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June 10, 2000

Ken Hitchcock


COACH HITCHCOCK: We will have to wait until the skate to look at Jamie, but we are looking to make a couple of changes, a little more speed and a little more aggressiveness if we could.

Q. (inaudible)

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think that -- they look at it in such a positive way, it is just -- for a guy like Aaron Gavey or a player that started in the minors and came up and has this opportunity to play in some games, I think it is more excitement than anxiety, but they have been used to being either -- it is more part of the group of 23. And as long as they stay part of the group of 23, then they can get into that game-day routine.

Q. How was Jamie this morning, and is it just how he goes throughout the day?

COACH HITCHCOCK: He skated today, and if there is no swelling, then he will play. If it sells as up again, then he can't play.

Q. He looked better, maybe even better before Game 4. Would you say that?

COACH HITCHCOCK: No. About the same. So we will see.

Q. The best I have seen your team dictate the pace was Game 7 against Colorado. When you are able to do that, come right out and dictate, what are the elements of that?

COACH HITCHCOCK: We know what they are now against this team. I'd rather not say. I will hopefully tell you after Game 7. We know what they are now. I think a lot of things that we did later in the Colorado series really helped us, but it was like the first four, five games set it up for us. That is when I said yesterday I felt like some things were starting to swing our way, halfway through the game. We have got some things on our side, some advantages that we never had at the start of the series, and we think we have them. And we are hopefully going to put that type of performance against Colorado in place in the first period here.

Q. (inaudible) -- you said Two things were missing (inaudible) your team hadn't played a full season (inaudible) -- two, that if you held the Devils scoreless in the first period, they thought the game was yours. Your team made you look like a genius. What do you attribute being able to do those two things -- (inaudible) --

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think the first period was key for us, because you look at the first three shifts, we never got it out of our end; but we didn't panic, we kept it to the outside. I think it is just -- it is understanding. And that is part of the conversation is understanding when you play against a team that has a huge wait advantage like they did, you are going to spend time in your end. It is just where you want to spend the time. As long as you keep it to the outside and not behind your net, you are going to be okay. It is when you have to spend time chasing the puck back behind your net or you get beat out of the corner away from the puck, that is when you get all kinds of trouble. So we knew we were going to spend time in our end, and we just had to get more comfortable with the fact that when you play a team that has waity forwards like they did, you have to expect that to happen, and just be prepared to stay with it.

Q. Was there a case with the players just seeing themselves halfway through that game: " Hey, this is working. We are hitting the puck." Were they more aggressive in doing the little things --

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think what we did, we made them spend more time in their end than they are used to. I think that is key for us. That is our game. We have not been able to do that all series. They have a terrific transition game. They are excellent at it. They are probably the best in the League. But we did some things checking-wise that got pucks turned over in critical areas. Our reads -- they have some automatic reads that we are anticipating now that we are ready for that we are-maybe we are two steps quicker than we normally are; that has really helped us. It's helped us keep pucks and alive; we didn't turn over as many pucks, what we call gray areas, on both blue lines, we didn't turnover as many pucks as the game went on. If you look at our first period in Game 5, we turned over a lot of pucks again because they are such strong checkers, but as the game wore on, there was fewer and fewer turnovers and we were much better in that area. That is key for us.

Q. After an incredible performance in Game 5, do you worry if Modano has anything left?

COACH HITCHCOCK: Not at all. If Scott Stevens is going to play against him, then Scott is going to have to play 30 minutes plus because Mo is coming every second shift so he better get ready for it.

Q. How do you think that the team fits in -- (inaudible) on both sides tonight?

COACH HITCHCOCK: Well, I guess that is the x-factor. I don't know. I know we are really excited right now. We are really looking forward to it. This is the same mental look that we had in Game 7 against Colorado. There is a quiet confident air about this team right now again and I just got a feeling that we are going to play better than we did in Game 5. We seem to, I don't know for whatever reason, it takes us a little while to get the turbines rolling in our engine, but we are up there now and there is guys that haven't wanted the puck at the start of the series but they want it awfully bad right now and I expect -- there is two people that will play really well tonight and be huge factors and one of them will be Nieuwendyk.

Q. You had said the other day you just wanted to get this series back to Dallas even though you had lost the last two games here. Why do you feel that it is such a factor coming back home now?

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think the -- when you are talking about winning three games in a row against a great team like Jersey, that is a pretty scary thought. I think what we did was to try to just say get it back to Dallas, we wanted to have a one-game mentality. Now it is back here. We want to win the game in Dallas and prove to ourselves and our fans that we are as good a team as Jersey is. Then I have always found that Game 7s are really up in the air. There are so many bizarre and weird things that happen you, you just -- you throw it any common sense (sic). But just being able to get it and play well here, again, is what we want to do and then let the score take care of itself.

End of FastScripts…

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