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May 20, 2017

Randy Carlyle

Anaheim, California - Pregame

Q. Could you describe why rolling your lines was effective last game? And with Johansen out, I know you're at home, will you do the same tonight?
COACH CARLYLE: I just think that as I stated in, I guess, it would be Game 3, that I didn't think I gave our team enough of an opportunity to play head to head against whoever they chose, meaning the opposition.

And I don't think that at times matching is your friend if you're not getting the desired forecheck from your group because they're not worried about coming on and off the ice; they're worried about who they were playing against, worried about other things than playing.

So, when I talked to them about it, we had a conversation and they reiterated to the coaching staff that they felt it was a detriment. We agreed with them. And so we made the adjustment of just go out and play. Now, will we do it tonight? You better watch. (Laughter).

Q. You've been around hockey a long time, coached for a long time. Have you ever been in a situation where you were in a Playoff round and lost a really important player? If so, how did you deal with it?
COACH CARLYLE: I think what happens is, when you lose players, it's part of life in the Playoffs. We lost a pretty good player in Patrick Eaves. You guys seem to forget about that. No one seems to -- he was one of our top goal scorers, maybe one of our best players since the trade deadline. Reignited our offense.

So what we tried to do is you try to do it by committee. Because one player is not going to replace Patrick Eaves. And we know that. So it gets other people, it gives other people an opportunity to get some minutes maybe they wouldn't normally get. And that's the way you treat it.

You can't change the injuries. You have no effect on it. Once it's done, it's like when the referee blows his whistle. How many times have you seen him change his mind?

Q. Just to follow up on Nick's question about the forward lines and the change in strategy there. You mentioned the meeting and the exchange of ideas with the players about that and their input. How common is that, in your experience? How often do you have those type of exchanges of ideas with the players? And is this a more common thing, you think, in the game now than it was five or 10 years ago?
COACH CARLYLE: I just think it's more about the player having the freedom to voice the opinion in today's player. And if you're going to meet with your players, and all coaches do, and you meet with and you form leadership groups and you have those meetings and try to get a temperature, that they feel that communication is a two-way street. The door is always open. You've heard all those cliches before. But they really have to feel it.

If they come to you and they feel it's that important, in my mind, if they do that, then you'd better listen. You better pay attention. Because you rely on them through the course of the season to have input and gauge what the feeling is amongst the hockey club. You have schedules that you go to make. You prepare.

You reach out to them in how they're feeling about this stretch of games -- what do we need to do? All of those things. And that, to me, is a sign that you better pay attention when they feel that they have the ability to formulate an opinion and they're not afraid to come and talk to you about it.

And it doesn't always have to be to me. It could be to any one of our coaching staff members. And we think that that's a huge, huge positive if we can have our players feel comfortable in that situation.

Q. I haven't forgotten about Patrick Eaves. Is there a timetable on when he might start skating again?
COACH CARLYLE: He's, actually, I think skating right now. So he's testing it. And obviously that's a good sign when we have players on the ice. It means they're one step closer to joining our lineup.

Q. Have you ever been like that, like, listening to a player, and they knew that the door was always open? And when you started or, I don't know, not that receptive?
COACH CARLYLE: I think, again, it depends who it was earlier. I think now it all depends on the group that you have, and I think that you're asking younger players to assume larger roles in today's hockey. And you have more of them in your lineup. So you have to listen. It's just as simple as that.

Now, 20, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, when I first came here in '05. So it's 11 years ago -- if Scott Niedermayer came through the door, I listened. If Chris Pronger came through the door I listened. But I also listened when Sammy Pahlsson and Rob Niedermayer came through the door also.

So I think it's not just a question of how many times you've listened. I think it's just a more common occurrence; it's more about your relationship and their feeling and their stature in the team, that they're all leaders now. There's no more rookies in the lineup, that we're in the Stanley Cup Conference Final, tied 2-2. They've all earned their stripes.

Q. In regards to that, you have a number of young defensemen. Just wondering, what have you seen out of guys whether it's Montour or even Manson, who hasn't played 200 games yet but are growing a lot during these Playoffs?
COACH CARLYLE: Again, this is their first experience at this type of pressure, at this level. So, again, it's an opportunity for them to take steps forward. That's how we look at it. And it will be after when you do the assessment. But now's about winning, it's about winning. The most important game of the year is tonight for both hockey clubs.

Q. Talking with Jakob Silfverberg and he said some nights his lines will be asked to match obviously the key line when trying to shut other teams down. Sometimes they aren't. Can you talk about the difference the way the line can play on the nights when they're asked to shut guys down and when they're just freelancing? What's the difference do you see in that line between those two scenarios?
COACH CARLYLE: I still think that they have played the shut-down role and still provided offense. I still think that if we did an evaluation and when we hard matched, that they still did make contributions to the offensive side of our hockey club. But, again, I think that it's more important that they feel good at their role, that they're into the game, that they're feeling good about themselves.

And, again, I think it's a recognition when you look back and review and you seem to think their team is flat, well, maybe some of the reasons they were flat or they didn't get an opportunity to do what they're doing because they're more focused on matching and getting on and off the ice than going out and playing.

Q. Looking at the makeup of your center icemen as a group and having the top two be right-handed shots, how important is Vermette as a guy to have out as a second center sometimes on his strong side with his prowess in the faceoff circle?
COACH CARLYLE: We think it's an advantage that we have to exploit. If you look at our hockey club -- and Kesler's a strong faceoff guy, Getzlaf is a strong faceoff guy -- Vermette might be the strongest in the league. I don't know statistic-wise, but he's up there. It gives us the option in critical situations to have three centers on the ice. And all of them can play the left wing. All of them can play right wing. All of them can play center.

So you try to utilize people to their strengths. And you saw that we put Vermette out on offense in zone faceoffs and just pulled the left winger off because he's good on his strong side. So those are the little things that you try to do the game within the game that can be an advantage to you, that hopefully you can win a faceoff that makes a difference.

But gotta remember, Thompson's been pretty good, too. He's held his own. He's won some big faceoffs. And specifically the other night here, I think, he won the draw when Hampus Lindholm scored off the faceoff in the offensive zone.

Q. The game within the game, now that they don't have their first-line center for the first five games of the series, isn't playing tonight. How does that change how you coach?
COACH CARLYLE: I would expect their hockey club to play their best game of the series tonight. And that's what we're going to ask of our players. And we're not going to change our mandate. And that personal mandate is whoever plays against their opposition -- if it's Kesler, if it's Getzlaf, if it's Vermette, if it's Thompson -- whoever you're matched up against, you gotta outplay them.

And I don't worry about what they have from a standpoint because we're an 80/20. I worry about what our guys are doing. And we're not going to change that attitude. We respect them. We have a job to do. And that's the mandate that we're going to put in front of our players and we've already done that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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