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May 25, 2016

Peter DeBoer

San Jose, California: Game Six

San Jose – 5
St. Louis ‑ 2


Q. Your team's ability to close this out, felt almost like a Game 7 for your group. Where does that come from?
COACH DeBOER: Well, first off, hats off to St.Louis and the fight they put up and how hard they made us work for this series. I mean, I know I joked that Hitch and I went back and forth about adjustments and things. But he made us work for everything we got this series.
Their team played right till the buzzer tonight. They have an exceptional season considering the injuries and stuff they had. Hats off to them.
As far as our group, yeah, we didn't want to go to Game 7. I think we recognized how dangerous a team they are. I think history has proven that you want to finish these series as quickly as possible, get as much rest as possible.
I think mission accomplished.

Q. Joel Ward mentioned how you were kind of part of the sell job to get him to San Jose. What did you like in his game? Seems like he's been every bit the clutch guy.
COACH DeBOER: I'm a big believer that if you're a clutch playoff performer, that's something that's a gift. That doesn't go away. I had Mike Richards. He was that type of guy.
I've had different guys over the years that have had that ability, and that's not a flash in the pan. That's something that consistently they have the ability to rise to the occasion this time of year.
The playoffs fit him. He's a big, heavy guy. I don't think it was any secret, this roster here, considering L.A., Anaheim, St.Louis, we had to get bigger, heavier, harder to play against so that we could play this time of year. Everybody that Doug brought in had some of those type of characteristics.

Q. Could you put into words what this has meant to the veterans like Joe and Patty, the whole group that has been through so much for so many years?
COACH DeBOER: I can't put it into words because I can't imagine. I can't imagine, because all I've seen them is the year I've spent with them and how hard these guys work every day, how committed they are, how badly they want to win.
I don't think that's changed over the last 10 years. I just think for whatever reason it hasn't come together. So I can't imagine the crap written about them and said about them that they've had to deal with.
It's a great night for those guys.
I also told the group that I've been this far once before. As great a night as this is, if you don't win the next round, it's still not a great summer.
I think we'll enjoy this tonight and our focus will turn to the big prize on Friday.

Q. When you took this job a year ago, the team was coming off a pretty down season. What was it about what was here that made you believe this could happen so quickly?
COACH DeBOER: They were coming off a down season, but they were coming off a decade of great hockey. They'd been well‑coached. Todd McLellan and the previous staff are as good as there are in the business. These guys had a great foundation. Right place, right time.
Everyone was ready for something a little bit fresher and newer, not anything that much different. The additions that Doug made, it just came together.
I inherited a similar team in New Jersey when I went in there. First time they missed the playoffs for a long time the year before I got there.
I think when you go into that situation, when you have really good people like there was in New Jersey when I went in there, like I was with this group, they're pissed off, they're embarrassed by the year they just had, and they're willing to do and buy into whatever you're selling to get it fixed again.
I think I was the benefactor of that.

Q. Looking at this game, maybe similarly Game 7 of the Nashville series, do you have to give these guys a message or anything before the game? Is it an internal drive that comes from the leadership?
COACH DeBOER: No, there's no magic speeches. We talk about all the traditional things. But I think I've used the word 'battle tested'. This group has seen every situation over the past decade, the core group. They know how important a closeout game is. They've won them, they've lost them.
You don't have to say a whole lot.
Thank you.
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