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May 19, 2002

Bob Hartley


Q. Coach, hello, Bob, I know no one wants to be down a game, but it seems as though you have a couple of guys, great players, that thrive in such situations?

COACH HARTLEY: Like I said yesterday after the game, I feel after two periods, we were playing very well, and we simply didn't get the job done in the third period. They were better than us, but once again, it comes down to our locker room, our experience, our leadership. Our guys have proven in the past that they can face adversity with lots of pride. Like we always find a way to bounce back after a bad effort. That's our plan for tomorrow. We're facing a great hockey club, but we feel we can match very well with them.

Q. Except with McCarty having been moved back to the grind line and gets a hat trick, does that underscore the fact that the top two lines might cancel each other and differences can come from other people?

COACH HARTLEY: It speaks a lot of their depth. Darren McCarty had a great game for them last night. That's the reason why they're up one-zip. Playoffs is all about making the great plays and McCarty did that for them yesterday.

Q. But the contribution of your third line or maybe your fourth line --

COACH HARTLEY: We're in the third round, and we feel that we're here because obviously, you know, Forsberg, Sakic and those guys have been great, but, we had great team efforts, and it won't change now. We need everyone, and hopefully we're going to get offensive contribution from everyone on our hockey club.

Q. Coach, Joe Sakic played 25 minutes yesterday and won the majority of his faceoffs. Does he define reliability for you?

COACH HARTLEY: He's a great world-class athlete. He's in great shape, and, he -- obviously, I think that like Joe is a great competitor. Certainly in my book he's the best two-way hockey player in the league, great faceoff guy, and yesterday because of a couple of penalties where I had many of my killers in the box, I was forced to use Joe, but that's a situation that he loves. He doesn't mind going out there in shorthanded situations, and that's the reason why his minutes went up all the way to 25.

Q. Coach, you mentioned Detroit's depth. They have a couple of injuries at center and Scotty was moving people around. Do you think eventually you can exploit that situation in a long series?

COACH HARTLEY: Execution is definitely a big part of our game and a big part of their game, and they have injuries, and we have injuries, so, like, it's a matter of, you know, it's going to come down to bearing down on our chances. I felt that that's one of the parts of the game that yesterday they did better than us. They had chances at the right time of the game, and they buried them. On our side, we had chances to go up and give us a little cushion, and unfortunately Hasek came up with a couple good saves. I feel that's where the story was yesterday, but for the upcoming games, you know, it's two great teams, two teams that, once again, we feel that we're very evenly matched and it's going to come down to execution.

Q. In regards to execution, Coach, do you feel your team made a mistake that cost you the third period or eventually the game, or was there an emotional swing thereafter they had the go-ahead goal?

COACH HARTLEY: After the first goal, we could have been much better than this. We made three mistake leading to the perfect shot of McCarty. They got their legs. You could feel that swing of momentum that went the Wing's way, and we had to open up, and they took advantage of a 2-on-1 to put the game away.

Q. How did you feel the goalies played last night, and did you notice anything different with Patrick after a loss?

COACH HARTLEY: He always bounces back very well. That's the way that Patrick has played since he entered the NHL many years ago, but both goalies, I feel they played their game. They're great scorers, there was some great passing plays around the nets. Net plays are very tough to defend for a goalies and both team have excellent skill guys. They found a way to come up with some big saves and that's what everyone is expecting.

Q. Bob, you talk about Joe being a great player. Did the way these teams match up play into his hands with the skill level?

COACH HARTLEY: Definitely playing the Wings compared to the Sharks and Kings, there is more room. It seems both teams are taking advantage of their skills and speed, and they're creating some space for each other. That's why, like, I was just talking about some great net plays, some great passing plays, and I think we're going to see lots of great goals scored on both sides. Both teams have, like, good depth and great hockey players.

Q. Bob, Forsberg is now 14 games into his comeback. Can you assess his contribution and what he has meant to the team besides pure figures?

COACH HARTLEY: Like his numbers are unbelievable, but just his comeback, you know, it's even more than unbelievable what this guy has been able to do like after basically sitting out the full year is simply amazing. The credit has to go to him. Before he played his first game, like, we were saying how hard he had worked in the gym, like, for three or four hours a day. We were expecting a big comeback, but the big question was at that time, like, how good would he be, and I think that, you know, he has proven that he's a world-class player. He's unbelievable, and the plays he has made, like, were simply great.

End of FastScripts...

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