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May 17, 2017

Mike Sullivan

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Pregame

Q. Any update on the guys that skated earlier, Schultz, Hornqvist, (inaudible)?
MIKE SULLIVAN: They'll all be out for tonight, but they're day to day with upper body injuries. As you said, you saw them skate this morning before the team. We're hopeful that they're making progress, but they will not play tonight.

Q. That's still, though, good news, Mike, to see them on the ice.
MIKE SULLIVAN: Yeah, I think it is. It's good news for us. We'll see how they go day to day here, but that's the status of them today.

Q. Trevor Daley's status for tonight?
MIKE SULLIVAN: He'll be a game-time decision.

Q. Mike Streit?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Game-time decision.

Q. (No microphone)?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Anything's possible.

Q. Using Streit on the first power play just because (no microphone)?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, if Mark plays tonight, he's a guy that we can utilize on the first power play. That's one of the strengths of his game. That's one of the reasons why Jim acquired him when we did. He's got good puck skills as well. He can help us in a lot of ways.

But one of Mark's biggest strengths is his ability to run a power play. He's got great vision. He's a veteran guy that's played a lot of games. He's got a wealth of experience. So we think he can help us in a lot of ways.

Q. I know Sheary said he was more physically engaged in the last game. Did you see that in him, and can that help him get out of the funk he's in?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Yeah, I think so. I thought it was Conor's best game of the playoffs. He has that tenacious mindset, I think that makes him the player he is. When he gets involved physically and he's chasing the defensemen down and trusting his instincts, he can be a really effective player for us. I thought the last game was his best of the playoffs.

Q. Mike, I know it's next man up, but do you ever get frustrated at all that you're taking guys out, putting guys in and changing things all the time?
MIKE SULLIVAN: No, I think it's a challenge this league presents. Every team goes through it. We've had our fair share of it, maybe a little bit more than most, but what I love about this group of players is no one's looking for excuses. Everybody's looking for answers. The guys that get opportunities to go back into the lineup, they go in with the mindset that they want to make a difference, and that's just a credit to the character of the players that we have.

Our expectation is that we can win games. We have capable people. We're fortunate to have the depth that we have, and we've relied on it all year long. So this is no different. We're going to have to continue to rely on it to try to find ways to win games, but we believe in the people we have.

Q. You guys have had a ton of injuries. Does something like that make you and your staff better coaches? Do you feel like you have to outcoach other teams?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I don't know. It certainly presents challenges for the coaching staff as far as trying to create some semblance of order and familiarity with the lineup and the roster, whether it be power play combinations or line combinations or defense pairs. So I think that's the biggest challenge that it presents when you have a number of different people coming in and out of the lineup every night.

I think we have a core group here that's been together for a while. I think there's a lot of familiarity with the type of game that we're trying to play with our team concept. So when these guys step in around some of the periphery or the role players step in around the core guys, I think they can become a stabilizing factor for us.

Q. What do you want to see from the power play to get it a little more productive?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I thought the power play was pretty good the last game. We only had one. We had some quality chances that didn't go in, but I thought, for the most part, they executed really well. That's what we like. That's our expectation.

You can't always control whether or not you score, but what you can do is you can go out and control your work ethic, your execution, your cooperative play, and looking for the type of options that we think might be available. And we talk about that daily.

So as long as we're locked in there, I know that this group on the power play will eventually score goals. And that's where they're at. I thought they did a real good job the last game. There was only one, like I said. So it's hard to really have a real thorough assessment, but the one that we did have, we had some quality chances.

Q. Mike, that quarterback spot on the top power play, given the amount of offensive skill you have on that unit, is that a particularly tough spot to replace with Letang and now Schultz out?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Yeah, it's an important position for us for sure. I think it takes a lot of, I think, self-confidence and savvy to play that position. It's a vitally important position to the power play. The ability to distribute the puck when the time is called upon, the willingness to shoot the puck when the lanes are there, I think, are really important, especially with the group in front of that quarterback.

We've got a lot of talented guys that want the puck, and so it's about making the right decisions back there and having the conviction to make those decisions in a timely fashion. I think that makes our power play go. So that's a vitally important part of it. And as I said, we believe we have capable guys. We're fortunate to have the depth that we have, and we're going to have to rely on it moving forward.

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