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May 24, 2016

Peter DeBoer

San Jose, California: Practice Day

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach DeBoer.

Q. What are your priorities for Game 6?
COACH DeBOER: Win, finish them off. I think it's a great opportunity. We worked hard for the opportunity. We want to make sure we take advantage of it.

Q. Can you speak to the guys who have been with the Sharks their whole career, how bad they want it for themselves, but also to have gone through everything they've gone through to finally get there.
COACH DeBOER: Well, we're not there yet. You can definitely see they can see the finish line. It's at least in sight. A month ago it wasn't.
Those guys have cranked all their games up, every one of those guys, to another level.
It's such a hard trophy to win, it's such a hard league to advance, even as far as we are right now. History's shown that. It's rare air you're breathing. I think these guys more than anybody recognize that and they want to take advantage of that.

Q. Is there anything you can do as coach to make sure they stay in the moment and not start thinking about the next round?
COACH DeBOER: You know what, these guys are experienced guys. They've had all kinds of experiences over the years here, despite not getting to a Stanley Cup. They know. They know to stay in the moment. They're a battle‑hardened group. They understand that.

Q. This team has been good for a long time. What was your view of the team? How did that change once you got behind the curtain?
COACH DeBOER: I mean, I think for the last decade, when you're talking about the best teams in the league, they're always in that conversation. Why it didn't get done in the playoffs, I don't know. I never looked that deeply into them because I was worried about the team I was coaching, and most of it was in the Eastern Conference.
I can tell you that with the type of leadership, with the type of people we have here, it wouldn't have surprised me if this group had won two or three over the last 10 years. They've had great coaching. Who knows why. It's a hard trophy to win. You got to have a lot of things go right.

Q. (Question regarding Joe Pavelski.)
COACH DeBOER: Just like the rest of our group, he's honest, and he loves the game. They enjoy being around each other. They enjoy being around the rink. They like to practice. They love to compete and play.
I know all that sounds like that should be the norm at the NHL level, but it's not. I think he's a special athlete and he's been a great captain for us this year.

Q. How challenging is it to treat it like business as usual?
COACH DeBOER: Well, we're not anywhere near where we want to get to yet. I mean, that's a long way away. This is just another step for us. So it is business as usual. This is finishing off a very good team, trying to finish off a very good team, and take another step towards where we want to get to.

Q. Do you remember what it was like the first time you were in this position and can you draw on that experience?
COACH DeBOER: I do. I mean, we won Game 6 against the New York Rangers in overtime to advance. Again, it's a whirlwind of emotions at that point.
But you can't forget, there's still other steps. They're not awarding the Stanley Cup here tomorrow night or on Thursday or Friday if it takes that long to go back to St.Louis. This is just another step for us.

Q. They're changing goaltenders again. Any effect on you guys?
COACH DeBOER: We've seen them both. They made multiple lineup changes through the series. That doesn't play any role on us and what we're doing.

Q. Any lineup changes you think Hitch should look at?
COACH DeBOER: (Laughter).

Q. Pete, when you're facing a team that has a guy in Tarasenko, a 40‑goal‑scorer, who starts to press, do you see any difference in how he approaches when he hits a drought?
COACH DeBOER: No, I mean, all I can speak about is your own players, when they're going through droughts.
They're tough. I mean, it's a hard league to score in. It's a hard league to score consistently in. Those guys get a lot of special attention.
I think what's lost a little when they're talking about Tarasenko is Marc‑Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun are pretty good defensemen, so are Brent Burns and Paul Martin. Those guys get a lot of extra attention.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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