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May 23, 2016

Peter DeBoer

St. Louis, Missouri: Game Five

THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.

Q. What is it about this group that's allowed them to put games like Game4 behind them so quickly?
COACH DeBOER: I think there's an honesty about the group, a maturity. We were talking today. Very rarely are we not on the same page in our analysis of how we played. So I think that's a first step always, is recognizing what you can do better.
They're real good at getting themselves back on track, getting back to our game. I think that's knowing what your identity is, what your good game looks like. I think we know that. I'm sure we'll bring it tonight.

Q. I know you had Zubrus in New Jersey. When you brought him out, was it just a flyer or were you pretty confident he could still play and still help your team?
COACH DeBOER: Well, I can't take all the credit because he was here first. It was a situation where we didn't have a spot for him early. We were looking at our young guys. He came to St.Louis, it didn't work out. The timing of it coincided with I think some injuries, and the fact maybe we decided we could use some veteran leadership.
What I did know about him is he keeps himself in great shape. He understands his role. He's a big body guy that plays a heavy game, which is invaluable this time of year.
Did I know that he'd be able to do what he's doing now at 38? That was a question mark. But those other things I knew, and it was worth the chance. Thankfully Doug did that.

Q. Obviously you faced a pivotal Game5 against Nashville, came out and played really well. Are you getting the same sense today as you did before that game?
COACH DeBOER: Yeah, our group, I have the same sense I did Game5 against L.A. We played a great game. When we've been pushed backwards, we've responded. That's been all year.
I'm real confident in our group's response.

Q. From what we could see, seems like they made a lot of changes the last game. As a coach, do you have to look into that as far as a lot of film work, dissect what they did, make some changes of your own, or is it throw your guys out there, beat them one‑on‑one?
COACH DeBOER: We spend most of our time on our game. If our game's in a good spot, I don't care what they do.

Q. Pete, I think people understand what you mean when you say you know what your game looks like. What people have a hard time understanding is why that gets off track. I know it's a hard game to play. Why can't it change during a game or quicker?
COACH DeBOER: It's human nature. Have you had any bad days? Really. We play almost a hundred games. You're asked to push your body to limits. You're asked to push your emotional level to limits beyond what is normal. Sometimes you don't get there. It's just human nature.
I think everybody goes through it. The teams that win are the teams that can fix it quickly and/or go through it less than other teams. I think that's maturity, knowing your body. I don't have it tonight, I have to play a little bit smarter. That's pro sports, that's not just hockey.

Q. Coach, looking at zone starts and thinking about Jake Allen, the way he plays the puck much better than Elliott, is that something that tactically you are thinking about tonight, to try to keep pucks away from him? What are you thinking about with the goaltender?
COACH DeBOER: We're familiar with that. Quick, Rinne, those guys are quick puck handlers. This is no different than what we've dealt with. It's not a huge change for us.
Obviously putting the puck in the right place to forecheck is always critical. It's a little more critical when the guy can handle the puck a little bit. But it doesn't change a whole lot for us.

Q. Is it easier to move past a game like Game4 than, say, a triple overtime loss against Nashville?
COACH DeBOER: Yeah, I think so. You're probably right. I think you walk out of that rink, you're probably better losing like we did than losing a close game, a 2‑1 game. There was no doubt you weren't good enough. It was very clear on the scoreboard and on the ice.
Message sent. Our guys will get that fixed.

Q. Speaking of players you had before, what is it like to see the evolution of Jay Bouwmeester's game?
COACH DeBOER: Bo was a real good player for me in Florida. He was our best defenseman. At that time I think that season he had high teens for goals, 40, 50 points.
I think there's offense to his game that maybe hasn't been as consistent, surprising to me. I think it's there. I don't know why it hasn't come out. The guy I had was a dominant defenseman. I enjoyed coaching him, yeah.

Q. Pete, the Blues are saying Backes and Fabbri are game‑time decisions. Do you prepare as if they will play? Did you notice a difference when they both weren't in the game late in the third period on Saturday?
COACH DeBOER: No change for us. Like I said, we're worried about our game. Who they roll out there or what they're doing makes no difference to our preparation.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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