(By the way, tonight is the first time in over a year, Oct. 19, 2009, that Lundqvist did not start a home game. In that game, he relieved Steve Valiquette.)
On Biron starting:
“He played good (in Toronto). Our plan with him is trying to get him, each month, three or four starts, and I thought he played really well in Toronto, and if it wasn’t Boston (up next) where Hank has had tremendous numbers, maybe we even go back with him. I don’t know. …
“But we have to get Biron back in. Why? Because he needs to play. Let me ask, why not?
“I don’t really have a schedule. We think it’s going to benefit, through the long season, Hank, in let’s say the last month of the season. And hopefully if we get where we want to be, he’s going to be fresher than he has been.
On whether it’s more that or getting Biron a game:
“Both. It all comes into play here. We just feel that he cannot be sitting as long as he was prior. We got him his game, we want to get him back in. So it’s not just one thing. There’s a number of things; taking the workload off of Hank, so he’s fresher, and also we think Biron’s a pretty good goalie and we want to give him some games.”
Will it bother Lundqvist to sit?
“Oh, Hank wants to play every game. No, this won’t bother him. When I talked to them both yesterday, Hank thought that the practice time that he had really helped him. This is done in concert with Ben (Allaire). I want the goaltender coach’s view as far as how he feels, because he looks at it differently. Ben was a goalie, he works with these guys every day, and their mindset. So we’re doing this in concert. It’s not to force Marty — I don’t want that misconstrued — I don’t want to force Marty into a game there’s a number of things that come into play here.
Partly to avoid rust with Biron?
“Sure. You want to get him in a groove. But you can’t try to have both guys, worry about … My No. 1 goal … Lundqvist is our No. 1 guy and we’re certainly looking out for him with this situation. I can’t try to make sure everybody is as sharp as they can be as far as games with two goalies. That’s not what we’re doing here. We just feel that, with the schedule coming up, especially … in November, the amount of games here, we want to try to keep Hank fresh. And we felt Marty played a pretty good game in Toronto and wanted to get him back in and feeling pretty good about himself.”
Same, including Gilroy and Eminger on the third pair. Sauer is a healthy scratch (a.k.a. prucha’d).
“I thought Emmy played a pretty good game. We’re going to give him another one and we’ll see what happens.”
On the defense in general.
“I think they’re playing well. I think they’re engaged. I think they have a little bit of an arrogance in the neutral zone as far as standing up there, and you take it back into our end zone, when we’re playing there. I think they’re doing a much better job in taking time and space as far as closing people out defensively. The whole group has done that because they’ve stopped. In that Toronto game, as I said after that, we were spinning around, just spinning. Any team is going to find open ice with teams spinning. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of stopping, holding the middle of the ice, then reading and reacting.”
On the improvement of the leadership, and “the room” — which was an issue on break-up day last spring.
“I’ve said that, I think during camp and even when we struggled for a couple of games, whether we were winning or losing, I just felt it was a much more together group. Last year we went through some situations where we changed our team concept. I think we’re comfortable and settled on how we have to play, what is best for the way we play and guys feel they understand it better. I think they understand the coaching staff better, and we understand them a little better, too. So it’s a process for us, too, coaches and players. It brings it into a situation where I think we’re building on something here.
“I thought, early part in the season, that Toronto game in Toronto, was a very important game for us to have some sort of belief in how we have to play. At least it started, a belief as far as players, as far as seeing some of the things we did in that Toronto game, to realize how we have to play. Because we weren’t playing hard enough. You may think you are, but you’re not. We weren’t playing hard enough. I think we’ve gotten that the past few games, and we have to continue to get it or there’ll be some bumps.”