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May 17, 2001

Bob Hartley


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Bob, is there a feeling in your room that, hey, it took double overtime and 60 shots to finally beat this team, so maybe you come away with a good feeling?

COACH HARTLEY: Yes. We have to look at the position that we're in right now. Playing the St. Louis Blues, they are a very healthy hockey club right now, a very deep hockey club. After three game, we're leading this round, 2-1. So we feel we're in a good position. We know what we did well last night. We also know what we did wrong. And you know, like right now our focus has to be on tomorrow night's game. We had a good meeting this morning, we turned the page and we move on to Game 4.

Q. So you almost look at it where you're almost controlled in a game and it took that much to beat you, but you were five minutes away from being in total control of the series.

COACH HARTLEY: Well, this is why hockey is such a great sport. Momentum shifts. Both teams had chances to win it. That's the way it goes. So there's no sense in going back to how we lost that game, how we won -- how we could have won that game. Those situations happen. We're in a great round. It's a fun situation. It's a challenging situation for us. We just have to make sure that tomorrow we find ways to be better.

Q. Bob, was there a conscious decision made to play conservatively last night, more defensively?

COACH HARTLEY: We definitely don't have the team to play conservative hockey. I think that we've always been very upfront with this, that we're a team that likes to be on the offense. But sometimes part of the responsibilities of the hockey player is to accept the fact that you're the one that will move yourself forward or you're going to be holding yourself back. And last night, especially in the third, I felt that we didn't do a very good job of staying on our toes, making sure that we were applying good pressure. We let the Blues come after us. We know the outcome of this. That situation is that human nature sometimes is if you have something, you find ways to protect it instead of attacking. We're not a team that is built on reacting. I think we're a team that is built on instigating, going after people and using our offense to our advantage. We did this in order to get the lead, but we could have -- I would have preferred that we would have try to build like another goal in order to work with a two-goal lead, and that's when we're at our best.

Q. They've gone a good job of shutting down Joe Sakic's line. Is that something they have to work for?

COACH HARTLEY: Very honestly, I think that Joe's line gave the Blues an easy night. Joe Sakic's line has been better. They can be better and they know it also. They're three great guys, Milan, Alex, Joe, they were outstanding for us all year. And I felt that last night they had an average game, and I have lots of trust in those three guys, that they will bounce back.

Q. Bob, you said twice, two different times in Colorado that you wouldn't be surprised to see Brent Johnson get a starting goal. Were you surprised that you didn't see him last night?

COACH HARTLEY: Well, Brent Johnson is a very promising young goalie. I've watched him at a training camp when I was in Colorado and he played great. He's a big-sized goalie. He plays very good and last night we had Turek in the ropes at one point. But we couldn't finish him off, but they have two great goalies, two guys that are capable of big performances. And I can't make decisions for Joel Quenneville.

Q. I know you're reluctant to criticize players individually. Martin Skoula is just a promising player.

COACH HARTLEY: My job is very simple. It's that I'm not paid to sell papers. I will never give you guys the big headlines that you can print in the paper. We have our own laundromat in our dressing room. I don't go to the neighbors to wash my dirty clothes. When we have something to address with the player, we do it in a private way. We do it in a professional way. And I totally don't believe in criticizing players in front of people. Those guys are great athletes, are great individuals, and respect is probably the number one priority in my book in order to be successful as a team. So you can talk to me about any players, but I never did it the 14 years of coaching, and I think I definitely go the wrong way.

Q. Bob, two-part question. You alluded to this, but it was point in the game when you had five shots on Turek and two goals. Is that maybe lack of aggressiveness?

COACH HARTLEY: Yes. I did think that we generated a lot. At least we didn't generate it enough. But, again, we can talk about ice time, we can talk about scoring chances, like power-play opportunities, or we can stay here all day to find out parts of a hockey game. But the only thing that matters in playoff is if you leave this building with a win or a loss. And we had put ourselves, even though we were not playing our best game, we had put ourselves in a situation where we could have won that game. And obviously it slipped away. But tomorrow is another day. And our focus is to be at the right place.

Q. The second part is, when you stand back and look at the big picture, you guys have a Hall of Fame goalie. They've got a guy who's here for the first time.

COACH HARTLEY: I like our chances. The way that Peter is -- Patrick is playing. I think' we've said this before. His performances are speaking large volume. Turek had some great games, had some kind of tough games. But he's a young goalie. He's learning. It's by getting those games that I feel he's going to acquire experience. He's going reach the highest level of his career.

Q. Bob, your team definitely looked like it caught a second wind in overtime. Was fatigue a factor at all and will it become a factor for your side?

COACH HARTLEY: No. I think that we have great conditioning. Like all year, we've worked a lot in the gym. We did lots of work making sure that we develop good stamina. Plus we had a great schedule during regular season. Plus we had great games in the playoffs. We beat the Canucks four straight, even though we carried our second round to the seventh game. If you count Game 7 and Game 1 against the Blues, I think we only had two games in the six-day span. We had some good practice and good days of rest. We feel very rested. We're in a good situation and it's up to us to take advantage of it.

Q. Can you talk about your relationship with Ville and how you've kind of almost become a father figure and also Dan Hinote?

COACH HARTLEY: Well, it's always pretty special when you have a guy that comes in, whether he's from major, junior, or college in North America, or you have a young European that comes in and is playing on your farm team. Because the relationship between a coach and a player in the minors is totally different than coaching in the NHL. Coaching in the NHL, it's performance and you're judged by your win and loss record. Compared, when you're in the minors, your job is to develop, is to prepare your best prospects to the NHL. You have responsibilities. One of your responsibilities is to get close to your players, to find out what they need. To find out how you can help, not only as a coach, but also as someone who can help someone. Let's face it. Most of those young players, they come in, they never paid a bill in their life, they never had any responsibilities. And you have to teach them other parts than hockey. And especially with Ville when he came in, he had to learn a different lifestyle. He had to learn like lots of new stuff. And I spent lots of time and I can tell you that it's probably one of the experiences that I had in the minor leagues that I enjoyed the most. He's a great individual, a very caring individual. I was certainly very happy to see him get the call with us midpoint in the season, step up with Forsberg and Drury and being such and instrumental part of our hockey club for the final part. And Ville is a self-driven young athlete. He wants to get better. He has some high expectations of himself. He's a lot of fun to work with.

Q. How about Dan?

COACH HARTLEY: Dan Hinote, he're a young man that we say coming in our training camp, and every training camp he was getting better and better. Danny Hinote has a heart of a lion. He's fearless, he's a great competitor, he's always in people's face. And he's going to bleed. He's going to sweat. Nothing's going to stop him. Last night, he got a good reward. Got a big goal for him. I think we're going to see Danny Hinote really grow up in this organization as a dig leader for us.

Q. Last night, St. Louis came out and played desperate as you knew they would. How do you explain that they're able to do that and then coming out tomorrow to capture that emotion and get it back?

COACH HARTLEY: Like I said hockey is a sport that you have to play with lots of emotion, lots of passion. We have good people in our dressing room. We know our responsibilities and I have lots of faith in my guys that tomorrow we'll step up to the challenge, we'll answer the bell. And let's face it, we're not playing a beer league team. We're playing a great hockey club. Lots of depth, lot of talent. Those guy, as I said before, if they wouldn't have had all those injuries in the regular season, they would have battled. We would have finished first. They're a great hockey club. Don't underestimate them. They're there for real. When you have a Tkachuk on the second line and a Stillman on the third line. You have a great hockey club. We have a great challenge. We're in a great position and it's just up to us to be ready for it. Have a good day, everyone.

End of FastScripts....

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