An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Julien.
Q. Obviously replacing Horton is a team effort. Do you expect or need the fourth line to do more offensively or is the energy still the primary focus for them?
COACH JULIEN: I think our fourth line did a great job last game. Again, I think it’s going to take more than the fourth line. It’s going to take everybody to play well again, not just because Nathan is out of our lineup, but that’s what it’s going to take to beat this team. We’ve known that from the start.
Didn’t think we had that full team effort in the first couple of games. Last game was a little bit better. We need to continue with that trend.
Q. Talk about the impact of Paille and Campbell on the penalty kill.
COACH JULIEN: They’ve been good. We’ve liked them there since the start of the year. Been great penalty killers. When Dan is skating, he does a really good job pressuring the D’s and makes it hard for them to break out cleanly. Certainly his speed is great. Turnovers and scoring opportunities, as well.
Gregory has been a great penalty killer because he’s willing to block shots. You get a second and third effort from him all the time.
Those guys have been really good for us. Whenever they didn’t get an opportunity to play much as a fourth line, you could certainly rely on them heavily to help you out through the penalty kill.
Q. Might you be able to share some insight on how you’re going to fill Horton’s spot?
COACH JULIEN: I may not (smiling).
Q. Do you get the sense a lot of the shenanigans are over, the finger biting, the extracurricular stuff, this series becomes more about hockey going into tonight?
COACH JULIEN: Yeah, it’s unfortunate. Like I said, I said it the other morning, I was one of those guys that voiced my opinion that I wouldn’t accept it. Certainly didn’t share that with my team. Consequently, we were responsible for a couple of those.
Obviously it was clear after the game what I expected from our guys. Certainly not a guy that encourages that kind of stuff.
I think there’s been some pretty exciting hockey, when you look at the physicality of the game, the goals that have been scored, how both teams are just putting everything on the line. I think we need to focus more on that than the other stuff that’s been making headlines there. I don’t think we need that in our sport.
Mike Murphy was absolutely right in sending us that message to both teams. We need to sell this game in a proper way. The hockey itself is exciting enough without needing that.
Q. Brad Marchand, what is it about his play that makes him so successful at scoring shorthanded goals? Coming off his rookie season, what were your expectations in his first playoffs?
COACH JULIEN: First of all, he’s always been an energy player, a good skater. Unfortunately, he’s been looked upon here in this league more as a pest, stirring things up. What people don’t know about Brad is he’s got really good skills. He’s got a great release, good shot, good speed. He’s very capable of playing a good game. Sometimes that gets overshadowed in certain games where he lets the other part of his game take over.
Whenever he’s really focused on his game, which he was in the last game, those kind of things start coming out. You see how good a player he can be.
Our expectations for him, he was going to be a good energy player for our hockey club. We kind of pegged him at first to be a fourth-line guy. He certainly made that fourth line a really good line.
I mentioned this before at the end of last year when he was with us but didn’t play, he told me he would score 20 goals for us this coming year. He kept his promise. He scored 21, I think. There’s a guy who believes in himself and had high expectations. I’m going to stand here saying I wasn’t sure that I believed he was going to score 20 goals for us.
Even to a point, I think halfway through the year, he had maybe only six goals here or something. I told him he had a lot of making up to do. He just smiled at me, went out there and scored 21.
Certainly deserving of that kind of stuff. As I mentioned, he’s a much better player than people see him as because some things overshadow his ability to play the game at the high level.
Q. I remember back in the Montréal series you said it took your team two games to get used to the pace and tempo that the Canadiens presented. Is that the same case here against Vancouver?
COACH JULIEN: Well, we played with more energy. You’re right. I don’t know if it was us kind of getting used to who we were playing. As I mentioned, I thought it wasn’t a type of game that our team is used to playing in those first two games in Vancouver. Not so much that we were really bad, but it’s more about, as I mentioned, we were turning pucks over. We weren’t playing to our strength. I think that kind of took away what you saw here the other night.
Now we’re starting to, I guess, realize that our game plan and what we’ve done all year can be successful against this team. We just got to keep going with that same focus and bring it back to the table again tonight.
Q. Claude, will Nathan Horton be around the team tonight, in the dressing room?
COACH JULIEN: I don’t know. Again, he’s obviously had a severe concussion. Most of the time we let those guys stay back, get their rest, get better before we even allow them to come to the rink.
I can’t answer that because I don’t have the answer. As you know, being around a bunch of people is not the best thing for someone suffering with a concussion.
Q. When you lose a key player like that, how do you walk the line between wanting your team to move on and not dwell on it, and keeping him part of the story and part of the team? Would you rather win one for Horton or just remove that whole element?
COACH JULIEN: No, I think it was pretty clear after last game that famous jacket that they’ve been giving out between wins, players decided to leave it in his stall. Number one, he’s not forgotten.
On the other hand, I don’t think you have to focus on what’s happened more than what needs to happen here in this next game. We desperately need a win to get ourselves back in this series. That’s where our focus is. It’s certainly not going to be about looking for revenge. Justice has been served, so there’s no other reason to look for more.
I think we just have to go out there, and if we really want to make Nathan happy, we know what we have to do to make him happy, and that’s to win the Stanley Cup.
Q. How was the ice this morning? Is there any concern about it as far as tonight because of the temperatures?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I know I was flying. I don’t know if you guys noticed (laughter). For my standards anyway.
It looked really good. It was very good. They made some adjustments to this building. I think it’s been some great adjustments. To me the ice looked really good. I think the guys were pretty pleased with it last game as well.
Q. Aside from the mayhem, you did get your physicality on their defensemen, you did get your licks in, the turnovers, what you wanted. You said puck management was the key to that. Do you feel that’s how it was created? Do you feel like you have that part of your game solved?
COACH JULIEN: I think we did. When you asked me that question the other day, I said puck management is to put pucks in areas where you can establish your forecheck or get it back. I thought our guys did a better job of that.
Q. I know in the first couple rounds you used warmups, let Tyler be around the team. You have Jordan Caron. Talk about what you’re looking to get out of him being now with the main group?
COACH JULIEN: A lot of the same thing that I think the other guys did. He’s going to do the warmup tonight as well. You never know what can happen over the course of a day. A player can get sick; something can happen.
We are playing it safe. We put 23 guys out there. Obviously we make those decisions after warmup as long as everybody is ready to go. I think people have a pretty good idea that Tyler will be back in the lineup. If you didn’t, you know now.
Jordan has an opportunity to live that same experience that we’ve been giving him. And Kampfer, a young player that we feel is a big part of our organization.
Besides the game, you look at ways to help your young players grow. I think that’s one of the ways, as well.
Q. Based on the way the series has gone so far, are you concerned at all about the tight officiating tonight taking away from your successful style of being physical?
COACH JULIEN: No, I don’t think so. Look at the hits. They’ve been pretty even both sides. Both teams have been hitting. At the end of the game, those stats are pretty similar. I don’t see an issue there. They got what they consider the best referees for the finals. Those guys have a lot of experience. They can deal with that.
I think as much as it’s exciting for people to watch these kind of games that have more or less a clean, physical aspect to it, I think if we’re trying to sell the game as an exciting game, you have to let those things happen.
They’re no different. They’ve done a great job. We’re down 2-1. I have no complaints about the referees. If we’re down 2-1, I’m looking at our team, what we didn’t do right more than the referees. I don’t think they had any impact on any of the outcomes of the game.
I expect it to continue that way.
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