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May 18, 2017

Mike Sullivan

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Practice Day

Q. (No microphone)?
MIKE SULLIVAN: They're still day to day, but Justin Schultz did not skate today. That was part of the plan. The other two guys did, but they're still day to day.

Q. Hopeful for tomorrow or --
MIKE SULLIVAN: We're hopeful. We'll see what happens. Obviously, they didn't skate with the team, so they're probably not probable.

Q. Do you have a starting goalie for tomorrow?
MIKE SULLIVAN: We'll announce that in the morning.

Q. Do you think your words resonated with that group, what you said after the game and their lack of conviction to start the game?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I'm sure it did. Listen, I have so much trust in this group of players. They're great character people. We have great leadership. The reality is it's hard to play this time of year. We're playing against a very good opponent. We didn't have the start that we wanted. So we dug ourselves a hole that was hard to climb out of.

For me, that's the lesson. We've got to make sure we respond the right way. This group always has, and there's no doubt in my mind that we'll respond with the right effort.

Q. I guess is the decision to go with either goalie tomorrow, if you don't use Fleury, you've got a guy who won the Stanley Cup with you sitting there waiting. So it's going to be tough.
MIKE SULLIVAN: I've said all along, we have two great goalies. These guys have both helped us win games. They're terrific goalies, and we're fortunate that we have these guys as part of our team. So, you know, I've said this all year long, we think that's one of the strengths of our group.

Q. Need to generate more offense for a team that's got three goals here in this series?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I think from -- all we can do, I guess, is control the process. It's trying to get pucks on the net. It's trying to look for the right opportunities. I think we're generating scoring chances. The next step is to convert. We've hit a fair amount of posts here in this series so far. I'd like to believe that some of those will go in the net moving forward, but I also think that it's also been a tight checking series on both sides.

So we just have to dig down. I think we've got to have another level of conviction and commitment and urgency to our game, making sure that we're getting to the net front more often. I think we can do a better job at making the sight lines for our opponent's goalie more difficult. You know, a lot of the common sense hockey strategies that most coaches are preaching to their team. So we just have to bring another level of commitment to our game.

Q. With Rust skating and Schultz not, does that mean they're a step ahead?
MIKE SULLIVAN: No, it was just part of the process.

Q. With the goalie decision, do you need more time to think about it, or are you just announcing it on game day because that's the way you do things? How hard of a decision is this for you?
MIKE SULLIVAN: It's always a hard decision, but it's a good hard decision because we have two real good goalies. So it's never an easy decision. It never has been all year for us. So that's a decision that I never take lightly, that we take very seriously. We try to make the best decisions that we think give our team the best chance to win, and we go from there.

Q. Do you need a lot more time to think about it?
MIKE SULLIVAN: This is what we do all year long is we announce the goalie the morning of.

Q. Is there a loyalty factor? If you reached (inaudible), it might be because of (inaudible). Will that be a big factor for you?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I think we have loyalty to our whole group. I don't think it's any one particular guy. This is a team. It's a team in the true sense of the word. So are appreciative of the contributions that all of our guys make, Marc included? Yes, absolutely. We wouldn't be to the point where we're at without these guys, any of them. So that's how we look at it. I think we have loyalty to our whole team.

Q. Mike, with how Sidney Crosby is, when the team isn't scoring like you would you want, does he put it on his shoulders? (Inaudible) not trying to do too much?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I think Sid, he takes pride in his game, and I think he also -- I think he bears a burden of responsibility. I think that's the type of person that he is. He cares so much about this Penguins team and trying to help this team win. I just think that's part of who he is, and that's what we love about him is that he's such a great team guy and he understands the importance of his game to helping this team win.

Listen, I know we haven't scored a lot of goals here in this particular series to this point, but I believe that we'll score goals. I know that we have what it takes. I think we have to stay the course here and stay with it. As I said, it's not we haven't generated scoring chances, because we have. We've controlled a lot of the play in the first three games -- zone time, territory, chances, a lot of the statistics are suggestive that we're going to score goals.

So I think we just have to make sure that we continue to stay the course. We take what the game gives us. We have to continue to have an element of patience to our game. And if we can bring that other level of commitment and conviction to our game, I believe that these guys will score goals.

Q. (No microphone)?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Tommy did not skate today. He's got a lower body injury. He's day to day.

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