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May 21, 2002

Bob Hartley


Q. In series, why should home teams have the advantage, and in practice does it help?

COACH HARTLEY: Well, the crowd. But obviously as a team, it's your responsibility to get the crowd going and to generate energy. But if you're dealing with two great cities filled with knowledgeable hockey fans, that makes it interesting, you know, because it's like two cities with good hockey history. But, you know, when it comes down to the play on the ice, it's the players that have to get the job done. And last night we did a great job of winning and tying this round. And now Game 3 and Game 4 are in our building, and it's our job to make sure that we win those.

Q. The juggling of the third and fourth lines, were you looking for more defense from them or offense?

COACH HARTLEY: Just to throw something new at them. Like, we have been keeping the same lines basically since Game 1 against LA, so it's just, again, gut feeling. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, and you just have to go with the flow and trust your instincts.

Q. Bob, what does it mean for your team when you get contributions like you got from Steve Reinprecht last night, Chris Drury in overtime, Alex Tanguay? What does that do in helping out Joe and Peter in particular in the game?

COACH HARTLEY: Well, a good part of those two lines is they work very well together. It seems that the chemistry is very solid. And with Reinprecht, Drury, and Forsberg, the key factor, I think, in the success of that line is that they're three natural centermen. Like, they're great skaters. They see the ice very well, plus I think they have a good feel for each other, because they know what it is to play at center, and I think that they read off the three guys very well. Last night, they were like -- they were great. I don't think they spent like more than one shift in our zone, and they created lots of chances and they gave us like the winning goal.

Q. While your top two lines are getting the job done, their top two lines are struggling. What are you doing exactly?

COACH HARTLEY: Not changing a thing. We don't plan to change a thing. But, like I said, here is two organizations: lots of pride, lots of history, and there is so many Hall of Famers on both sides that you're absolutely right that the focus should be on the players. And that's why this series is like so good and draws so much attention, because like everyone was expecting and hoping for that matchup. And now we're 1-1 after two games. So like it doesn't get much better than this.

Q. You tried to line matchup last night Fedorov with Joe. Will you now take advantage of home ice and try to free Joe up a little bit with his line?

COACH HARTLEY: I have no problem. I'm a big believer of going to toe-to-toe. Fedorov is a great skater, is a great offensive player, and so is Joe Sakic. So that's the reason why we're seeing like so many goals scored like once again, like all year, like all season. Like we've heard about the few goals scored per game. Like at least in our round, we've seen lots of high-scoring games. And I think that on our side, the fact that Peter Forsberg has been back with us, Milan Hejduk has been back with us, it gives us more offensive depth and more offensive punch. And like I don't really mind who my lines are playing against. I have lots of faith in my four lines, and, you know, I've said it before the start of the playoffs. Our focus is on our team. We want to make sure that we play well, and we will not adjust to anything that the Wings might throw at us.

Q. Bob, the first two games you lost the lead five times. How big of a concern is that? Or is it a concern?

COACH HARTLEY: The bottom line is that we lost one and we won one. You can't contain the Detroit Red Wings forever, like they're so powerful. Like the referees are calling the infractions, so you get some late power plays in the game, and I have no problems with this. I felt that the refereeing has been very good since the start of this round, and they let the best players be the best players and that's why we're going to see lots of goals being scored.

Q. It seems like the first two games, there have been a lot of lucky bounces for both teams that have an influence on the final score. Why do you think that is?

COACH HARTLEY: It just a combination of speed and skill. Like, they move the puck very well, we move the puck very well, and there's going to be a lot of loose pucks around the nets. And, you know goals will happen, you know, when goal scorers can put their hands on those loose pucks. And yesterday they tied the game late in the third with a lucky bounce off the boards. But, hey, that's the way hockey goes. But the biggest part of this is that we stayed very focused and we managed to pull it through. Like, in the playoffs it doesn't matter if you lose the lead or come from behind, as long as you win the game. Like that's the nature of our business.

Q. Bob, is it difficult to hold a lead against the team partly because of who is scoring for them?

COACH HARTLEY: Well, because of their depth -- like, it's two games played. And I still didn't figure out who is their fourth line. They're deep, they're big, they're tough. They can score from anywhere, so it's just a matter of, you know, playing our game. Obviously they want to play their style; we want to play our style. That's why everyone was anticipating a tight round, and so far, once again, the experts have been right.

Q. Coach, coming into the series, if you were told that it would be 1-1 when you're giving up four goals a game, would that have been a surprise to you?

COACH HARTLEY: I would take it. Like I said, you know, with Peter and Milan back in our lineup, you know, we feel that we can score our share of goals too. We still want to play like very well in our zone. We want to be very responsible in our own zone. But, you know, you can't contain forever good hockey clubs. We've seen this with LA, we've seen this with the Sharks, and now we're facing the best hockey club throughout the regular season, so like that's not an easy matchup, but it's a challenge that we were hoping for and that's part of our way to the Stanley Cup.

End of FastScripts...

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