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June 9, 2016

Mike Sullivan

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Game Five

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. There's obviously a lot of excitement building for this game tonight. With this particular group, do you need to settle that down and do you want to settle that down?
COACH SULLIVAN: I think our players have this game in perspective. We spoke about it the last couple of days. I trust our leadership, as I said yesterday. I think we're at our best when we play with emotion and play with energy, but it certainly has to be controlled emotion and it has to be channeled the right way.
I trust our leadership in the room that we'll handle it the right way.

Q. In Game1 and 2, Sidney Crosby and his line saw a little bit of Vlasic and Braun pairing. Many of us thought Sid was dominant in those games. Go to San Jose, maybe it wasn't exactly the same. Did you see a difference at all? How much does the matchup play a role?
COACH SULLIVAN: I think Sid has been a force every game. He may not have scored, but he certainly is a handful out there regardless of who they put out on the ice against him.
We'll look for certain matchups. It's easier to get at home. From the standpoint of a defense pair, it's usually easier to get a defense pair match than it is to get a forward line match.
We're not going to be overly concerned about who they put on the ice. We'll look for the matches that we think are advantageous to our team. I know Sid will be a handful regardless of who he plays against.

Q. What kind of asset has Sergei Gonchar been to your defense this season?
COACH SULLIVAN: I think Sergei, he's been terrific. He has a nice demeanor about him. He has a great relationship with our defense core. I think he offers them a lot of subtle insights into how to be a more effective player.
He's certainly a guy they have a tremendous amount of respect for because of what he's accomplished in the game. I think the fact that he's so close to having played with a lot of these guys, they can certainly relate to him because it hasn't been too long since he hasn't been in the heat of the battle himself.
Top to bottom, from Kris Letang on down, I think Sergei has been invaluable for that group.

Q. Some of the rookies shared superstitions, routines they've developed, especially in the playoffs. Are there any that you have developed here in the last few weeks that you're willing to share?
COACH SULLIVAN: No, I'm not really a superstitious guy. I believe in controlling what we can, making sure that we channel our thoughts the right way, and leaving it all out there.
I'm really not a superstitious guy by nature. Certainly we all have our routines that we rely on and that we trust. Today is no different. We're going to go about our business the way we always do.

Q. Mike, can you describe what it's like to wake up on a day when you know you can win a Stanley Cup.
COACH SULLIVAN: Well, as I just said, obviously the stakes are high. They have been for a long time now for our team. I think the challenge is the discipline of staying in the moment and just not getting ahead of yourself.
We've talked a lot about that with our team over the course of this post‑season. I think our guys have done a terrific job in that regard. Just focusing on the one task at hand. We know we have work ahead of us here to accomplish what we set out to do.
The best way, the most effective way to do it, is to rely on your daily routine, your game day routine, you make sure you stay in the moment and you don't get ahead of yourself.
That's what we're trying to do. I think our guys have done a really good job of that in this post‑season. We're going to continue doing that till it's over.

Q. Any concern with Nick Bonino not being out there today or will he be available tonight?

Q. You mentioned you knew there was more there from Evgeni Malkin going into Game4. He probably had his best statistical game there. How does that change things for this team moving forward?
COACH SULLIVAN: Geno is an elite player. When he plays like he did in the last game, I think it just makes us that much more difficult to play against.
It's one more real threat out there that our opponents have to be concerned about. As I've said all along here, Geno scored for us the last game, which is great for him and great for our team. We're a better team when he does, for sure.
But he certainly has had an impact on this series other than just the score sheet. The first few games, I see his game getting better and better at both ends of the rink. That's our expectation. That's our expectation of him. That's our expectation of our top people, that they have that kind of an impact on the game.
The fact that he was able to score in the last game, set up a real nice goal in the last game, certainly is great for him and great for our team.

Q. Mike, you can go around your dressing room and ask about Matt Cullen's impact. For you, what is the biggest area he's had in terms of impact for this team?
COACH SULLIVAN: I think Matt's game on the ice speaks for itself, the impact he has there. He's a terrific player. We use him in so many important situations.
I don't think I have to speak to his performance on the ice because everybody sees it. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Matt as a person, how he's able to have an impact on our locker room and on the bench.
He's a guy that's played a long time. He's accomplished a lot in this game. I think he brings a certain experience level, a certain perspective having gone through so many different experiences as a player. Just his ability to share that with the players in the locker room I think has been invaluable for our team.
I think he relishes that role with our group. I look at him as an extension of our coaching staff. He has a certain demeanor about him that's composed when the stakes are high. I think that has an everlasting impact on the rest of our group.

Q. Do you think he's a future coach?
COACH SULLIVAN: I think if that's something he'd like to do, for sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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