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May 18, 2017

Chris Wideman

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Practice Day

Q. I just wanted to ask you about Dion Phaneuf, the way he's been playing, his physical presence. What does that bring to you guys when he's providing that?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: Yeah, he's been great for us. I think you see he's able to get under the skin of opposing players, not only in this series, but all throughout the playoffs and all the regular season. He's a big part of our team, and he's playing very well for us.

Q. We were laughing to see him and Phil go at it knowing that they have a relationship?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: Yeah, those are guys that have been teammates and are close friends. If they're competing that hard against each other, then it should be no excuse for anybody else, that's for sure.

Q. Was it just a matter of execution for you guys yesterday?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: Yeah, I think we wanted to respond, and the home fans have been great for us all season and throughout the playoffs. I think they deserved that last night. They were great. It was a good performance by the team, but it's not something that we're hung up on.

We're looking forward to tomorrow night and playing the same way.

Q. You've got to look at both of their goalies yesterday. Stylistically, they're pretty different, Marc-Andre, maybe more athletic. I know your approach probably doesn't change, but what's different when one is in versus the other?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: I think for us we're going to let them worry about how we're going to play. It doesn't matter really for us who's in the net. We're going to play the same way, and we'd like to think that the goalie is going to be worried about the shots coming in and how we're going to play.

Q. What do you think you've done well? Some of the top guys -- you mentioned Kessel obviously, but Crosby and Malkin?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: I think it's been a full team buy-in, full team effort by whoever's on the ice. All five guys are conscientious of the time and the situation, where the puck is on the ice, and it's not a matter of who's scoring goals for us or who's making the plays. It's a full buy-in of a 200-foot game, and we're playing defense first.

Last night we scored five goals, and hopefully we put the boring Senators thing to rest, and we can move on from that.

Q. When you're on the ice against one of those guys, what runs through your mind when you see Crosby out there and Kessel?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: I mean, they're great players, and they're guys that personally I have a lot of respect for. I know that they're extremely talented and they play hard and they played a lot of playoff games. So just don't get overwhelmed. Got to focus. And no matter if it's Crosby, Malkin, or anyone else, you've got to do your job and go into the team and to the organization and the fans to do the job as best you can.

Q. Do you guys care about the boring Sens thing?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: To me, it's -- you know, it's all talk. I think you look at what got us here, and we're in the Eastern Conference Finals, up 2-1, and we haven't really changed our style too much throughout 82 regular season games and however many playoff games we've played so far, I'm not sure. We've done the same thing, and I think that's a credit to the guys in the room and the staff just to stick with it, and it's been working.

Q. Do you find it boring?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: For me, I'm just focused on my job, whether it's in the offensive zone, defensive zone. Each zone, I have a specific job that I'm supposed to do, and if I don't do that, the other four guys can't count on me and can't do their job. So it's really just focusing on everyone's individual task and fitting into the team aspect.

Q. You're only two wins away from the Stanley Cup final. (Indiscernible) to be closer than that, but at the same time do you need to remind yourself it's still a long road before the Stanley Cup final?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: Yeah, they have a lot of fire power over there. The series is going to be tough. Whether you're up 2-1, down 2-1, whatever it is, it's hard to win games this time of year. The total focus is on the first shift of Friday night. Once the game's over last night, we move on and get ready for tomorrow.

Q. Total team effort last night. I mean, you had everyone contributing last night. What do you guys -- is that Guy, you know, pushing that?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: Yeah, I think it started in training camp. It started with Guy telling us that everyone had to earn their job on this team, and throughout 82 regular season games, a lot of guys were able to contribute and get us to this point. I think last night was a good example that guys were paying the price and focused on defending first.

There was a number of different guys that were able to get on the score sheet, but at the end of the day, we won, and that's all that matters to the guys in the room.

Q. When the first goal happened really quickly, this place erupted. It was like an avalanche, wasn't it, yesterday?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: Yeah, I don't know which goal it was, but I think it was probably the third goal is the loudest I've ever heard the building. The fans have been great all year, but I think they're really, really enjoying this, and I know we are too.

Q. Marc Methot goes from (inaudible) to getting (inaudible), and all of a sudden he's (inaudible).
CHRIS WIDEMAN: Yeah, it's been awesome. He's a guy that, we've said before, probably doesn't get the credit he deserves. He's great every night. Not a guy you might notice every night, but he does his job, and he's hard on defense. It was great to see him get rewarded last night. He's actually had a couple of chances. So we've teased him a little bit, maybe he could have had another one.

Yeah, he's played great, and a total team effort all around.

Q. Why doesn't he get the credit he deserves?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: I wouldn't say that -- you know, playing with Erik is -- you know, you're focused on Erik. He's flying up the ice, and he's got the puck. His hair looks great when he's cruising at full speed. But I think that he's able to do a lot of those things because he knows Meth's back there and he's rock solid, and they have a great chemistry together.

Q. What role does Marc Crawford play on this coaching staff? What have you learned from him?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: I mean, he's got a Stanley Cup ring. I think that's almost enough there. He's a guy that demands a lot out of his players and expects us to be damn near our best every night and pushes guys. It's been a great learning experience for me, for playing for him on "D."

You know, you're definitely pushed every day.

Q. Is he more focused on the defensemen than the forwards?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: He is -- yeah, he's our "D" coach on the bench, so, yeah, he's been good for me. He's been good and helped me round my game and helped me a lot defensively.

Q. Do you ask Marc questions about the Stanley Cup final and what it's like, the level of play and what goes on as far as what to expect?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: He's definitely had his input, a guy with a Stanley Cup ring. We also have Chris Kelly, who won with the Bruins in 2011, and a few guys that have been in the Conference Finals, Wingels last year, and he played The Finals. So there's experience in the room, and guys have voiced how this time of year goes.

For a guy like me, all you can do is listen and try to implement it into your game and into your life.

Q. You guys are six wins away from the Cup right now. Can you look at me in the eyes and tell me we knew, we knew, we were convinced it would happen?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: To be honest with you, coming into this year with the group of guys that we had, I knew that we had a special group, but I knew we had underachieved last year. With the hard work we put in and the style of wins and the teams that we beat this year during the regular season, you could kind of feel that we were going to have something special here.

I think I'd be lying to you if I told you I would have bet the house on it, but, no, we're a confident group, and we believe in ourselves to the fullest extent.

Q. You talk about the group, this team is amazing. From the outside, you look all well and all together. Have you ever been on a team that sticks more together than this one?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: No. No, I think you look at some of the wins so far this year in the playoffs, the scoring the last couple minutes to tie the game and winning in overtime, I think that shows a lot of character. What shows more character was giving up goals late in the game and then winning in overtime and not getting rattled and not getting down.

This is a team that we really do believe in ourselves.

Q. That sounds like a description that also describes a team that can't really get overconfident with itself despite a victory like that last night.
CHRIS WIDEMAN: Absolutely not, no. I think our confidence has been instilled from throughout the regular season and the hard work starting in training camp. This is nothing to do with last night. Last night was great, but we've moved on, and we're looking forward to tomorrow night, and that first shift is the most important shift of the entire season.

Q. Do you purge games like that just as easily as a game like Monday night?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: Yeah, you have to. Monday night sucked. I remember sitting in the hotel, and we all had dinner together, and it's not a good feeling. But last night was great. Once the game ends, there's nothing more we can do about it. It's over. The only thing we can do is get ready today and prepare and get ready for tomorrow and be ready for puck drop.

Q. Are you able to go to sleep right away? Are you kind of on a high still after a win like that? Like what do you do after the game?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: I don't sleep after games real well. I read. I try to read and calm the mind a little bit. The night before games, sometimes you sleep, sometimes you don't. It just kind of depends on how you're feeling.

Q. What do you read?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: I read a lot of biographies. I can't really get into what I'm reading right now. It's kind of personal, but I like to read and learn from other people.

Q. Athletes?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: Yeah, athletes.

Q. How about Guy Boucher? What role did he have in that team building? I guess it's a big role. It's a team, not just one guy, coach or player?
CHRIS WIDEMAN: I think it says a lot about him. He had an individual meeting with every player on the team, ranging from an hour to two hours or whatever it was, I think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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