t want to used it as an excuse, but I didn’t feel the same as before it happened. I tried to do everything I can to come back as good as I can. Obviously, I wish I could have helped the team a little bit more. … I got tired quicker and just battling with other players, I felt like I was stronger and could have protected the puck better (before the surgery). … There was a lot of pain in the end. The first few days, I still had holes in my stomach and it was hurting a little bit, but it was manageable and nothing I really tried to think about during the games.”
Ducks center Ryan Kesler talked Saturday about the firing of Bruce Boudreau as coach and why it happened and what responsibility the players played in his dismissal after a first-round playoff exit. Here’s more from Kesler on Boudreau:
“He’s a good man. He was a good coach, obviously. I think losing that Game 7 was, you know, the nail in the coffin. It’s obviously tough to see your coach fired. I think the onus goes on us. Yeah. It’s still too early to look back for me, just the whole way this season’s gone. It was a tough year. It was a tough year for everyone I think. The way we started to the way we start the playoffs, it just for whatever reason it didn’t come together like we hoped.”
Kesler also spoke about being named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, as the NHL’s top defensive forward. Here’s more:
“It’s nice to get recognized. It’s a tribute to Bruce and him trusting me in those situations and throwing me out against the other team’s top line from Christmas on and giving me that challenge. He trusted me and I relished that. Obviously, it wasn’t just me out there, it was playing with ‘Silfver’ (Jakob Silfverberg) and ‘Cogs’ (Andrew Cogliano), those great linemates I had when you’ve got to shut down the other team’s top line. They were really defensively responsible. On the other side of the puck, they’re not too shabby as well.”
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf spoke to reporters for about 15 minutes Saturday during his season-ending interview. He talked about injuries, about the team’s turnaround after a 1-7-2 start to the season, about their Game 7 loss to the Nashville Predators and, of course, about the firing of Bruce Boudreau as coach. Here’s some of what he had to say:
On the team’s poor start: “It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly happened. I haven’t really been through such a turnaround like that during a season. I’ve been through a couple tough years now. Other than that, I haven’t been through anything that dramatic of a turn. The consistency is a matter of being together as a group every night and having a job to do and being excited to be there. I thought at times this year, we showed it. But at other times, we had trouble staying focused on what we needed to accomplish. And that, we’ll have to address as a group and with the group that we’re with next year.”
On shedding the reputation as a team that fails to win the big games: “That’s just it. The only way to erase them is to just do it. Whether we get the opportunity again to play in a Game 7, I will never know. Everyone calls it playoff trouble if you don’t win the Stanley Cup. There’s only one team at the end of the year that wins the Stanley Cup. There’s only been two teams that have done it basically in the last five years. Everybody else is basically in the exact same boat as us. Obviously, the Stanley Cup is our goal again. We want to get that Stanley Cup back here again, like we experienced as young players. In doing that, it is frustrating. It ticks me off. I’m a competitive person. I want to win, I want to be able to take this team to the next level and get the Stanley Cup again. I’ll work hard to try and do that again next year.”
On how much responsibility the Ducks players bear in the firing of Boudreau: “On how much do the players bear responsibility for firing: “Lots. I’ve only been part of one other coach getting fired and I felt the same way in that situation. Coaches can only do so much. They can only put so much on the ice. They have a responsibility like everybody else here. As do we. We have to absorb a lot of that, when you’re talking about going on the ice and playing and performing at the level that we should have been this year, throughout the whole year. Obviously, with the start we had, there’s always different reasons for different things. But at the end of the day, the players have to be able to perform and do what we need to do. And a lot of that falls on our shoulders and why he’s out the door.”
This tidbit is lifted directly from my story Wednesday: The team that scores first in Game 7s has a staggering .741 winning percentage (120-42) in playoff history. The Ducks are 2-0 in Game 7s when scoring first and 0-5 when they don’t.
Here’s the link to my Game 7 advance: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/ducks-713640-perry-game7.html
Key play: Joonas Donskoi scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the San Jose Sharks went on to take a 6-3 victory Friday over the Kings in the decisive Game 5 of the first-round series at Staples Center. Donskoi chipped the puck into the net after a nifty pass from Brent Burns.
The series: The Sharks eliminated the Kings 4-1 and advanced to the second round.
Pivotal performer: Sharks winger Joe Pavelski added an insurance goal for his series-leading fifth of the series. Pavelski and linemates Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl proved to be too much for the Kings to handle during the series, and were the difference makers over the course of five games.
Quote, unquote: “The bottom line is we didn’t play well enough to win the series, and they did,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “It showed on the scoreboard. We were chasing the lead pretty much every game. That’s just not the way you play in the playoffs. We made it hard on ourselves, first of all, to lose the first two games in this building. I just feel our game was not where we needed it to be.”
Quote, unquote (part 2): “Yes, 100 percent,” Kings left wing Milan Lucic said when asked if he planned to re-sign with the Kings rather than test the open market as an unrestricted free agent July 1. “I don’t have any plans about thinking about or playing anywhere else. I’m sure there will be a lot of conversations in the near future and I hope it works out for both sides.”
Between the pipes: Jonathan Quick made 22 saves and fell 1-4 during the series. Martin Jones, who served as Quick’s backup until the Kings traded him last summer, made 19 saves to improve to 4-1 in his first five starts in the playoffs after making two relief appearances in 2014 against the Sharks.
Key play: Patrick Marleau scored the last of the Sharks’ three power-play goals and San Jose held on for a 3-2 victory Wednesday in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Kings at the SAP Center. Marleau backhanded a rebound into the net at 1:40 of the final period.
The series: The Sharks lead 3-1. Game 5 is Friday at Staples Center.
Pivotal performer: San Jose defenseman Brent Burns scored the Sharks’ first power-play goal, whistling a one-timed shot from the left faceoff circle past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. Burns also assists on Marleau’s goal, which turned out to be the game-winner.
Quote, unquote: “Our penalty-kill wasn’t near good enough,” said Kings defenseman Luke Schenn, who was on the ice for Burns’ goal “Special teams made a huge difference. Our special teams need to improve if we’re going to climb back in it.”
Status quo: Kings coach Darryl Sutter and San Jose counterpart Peter DeBoer stayed with the same lineups for Game 4 that they used in Game 3. DeBoer indicated dissatisfaction with his fourth line after Game 3, but stuck with Nick Spaling, Chris Tierney and Tommy Wingels for Game 4.
Key play: Tanner Pearson picked up a loose puck along the left-wing boards and then converted on a 2-on-1 break to score the winning goal 3:47 into sudden-death overtime to give the Kings a 2-1 victory Monday over the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of their first-round series.
The series: The Sharks lead was cut to 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday at the SAP Center.
Pivotal performer: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick gave up a goal to Joe Thornton on the Sharks’ first shot of the game, after only 30 seconds. Quick then stopped the next 28 shots he faced in a vintage performance from the 2012 Conn Smythe winner as the MVP of the playoffs.
Quote, unquote: “Not the start we wanted, obviously,” Pearson said. “We trust each other that we’re going to come back. Look over the years at what this team has done. … It’s a confident group when our backs are against the wall. We’re still there. We’ve got to fight back to even the series.”
Injury update: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez sat out for the second consecutive game and for the sixth time in the last seven games because of an undisclosed injury. Defenseman Matt Greene continues to skate with his teammates, but there’s no timetable for his return from shoulder surgery.
Lineup shuffle: Kings coach Darryl Sutter returned left wing Kyle Clifford to the lineup after replacing him with Nick Shore for Game 2. Clifford, Trevor Lewis and Kris Versteeg combined to form an effective fourth line for Sutter for Game 3.
Kings right wing Marian Gaborik returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his right knee Feb. 12. Here’s some of what he said about his return and the Kings’ 2-1 loss Saturday to the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of their first-round series: “I felt pretty good. I’ll need to get better and better. We have to be better overall. Each of us need to take our games to the next level.”
Gaborik also said of the Kings’ lackluster play in Game 2, “We’re beating ourselves out there. We have to correct a lot of things. We didn’t generate a whole lot of scoring chances. We have to have (Martin) Jones work way more than he’s been working. We had a pretty good surge at the end there, but it was too late. We have to regroup, go to San Jose and come back with a tied series.”