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May 17, 2017
Anaheim, California - Practice Day
Randy, is this just another example of kind of this roller coaster journey that your team has been on so far, and now you just have to try to get them back up to the top of the ride?
COACH CARLYLE: I think we evaluate stages of last night's game. I thought we had a decent start and it just seemed we ran out of gas. I thought that our hockey club was flat with a motion, and you've got to give the opposition credit for taking that out of us, too. There was frustration because of their aggressiveness and them playing in our face. And then we weren't allowed to execute at the level that we have been accustomed to. And I look at it, and you take a few steps back and you look back and you say, hey, we played Game 7 a week ago today. You know, so that's four games in six nights or seven nights. And then you get more of an understanding of the intensity and the drainage that does take place on your people.
Q. Randy, a little bit of a different question. When you came up and played, the Swedish players were, I believe, just starting to enter into the league. I know you played with Salming, I believe, for a time. Is this series and the number of Swedes and their positions on both teams kind of reflective on how it's evolved and how their impact has?
COACH CARLYLE: Well, you know, they've become a power for a small country. Simple as that. For the number of Swedish born players that have played in the National Hockey League, and the guy that broke ground for them was Borje Salming and Inge Hammarstrom. They were both teammates of mine in 1976. And there was a lot more abuse received to and directed to those two individuals at that time, but that was a little bit more barbaric or archaic times of hockey. But that's how much the game has grown and it is become a world-class game. And these players are world-class players and now you're looking at their contribution and the numbers that are in the NHL, it's all a tribute back to those two players from my perspective. There probably was a couple of other guys earlier. I think there was a guy in LA.
Q. (Indiscernible) Hedberg.
COACH CARLYLE: Yeah, Hedberg and Nilsson were part of the Winnipeg Jets at that time in the WHA.
Q. So, that was back when they talked about the Philly Phlu. I think it referred to your teammates with the Leafs. What was it like to be, do you think, as a Canadian guy, a Sudbury guy on those teams that was pretty safe in toughness and all those areas, what was it like to watch your Swedish teammates go through the stuff that they went through back then?
COACH CARLYLE: I just think that, I marveled at the stuff Borje was able to do as far as the type of athlete. He was a very special athlete. He was a world-class athlete that probably didn't get the necessary recognition at that time until years later when he forged the brashness. He played through all that stuff. But everybody had to play through all that, not just the Swedes. That was part of your baptismal. You had to go into those buildings and have success and play hard.
Q. Randy, you mentioned the schedule. Not only do you play a game every other day but you have long travel, the Western teams have long travel in between. How grinding is this? You don't do this during the regular season. And is it fair to play the playoffs with this kind of schedule?
COACH CARLYLE: Well, I better not comment what's fair and what's not fair. I leave that up for other people. I think the issue is we get accustomed to it and we just have to make sure we manage the time, what we do in the days between and how we can re-energize our group. That's the most important thing.
Q. Randy, a year ago, the Ducks had arguably the best goalie tandem in the NHL, and obviously for cap reasons you had to lose one of them. What did you know about John Gibson at that time, and what have you discovered this season and this far into the playoffs as to what can a goaltender you have?
COACH CARLYLE: Well, he's a world-class goaltender, very calm. Doesn't outwardly display a lot of emotion, and sometimes that gets misconstrued for lack of commitment, lack of caring, lack of that's not it at all. It's just that he battles that internally, and he doesn't want to expose himself to any emotional level or any outburst, that he thinks he shows a sign of weakness.
Q. Randy, you've talked about the Predators going to the net. How much of that can be a strategy almost of teams trying to get in front of the goalie and interfere with him?
COACH CARLYLE: Obviously we feel that that was a tactic they tried to use last night. And I leave that up to the officials to make sure that they monitor and they control that. But I don't think we're any different. We have to get to the front of the net a lot harder than we did last night on Pekka Rinne. He got to see too many pucks.
Q. Randy, the Honda Center's ice is not necessarily known for being pristine. But what about the ice last night? Was there anything different?
COACH CARLYLE: I think the ice surface is fine. I think the building is raucous. It's an environment that I talked to before, that it was one place, it's a bright building, very energetic, acoustic wise, very bright, all of those things. And it held true to what I said yesterday morning.
Q. So, their success on home ice is clear. Other than the clichÃ©s of if you want to win on the road you've got to take the building out of it early, what's the game plan early? What do you have to do to beat the Predators on home ice?
COACH CARLYLE: Well, we just have to play a lot more complete game. We've got to be in a lot more competitive state come tomorrow night than what we were able to perform to last night.
Q. One more thing on the Swedes. You've got a bunch of important guys on your team from Sweden. Your organization brought some good ones in. Nashville, too, they've got a good pipeline going from Sweden. We use to be able to say, Swedish guys are all like this or Swedish guys are all like that. Is there still a trait is there still a prototypical Swedish player anymore?
COACH CARLYLE: I don't think there is a prototypical Swedish player. I think they're a proud country, they're a proud group. I think they've earned the right by the number of players that are in the league. And I know the scouts are mining in Sweden consistently. They continually produce good players, and I think there are some countries, I think actually Finland was a country that went in and did an analysis of their minor hockey program and stole some of the programs that were in place in Sweden because they were producing so many young players. And the Fins went in there with eyes wide open and taking notes at what was actually taking place in their minor hockey systems and how they were developing their young players.
Q. Silvy, what specifically do you guys need to do to create more offense, more chances?
JAKOB SILFVERBERG: I think we've got to play with more confidence. I think a lot of times when we have the puck I think we tend to kind of throw it away rather than making a play and just come back and regroup. I think a lot of times we get caught flat-footed and stretching.
I think more so we have to come back to our pucks and come back with more speed and play with a little bit more confidence and make some plays rather than kind of just chip it up the ice.
Q. Both of you have some good friends on the other team from Sweden. Doesn't look particularly friendly right now. I was just wondering what's that like having those angry bells with friends.
JAKOB SILFVERBERG: We talked a little bit before the series, and we kind of told each other just leave this friendship on hold. I mean, we're all professional and we know -- we knew it was going to be a battle out there. And I mean it's hard plays and it doesn't matter who it is, especially at this point, if you have a check you finish your finish check. It doesn't matter if it's your best friend. We kind of put that friendship on hold. So, yeah.
Q. Two-parter. For Jakob, how well do you know Filip? He's known as a goal scorer, but seems like he has a little bit of a chippy side as well. Have you seen that? You've witnessed it already in these Playoffs. But can you describe him as a player? And just overall, just the fact that the importance of the Swedish players in this series, does this just show how things have evolved as far as players in the country becoming top players in the league?
JAKOB SILFVERBERG: I don't know Forsberg really well besides I played a few tournaments on the National team with him. But I've seen him quite a bit since I've started playing over here, and he's definitely got a little bit of edge to his game.
And I think most players in this league does it. But he has a little bit of physicality. He's really strong on his feet. He's not a really big guy, but when he leans in to hit, he's pretty strong.
So you've got to be careful when you try to go hit him. And as far as star players, I think definitely all the Swedes they have on their team, they're really good and they're play is, leaned heavy on. And really seen it in this series.
They've been putting up some pretty big points. So it's definitely guys that really we've got to have a close look on and make sure that we know when they're on the ice and maybe play them a little bit harder than what we've been doing so far.
Q. Rickard, when you were a little boy growing up playing hockey, what was the dream, was it to play in the NHL to start? Did you think playing in the Swedish league would be the end goal?
RICKARD RAKELL: I don't know. I think everybody want to play in the NHL. Obviously watching the Swedish leagues and all the Swedish players playing in the National Hockey League, I think everybody wants to play here and everybody wants to make the best out of it if you ever get the chance.
Q. Jakob, you guys were the last team to beat these guys here in the Playoffs at Bridgestone last year. What is it about them that they're so difficult to beat on the lines?
JAKOB SILFVERBERG: I mean, I don't know if it matters if they're home or not. But they're a super aggressive team. Maybe more so at home when they have the crowd kind of pumping the energy into them. So they're playing super aggressive.
And it's tough to play against their D. They're pinching a lot. They're keeping a lot of pucks in and getting a lot of zone time and a lot of times it can be frustrating because maybe you don't get as much room as you're used to out there, especially as a winger. So just a super aggressive team and especially with the crowd in their back, it's tough sometimes, tough to generate any offense. Yeah.
Q. If both of you guys can address this. Back home, as you were growing up, how much of the NHL were you watching and were there some players, countrymen, that you looked up to, at least you thought I can maybe be him one day?
RICKARD RAKELL: I think as a kid it's pretty tough to watch, social media was an aspect, even though it's not that long ago, social media wasn't a big aspect, and most of the games are played during the night.
But every time you got to watch them in the National team and stuff like that when tournaments were held in Europe you definitely got to see them. And you got to see some of the star players.
But as far as watching games and highlights and stuff like that, not so much. But in the later days, in the junior days, I started watching more and had some players that you kind of keep your eyes on and you see how they were doing.
JAKOB SILFVERBERG: Well, I was growing up in the same hometown as Mats Sundin, and he was pretty big in that small town I grew up in. So he was kind of the one I was looking up to and watching highlight videos or anything like that.
Q. For both of you, seems like these Playoffs have been kind of an emotional roller coaster. No momentum really for teams from game to game. You're losing 7-1 then winning 2-1. What's it been like to go through that in such a short period of time?
RICKARD RAKELL: Well, I feel like the whole Playoffs been like that for us. But I think when we've been playing good, it's all about us not taking too many penalties or just doing stupid things out there and hopefully we can just keep our emotions in check going forward.
Q. Can you expound?
RICKARD RAKELL: It's tough. I think a lot of it comes from experience, you have one bad game you're going to have to bounce back right -- bounce right back to the next game. And I think our season has been a little bit of a roller coaster, too, and maybe not as much as Playoffs. But I think it's definitely something we learn how to handle during the regular season we had some times where we've been playing really good and all of a sudden we had a really bad game. So it's as tough mentally as it is physically, but I definitely think we have the tools and the experience to handle it and so far we've been doing a really good job at it.
Q. This schedule in the Playoffs where you play, travel long distance, play, it's unlike anything you did in the regular season. You guys are a little bit older than some of the teams you played. How difficult is it? How are you able to handle that?
CAM FOWLER: Yeah, I mean, it's tough playing every other day and it's not exactly a short flight from here to California. But it's part of Playoffs. You pretty much expect that you're going to be playing a lot and you're going to be traveling a lot. It's just the way it is.
So you learn what works best for you. We have guys, our trainer, Mark Fitzgerald, helping us out a lot too. So we have a lot of people with knowledge of how to get your body rested and hydrate obviously like you said is the main key. So nothing too different than what we're used to doing.
Q. Cam, when teams open Playoffs on the road they usually talk about wanting to get a split in the first two games. Similar situation for you guys now coming in here to Nashville. Is that kind of the way you're looking at it if you can get the one tomorrow night, you put yourselves in pretty good position going forward?
CAM FOWLER: Yeah, I think after what happened last night, that's best case scenario. I think you obviously know that coming into a building like that, you have your work cut out for you.
So if you can steal a game and get the series back 2-2 back in Anaheim, I think that would be a situation that we'd all welcome.
Q. Wanted you to tackle that one, too. You played 82 games and then you get this kind of a grind at the end. When you're already tired, how do you deal with it?
SAMI VATANEN: Well, I think you always get some energy when it's a Playoffs time. You just play the games and then you rest one day and then you're ready for the next game.
So I think it's -- I don't mind it so much, you know? You stay, are able to focus all the time, and just keep going.
Q. Cam, the way that the Predators play with the pressure and they don't give you much time and everything, is there something unique about their pressure or are they just quicker than most teams you run into?
CAM FOWLER: I think it's unique in how they can sustain it the whole game. You'll see teams do that all over the course of the season. But they'll do it for stretches at a time. It's pretty rare to see a team that expects their players to do that for a full 60 minutes, and that's what they do. But they obviously feel like they have the players and the speed to do that. And it's effective and it's hard to play against. So they do a really good job at that.
Q. Sami, we've been talking to Swedish players in here and about Swedish players. From your perspective as a Fin, when you play -- you've played lots of National team hockey against different countries, probably grew up playing against Swedes. What are the traits that the Swedish player would have? What's the difference between a Swedish player compared to playing against a Canadian player?
SAMI VATANEN: I don't know. They're a little bit maybe skilled in some versions. I don't know what's the difference. I think they play pretty similar game like the Swedish National team and Canadian team they try to be big boys and try to push you around.
Q. Cam, I wanted to maybe flesh out your response about their style. Like what is it that you think is hard to sustain? Why do you think they've gotten that identity in the Playoffs, and what can you do to maybe take advantage of it? When a team is being aggressive, what can you do to maybe turn the tables?
CAM FOWLER: Well, I think it's hard to sustain, it takes a lot of effort to play that hard and they expect their D-men to challenge everything, almost at the red line. And to have your guys get off the ice like that consistently is hard to do.
So that's why I think it's tough but they do a good job at that. I think we need to do a much better job of making plays under pressure, which we didn't do so well last night. But there were times where we made a couple of plays and before you know it then you can get them spread out because their first two forwards are so aggressive, but if you make a couple of plays there's a lot of ice there to take advantage of.
So we stopped doing that as the game went on and obviously we were stuck in our own end. But if we can put a few more plays together, I think that will help us out a lot.
Q. You talked about stealing one at Bridgestone. You'll have to win one there if you're going to win this series. You gotta go back to last year when you guys beat them on home ice for them to -- a big 10-game winning streak on home ice. Can you take anything from your experience against them last year and beating them last year and use that this year?
CAM FOWLER: Yeah, I mean, I think it's important to first have the belief that you can do it and that you can go into other buildings and kind of quiet the crowd and play -- we always talk about a simple road game. So I think we've proven to ourselves that we can do that. I don't think much carries over from anything that you've done previously. But we know that we have the capabilities to do that. It's more just about execution now that we're trying to really get our game going in the right direction, and we need to do that if we're going to steal one, because they obviously play really well in that building.
Q. You guys deal with Honda Center's ice surface all year. You know it can be challenging at times. How was the ice surface last night there? Good enough? Okay? Not very good?
CAM FOWLER: It was fine. This time of year, especially with the climates we're playing in and how many people you have in the building, there's only so much you can do. So ours is soft. Theirs is soft. Everyone's playing on the same surface. So I don't think it really made a big difference.
Q. What's the biggest challenge when the puck's anywhere, bouncing around quite a bit, what's the biggest challenge in trying to make plays and all that?
CAM FOWLER: Yeah, I mean it is difficult. I think even in the morning skate, you can -- you maybe take a couple of extra minutes to see where the puck's bouncing, handle it a little bit more just to get used to it. But like I said, it's no different really than our building or most of the buildings in the NHL. The puck does get bouncy especially after ten minutes. It's just the way it is. You have to be able to settle it down and make passes hard so that you don't give the puck a chance to bounce around at all.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports