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April 10, 2019
Buffalo, New York
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Denver. We'll begin with a few thoughts from Coach Carle.
DAVID CARLE: Thank you.
It's great to be here. Great to be in Buffalo. Our group is real excited. I think the bye week was good for us, allowed us to get away a couple days, reset, enjoy what we did two weeks ago.
I think there's a hunger and desire to get going again here tomorrow night with our group.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the players.
Q. Tyson, what influence has your father had as a coach, on your game and as a person?
TYSON McLELLAN: It's been a big influence. I've always been around the rink, always seen players like Pavel Datsyuk, Joe Thornton, kind of seen what they do, trying to implement some of that stuff into my game.
It's been really helpful in my game.
Q. Ian, as you think back to your career, the choice to come to Denver, obviously the situations you want to put yourself into, but back to the recruiting process, why did you choose Denver? What was the relationship like with David throughout that process?
IAN MITCHELL: Yeah, I knew when I was being recruited I wanted to go to a place that I had a chance to win every single year. I knew that was a place like Denver. The track record there is of winning national championships, Frozen Fours.
The big reason for that is the coaching staff. Biggest reason I chose Denver was the people around it, Tavis and DC, when I was getting recruited, very special people, view you more as a person than a hockey player. It really just felt like family to me. That's why I chose to come to Denver.
Q. Ian or Colin, two years ago at this time nobody knew how to pronounce Lukosevicius and I don't think anybody can spell it. He really made a splash in Chicago, now seems to have grown into a real force for your team. What is it like to play with him? What have you seen in his growth?
COLIN STAUB: I've gotten the opportunity to grow up with Luko here. He's grown up so much as a hockey player, even more so as a person. He was a great player throughout the first two years, but the more that he's played, more as a junior and senior, he's definitely grown to be more of a leader on this team.
I've gotten to see that kind of growth in him. It's been great to see. His competitiveness every single in day and practice is something that inspires every single one of our players. It's great to have him in the locker room.
IAN MITCHELL: I'm roommates with Jarid. He's just the most competitive person that I've ever met. We sometimes get into battles whether we're playing board games, what we do around the house. I just think that his passion rubs off on everyone else on the team. His desire to win really put his imprint on Denver hockey, very special. I think that's what makes him such a key player for our team.
THE MODERATOR: What kind of board games?
IAN MITCHELL: We play Risk and Monopoly.
THE MODERATOR: Boardwalk is money (laughter).
Q. Tyson, there's a group of you that have been in these scenarios before, the Frozen Four. How has that group prepared the team for moments like tomorrow night?
TYSON McLELLAN: I think it's very valuable. A few guys that have been here know what it's like, know the distractions that are around it, know how to kind of get their attitude ready for the game. That's kind of what we focus on most, is kind of sharing that we need to worry about our own game, not let anything kind of get in the way. I think that's the biggest thing.
Q. Tyson and Ian, you've been in this program for a couple years. Now that you're in another Frozen Four, how do you feel you can take that next step?
IAN MITCHELL: For me personally, it's my first chance to be here, compete for a national championship on this stage. It's obviously very special. You don't know how many opportunities you get to do something of this magnitude with a program like Denver. You want to put your mark on the program and be able to go back 5, 10 years later with your teammates and talk about what a special thing you had going, what you were able to accomplish. It's very important.
TYSON McLELLAN: I think the biggest thing is just doing it together. We've grown so much as a team so far. We want to put our imprint with this team on a great legacy of Denver hockey. We think we can do that this weekend.
Q. Tyson, has your dad said anything about a job interview while he's out here?
TYSON McLELLAN: No. This is Denver hockey this weekend. That's on the back burner.
THE MODERATOR: Took six questions to get there (laughter).
Q. Colin, the opportunity to play for a national championship again, you put four years of your life into this, what has been the thing that you've taken away from this experience? Thinking back on your four years, how much would it mean to you to put another banner up?
COLIN STAUB: Yeah, the biggest thing I've taken away from Denver, you come in here and hear that DU is a big, happy family. That's so true. Coming to Denver, going through these four years, these guys truly are my family now. That's kind of the biggest takeaway for me. To be able to win this national championship with my family would be the best way to put away DU for me. Definitely looking forward to the opportunity to win this weekend.
Q. What are the emotions like right now as you get set for tomorrow night?
COLIN STAUB: Definitely just excited. Since I've been here a couple times before, I've been fortunate to kind of get through all the other emotions. Now it's just looking forward to being able to play tomorrow night.
IAN MITCHELL: Just really looking forward to it. It's going to be a great chance for our team to show on a national stage what we can do. We're just really excited to get the puck dropped.
TYSON McLELLAN: Just excitement. Everybody in there is ready for this. We worked all year for this opportunity. We're ready for it.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, we'll let you go. Good luck tomorrow. We'll continue with questions for Coach Carle.
Q. Obviously Jim Montgomery made a splash this year going to the NHL. How much does movement from college hockey put more of a focus on coaches, their ability to ascend in the sport?
DAVID CARLE: I think it probably further legitimizes NCAA hockey. I think our players have been doing it for a long time. I think the numbers just came out, it's another record year for NCAA players in the NHL. It only makes sense that the coaches start to get an opportunity to coach so many of the players that have come through the NCAA system.
I don't think there's any doubt the numbers are going to continue to grow on the coaching side and on the player side.
Q. Any update on Emilio Pettersen? Do you expect him in the lineup tomorrow?
DAVID CARLE: He's not been practicing. We're still waiting to see. There's a small chance, but we'll see.
Q. Are there any signs you can tell that Tyson has an experienced coach as a father? What can you see in his game that shows that?
DAVID CARLE: I think Tyson, he's a really intelligent person about the game. He knows his game really well. I think he evaluates a team game pretty well.
As he's said, he has grown up around it. His dad hasn't shut him out of anything. He's grown up in NHL rinks. You can tell whether you're talking to him about his game, our team game, an NHL player, NHL team, he's in the know. He's a really intelligent, bright hockey mind.
Q. As the second half of the season progressed, it seemed as though your team solidified offensively. Is there something that led to that specifically?
DAVID CARLE: Solidified?
Q. Maybe produced a little bit more maybe.
DAVID CARLE: Well, yeah, we've been better defensively. Offensively we've been struggling.
Q. The last six games or so.
DAVID CARLE: No, I mean, I think at the end of the day our mindset going into the year and as it is every year, you're always trying to improve. You want to be a better team in April than you are in October. In November I think our team has done that, particularly defensively. I think that's been the biggest growth in our game. It's not surprising with the youth of our team. I think there was a lot of room for growth in those areas.
Offensively I think we're trying to focus in on a few things, and continue especially on our power play, our five-on-five offense, trying to continue to produce more goals and produce opportunities to put the puck in the back of the net.
Q. When you look at film and scout your opponent, what do you make of Cale Makar?
DAVID CARLE: He's a good hockey player. We see good hockey players in our league. Scott Perunovich, Jimmy Schuldt, both elite defensemen that our team has had to face. Cale, is he another step above that? Yeah, potentially. He's an elite player at this level. He's going to be an elite player in the NHL.
His feet, brain, hands, they allow him to take over games at times certainly, so... He's a good player.
Q. Do you wish he would have been playing for Colorado this season?
DAVID CARLE: I am an Av's fan. I think he would have helped them.
I don't know. I think our team is excited about the challenge.
Q. How is Jarid a different player than he was two years ago?
DAVID CARLE: I think Colin alluded to it. I don't know how much he's changed as much as a player as he has as a person. One of the things he said this year before the start of the season was that his first three years he was content not being on the ice when we were up a goal, he was content not being on the ice on the penalty kill. As he's matured as a person, he realized the more responsible he can be on the ice, the more he can pay attention to all of our details, the more opportunity he's going to have to make an impact on the game.
So I think it started with mental maturity, then that has led to his ability to execute on ice for us. He's played in a lot of big moments throughout his career at Denver. This is really the first year he's a go-to guy on our penalty kill, on our five-v-six situations. It's a testament to the work he's put in throughout his four years at Denver.
Q. How much have you had an opportunity, as you're preparing the Frozen Four not much, but to reflect on your personal journey of coaching, the way you progressed? Coming into this season, was your expectation level to be at this point here given the players you lost, you were new as well? How has your confidence in this team grown as the year has gone on?
DAVID CARLE: To answer your first question, I wouldn't say there's a lot of, like, macro reflection. I think there's a lot of micro reflection, where I'm evaluating myself, my team. We expect our team, our staff to evaluate themselves and try to get better every day in things that they can do. I think once the season ends, we can maybe think about the journey it's been the last 10 years.
Then to your second point, I think the special part about Denver is every year we expect to be in these moments. I think we believed we could be in this moment this year if we grew as much as we have. That's what we talked about early in the year, is we're only going to go as far as our freshmen and sophomores can grow.
I think the fact that we're here shows that they've grown a lot. We've grown a lot as a team. That was our mindset coming in. So did we expect to be here? Yes, we did.
Q. Talk about the challenge taking on UMass, get some offense going against them.
DAVID CARLE: It's impressive what Greg has done in his three years at UMass. Done a great job. Their staff has done a great job.
In watching them, prepping for them, there's not a lot of holes or weaknesses. I think you could say that about all four teams here.
I think ultimately it's going to come down to who executes their game plan, who executes who they are the best. That's really what we're focusing on.
It's a team with good goaltending, some special defensemen, and a forward group that can skate.
Q. You mentioned the youth of this team. How do you make sure these guys keep level heads on a stage as big as this?
DAVID CARLE: Yeah, I think we have the advantage of history on our side with members of our staff, members of our senior and junior class, that they can speak to what this event is, how to best manage it.
I think the best way is to speak openly and honestly about it and try to impart the experiences that we've had, hope that that absorbs, talk about it a lot, hope it sinks in with our young players.
I also think in our league, we play in big venues, in front of big crowds all the time. We've played in an NHL building in St. Paul at our Frozen Faceoff. From that standpoint, it should seem more familiar for a lot of our players than maybe would be expected.
Q. Your first Frozen Four as a head coach. You're taking on a team that hasn't been there before. Denver has. Any psychology involved? You just go out and play, no matter if they had no experience or not?
DAVID CARLE: I don't know. I guess we'll find out tomorrow night. I mean, I can't tell you what they're thinking. They've been on big stages, too. They've earned the right to be here in everything they've done. I expect them to be a confident and assertive and hungry team tomorrow night, just like I expect us to be.
Q. Who exactly are you, with the prove-them-wrong mantra, who are you proving wrong?
DAVID CARLE: I don't know. People that doubt us, I guess. I don't think anybody or many people expected us to be here. Anybody that didn't expect us to be here I think is who the mantra takes after. I think our team always believed, our program believed, our department believed. It's everyone on the outside of our family.
THE MODERATOR: Should we take a vote and see how many people?
DAVID CARLE: You can (laughter). If your hand is not up, you're lying.
Q. Has there been a special way you personally have approached this big stage, being a younger coach, especially going up against a coach like Greg Carvel?
DAVID CARLE: No, not really. I'm going to give you a boring answer. We try and do things the same way week in and week out. I think it gives our players confidence and comfort-ability in our preparation and our process. We treat these games no different than any other.
It's a 60-minute hockey game. The rules are all the same. We're excited to go out and put our best foot forward.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
DAVID CARLE: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports