Did you see this big news about Phil Esposito? I’m just the messenger.
An interview with:
MICHAEL RYDER, MILAN LUCIC, DAVID KREJCI
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Guys, talk to what Andrew Ference meant to this team as far as leadership and stability back there and the things he brings to the game?
MILAN LUCIC: He’s been great, he’s a great team guy, he is a lot of fun. Since I’ve been here and since he’s been here I think this is the first year that he’s been healthy and it’s shown how effective he can be as a player. When he is healthy, he’s been a big part of our team, really, since the start of the year.
MICHAEL RYDER: At first when I got here, I didn’t know Andy that much, and I got to know him, and like Milan said, he’s been through injuries and stuff like that, and it’s been tough. This year he’s been one of our key players to our team, and in the playoffs, he’s really stepped up, playing a physical part. Even though he’s not the biggest guy out there, he plays hard and gets in players’ faces and seems to make the right play all the time. He’s one of the reasons why we’re here.
Q. Milan, the importance of scoring first in this hockey game tonight, seems like obviously Game 1 doesn’t matter because Torres scored late, but whoever scores first seems to be able to dictate the pace that they want in a hockey game?
MILAN LUCIC: A lot of people talk about the “come back” year it’s been in the playoffs, because a lot of teams have come back. But in this series, the first goal has been huge and it seems like it’s been a big one, especially like you said, forgetting that first goal in Game 1, and also in Game 2.
For us, getting the first goals back home, you know, we’ve been able to gain momentum off it and so have they.
I think, you know, our record speaks for itself and when we score the first goal. I’m not sure what their record is, but I’m sure it’s good, too, when they score the first goal. So it’s going to be key definitely tonight. Whoever is more prepared and ready to play is going to get that first one.
Q. Brad Marchand has been quite a factor in this series, and he has agitating skills and scoring. I know you get to play against him in practice, but what do you think it would be like to play against him?
MILAN LUCIC: I played against him in the Memorial Cup in 2006, and it was the same thing, wanted to kill him. He’s always been a big game player and a big team player. I think that’s why, as a teammate of his, you appreciate having him on your team because no matter what, you know, he does what he does. But he’s always got his teammates’ back and I think that’s why we appreciate him on this team.
Q. Milan, how do you think you will be received tonight by the hometown crowd?
MILAN LUCIC: Obviously it’s a big game. We talked about Game 3 and Game 4 being big games for us and as the series goes along, every game gets bigger and bigger. You know, you can’t control what the fans do or what they say or how they cheer. We just know that they’re going to be loud. We just want to focus on ourselves and what we need to do in order to play our game and be successful.
Q. Brad Marchand has called himself “rat,” has given himself that nickname. Do you guys have a nickname for Brad?
DAVID KREJCI: Next question please! (Laughter.)
Q. Michael, and Luc, talk about the balance maybe of the emotional energy versus the tactical approach to tonight. What weighs on your minds more, what you feel is maybe more important at this stage in the game.
MICHAEL RYDER: Well, you know, it’s definitely going to be emotional out there, you know. When we show a lot of emotion in our game, we play well, but we have to keep it under control.
Tonight the fans are going to be behind the Canucks and they’re going to be loud. I think they’re going to come out hard and try and set the pace early. For us we can’t panic. We have to keep everything intact and do what we do in Boston. And even though our fans aren’t going to be behind us, it’s the matter of us having that same mind frame and playing our game and not getting off track.
MILAN LUCIC: We talk about it a lot, especially against this team. I know you guys as media have been giving them a hard time about their power play, but it still is a weapon for them and we don’t want to get ourselves in trouble by taking too much penalties.
Q. The forechecking game and the puck support established especially in that fourth game, how critical was that to helping you guys establish your game?
MILAN LUCIC: It’s a big part of our success. It’s been a big part of our success, not just this year, but in previous years. We got to be smart with our forecheck, we’ve got to be able to execute our forecheck, and it all starts with good defense and good breakouts. Because you’ve got to be able to get out of your own zone in order to be able to play in the offensive zone.
Q. Luongo has struggled. Are you going to try to pepper him with extra pucks and maybe give up the extra pass?
DAVID KREJCI: Obviously we want to score the first goal and we don’t want to pass up any shots, so if we get a shot, we got to take it.
Q. Milan, a lot was made before the series about you coming home and dealing with that. Now that you’ve done it and coming back, have you had any obstacles that you’ve had to overcome?
MILAN LUCIC: It’s gotten easier more and more you come back. Obviously, when you come back, everyone wants to see you and come to the game and whatnot. It’s funny, I only had to get one ticket for tonight, and that’s sort of nice. For myself, you know, just emotionally, like I talked about, it gets easier to play at home the more and more you’re able to play here.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports