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NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: LIGHTNING v RANGERS


May 15, 2015


Ben Bishop

Brian Boyle

Steven Stamkos


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Practice Day

Q.テつ Steve, for you, you've faced former teammates and former friends before.テつ How much different is this one with everything you went through with Marty and his mentorship and the friendship you've forged over the years?
STEVEN STAMKOS:テつ I don't think it's really that different.テつ I think when it first happens and you first play them the first time and there is still some emotions.テつ And Marty's first game back in Tampa, I think we're all over that, to be honest.
I know you guys are going to be talking about the story lines, but for us we've kind of turned the page.テつ Me too.テつ Obviously, I still talk to Marty throughout the year, but definitely not as much as when you're teammates and you're seeing each other every day.テつ You obviously watch each other a little more carefully throughout the year and throughout the playoffs.
At this time of the year we're focused on our group.テつ I'm focused on what I have to do.テつ To be honest, it's another series.テつ It's something that these are the moments you obviously want to be in.テつ Whoever is on the other side, I think once that puck drops, I think Marty said it this morning too, it's another team that you have to go out there and try to beat to get your ultimate goal to get into the final.

Q.テつ On that same note, have you spoken to Marty going into this series or do you plan on it?テつ Can you go back?テつ You talked about early on what he meant to your career.テつ Can you just repeat what it was like?
STEVEN STAMKOS:テつ Yeah, Marty was great.テつ He was a guy that took me under his wing since I was 18 years old.テつ We got a chance to play with each other throughout probably just over halfway through my rookie year.テつ Things obviously went very well.テつ He's the ultimate competitor, the ultimate professional.テつ I mean, you could go on and on with how well he conducts himself.テつ It was a perfect situation for me to come in and have a guy like him and have a guy like Vinny there.テつ So I've learned so much about him, not only on the ice, but the correlation between work ethic and the great players in this game and how much you have to sacrifice.テつ Just watching him every day and practicing with him, he's definitely helped me become the leader and the player I am today.
We definitely try to keep in contact throughout the year.テつ Like I said, not as much, but he sent me a text after we won Game 6, just saying, "Great game."テつ I said, "Thanks.テつ Hopefully we see you in Game 1 of the Conference Finals."
So it's always great to see your friends, and obviously he's a special one, do well.テつ And you want them to do well until you play them.テつ Then you obviously want to come out on top, and your team wants to come out on top.テつ I think if you ask both of us, that is the same answer.

Q.テつ Brian, what you guys went through with this team last year and being back here, is it going to be a strange feeling?テつ I know you've played here already, but you know things are different around here in the springtime.
BRIAN BOYLE:テつ It gets a little louder during the playoffs in this building.テつ That can be said for every building.テつ It's different.テつ Fond memories of being in the playoff runs that we've had and experiences for me that have helped me along the way and I think made me a better player.
So, I appreciate everything that New York has done for me, but now as you move on and you realize, you know, I realize that I'm getting older, and I'm on a great team that's one of the Final Four teams in the league right now.テつ It's really exciting.テつ It doesn't need a whole lot more excitement for me because we're playing the Rangers.テつ We're in the Conference Finals now.テつ And I think focusing on maybe just Game 1 and maybe that first shift will help me along the way to not get too excited.
But this is a unique thing.テつ It's like Stammers said, and I'm sure others have the story lines, there are a lot of those.テつ There are plenty of those, and it's certainly interesting how it's all kind of unfolded.テつ But I really didn't expect anything else to be honest with you.

Q.テつ Ben, this is for you.テつ You've been in two series so far in your playoff history in your career.テつ I asked this of Coach.テつ I wanted to get your answers.テつ Do you feel at all that you're maybe being slighted a little bit in these series?テつ Because with Mrazek, they talked about how hot he was and you beat him, and you just beat Price.テつ Now you have Lundqvist, and here you are battling this.テつ Do you think about that and say, hmm, I'm the one that's coming out winning and we're talking about the others?
BEN BISHOP:テつ No, that doesn't bother me at all.テつ At this time of the year every goalie you play is going to be a great goalie.テつ So I don't try to think about that or watch and look at the headlines.テつ So this time of year, every goalie you play is going to be really good.

Q.テつ Steven, (Indiscernible) a couple games ago.テつ How is that, how was that experience?テつ Has that freed you up at all?
STEVEN STAMKOS:テつ Yeah, I mean, it's worked well the two games that we've done it.テつ You know, sometimes it's just a little change.テつ Some things aren't going well, and you want to try some different combination playing on the wing.テつ It's definitely a little different.テつ Your responsibility is maybe as great as playing center.テつ For me, I felt like my legs have been a little better.テつ Got some pucks in space coming down the wing, being able to get some shots.テつ I know that was a factor for a couple of games not being able to generate much.テつ Playing with a guy like Fil, obviously, he's a distributor, so I know he's trying to get me the puck in those situations.テつ So it's worked out well so far and we'll see how it goes.
But definitely in my opinion have been able to get more quality chances and been able to use my speed down the wing a little more and get some more pucks on that.テつ So it's been a good change.

Q.テつ Whoever wants to answer, 1 p.m. start.テつ Does that change anything?テつ Is it okay?テつ Do you not have to sit around all day and wait?テつ Or would you like to have a regular routine?
STEVEN STAMKOS:テつ I enjoy them, personally.テつ Not much time to think.テつ You get up, you have something to eat, you go to the rink and get ready to play.テつ I've always enjoyed playing that.テつ After this it's going from one extreme to the other with 8:00 o'clock starts during the rest, so I like the 1 p.m.
I think for us it was nice to get here yesterday, relax, have a day off, have a little skate in Tampa.テつ Come here today and have a crisp practice like we did before Game 6, and then that's it.テつ We'll be together tonight and get ready to go tomorrow.

Q.テつ Brian, you know these guys as well as anybody does in this group.テつ Just what will be the challenges and the style that they play especially this time of year?
BRIAN BOYLE:テつ Well, I think they have a reputation now of being a hard team to play against.テつ They're a fast team.テつ They defend well.テつ Obviously, they're in close games with their 14 in a row one‑goal games.テつ It's obviously a really good team, and I think everybody's seen them play.テつ Obviously we had the run last year and a lot of the same guys.
We've got a lot of respect for them as a team.テつ They're well‑coached.テつ They play with a lot of structure.テつ They've got guys that can score, and they can all defend.テつ Obviously, Hank in net.テつ It's a challenge right up and down. テつIt's something that with the four remaining teams I think you could say it about all of us.テつ So individual guys, yeah, we talk about them as a team, certain tendencies maybe, but there are not a whole lot of secrets right now at this point especially.

Q.テつ Steven, a lot was made about you not scoring goals early on.テつ Did it change your confidence or anything?テつ Or as a goal scorer, do you just go through that during the course of the year?
STEVEN STAMKOS:テつ Yeah, you try to minimize those stretches.テつ It does get a little frustrating, and then you're answering the questions every day about it, and it's tough not to think about it.テつ As much as you want to say the right things and do the right things, I think that stretch is a little more magnified because of when it happened in the playoffs.
But for me, I think I did my best of just trying to contribute in other ways, knowing that you don't cheat the game.テつ Things are going to continue to get better and hopefully change.テつ Obviously, scoring that goal you can see by my excitement and probably relief that it was not only a big goal for us as a team but for me personally to get over that hump.
You know you talk about streaks and when things aren't going well you just want to get that one, and then hopefully you can feel a little better and then you do.テつ I think if you ask any player if you score a goal early or something good happens early in the game or you have a big save early in the game, you feel like your legs are there a little more and you have more confidence with the puck, and that's certainly been the case.
But I really don't think I've changed the way I've played.テつ I think I stuck with it and getting rewarded for it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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