May 12, 2001
DENVER, COLORADO: Game One
MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Joe, could you talk about the penalty shot?
JOE SAKIC: Just went down, I was thinking shot on the way. Just came inside, looked for an opening, there was a little opening there. I tried to shoot short side, not necessarily off the post, but fortunately it went in off the post.
Q. Most guys tend to go straight on the goalie. Was that why you kind of went to the side?
JOE SAKIC: For me, I feel more comfortable coming down a little bit on the side. Things seem to open up a little bit more. You force the goalie to decide, I think.
Q. Do you get nervous when you do that?
JOE SAKIC: A little nervous. I get nervous on a breakaway, as well. Just make the best of it.
Q. Did you expect a penalty shot?
JOE SAKIC: I really didn't know. I knew the net was open. I shot at it. Didn't know how he made the safe. After looking at the replay, threw his stick. Fortunately, they made the right call.
Q. What kind of advice did you get from Milan?
JOE SAKIC: Milan, Bob sent him to just take my time in case I was tired. Didn't know what he was talking about. Sounded like somebody was going to come and force me.
Q. What goes through your mind before you take the puck and start heading up ice?
JOE SAKIC: Nothing really. I mean, you just want to make sure you try and score, not embarrass yourself out there (smiling). It's just you and the goalie. You don't want to fumble the puck, that's for sure.
Q. Patrick Roy, just played terrific tonight.
RAYMOND BOURQUE: Patrick played awesome again tonight. Gave us an opportunity to win the hockey game. I thought we played, you know, really well in our end, did a good job, but especially in that power-play they had in the third period, I don't know how many point-blank shots he had. The game was 3-1 right there. He kept it 3-1. That was a huge period for us where he came up big with some big stops.
Q. Joe, there obviously were a lot of questions going into the series, how you would handle Peter not being around. Pronger on the ice against you the whole time. You had 4 points. How much bigger could you have stepped up?
JOE SAKIC: I don't know, did a great job. We got some breaks on that second goal. It was going to be an ice, bounced off the linesman's leg, got a couple breaks out there, which was nice. Still a long ways to go in this series. We've just got to make sure we get ready for next game.
Q. How important was it today to get the offense rolling?
JOE SAKIC: Well, it was nice. I think it was an important game for us. I mean, anytime you open up at home, you want to try and get that first one.
Q. Ray, can you talk about at that point when it was 1-1, Joe scored on the penalty shot, can you talk about the momentum shift over to you guys?
RAYMOND BOURQUE: You know, we came out on the power-play in the second period, got a shorthanded goal. That kind of kills it right there. Then we got storming, then Joe's is given a penalty shot, capitalized on it. That was just huge for us, gave us a big shot. Really got us going again. You know, you want to play with the lead, if you can. It was real nice to add to it, as well. That's one thing that we've had a hard time, other than that seventh game, you know, against LA, to really try to add to our leads. I thought tonight the forwards came out fantastic. They were skating, they got a lot going, really created a lot. It was really a nice 60-minute effort on our part.
Q. Joe, you took four or five really big-time shots from Pronger and Tkachuk. Do you think they were marking you, and did you come out of it okay?
JOE SAKIC: Came out of it fine. This time of year, you're probably going to get hit a lot more than you will in regular season, with the circumstances. That's what I expected.
Q. Anybody talk to Peter at all yesterday or today?
JOE SAKIC: He was a little bit too sore yesterday for visitors. We'll find out how he is today, the next couple days I'm sure. When he's up to it, guys are going to pay a visit to him.
Q. (Inaudible) why the goalie usually has an advantage on penalty shots?
JOE SAKIC: I have no idea.
JOE SAKIC: I have no idea why they would have an advantage. As a shooter, I guess some goalies are different than other goalies, depends how you feel. As a shooter, I mean, for me, just kind of want to wait it out and see what's open, try and take the shot.
Q. Is that the best game you have plays so far in the playoffs?
RAYMOND BOURQUE: I think the last two games have been the best games that we played. That seventh game we came out really playing our game, handling the puck, creating some speed through neutral ice. I think we did that again. It was real important for us to come out that way in Game 1, take advantage of home ice. (Coach Hartley joins press conference.)
Q. You had a lot more success on the power-play tonight than you did against LA.
COACH HARTLEY: Well, our execution was real good. Scoring obviously on our first chance, certainly gave us lots of momentum. It was good to see like we got the crowd going, you know, like Joe's second goal, you know, was like definitely the turning point of this game. Penalty shots are so huge in playoffs that you don't score, then suddenly they did get the momentum. I thought, you know, we played a very strong game.
Q. Did you expect to get a penalty shot on that play?
COACH HARTLEY: I didn't really have a chance to see what happened. The referee was right there. I guess he made the right call.
Q. Could you have gotten any more out of Joe today than you did?
COACH HARTLEY: Well, we got a lot from Joe all year. I think he keeps on getting better. Joe Sakic is a big part of this hockey club. You know, like Alex, Milan played very well beside him. The fact that we're not using him to kill, I think it's giving him an extra jump on the offense.
Q. You guys have really cranked up the offense. Are you doing anything any differently than before?
COACH HARTLEY: No. I think that we're skating better. We're making smart decisions. This afternoon, we took some quality shots at the net, thought that our traffic at the net was great. Milan's goal, he gets the puck like basically right in the crease and managed to put it in, you know, great execution on the two-on-one on Joe's goal. We have lots of skills. When our skilled players are playing at the top of their game, you know, I think that they're tough to stop.
Q. You got a lot of physical play, a lot of momentum play from your third line, the yellow line. Was that something specifically you wanted to use them more than maybe in the past?
COACH HARTLEY: No, like I feel that, you know, maybe from like the fifth game in the LA series, you know, they were playing like real well. They're giving us a couple of scoring chances every game. Defensively, they're very solid. Plus they're three good skaters, three players that love to play together. They can be very physical. So on top of being very good defensively and shutting down like some good offensive line for St. Louis, I think they can take the body and wear down people.
Q. A lot of people thought you were going with Messier on second line.
COACH HARTLEY: I told you guys yesterday, you guys wrote what you saw at practice, but I saw you after and I told you guys. You just have to believe me (smiling).
Q. The crowd was into this game as loud as I've heard a crowd this season.
COACH HARTLEY: Yeah. We have the No. 1 fans in hockey. You know, last two games they really, you know, like stepped on the ice as our seventh player. Like we can feel it on the bench. It's loud. You have to yell your line changes. You know, it's great. This is a great community, very positive community. We'll do our best to represent them.
Q. (Inaudible) do you think they're trying to go to losing your hits like maybe they want you to do?
COACH HARTLEY: This is playoff hockey. Everyone wants to be physical, everyone wants to be emotional. You know, like I thought that we controlled our emotion real well. We stood up for each other. I like the way that our players responded.
Q. The fact that you played without Forsberg so much over the last couple of years, does that help you in a situation like this?
COACH HARTLEY: It's pretty tough to play without Forsberg. You know, let's face it, you can't call up anyone from the minors and ask him to replace Peter Forsberg. You know, I think there's only one Peter Forsberg. You know, I thought that we addressed this issue yesterday. We cannot win with Peter Forsberg, but we can turn around and trust like 23 athletes in that, in our dressing room. That's exactly where our focus is. We have to focus on what we have. What we don't have -- there's not absolutely anything we can do about this. We just have to get ready, do our best and follow the game plan. Today I thought that the players, you know, gave us textbook hockey.
Q. Was there even the slightest thought to letting anyone else take that penalty shot or is it automatic in those situations?
COACH HARTLEY: I don't really know what happened. I thought that the referee pointed at Joe. Like you have Joe Sakic, Alex Tanguay, Milan Hejduk, it's three good picks. I think Joe has been so good for us. Joe has had lots of success against Turek in the past games. You know, he was a pretty clear-cut choice.
COACH HARTLEY: I'm not sure. I thought that it happened right away because some guys said that they had pushed like the puck with their glove, then somebody else said Turek threw his stick. It happened so quick. Just came in. Joe looked at me. I said, "Go for it." We did some scouting on Turek. You know, like every team does on any goalie. That was it. Have a good day, everyone.
End of FastScripts....