From ASAP Sports/NHL:
Q. A lot of additions to this team in the off-season player-wise
or even during this season for you guys like Klein, Carcillo, Marty, has it
been difficult to assimilate new players or have you guys been able to?
BRIAN BOYLE: I don’t think it’s been too difficult. I think the
additions have been some good people. We’ve gotten guys that have helped
us that are obviously good players that fill the need, but they’re good
people. We get along so well as a team, and if there is a new face, I
think as a team from the leaders and right on down, we try to get them
acclimated as fast as possible. You feel pretty comfortable with your
surroundings it can help you maintain a level of confidence. I think for
the most part our structure and the way we play is pretty straightforward.
You’re asked to do the essential things like skating and forechecking
and being responsible defensively. Those are traits that our team likes to
carry, and we’ve had guys come in here and it’s been pretty seamless.
Q. What is the danger of looking ahead to what you can accomplish?
BRIAN BOYLE: We’ve had some — I mean, we had one game in these
playoffs where we weren’t totally focused. It was Game 4, I think, against
Pittsburgh. But you weren’t totally focused whether it be mentally or have
everything physically. It sticks out. You can tell that if you’re not
100% in the moment and focused and have all your energy on what’s the task
at hand. We were embarrassed in that game. It can happen quickly, and
momentum, obviously, can turn quickly in series and throughout games even.
Q. With all that’s gone on in this series and the back and forth
with the coaches, how have you guys been able to keep that out of the mind?
BRIAN BOYLE: It’s not hockey. It’s not on the ice. It’s something
that hopefully it’s over and done with. But if it isn’t, it doesn’t really
matter because the team that plays the best on the ice and wins the game
gets to advance, and that’s really all that matters.
Q. Are you always looking for that pass to spring a breakaway?
BRIAN BOYLE: I heard — I was yelling for Mac. We try to make small
plays like that if we can get a higher percentage play to get it down the
ice, so I was yelling for Mac. He gives it to me, and I kind of hear this
build up in the crowd. Before I could even look up I thought either a ‘D’
man fell down or we had two-on-one. I looked up and Hags was on the other
side of the rink, it looked like. So I just bared down and tried to rip
it, luckily he handled it. I was pretty surprised he was up there though.
It was a good read though obviously.
An interview with:
MARTIN ST. LOUIS
Q. Boyle was saying that you guys in the playoffs Game 4 against
Pittsburgh where you felt like you guys were in the moment or maybe not
focused at the task at hand, and he said you guys got embarrassed. Was
that a good learning tool anyway to avoid looking at it and kind of stay
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: Well, for sure. Obviously, at that point our
backs are against the wall. We had come off Game 3 where I felt we
probably played one of our better games and I think got shut out 3-0. And
the following game we weren’t very good at all.
I think Game 3 was very deflating, and you felt it in Game 4, and now
our backs are against the wall, and it’s at a time where you can’t worry
about yesterday. You can’t worry about Game 6. You’ve just got to take
care of Game 5 and get in the battle and get it going. I thought we’ve
done a good job at really staying even keel and I think it’s helped us
obviously keep moving forward.
Q. Is it hard when you’re so close to something and it’s obviously a
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: Yeah, sometimes it’s harder than others to stay
even keel. But we’ve done nothing yet, you know? We keep reminding
ourselves we understand the fourth game is the toughest one to win, and we
know we’re going to have to bring our best and more.
Q. Players go through a time when you’re playing against friends for
former teammates and stuff like that. Can you appreciate the uniqueness
that Alain and Therrien have? While they’re close friends but it’s been
kind of contentious for varying reasons in this series and maybe the
awkwardness that’s there?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I think we’re all competitors. I think I have
friends around the league and once you get in a battle, there is a sense of
pride and a sense of competitiveness in you that just wants to beat,
whether it’s your best friend, your brother. Obviously, I don’t know how
good of friends they are. I know they have similar backgrounds how they
came in the league and everything, but I know they both want the same
thing. As coaches, it’s just like players. They’re fighting for every
inch out there.
Q. Does having been in this situation that the Canadiens find
themselves in now so recently, is that in any way an advantage for you guys
when you’re on the other side?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I don’t understand the question.
Q. You guys were down 3-1, so you know what their mindset might be
like. Is there any advantage for you guys?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I don’t know if it’s an advantage for us. I think
because of sometimes you’re on, you know, the other side of the coin, so
you understand what they’re going through, how they’re thinking and how
So that’s why you can’t take anything lightly. You don’t want to
give them any hope, you know? I don’t think it’s an advantage. I think
it’s more of an understanding what we’re up against and I think it’s
helping us to try not to get the foot off the gas.
Q. Xs and Os-wise on the ice when you came to this team, did the
structure help you assimilate into a new team quickly kind of the way the
system was played or what did you find about kind of how the Rangers play
as a team?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: Yeah, I can’t say my transition was smooth by any
means. When you come to a new team, you’re trying to do the right thing
all the time, and sometimes when you’re just thinking about doing the right
thing all the time, you’re not playing with your instincts as much because
you’re trying to be in the right place. The reality is it’s really hard to
play a perfect hockey game. Hockey is a game of mistakes, and it’s how you
read the game along the way.
But for me, what was very — what stood out to me is how the Rangers
played before I got here. When I first got here the first couple weeks,
I’m like, this team plays like they’re in the playoffs right now. I’ve
played on teams before where you feel you have to turn the switch on a
little bit. Once the playoffs start, it’s a different style. There is a
switch almost that you try to turn on, and you talk about it, too, amongst
teammates. We have to raise our game or there are certain things we might
have done in the regular season, and guys, we can’t do that right now.
That wasn’t the case when I got here. I was impressed at how they played
such a playoff-style hockey game. It was very encouraging for me knowing
that once I got going this was going to be a good opportunity because this
team is built for playoff hockey.
Q. How much does being in the position that they’re in right now,
being down 3-1 and having to sort of build games, how much does that form
how you have to treat this series?
BRAD RICHARDS: Yeah, they’ll be a dangerous team. Little bit of
hope can change everything. They’re at home which helps even more. We
just did it, and we had two road games out of the three to win, and they
could possibly have two home games. So they’re going to feel comfortable
here and feel that they can win one. They probably feel like it’s going to
go 7. So it’s far from over.
Like I said, once the game starts, the 3-1 or whatever the series is
never really matters anyway, because you’re in the game. I know the
feeling. They just want to get in the game and get in the battle, and
that’s the most comfortable place they can be right now. So we’ve got to
be ready for that.
Q. Marty just said before he played here he watched you guys play,
the Rangers, and felt like the team played playoff style even in the middle
of the regular season. When do you feel like you guys got there, and why
do you think you got there?
BRAD RICHARDS: From talking with him, I think what he meant, we
didn’t give a lot to other teams for no reason. We didn’t play a
high-risk, east-west game. Where it seemed like he always watched from
afar when he was coming and talking. We didn’t beat ourselves too often
for no reason. I think going into playoffs, I’ve played on lots of teams
where you, especially if you’re on a talented team where you can have some
nights where you can rely on talent and just win on the power play or win
because you turn it on.
Although we have some talent, we’ve stayed pretty focused in what
we’ve been doing all year and playing that north-south hockey game and
trying to limit the amount of stuff where you can hurt yourself. Sometimes
teams have to switch it on in playoffs, and we’ve obviously had to do a
little bit there. But we’ve played a certain way and probably because we
had to win to get in. If we didn’t do that in the last half of the season,
we weren’t getting in.
So we had to kind of play close to the vest. I know there is a lot
of talk about A.V. being offensive and changing our game. I don’t
necessarily think he’s — he’s offensive, maybe, but we had to hammer home
details defensively or we would have never gotten into the playoffs. We
had to take care of that part of the game. That’s just the reality of how
we started the season. I think that’s what, when Marty talks about it, I
think we played that way for a long time going into the playoffs so it
Q. As players, you guys go through the whole time playing against
friends. Guys you’ve played with before. Can you appreciate on a coaching
end the close relationship that A.V. has with Therrien and their history
together, despite how contentious it’s gotten in the series and maybe the
awkwardness of that?
BRAD RICHARDS: Yeah, I don’t know much. I know the hockey world is
a small world and we’re all very fortunate to be part of it, whether it’s
coaches or players. You’ve seen players play for coaches and end up
coaching against them later in careers. You’ve seen all different types of
I just played against one of my longest friends in the Philly series.
I played with him since I was 14 years old. It’s definitely awkward, but
you both want to win. It’s weird to just kind of the — it’s the way our
sport is. I’m sure two coaches have had a past. I don’t know exactly all
of it, but I’m sure some day they’ll look back at the series and be happy
they got to take part in a great match-up Eastern Conference Final. But
right now it’s just all about winning.
Q. Is there any sense of history with this franchise and its fan
base, how long it’s been since they’ve gotten to a Stanley Cup Final and
how close you guys are to doing that?
BRAD RICHARDS: With us? I haven’t reallyâ€¦. You can feel the
difference in the city and going to the Garden now a little bit. But you
can’t get involved in that. That’s something to look back on when the
season is over or talk about it at other times. I played on a team that
won a Cup that was only in the league ten years. We didn’t have any
history to rely on. But it didn’t bother us. It was trying to win what’s
in front of you. A great part of playing with an Original Six team is the
history. But we’re trying to create our own history and moving and looking
forward, doing that. But hopefully we can add to some other great things
that have happened in New York.
Q. Do you have any update about Stepan?
COACH VIGNEAULT: He’s made the trip with us like Dan Carcillo. The
only player we’ve left behind in New York is J.T. Miller. He’s got an
upper body injury, so he won’t be with us here for the next couple of days.
Q. Is Stepan potentially available to you?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I couldn’t say right now. I have no idea.
Q. Would he need to participate in the morning skate for you to put
him in the lineup?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Yeah, that would be a minimum.
Q. Is it your understanding he’s going to have to wear a cage when
he does come back?
COACH VIGNEAULT: If he does come back, it is my understanding that
he’s going to need some facial protection without a doubt.
Q. What did you think of Derick Brassard’s performance yesterday?
COACH VIGNEAULT: He played a big, strong game. Got us a goal in the
end of the second period, and in the last minute of any period, which is
definitely a pressure point in games, start of periods, end of periods,
that was a big goal. He played some important minutes considering we were
shorthanded for the amount of time that we were. He’s not a player that we
use to kill penalties. It was good to see him back in the lineup, and
hopefully he’ll just get better. He missed a couple days there, and
hopefully he’ll just get better.
Q. There was kind of a fun shot on TV. I believe it was Hockey
Night in Canada, as you were driving into the Garden before Game 4 and
bumping into Michel and you had a bit of a laugh. Can you talk a bit about
that? Was it funny? Was it awkward?
COACH VIGNEAULT: You know what, I’d rather not say what I said at
that time. I don’t think you can print that. So we’ll just leave it at
Q. Were you thinking about mowing him down?
COACH VIGNEAULT: No, I think it’s time for hockey, and if he wants
to discuss it, it’s up to him. I’ll talk about hockey and I’ll leave it at
Q. Because one of Pouliot’s strengths is winning these puck battles
in the offensive zone, do you have to live with these mistakes because he
has to be aggressive to do that?
COACH VIGNEAULT: You know, as a coach, players bring different
elements, and Benoit plays on the edge a lot of times, and he hits a lot,
and he forechecks. Sometimes they walk that fine line, and sometimes, like
last night unfortunately his first penalty was totally accidental. His
second one I could go either way on that one in overtime there.
So you’ve got to live with that just like sometimes your more skilled
players, right before Marty scores his goal he turns it over. I mean,
you’ve got to live with one of the reasons why they’re good players is they
play on the edge and they try certain things. You can’t take those things
away from them. You just got to encourage them to do it at the right time.
I think that’s probably a better way of putting it.
Q. You went right back to him after the penalty in OT?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Some people question how smart I am doing that, I
think. That’s fine. That’s fine.
Q. Was there ever any hesitation? Is it this time of year that you
don’t kind of have time to sit a guy down and have a learning experience or
is that just generally your thought?
COACH VIGNEAULT: No, you know, I think at this time of the year I
really know players’ intentions are to do the right things. I know Benoit
wants to do real well, so you look at what he’s doing, you look at your
options, and then you come up with what you think is the right feel for
Q. Why do you think you guys have been able to assimilate new
players so well? Whether it’s from the start of the year from last season
or the Klein comes in, Carcillo comes in, St. Louis comes in?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I think we play a pretty simple game that’s easy to
understand. And the culture of coming into this organization is the right
one, and I think players understand what they have to do, and they just go
out and do it.
Q. Just ask you one more thing about Michel. When it’s all said and
done, you guys are shaking hands when the series is over and you have that
beer that you talked about, will it be awkward? I know players go through
it all the time, but it’s a unique situation.
COACH VIGNEAULT: You know, we all have friendships in life.
Sometimes friends push the limit. You know, sometimes they do things that
you’re not crazy about. But there is a reason why they’re your friends, so
relationships are about giving and taking. So right now he’s trying to do
what he thinks is right and I’m trying to do what I think is right. When
it’s all over, then we’re going to move on.
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