NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE MEDIA CONFERENCE
April 19, 2006
DAVID KEON: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm David Keon with the National Hockey League's public relations department. I'd like to welcome you to the seventh of eight conference calls being conducted this afternoon as we prepare for the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
On this call we are featuring Series F between the Colorado Avalanche and the Dallas Stars. The two teams will open their series on Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas at 3 p.m. eastern time on NBC.
With us we have Colorado captain Joe Sakic, who finished the season with 32 goals and 55 assists for 87 points in 82 games. From the Stars we have captain Mike Modano who scored 27 goals and 50 assists for 77 points in 78 games this season.
Thanks to Joe and Mike for joining us today. Operator, we'll open it up for questions.
Q. Mike, two years ago you faced the Av's in the first round. You were the underdogs. What is different about your team now compared to two years ago when you are now the second seed in the Western Conference?
MIKE MODANO: Well, I just think a lot of personnel changes. I think both teams have gone through a lot of changes since we last played each other, obviously, as good players move on to other teams.
I think with us, we've been in a building process. We've had a lot of new faces over the last three or four years. I think those guys are feeling comfortable here, feeling that they're contributing, being a big factor in our success.
And just being consistent. I think a couple years ago we were up and down quite a bit throughout the season. This season we've been fairly consistent for the most part and put ourselves in the position we are now.
Q. We're not used to seeing the Avalanche with a seven seed beside their name. What do you think the difference is from this year to past years?
JOE SAKIC: Obviously, like Mike said with his team, a lot of player changes. We've definitely had a turnover here. But you look at the conference, when you see Dallas and Detroit kind of get away from everybody else. But it was so tight in our division, it was a battle every night. It was really exciting right through to the end.
I just think there's more parity. Obviously with the CBA there's a lot more parity. A lot of teams have a lot of different faces. That's pretty obvious on the changes.
Q. Joe, does that series two years ago seem like ancient history to you guys? Is there anything instructive you can take from that or have there been too many changes to look back on the series and get anything out of it?
JOE SAKIC: Well, to be honest with you, I think you could throw everything out the window that's happened in the past. We had a year off. Obviously, different faces on all the different teams. More importantly, the rule changes. The game's different now.
Going into this year is new territory for everybody. The game was unbelievable this year. It was a lot more exciting. The playoffs should be the same.
Q. The fact that the Stars comparatively have the same core of guys, is that a good or bad thing for Colorado?
JOE SAKIC: For us, they've just had a tremendous year. Dallas has a great hockey club. You look up and down the lineup, very balanced. Obviously, when you have Marty in the net, you know you're going to get great goaltending.
For us, obviously we got a few days of preparation. We know how good they are. We know for us to beat them, we have to be on our A game and not really make any mistakes.
DAVID KEON: Thanks very much, guys. Good luck in the playoffs.
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