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May 31, 2017

Mike Sullivan

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Pregame

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.

Q. Talking to players, they said there was maybe 20 minutes of video yesterday, a little today. I'm curious, how much work for the coaches, watching video, how many hours goes into that 20 minutes? How do you boil it down to them for the important points of emphasis?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, a lot of hours, you know. That's part of our responsibility. That's part of our job. That's one of the parts of our job that I really enjoy, is just how we can help our team game to game, how do we get better as a group.

In today's game, today's world, the use of the video is vitally important to that process, so we spend a lot of time at it. We try to be as efficient as we can so that we don't waste our players' time. We try to take the time as a coach and staff to be on point, as theme oriented as we can to try to facilitate that process of improving and getting better.

Q. (No microphone.)
MIKE SULLIVAN: For sure. We want to be as to the point as we can be as far as just giving them some ideas on how we can improve, where we can get better, any sort of adjustments we think we need to make in order to give these guys an opportunity to have success.

Q. Something your defensemen have said a lot in the locker room is cleaning up the breakouts to help the offense. Why is that important?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I think it's an important part of our game because it allows us to establish the type of game we want to play. That's a speed game. Our ability to get out of our end zone as efficiently and effectively as we can is critically important.

Ideally we'd like to get out clean with the puck, but that's not always going to be the case because other teams have good forechecks, they're defending hard. Sometimes we're going to have to put pucks to areas and get in foot races. But the important takeaway is we're trying to get out of the our end zone as efficiently and as quickly as we can.

Q. Seems like you've used Sid for double shifting early in games a little more than the past few games. Is that a pregame thing that you've gone in with or is that spontaneous? Is it necessary just because you don't have Phil or a play-maker on the third line this season?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, we have a game plan as a coaching staff going in on certain things that we're looking for on the ice. If they present themselves, then we try to make the appropriate decisions.

So sometimes they occur early in games, sometimes they occur late in games. I think that's just part of the game planning process, just looking for certain opportunities to get our players in advantageous positions.

So as a coaching staff, we look for those opportunities throughout the course of the game.

Q. I notice you had Kessel and Malkin together, as you have for a while, in Game 1, then split them up for the second part of the game. What do those two need to do to be effective together as far as the little things?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I think they're obviously two elite players. They're dynamic in their own right.

Phil can shoot the puck as well as anybody of the he's a great goal-scorer. Both of them are, for that matter. They both have passing ability, scoring ability.

I think when they're effective is when they're playing the game the right way, they're winning puck battles, they're good on the wall, they're stopping on pucks, they're being difficult to play against. That's the discussion that we have a lot with them, is just trying to become harder to play against, playing a stiffer game, being harder on the puck battles.

When they do that, they win their fair share. They're obviously very good when they have the puck. So usually our challenge with Phil and Geno all the time is just the subtleties and the details of the play away from the puck or without the puck that gives them the ability to get it back when they don't have it.

So that's most of the conversation that we have with those guys. When we do have them together, we think they're dynamic, or they have the potential to be dynamic. When we separate them, it gives a little bit more balance to our team, and there's more threats on more lines that might make for more difficult matchup challenges for our opponents.

Depending on how the games are going or if we think we need to make a decision or an adjustment within the game, then the coaching staff does that.

Q. You guys are 3-0 in Game 2 in the playoffs so far. You talked about video, the importance of that. Is there something to be said, is it easier to make adjustments after you've seen a team in person in Game 1?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, it provides affirmation that your pre-scout was on, that what you saw in prior series was something that you were going to see more of, or if teams are taking a different game plan against your particular team.

I'm sure that they're going through the same process on their side. I think that's just part of being -- of the process of being in a seven-game series. We're trying to do our due diligence. What can we learn from it, how can we improve our team. Do we need to make any adjustments, game plan differently. These are all discussions we have behind the scenes between games to help our team continue to have success.

Q. Along the lines with Malkin and Kessel, Scott Wilson has been a guy that's been on that line, too, with them. Even when you moved Kessel, a lot of time you kept Wilson with Malkin. What do you like about Scott? Why do you want him with Geno, even with Phil when you have that line together?
MIKE SULLIVAN: He brings a lot of energy. He can skate. He's a north-south guy. He has a physical element to his game. He's good when he gets in on the forecheck. He's a good first forecheck guy that can create a 50/50 puck that gives us an opportunity to create some offense.

He goes to the net hard. He can shoot the puck. When he plays with those guys, he brings all of those elements to that line.

I think we can use him up and down the lineup. We've used, throughout the course of the year, Willie in a lot of different situations on both sides. He can play the right wing as well as the left wing. We've done that with him, as well.

The specific answer to your question, when he plays with those guys, that's what he brings. He's a north-south guy. He can skate. He can get in on pucks. He can help create the separation we need, the 50/50 battle that gives guys an opportunity to get the puck back and play from them.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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