“Tonight’s game is such a grind, totally different from (Thursday) night’s game, and I thought as the game wore on, especially in the second period, I thought we started taking control of it. We still didin’t develop a lot of offense, but I thought we started taking control of it.”
“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, these are important points. I thought they played hard. I thought they defended hard, and it could have gone either way here. So I don’t get too deep into, ‘Should we beat them.’ … it’s not the way the league works. There’s so much parity in the league, it’s a tough night every night. And tonight was no different. So we’re very fortunate to come away with two points.
“I thought, speaking on our team, a big part of our meeting was defending the front of our net better, stopping in front of our net, getting back to blocking shots. I don’t think we gave them much. Hank makes a huge save after Dubi hits the post in a short-handed situation, but I think we really worked hard on our defense. That’s something we really wanted to get back to.”
“I look at one clip where Michael Sauer, we defend the play well in our end, on Brian Boyle’s scoring chance. We defend it, we’re all there, and Michael Sauer’s up the ice, he makes a great offensive, instinctive play, holding onto the puck, letting it develop, and Brian Boyle ends up with a great chance. That was defense first, and you create your offense. That’s what we’re trying to be more consistent at.”
On Avery’s concentration lapsing:
“You always want to stir it up, huh?”
The question was then changed.
“I changed the mode of your question, I think. Listen. Sean was effective. When we lose him, and the way that he’s playing right now, it hurts him and it hurts the team. I think Sean knows that. But I think he bounced back and he had some effective shifts.
“I’m not going to look for people to pick fights with me on Sean Avery. Sean Avery has grinded through it. He’s been on the fourth line, where I thought he should have been for the way he was playing at times, but he’s kept his patience, he’s worked hard and he is where he should be right now. We have to live with some of that stuff, and he’ll learn from it. He’ll learn from it.”
On Staal’s PPG:
“It’s a great shot and Frolov does a nice job there screening the goalie. But it’s a play we’re trying to get our team to use more frequently.”
“I thought Step made the play. He kept his patience with it, let it develop, everybody came to him and he dished it to Marc.
On whether he expects more offense from Staal:
“That’s part of it, where we want to give him some time there. He’s had many conversations with me where he wants to add there. Last year he doubled his points from two years ago, and slowly we want to give that to hhim. That’s a big part. He signs a congract and there’s some responsibility that comes with it, and we certainly want to give him some opportunity to play on both sides of hte puck. And we’re slowly going to try to develop him there.
“He reads the rush very well as far as when to join. So I hope that gives him confidence, and he deserves an opportunity there. We’ve been up and down with that thing there. I think it will help his defense, too. A year ago I wouldn’t have said that. But I think hes mature enough to know, his mainstay is to defend, but he wants to add that to his game.”
Boogaard, he said, got cut by a high stick and was stitched up.
On Del Zotto fighting it a bit on the PP:
“A little bit. That’s why we’re going to try some different people there. By no means are we going to lose Michael Del Zotto, but we want to try some different things there. I thought Stepan made a great play on Staalsie’s goal, keeping his patience, shifting people. It’s something we’ve been working on.
“You know, Michael’s been at the controls for a while. It hasn’t been consistent. So we’ll use some different people there to try to get some consistency on it. Again, it’s a young guy in Michael that fights it a bit there. But he’ll rebound. He’ll rebound and he’ll get some more opportunities.”
On whether he looks at the standings:
“At times, yeah. I looked at them last night, not so much the standings but I looked what the West did to the East n the games last night. I think we got a lot of help last night with Western Conference teams beating the East.
“I have a good idea where we’re at. What we’ve gone through so far this year and how the team’s coming along, I like where we’re at. I’m not exactly sure as far as the points. But I know we’re climbing. These were important games. These were two games that we knew were going to be hard-fought, and I think we took a step in the right direction in beating this club twice. So now we’ve just got to skate tomorrow and get ready for an Ottawa team that we feel we’re going to be fighting against all year to get in (to the playoffs).”
On this game:
“I thought we played well. From a coach’s standpoint, I thought we defended much better than last night. Our high man was better, though we still had some breakdowns. I thought we were harder in our end zone. I thought we had better sticks tonight in our end zone, which we didn’t have last night. We defended the front of our net much better. Offensively, we’re still shooting pucks wide. We need to capitalize and get that next goal. But, hey, I have no problems with the way we played tonight, coming back to back, and no matter where (the Islanders are) in the standings, they’re always screwed-up games when the Rangers and the Islanders play. So I thought we handled ourselves very well.”