June 2, 1997
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: Practice Day
Q. Paul, your reaction to Terry's change with the goaltenders?
PAUL COFFEY: I haven't had really time to think about it. Garth has been playing well for us in every Playoff game he has played for us, so I don't think it is going to be that much of a change.
Q. Do you prefer one over the other?
PAUL COFFEY: No. We are very confident with both goalies. They proved the last 20 games of the season that they are both capable of playing, and the kind of rotation that we have used in the Playoffs, when we lose a game, go with another guy, it has worked pretty well for us.
Q. Paul, a goalie change obviously will be the big story. Does it make any difference who plays goalie if the Flyers don't play better in front of you?
PAUL COFFEY: No, it really doesn't. In the game the other night, Ron Hextall played well for us. You can expect him to stop the 2 on 1s an 3 on 1s. But the 2 on 0s, those are a crippler. Those first two goals, you can't fault him on those. And we have got to play a lot better, no doubt about that. Doesn't really matter who is at net.
Q. Janne, what does it mean to make the All-Rookie Team and can you comment briefly on the whole season and your first year?
JANNE NIINIMAA: I just heard about it. Of course, it is a great honor, great honor. To be honest, I was a little disappointed at one point. I didn't get nominated for the rookie trophy, but this is good. You can't really think about it. I was just concentrated to win these games. It is great honor, but --
Q. Paul, how would you asses your own performance in Game 1?
PAUL COFFEY: I have definitely played better. Good things about our hockey club is we all know we can play better. I think me, included. Our power play was a little bit better in the first period. But, you know, second and third period, we didn't get anything going. And, I think as defensemen back there, it is our responsibility a lot of times to get that puck out of our zone and, you know, mine especially, and I got to do a better job.
Q. A lot of your teammates said that they were nervous for Game 1. You have been in Stanley Cup Finals before. What advice can you give them for Game 2 and how to get rid of the nerves and stuff?
PAUL COFFEY: I think hopefully we will all be finished with that now. I think there was a lot of jitters from a lot of guys in Game 1. Sometimes when it is your first time out, it is especially a tough start at home. I think the guys felt that a little bit, the build-up part of the game and all this stuff, the previous two days, and it caught up to us. And, I think we wouldn't have a problem with that come tomorrow night.
Q. Why not?
PAUL COFFEY: Because we got it all out in Game 1, hopefully.
Q. Might you and some of the other defensemen maybe have to feel as though you might have to shoulder some of the blame for what has transpired with the goalie change?
PAUL COFFEY: A lot of the blame. I think our whole team does. But, you know, I don't think this, as I said earlier, I don't think they change goalies because Ron Hextall played a bad game. He played a good game for us. Gave us a chance to win as bad as we played. We still, you know, we never know going in that third period, we could have stolen it, but we never did. I don't think that is why there is a goaltender change, because Ron played well. But, definitely we all have to shoulder the blame.
Q. What has Janne brought to the blue line to this team this year?
PAUL COFFEY: The thing about Janne is everybody has been raving all year about how well he is playing. And, the good thing is, he is only going to get better. As good as he is right now, he is going to be a great player. He brought his skill level definitely to the blue line, I don't think the Flyers had before. Moves the puck well. He is big, strong, shoots, and can do a lot of good things on the ice. As I said earlier - I have said it since I have been here - as good as he is for a 20 or 21 year old, he is only going to get better. He is going to be a good pro for a lot of years.
Q. Janne, can you tell us about adapting to the NHL in your first year? Usually defensemen takes a couple of years really to get a feel for the way the game is played here, coming over from Europe and having a good year your first year, could you talk about that?
JANNE NIINIMAA: Been asked that a lot. But I think the most important thing is to be prepared. Be ready for everything. I mean, everything can happen. Flyers asked me to come over the year before. But, I thought about it and I said to myself, I am not ready to go yet. Mentally, physically, I am not ready. I want to be one more year. Stayed one more year in Europe and make myself ready and then last summer I just wanted to be ready. I trained hard. I was mentally ready. And when I came over, I just wanted to be ready to do everything. You have to keep going, keep working and the Flyers is a great team. There is a lot of good examples. All the guys that have been here for 15 years and they still work as hard as ever. And that is a great motivation for you, too. I had not that good start, the first five games, I didn't, but then I got going and my confidence level raised just like that. That is a big difference. And then things are started to happen and here we are.
Q. Paul, two-part question. Are the Red Wings doing anything that surprised you and, Part B, two years ago, when you were on that Red Wing team that lost the first game at home, things started snowballing in the opposite direction very quickly. You guys just couldn't stop it. What are you going to do here to prevent that?
PAUL COFFEY: Well, to answer the second part, we are definitely going to have to play a lot better. I don't think the Red Wings surprised us that much. I mean, they played a lot better than we did. They played a perfect road game in Game 1. A lot of the things, mistakes we made, were lazy mistakes, were a little bit behind, weren't coming back quick enough; "D" wasn't coming up on the play. If we don't play better tomorrow night, things can snowball. That is one thing we don't want to happen.
Q. Can you talk about the importance of trying to get out of here? You guys don't want to head back to Detroit now love 2?
PAUL COFFEY: Yeah, we definitely don't want to go to Detroit 0 and 2. We are well aware of their home record and how well they play in their home arena. We are not going to think like that. I think the most important thing is to break things down, worry about the game Friday to win the game; not to look at the overall picture. I think if you tend to get ahead of yourself, it has the same affect Game 1 had on us, you get too jittery, too uptight, and not able to perform the way you can.
Q. With three days to sit around and think about losing Game 1, is it kind of chomping at the bit to play Game 2 even more so?
PAUL COFFEY: It should be. I think we are. I think two days in between definitely helped us - gave us a chance to practice a little bit. Practiced against some of the things that Detroit did and hopefully we can play better as a team.
Q. Terry was in here a few minutes ago talking about making some line changes to incorporate more speed on your team. You are on the ice all the time. You are an expert on speed and on theirs. Is the attitude now the only way to counter their speed is with speed of your own, rather than the strength?
PAUL COFFEY: No. I don't think you can all of a sudden make your team a faster team or a speed team if that is not the makeup of your team. We are definitely not a slow team. I think we consider ourselves a big, strong team, likes to get the puck in deep and work it. I think what Terry meant was just speed by coming back and going up the ice together. I mean, there is a lot of gaps last game, a lot of the five-man units that were on the ice weren't playing together. I think that what speeds generates, just trying to play together.
Q. Paul, with everything that has been well documented with you and Scotty in Detroit this year, how important emotionally is it for you to come back and beat this team?
PAUL COFFEY: Well, it is not any more important than it is just to win a Stanley Cup. I think, you know, when you get to this time of the year, there is no -- I don't think there should be any extra motivational factors other than just to win a Championship. I think that is what it is all about. I mean, you know, I have forgotten all about that stuff. It wasn't that big of a deal. You get traded, you move on and you best leave that stuff behind you. That is what I have tried to do.
Q. You talked about all year before you came to Philly how important it was to get with a contender because you wanted to go for another Cup. Is it worth it? Is this all it was cracked up to be or is it too old for you?
PAUL COFFEY: No, it never gets old. I think that, you know, I could have taken a different way out, so to speak, got offered a lot of good things at Hartford. They are very good people there - extra year in my contract, more money, a job in the organization after. But, with the type of career I have had and the good things that have happened to me and the great players that I have played with, and had a chance to win most of my career, that is always the most important thing. I tried it the other way, just couldn't get motivated. I want to retire at least going down fighting getting a chance to win another Stanley Cup. I don't know if that is greedy or not having a chance to win four of them, but that is what I play for.
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