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June 10, 2016

Mike Sullivan

San Jose, California: Practice Day

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Coach Sullivan.

Q. Mike, I was wondering if you wanted to share any thoughts on the passing of Gordie Howe.
COACH SULLIVAN: Sure. I never really had the opportunity to know Gordie. But obviously the impact that he's had on the hockey community I think goes without saying. He's been a great ambassador for the game. He's been a great role model for all of us that have grown up with the game. Obviously it's sad news to hear of his passing.

Q. Mike, you talked a lot during the playoffs about Matt's resilience. He mentioned he was nervous last night the opening couple of minutes. What can you do as a coaching staff to sort of help him get to a better place going forward earlier in the game?
COACH SULLIVAN: Well, I'm sure Matt will respond fine. He's done it all year long. He's a real good goalie. One of the things we love about him is his demeanor. He really has a calming influence on the group.
He's done a terrific job in such a high‑stakes environment all season for us. I think that's the experience that's going to serve him well. So we have a lot of trust that he'll respond the right way.

Q. Mike, I was wondering if you've noticed any differences on your power play recently. Seemed like it had one of its better efforts of the playoffs last night.
COACH SULLIVAN: Yeah, I thought last night was one of our best nights as far as the impact the power play had. Even when it didn't score, it certainly had a lot of zone time, a lot of scoring chances.
I thought the execution was really sharp. What I really liked about it was the puck movement was quick, it was sharp, it was on the tape. When they move the puck like that, they're very difficult to defend against because it turns the penalty kill unit into a reactive mode.
Our guys weren't allowing them to steer us into pressure points. They were moving the puck against the flow, creating opportunities for each other. We were really pleased with how they played last night.

Q. Mike, your team has been able to have the lead since the beginning. I'm sure you were expecting the Sharks best effort last night. Did they surprise you how they came out? How do you respond to that? Is there a mental aspect to the side they were able to come out so hard last night?
COACH SULLIVAN: Well, I think it wasn't like they stormed us by any stretch. For long stretches of the game, I really liked our team, I really liked our performance.
I thought the beginning of the game, they were opportunistic on the few opportunities they got a few minutes into the game. But I thought our team responded the right way. We scored two quick goals to get right back in the hockey game. So we settled into it fairly quickly.
I don't think it was a case we got caught off guard. We knew exactly what to expect going into it. Obviously from a goal‑scoring standpoint, it wasn't what we hoped for in the start of the game, but certainly I loved the way our guys responded to get right back into the hockey game and make it 2‑2 right away with so much hockey to play.
I think moving forward we have to continue to stay in the right frame of mind. This team has had success all year long, most specifically through this post‑season because of their focus and their attention to detail, trying to play to our identity. I think when our team plays our game, I think that gives our team the best chance to win.

Q. Mike, Patric Hornqvist really seemed to have a strong game last night. What is your opinion of his play recently?
COACH SULLIVAN: Well, he's such an important player for us. I think he did have a strong game last night. I think he's had a strong series.
Horny is a guy that plays extremely hard. He plays in the battle areas. He goes to the net. He makes it really difficult for his opponents. He's an invaluable player for us.
He plays in front of the net on the power play. Obviously he's played with Sid here for quite some time now. That's been such a great line for us. He's a real important player for us.
The thing I love the most about him is I love his energy, I love the passion he brings to the game. He wears his emotions right on his sleeve. I think his energy is contagious on our bench.
THE MODERATOR: That will conclude today's conference. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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