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June 12, 2015

Joel Quenneville

TAMPA, FLORIDA: Practice Day

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for coach.

Q.  Players go through so much to get to this point, so many games.  Some are playing with bumps and bruises.  Others with worse.  Is it almost a mental thing sometimes for these guys to will their way through these situations at this juncture?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Yeah, I think there's definitely some swings and there's some good days or some bad days.  There's some days you can tell going into the game, might not have as much energy as you do other nights.  Some days in practice, we look like, okay, we're not up to that pace.
But some days you feel great and your team looks like they feel great and they play well.  Sometimes it can be a little bit unpredictable as well.
Certainly it's a grind.  It's a challenge.  It's why they say it's the hardest trophy in the world to win because it's so demanding.  That's why you got to commend the players, the way they prepare and the way they push each other, as well.
These guys find ways.  It's a fun bunch to coach.

Q.  No Bishop in practice today for Tampa.  Cooper said it was all part of the plan to rest him.  Is that what you expected, to face a healthier goaltender after some days off?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Tough to forecast that.  We'll see what happens.  I know that we expected him to play last game.  We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q.  Coach, when you have a guy like Patrick Kane, who has done so much, scored Stanley Cup‑winning goals, has more points than games played in the post‑season, is he the least of your worries if you go through four games and he hasn't scored yet?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  He's had a couple good looks last game.  He's had chances in all games.
I think, you know, when your top guys go through stretches they don't score, I still think they absorb the other team's coverage issues, whether it's their top guys, top defensive guys.  Eventually they're going to get their turns.
I think he goes through stretches where he doesn't produce, but he does a lot of other things that are healthy for our team game.  All of a sudden, you know, he hits the scoreboard and then it's tough to keep him off it.

Q.  Coach, I know this isn't necessarily your area of responsibility on the bench.  It seems like the way that you use your defensemen, it would be difficult to sort of manage the way they go out and manage who has been on and off.  Could you speak to how difficult that might be or how you have been able to keep guys somewhat fresh even though they're being put out so often.
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Well, I think Kitch changes the D.  A lot has been talked about and made about ice time, how do they handle it with five‑ and six‑period games.  These guys are accustomed to playing a lot of minutes.  You'll see the top defensemen in the league, their minutes are in the 20s, sometimes high 20s.
Every game is different.  You're playing to win that game.  I think the score, the way the game's being played out dictates the quantity or quality of ice time they absorb.
But, you know, they're well‑conditioned.  They're competitive guys.  They want to be on the ice.  I feel the more defensemen play, your game's more productive or effective.
I just think, you know, whether it's matchups or trying to get offensive guys or defensive guys up the back end is something that is part of it.  But at the end of the day, you know, a lot of those guys, they know they're going out there almost every other shift.

Q.  Joel, it seemed like Sharp was involved more offensively.  We've seen that Sharp‑Toews‑Hossa line be effective, last year mostly.  Was there anything about getting him more involved?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  I think with him having that familiarity and the success they had last year was part of that.  We're looking for balance in our lines.  We're looking to get some production across the board, with Saader getting a chance to be with Kaner was part of that as well, because we didn't mind the way Johnny and Saader were going together.
I just think having a little bit more balance in our lines was the motivation.  I thought Sharpie did a real good job, and that line was dangerous.

Q.  The penalty kill throughout the playoffs has been kind of up and down.  This series has been all up.  How much has that kept you in this series?  Why has that changed, do you think?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Every series has been different.  We didn't mind the way we killed in all the rounds to date.  The efficiency didn't show that in a couple of rounds.  A couple of goals that you could explain the score and things like that.
But I think when the games have been on the line, we haven't given up the timely power‑play goal against.  The penalty killers have done a good job of being aware of the details and what our opponents are up against.
They try a lot of things.  It's a great power play.  Let's stay out of the box first and foremost to make it effective.  But you give them three or four in a game right now, it's going to be a tough night for you.

Q.  Joel, coaching fraternity is very tight.  In the past, or in the Final, some coaches like to pick the brains of their buddies, other coaches, during a series to see if they can glean any insight.  Have you done that?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  We talk to a bunch of different guys in the business.  Some guys you're closer to and if they're watching you might ask them for their advice.  There's a few guys we talk to.

Q.  Joel, don't want to overstate the importance of any one player.  But Jonathan Toews has a reputation of being kind of a difference‑maker in these situations.  As a coach, what kind of advantage do you feel you have with him kind of on your side in this situation?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Well, I don't forecast advantages.  I know we're fortunate to have him.  He's a special player.  He's a great leader.  He's got tremendous character.  We always talk about the bigger the setting, the bigger the stage, he rises to that challenge.  Our team rises to big games and big settings as well.
We like the way we progress in series.  We need to be better in this series.  We're expecting our team to be better going into tomorrow's game.  We got our captain who generally and always does lead the charge.

Q.  Joel, when you guys played Philadelphia and Boston, it seemed like the between‑games conversation was more about matchups and players, strategy.  This time it seems like it's more about the grind.  Does this seem like a tougher grind this time around to you?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  No.  It's been challenging.  I think both teams coming off seven‑game series to get here has been part of that.  2‑2 in the series, in all four games one goal throughout the whole game, all tight games.
It's the Finals.  You think back from the start of the year, where we're at today.  But now today the guys were excited.  They don't have to have any more practices the rest of the year on non‑game days, so let's go (laughter).
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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