2011 EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Game 5 Morning Skate Transcript
May 23, 2011
COACH GUY BOUCHER
Q. Is Dwayne Roloson going to be your starting goalie tonight?
COACH BOUCHER: We’re preparing like usual. He’s preparing like he prepared for all the other games. So we’re prepared.
Q. Why will you not just say for sure whether he’s going to start or not? Is there a competitive advantage not to say, yes, he will be our starter?
COACH BOUCHER: He’s prepared. He got out. He’s done his morning skate like usual. He prepared yesterday. We had a good talk. And he knows what’s coming up.
Q. Can you give an update on Steve Downie, he appeared on the ice?
COACH BOUCHER: I’d love to update you. I need to talk to — he was doing better this morning. That’s the one update I can tell you. But before he had gone on the ice, he had done better. But I need to see how he feels right now, and they said half an hour after he’s gone off the ice, I need to go back to my therapist and see how he’s doing.
Q. So there’s a chance he could play tonight, then?
COACH BOUCHER: He’s doing better this morning. But better and ready to go, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the same thing. But at least it’s better. So there’s something positive — and Tyrell, same thing. He was sick last game. Couldn’t play much. So today — and yesterday he was much better. And today he’s fine.
So if he sits down, he’s not playing. Tyrell’s ready to go and Blair Jones will be in the lineup if he’s not. So that’s who we’re going to go with.
Q. What have you guys done, Game 3 notwithstanding, to be so effective offensively against Tim Thomas, especially when you look at the regular season? Statistically he had one of the best seasons ever by a goaltender.
COACH BOUCHER: I don’t think we were that effective against him. He shut us out. And he won the other game. So I think he’s done very well for his team. He’s a very confident goaltender. You can see from his comments yesterday. He said that they were going to win for sure, so you can see how confident he is.
And we’ve had some good moments, but we’ve had some where it didn’t pan out for us, and we’re expecting him to be at his best tonight.
So certainly not ready to say that we’ve done very well against him. If we had done very well against him, we’d be up in this series, so we haven’t.
Q. It’s the best of three series now. Obviously Boston has home ice advantage with two of those games. But you guys seem to laugh in the face of that, winning six out of seven past games on the road. What is the key to you guys doing so well on the road and carrying it through to tonight?
COACH BOUCHER: Well, I think it’s not just us. I think it’s throughout the NHL. Teams have a bit more trouble winning at home this year than previous years. And I think probably it’s the pressure of doing well in front of your fans and not wanting to disappoint, I think, is probably the focus of a lot of the players going into these games.
And you try to talk about it. You try to prepare for it. But the entire year, you tell your players that you don’t want to disappoint your fans. And then you come into the Playoffs, it’s something that you built throughout the entire year, that mentality of doing it right at home and getting everybody to perform at their best, because people pay to come and see you play.
And so when you get to the Playoffs, you still have that in mind, that you want to perform for your fans, which puts a bit more pressure. Since in the Playoffs you always have more pressure, more emotion, it’s probably a little harder to manage.
Q. We talked so much about Victor Hedman taking so many steps forward in the last little while. I was curious, the last game or so, what you’ve seen from him, if he’s kind of maintained that upward arc or maybe flattened out a little bit.
COACH BOUCHER: No, he hasn’t flattened out. What happened as a youngster, you know, he plays amazing when he doesn’t try to push the offense. When the offense comes to him, he’s playing really well. But when he’s pushing the offense, it’s not working out for him. In the first period of the last game he was trying to push it, and he created a few turnovers.
And what I liked is the fact that we didn’t sit him on the bench, and we didn’t bring him down even further. I think Dan Lacroix taking care of defense men, did a very good job with him of calming him down. And he was terrific the second and third period and he was part of the goals that we got back.
So I think in his case, the entire year, it’s about managing expectations, that when you’re drafted that high, people are expecting a lot of offense from you. And I think the type of player he is, he’s just beginning to figure out who he is in the NHL. And it’s not a run-and-gun offensive guy. It’s a guy that’s going to be able to do it all and be solid at all aspects of the game. Therefore that means consistency.
Right now he’s learning how to get consistency as a 20-year-old. And I would say the last three months of the season he was great. In the Playoffs he’s really surprised us, because I was expecting a real nervous young guy that would be difficult to manage, and hasn’t been that except for a few instances. So he’s been terrific for us.
Q. With this down to a best of three, is it hard not to get caught up in the what-ifs and trying to stay in the now and not look forward to what could happen?
COACH BOUCHER: Well, I hear best of three, but I never have that in my mind. It’s one game, it’s tonight. It’s the first five minutes of tonight. That’s how I always take it. I never get further than that.
If people are trying to get me further than that, I stop them pretty quick.
Q. When a young player comes in and has the type of impact that Tyler Seguin has, as a coach, what do you do to kind of make him make adjustments in order to kind of shut him down a little bit?
COACH BOUCHER: Well, I’ll be honest with you, we felt he’s played really well. But if you’re going to focus on him, then you’re not going to focus on the other guys, and they’re the ones that are going to get you.
So the reality is there’s too many good players on that team. They’ve got a terrific team with a lot of guys who can make the difference. So if you start focusing on one guy in particular, you’re going to focus on the wrong thing.
So we’re aware he’s got speed. And the rest, we play them like we play everybody else.
You got Krejci on the ice, if you just focus on him, Lucic is going to score and Horton is going to score. So we did the same thing with Washington. If you just focus on Ovechkin, the other guys would have done the job.
So it’s a real team thing. It’s always been our attitude. And it’s everybody’s job to play against anybody that’s in front of them. Sometimes we match, but most of the time we trust our fourth line, third line guys to do the job, and I think that’s one of the reasons why today they’re helping us offensively, too, is that they were allowed to score goals during the year, they’re allowed to think that they can get on the second and third and first line when they play better on the first and second liners.
So whether we play against Seguin that’s playing really well or other guys, it’s a team defense that we’ve played all year long. So we’re not going to change that.
Q. Blair Jones is a guy who has been in and out, mostly out. But when he does have to go in, he does seem to give you some good minutes. What’s been your take on him? What have been your expectations of him?
COACH BOUCHER: Well, when you get a guy from the American League coming up, first thing I think any coach — now I’ve figured it out as an NHLer, is that you need a guy that’s reliable. It’s not a league for development. It’s a league for performance. You’ve got to be able to perform now and start by not hurting your team. And then, second, contributing defensively and offensively after.
And in his case, the minute he came in for the first games he played with us, you can see he’s got a lot of grit. He pays the price in all areas of the game. What I liked is I can put him out there and he won’t hurt you defensively at all. As a matter of fact, he’ll block shots, be first on the puck, and do a great job on the back check sorting out who he’s got. So it gives me the freedom to put him on at any moment during the game.
So that’s a plus that a lot of youngsters don’t understand. They come up and they think gotta fill the net and they wonder why they’re sent down after.
It’s a winning league, and the players have to understand they need to be reliable first, and then they can add on the rest after, and I think he’s figured that out.
So I’m real pleased with the way he’s playing when he plays.
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2011 EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Game 5 Morning Skate Transcript
May 23, 2011
COACH CLAUDE JULIEN
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.
Q. Coach, so much has been said about Roloson getting yanked in a couple of games. And Timmy has let in just as many during some games, yet you’ve never pulled him. Have you ever thought about it? And how do you protect him more tonight?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I think the one thing we have to recognize from Tim is that when you look back at some of the games we played, whether it was in other series and other things, Montreal was a good example of that, we’re up 3-0 and two really weak goals go in on him. He stood on his head at the end of the game and helped us win those games.
So for me, I have a lot of confidence in Tim being able to bounce back from giving up bad goals. That’s why we haven’t pulled him yet. And there’s certainly some reasoning behind that.
Q. Your team, regular season and especially in the Playoffs, has had the ability to bounce back from a difficult loss. Why is that? Why do you think your team has that ability?
COACH JULIEN: I think we’re a resilient team. No doubt about that. You hear that word quite often. But we realize that we’re also a team that has given up some leads, and we need to get better in that area.
But even if we have done that, the one thing we have been able to do is bounce back. And we understand our faults and we understand where we’ve gone wrong. And the next game we try and redeem ourselves.
This team is one of those teams that has done that all year. I don’t expect any different from them going into the game tonight.
Q. When you watch a guy like Kaberle who has been up and down obviously in the Playoffs since he got here, maybe even more down than up at times, coming off a tough game, at what point do you start to think about potentially making a lineup change when you see a guy clearly struggling with his confidence like that, and are you in a position where you can make that change with Kampfer and Hnidy if you decide to go that way?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I think if you know the game well enough, you would understand that there’s some experience back there. And you gotta also think: Is that guy coming in a better player than Kaberle?
And the other thing we’ve done is some people wanted certain players out of the lineup earlier on, and our patience has paid off. And I don’t know why we decide that we should be taking him out of the lineup when there’s other players, too, that have struggled. I don’t know. We haven’t talked about that.
That’s because we have patience, that we believe in those guys. And Kaberle, last game, that second goal, maybe loses the puck, but our system calls for support on that.
And our support was but wasn’t there. So according to our system, he’s not the only one to blame.
The last winning goal, he blocks a shot, makes a great play. He’s trying to get off the ice. We turn the puck over, so do we keep blaming Kaberle?
I think people are a little hard on this guy. And I’m one of those guys that’s going to support him. I’m one of those guys that’s going to keep him in the lineup, in case you want to know. And he’s going to be a good part of our hockey team.
We got him because we believe in him, and until last game he played two really good games. So that’s how we see Kaberle.
Q. When they get their forecheck going like they did in the second period of Game 2 and change things around a little bit, what’s the best way to counter that when they want to be aggressive on their forecheck?
COACH JULIEN: The one thing, I don’t think there’s anything when they changed that puts us on our heels, because the forecheck that they’re using, it’s forechecks that we’ve faced all year, aggressive forechecks that most teams do. We have been able to handle that. So it’s not about what we need to do. It’s more about their execution. And if anything, our team has committed more mistakes I think in this series than we’re used to. And we have to cut down on those.
And I would prefer taking the responsibility on our team and saying what do we have to do better, more than look at them and what are they doing to us to cause those things.
I think it’s really about our execution, and we’ve been able to handle that in the past. So I don’t see why we can’t handle it now.
Q. When you have the puck tonight, they’re not going to give you much with speed on the rush. What do you need to do better in the neutral zone when it comes to if it’s dumps or retrievals or support, or maybe it’s just a combination of all those things?
COACH JULIEN: To me, through the last game especially was one of those games where — you know, both teams if they are at their best, they’re not going to give much in the neutral zone.
I didn’t think we spent enough time in the offensive zone like we had in previous games. We didn’t seem to be as strong in the puck. And that happened from the second period on. They just seemed to — we went in there, we didn’t do a really good job of protecting it, and then making the right decisions with it. And consequently we turned pucks over and they were back in the rush.
I think it’s more that than worrying about getting through the neutral zone. I don’t think it’s been a real issue as far as in most games. We haven’t really thought about that as being an issue more than just how much time do we want to spend in our own end. We’ve got to get it in there to start with and we’ve got to get it back and hang on to it.
Q. I know teams make adjustments throughout the course of a game, throughout the course of a series, but what kind of adjustments have you thought that Tampa has made against Tyler?
COACH JULIEN: Against? I don’t think they made any adjustments. I don’t think their game’s changed. They’re just aware when he’s on the ice. I think that’s what you do when a player does a lot of good things. You say: Listen, we’ve got to be aware when he’s out there. And it’s as simple as that.
Tyler really played well the first few games. He certainly didn’t play bad in Tampa, but he didn’t have the same impact. And that’s what happens when you’re on the road. You don’t have that last change in different situations. It’s a lot tougher for everybody.
Q. I wanted to find out if there are any lineup changes for tonight.
COACH JULIEN: I think right now I’m going to dress 23 for the warm-up, and that’s basically what it’s going to stay at for now. And if there’s changes, we’ll make them after the warm-up.
Q. And the other question is a lot of guys in the locker room after the game, and yesterday as well, they spoke a lot about losing concentration in the last 40 minutes of the game. When you start to sense that the concentration is slipping, what can the players do, what does the team need to do to kind of neutralize that?
COACH JULIEN: I think a lot of it starts before the period even starts. After the first period, it’s so important for us to stay focused and realize there’s lots of game to be played.
As you know, those first two power plays that generated nothing gave them some momentum. And when they did get the momentum and they scored a goal, it would have been really important for us to really push back and take that trend, get that momentum back, and we weren’t able to do that.
So because we weren’t able to do that, they just picked up more and more momentum, and by the time they scored a few goals, they had us on our heels. And that’s what we’ve got to be able to push back and be strong enough to understand that those are the kind of things following a goal or following a power play. Even if your power play maybe struggles, that next line out has to go out there and regain the momentum.
And that’s why you see a lot of changes in games, because a lot of things depend on shift to shift. And if you give the other team momentum and you don’t work at getting it back, it just builds for the other team, and all of a sudden, because you got a lead and they’re coming back at you.
Once you’ve lost that momentum it’s really hard to get back. So we have to make sure that if we got it, we don’t give it up that easily.
Q. You mentioned about focus and concentration. Of course, it’s been a long playoff grind, and you’re hoping to keep it going longer, too. Are you one who tries to keep his finger on how mentally sharp each of your guys is, where each person is mentally, as well as physically?
COACH JULIEN: Yeah. Well, physically it’s certainly something that you really want to do at this stage of the season. And you give your team rest, and sometimes, for example, yesterday I don’t know if it was so much about conditioning, because there wasn’t a ton of things that I think we could correct on the ice yesterday, more than we could correct in the dressing room. And at the same time, when it comes to individuals, you know, as a coach, you work with individuals every day. Every day you’re talking to individuals. And you’re trying to get certain guys back on track. And that’s what we do.
I mean, you guys don’t hear and will not hear everything that’s going on. But there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not having a one-on-one with players or a player or whatever the case may be. Could be lines, could be groups of Ds. There’s always something going on. And that’s on a daily basis.
Q. You mentioned earlier about Kampfer. He skated in the warm-up for the first time. He did that with Tyler earlier before he played in the first two series. How much is it the rookie who hasn’t been in the Playoffs before, even if he doesn’t play, just being around and being part of that preparation, how much does that help a guy like that?
COACH JULIEN: I think when you’re not playing, I think that’s the best thing you can do for a young player is give him that opportunity to be in the dressing room and the surroundings and, like I said before, you look at how players prepare. You look at the feeling out there in the warm-up.
It’s a lot different than the regular season. Obviously, there’s more at stake, and guys are obviously really focused for these kind of games. And I think for a young guy to experience that really helps. And when he’s called upon to come out and play for his first game, at least he’s got something under his belt. It’s a lot better than saying: By the way, you’re playing tonight, you’re going to be in the warm-up. And all of a sudden, he’s never experienced anything. I think was good for Tyler and hopefully it will be good for Kampfer as well.
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