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May 26, 2001

Bob Hartley


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You have some butterflies or how do you feel?

COACH HARTLEY: We have got great players. I know that. It's a very exciting day for this community, very exciting day for this organization. We set a goal for ourselves at the start of training camp that we wanted to have, like a great season, secure home ice advantage and make a long way to the Playoffs, so here we are with the New Jersey Devils and we have home-ice advantage and it is a good feeling. Like our guys deserve lots of credit. They gave us a great season and we still have lots of work in front of us.

Q. If you look at the way these two organizations are set up, can you see some similarities as far as they have been good for a long time. They seem to be set up for the future as well as far as kind of being the example for the rest of the League?

COACH HARTLEY: Well, certainly two organizations that had lots of success and I believe will have success for many years to come. You look at their draft picks, you look at talented young hockey players on both hockey clubs. We can certainly talk about like the Scott Stevens, the Ray Bourque, Marty Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Arnott, Joe Sakic, but don't forget to take a look at the youngsters also. You look at like, Gomez on their side, like Rafalski is an older guy, but still, a young guy in this hockey League and you look on our side at Tanguay, Skoula, Drury, both teams have lots of depth and I think that they are very secure for many years to come.

Q. Bob, this is not only about a matchup they talked about how the A-line got the Devils to where they are right now, where maybe it was for the Avs, it was the third and fourth lines that really picked up especially after the last two series and got the Avs where they are?

COACH HARTLEY: They did their job, especially with the way that we faced adversity. I thought that it was a good team challenge and we responded very well. I thought that our leadership, our experience helped us a lot, but also our young hockey players at this point top, they took care of the situation and that was great. That is why we feel so good about our hockey club.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the Devils A Line and what you guys plan to do to try to contain them and a little bit about matching lines, you guys are at home so obviously that's a benefit?

COACH HARTLEY: We don't want to try to contain them. We want to go after them. I think that like you know, you look at Arnott like certainly one of the power centermens in this League, like he is so strong, he is very skilled for a big guy and he is always tough to check. And you look at Sykora, you look at Elias, those guys have great hands around the net. So I think the less that they play in your zone, I think that you can take advantage of those three guys. So I think it is going to be interesting. Like matchups are always something that can be overrated at some point. But you are seeing two teams with lots of depth, lots of skills, lots of speed, and it is going to be interesting to see who will match up against some of the other guys on your team.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Tanguay and his progression the last two years and also what you think about him not making it as an 18 year old and whether that helped him?

COACH HARTLEY: Well, first, like it was his decision to go back to juniors, so I don't think it is up to me to comment on this - like contract negotiations, very fortunate I don't have to deal with that. Looking at Alex Tanguay came up with us last year, had a great first season and we invested lots of time in him, practices, he is a fine young man. He is a great student of the game, improved tremendously in the defensive zone coverage, like has a great vision offensively, great hands, very deceiving speed. Here's a guy that can go around any defensemen in this League. He can turn from basically being standing still to full speed in a couple of strides and that is very tough to contain, so like great playmaker, certainly had a great year playing with Joe and Milan. We are expecting big things from Alex.

Q. Are you surprised by Forsberg's progress and do you think he will be back later in the series?

COACH HARTLEY: Well, like I said we are going to see him at training camp. I think that Peter is a great athlete and it seems that those great athletes always have a knack for quick recoveries, but let's face it, he had his spleen removed a couple of weeks ago and we made it clear a couple of days ago that it would basically take a miracle to see Peter Forsberg back. We are very confident with our hockey club. We are very happy for Peter. He is going to have a full recovery. He is part of us. I am very sure that he won't miss a free meal. (Laughs) He is going to be around us and it is great because obviously he is a great player and a great team guy for everyone.

Q. How do you keep things normal, keep things just hockey even though this is a Stanley Cup Finals, how do you keep the team at an even keel?

COACH HARTLEY: Hey, that's our goal. A couple of months ago we were sitting in the dressing room in our practice facility and we established goals for this organization and the players stuck to the plan and we just have to remain consistent. I think that our approach is a big part of why we are here today. We stuck to the plan. We had many situations where we could have panicked as a team, as an organization, but we didn't. We rely on our leadership. We rely on our experience and our players made it happen. It is a great feeling.

Q. Holik has been a huge defensive presence in this Playoffs. They will try to match him against Joe Sakic. How hard will you avoid that matchup and will you ---

COACH HARTLEY: We have lots of confidence in our lines up front. I feel that the four lines can play great defensive hockey on top of chipping in like the goals. Obviously we count a lot on Sakic's line to be very productive. Chris Drury can give us some big goals. The Yelle's line has done a great job of shutting down other team's best line, on top of giving us some big goals. I think that Dingman, Reinprecht and Reid didn't get the credit that they deserve. Those guys gave us lots of energy, gave us lots of great scoring chances; gave us a big goal against St. Louis. So it is going to be interesting. We know why Holik is there and what he is going to try to do, but on our side we have our plan and we are going to stick to our plan.

End of FastScripts....

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