From the NHL:
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Kevin, you found a way to jump up and score a goal last game. How important is it to read that situation, get in that squad, create something from the back end?
KEVIN BIEKSA: It’s very important. Offense from our defense has been a big part of our team’s success all year. The three of us up here can jump up at any time. We have six guys that can do it pretty regularly. It’s just a matter of reading when the right time is.
Last game, how the puck was chipped, it was a pretty easy read.
Q. Kevin said you have a group of guys. I guess you need some help from the back end as well as up front.
DAN HAMHUIS: Yeah, teams play so well defensively in the playoffs. Makes it hard for our forwards. If we can create an extra option out there for them, like Kevin did last game, it sometimes can create some good offense.
Q. Kevin, how big a part of your game is it?
KEVIN BIEKSA: It’s definitely a part of my game. I don’t know if it’s the biggest part of my game. I hate to bring back the six of us again, but I think it’s a big part for all of us to do it. When you have six guys that are mobile and can skate, especially with Dan and I, our pairing, either one of us can jump up at any given time. I think that’s dangerous for another team to defend as opposed to maybe Boyle and Murray, where Boyle is going more often, kind of keep an eye on him.
Q. I’m curious about your thoughts on the ice condition. Do you push more early on so you can create the offensive chances?
KEVIN BIEKSA: You just play the game. You don’t worry about the ice condition. I don’t think we change our game if the ice isn’t good or chippy. At the end the period you’re a little more safe with the plays you make. You’re worried about pucks jumping over your stick, especially on the blueline. You pay attention to detail. Certainly we’re not trying to attack more at the beginning of the period.
Q. Christian, I think the first three power-plays, you have a little trouble on the entry to the zone. San Jose had done some film work. What were they doing and what can you do to adjust to that in Game 2?
CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: Obviously, I won’t address that here because we’ll address it internally. I don’t think it was. I think we have enough options we can do whatever the other team is doing, we have an answer for that.
Q. Dan, the Sharks were talking about how the forecheck wasn’t very good, they expect to be stronger in that category. What kind of challenge is that going to be to move the puck even quicker out of your own zone tomorrow night?
DAN HAMHUIS: Well, they have a really good group of forwards, a lot of speed. It was tough in Game 1. We expect it to be tougher again here in Game 2. It’s just a matter for us getting back as quick as we can, communicating, trying to get the puck up to our forwards as quick as possible.
Q. How much of an advantage is that?
DAN HAMHUIS: It’s a huge part of our game. We’ve got six D that can do that. We got a really good group of forwards. We want to get the puck in their hands and play on offense as quick as we can.
Q. Is there a fine line between jumping up too quick and not getting caught?
KEVIN BIEKSA: You certainly have to pick your spots, know the score of the game, know the situation, who you’re out there with. All those factors add up to you got to figure that out, figure out when a good time to jump in is, when it’s a high-percentage play.
Q. Is it refreshing to play a series like this where you have an offense where there’s more space out there to have that side of the game?
CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: It was a fun game to play, no doubt. The National series, it is what it is. A little defensive oriented, a little of battles on the wall, chipped pucks and stuff like that.
Last night I think it’s two teams with separate styles. I think we adapt to whatever team we’re playing. It’s nice to play a team like us where we can go out and play, make plays when we have to, do what we have to.
Q. Christian, do you expect the Sharks to bring more?
CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: Yeah, we expect a big push-back. They obviously came here to get a split and they’re going to be ready to play and we have to match their intensity tomorrow.
Q. In Game 1, was that as good as they can play, given you’ve been in that locker room?
KEVIN BIEKSA: I don’t know. I think we still have a little more to give. That’s what our focus lies on.
Q. Kevin, your pairing is getting a lot of ice time. How much are you enjoying that much ice time?
KEVIN BIEKSA: It’s fun. I think anyone wants to be out there as much as possible. Just the way the game plays, it kind of dictates the ice Dan and I get. Seems like we’re up in a lot of games, which helps us. Usually when we’re up, we’re playing a little bit more. I don’t think anybody is reading too much into ice time on the back end. I think we still feel pretty fresh so we’re not too worried about it.
Q. You went through a couple of injury-plagued seasons, what your role would be. Did you have any doubts your game could get back to this point?
KEVIN BIEKSA: There’s doubts with injury, obviously. But I was able to heal fully from both. It takes time. When you’re out for six months twice in a year and a half, obviously it’s going to take time to get your game back.
But I’m fortunate that it was a good season, on a pretty good team. Right now we’re having a lot of fun.
Q. Given the way you played, have you thought about what this does for you going forward?
KEVIN BIEKSA: Not at all, no. That’s something we don’t even have to bring up. Like you said, there’s a lot more important things than what’s going on with Christian and I behind the scenes. We got two pretty good agents that are going to take care of that. We’re going to help our team win right now.
Q. Kevin, how familiar are you with Twitter? A petition on Twitter.
KEVIN BIEKSA: There’s a petition?
Q. Fans throwing together a petition online.
DAN HAMHUIS: I currently don’t tweet. I’m not too aware of what’s going on there. But it sounds interesting (laughter).
What’s the proposal?
Q. Shane is on there already.
KEVIN BIEKSA: Shane is on there. A couple nice comments.
I don’t know. I’m not really a Twitter kind of guy. I don’t think everybody needs to know every single thought that’s in my head.
Q. What did it mean to you to see Manny up there in full gear?
KEVIN BIEKSA: Looks like he’s having a lot of fun out there. I’m sure he wants to be a part of it. He’s got to take his time, it’s such a delicate injury. But it’s good to see how far he’s recovered from just even a couple weeks ago.
Q. Max was talking yesterday about how good Manny was yesterday with the video, helping, the expanded role almost as a coach.
KEVIN BIEKSA: For a guy that has been out for a long period of time before, usually there’s a disconnect with the players. Eventually that happens over time because you’re not with the guys in practicing, not traveling with the team. I think with Manny from the beginning, coaching, players, Manny, that we wanted him around as much as possible. He makes a lot of contributions in the locker room.
He’s a great leader for us. He’s been there every step of the way. I know he’s getting a little more publicity because he’s skating. But he’s been with us since day one of his injury, since the beginning of the playoffs, every single meeting. Often between periods we’re going into the other room and talking to him, seeing what he sees from up top. He’s giving us great feedback. He’s still a huge part of this team.
Q. Last fall he was running drills.
KEVIN BIEKSA: It’s no secret the kind of guy Manny is. You can see it without getting into the dressing room. He’s a class act guy, a natural leader. Guys follow him. He’s very intelligent. He chooses his words wisely, makes a lot of sense. He’s got a good pulse for the game.
Q. Do you have to temper his enthusiasm about trying to come back and play too soon?
KEVIN BIEKSA: We’re jumping the gun here. This is not our decision. This is something between the doctors, the trainers and Manny. It’s all very well thought out. It’s not, Hey, do you want to skate today, Manny? Oh, well, sure. Let’s get out there. It’s well thought out. Let’s not overreact here.
Q. Dan, first period San Jose the other night had few chances that worked better than perimeter chances. What is the challenge there? How well do you feel you kept them on the outside? How tough is that to repeat tomorrow night?
DAN HAMHUIS: It will be a big challenge. They have a great group of forwards. It’s going to take more than two defensemen out there to stop it. It’s going to take a group effort, all five guys, solid goaltending to stop them.
Q. (Question regarding the forwards in Game 1.)
DAN HAMHUIS: That’s a system we’ve been playing all year. We get a lot of help from our forwards defensively, whether it’s on the back-check, or already in their end, the offensive end, being responsible third guy back to prevent odd-man rushes.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.
Q. Daniel, how much more room do you have to operate in Game 1 than you had in the last series? Is it refreshing to be able to have that and have a speed skill game?
DANIEL SEDIN: I think it’s a very good defensive team over there. They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t have that mindset, playing good defensively. More room, I don’t know about that. We were able to have some more offensive zone time. That’s a big part of our game.
HENRIK SEDIN: Yeah, I mean, if you look at the chances we had, there were a lot of games in the National series than we had in the first series. We were able to score. That was the big difference.
Q. Twitch, can you talk about when you signed your contract to stay here, the commitment you showed that a few of the other players maybe signed for less money than they might have made as free agents, everybody collectively staying together to attempt to accomplish the big goal that you’re so close to now. How much does this team like each other and want to play for each other and be together all the way through?
HENRIK SEDIN: We’ve been together, the core group, for a long time. Bringing Roberto here, having a top-notch goal like that, you know every year you’re going to have a chance to win. Guys like Burrows and Bieksa, all those guys, we enjoy spending time together, enjoy playing together. We knew at the time they were just going to get better and better. We knew we had a good chance for a lot of years going forward from that deal. With the guys we brought in this year, we’ve taken a big step.
DANIEL SEDIN: Like Henrik said, we enjoy spending time together. It makes it easier on the ice, too. You work really hard for one another. For us, it was a no-brainer. Like Henrik said, with the new guys coming in this year, too, we realize we have a good year here.
Q. With some of the bounces that National got, seems like San Jose was shooting everything low, did you sense that happening?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah, I did. I expected that to happen. First of all, they’re a team that likes to shoot from everywhere, guys crashing the net. I knew obviously they had seen some footage of the last series, try to create some of those scrambles. It’s up to me to try to be extra sharp.
Q. Roberto, everybody says they have confidence. You really work on that. How has that developed over the last couple years to set you up to get you to this point that you’re here and have maybe more than what you had in the two previous playoff runs?
ROBERTO LUONGO: You learn from experiences, right? We’ve had a good team here pretty much since I’ve been here. We’ve always had success. I think we had a great core group of guys. We’ve grown up together as a team. Obviously sometimes you learn throughout successes, but you also learn throughout failures. As a group, I think we’ve taken a next step as far as maturity level and composure.
Like we said before the playoffs started, it’s important not to get too high or too low whether we win or lose a game. It’s a four out of seven. You have to stay focused in the moment.
Q. Henrik, can you talk about how much the defense can move the puck?
HENRIK SEDIN: Yeah, I think from day one this year that they’re the backbone of our team. They’re still good, all seven, eight of our guys. They move the puck well. You need your defense to help you offensively, too. They’re going to be the guys to make the first pass. They’re going to join the rush. If you don’t have that, it’s tough to score in this league. You need to have a fourth guy jumping up in the rush. We’ve had that all year.
Q. Kevin has had some injury-plagued seasons. You look at his plus-minus, what he’s doing now, how much better is he?
ROBERTO LUONGO: He’s so much better. I mean, I don’t notice him on the ice, so that’s a good thing. For a D man, when you don’t notice them on the ice, usually it means they’re doing their jobs. He’s making some wise decisions as to when to be aggressive, when to be less aggressive. That’s key.
It’s amazing how much maturity I think he’s developed in the last year.
Q. Henrik, the Sharks talked about being sluggish and tired in the third period of Game 1. How much was that you wearing them down?
HENRIK SEDIN: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know really why they were tired, if they were. We came out strong in the second half of the second period, going into the third, too, we played extremely well. If we have all our guys playing the way we want to, it’s tough to stop us.
We usually create turnovers at lines, we go the other way. That makes you tired.
If it was their legs or if it was playing well, I’m not sure.
Q. Roberto, small margin for error in this series. How important is it to play your position or any position instinctively?
ROBERTO LUONGO: I think the minute you start second-guessing, that’s when you’re going to get into trouble. Obviously the mistakes are going to happen. It’s part of human nature. Everybody’s going to make mistakes.
The important thing is how you respond to it. Things happen out there. It’s the game of hockey. You just got to put it behind you and keep playing. I mean, nobody’s perfect in this game. We’re all going to make mistakes. Unfortunately sometimes when you’re a goalie, it looks a bit worse than others. You just got to put it behind you.
Q. I know Joe Thornton told me you’re one of the guys he enjoys socializing with in All-Star Games. What about the professionalism of what’s going on now? Is it hard for you not to make eye contact with him? When is the last time you talked to him?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah, I mean, me and Joe get along great. We’ve played on Team Canada a whole bunch of times, All-Star Games, stuff like that. We’re adversaries. I want to win more than he does or just as much as he does. That being said, doesn’t mean you can’t give him a wink or a smile. It’s part of hockey. It’s fun. It’s fun to play.
This is a battle between the Canucks and the Sharks. We want to take the next step and be in the finals. At the end of the day, winning is what matters most.
Q. When is the last time you had a conversation?
ROBERTO LUONGO: I don’t know. I mean, face to face, probably the Olympics. Other than that, maybe a couple of words in warmups during the regular season.
Q. You’ve been playing with Burrows for a long time. Starting with Game 6 of the Chicago series, he’s been very good. What have you seen? A lot of it coincided with the birth of his daughter?
HENRIK SEDIN: I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. He’s picked it up for sure. He played well early on, too. For him, for us, if you don’t show up on the scoreboard, it’s not good enough. He’s really picked it up. He got a lot of confidence from that seventh game against Chicago where he scored the overtime winner. From then on, he’s been tremendous for us.
Q. (No microphone.)
HENRIK SEDIN: He’s been around from day one. He’s got a lot of coverage now because he’s on the ice. For us, we see him every day in the dressing room. He’s around us before and after the game.
Q. Do you see that progression?
HENRIK SEDIN: I was surprised to see him with the gear on today. Seems like it happened yesterday. To see him on the ice going full speed, that’s fun to watch.
Q. Given they’re a game down here, do you expect a bigger push from the Sharks tomorrow or what do you expect?
DANIEL SEDIN: I think this is the Conference Finals. If you don’t push every game, there’s something wrong. When it’s Game 1 or Game 2, everybody goes out there and plays 100%. I think they think they can play better. I know we certainly can play better. I don’t think it’s a question for us.
Q. Daniel, power-play, set high standards this year. The first couple chances in Game 1, trouble with traction. Was that a matter of seeing what they were going to do and adjusting to that?
DANIEL SEDIN: We won the faceoffs, that’s been our goal at home to get more shots. Our power-play has been better on the road because we simplify things. It’s all about getting shots, through. If they get blocked or you miss the shot, the power-play is over. That’s the number one thing.
Q. You were talking about the fact with all the experience, everything you’ve learned together, are you at the point where you proved all the lessons you learned?
HENRIK SEDIN: I think as a team, we’ve all been here for a number of years. We’ve all gone through the bad things about playing in a market like this, all the pressure, the media coverage, the criticism.
I think this year we’ve taken another step in the way that we don’t really care what the outside says. It’s about the guys in the dressing room. That feeling is a big difference, I feel, from before where the outside pressure has been tough to bear on your shoulders.
Like I said, this year everyone has been through it, we know how to handle it, and that’s a good feeling to have.
Q. Roberto, you had some scrutiny in this town before. Henrik and Daniel faced a lot of it last round. Do you feel some of it was unfair? How do you feel they handled it?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Who handles it?
Q. The guys you’re sitting in between.
ROBERTO LUONGO: They’re great. They always seem like they’re even-keeled, no matter what’s going on. Good mood. Great guys to be around. It’s nice to see that demeanor in the locker room because it’s important. You don’t want guys moping around because it tends to bring other guys down.
They seem unaffected by it, which is a great way to handle it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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