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June 3, 2000

Ken Hitchcock


COACH HITCHCOCK: To me, every ice surface is exactly the same that is a multi-purpose facility. The only ice surfaces, and in particular, this time of year that are anything different are the single-purpose facilities like the Coliseum in Edmonton or Saddle Dome in Calgary or Ottawa's building. Everybody else is exactly the same because, especially down here, because of the heat and everything, it doesn't matter. We could have a brand new building. I have seen some of the new buildings, and the ice is exactly the same. It always starts off great when it is just a matter of when does it get choppy, and it is just reacting properly to it. It is no big deal.

COACH HITCHCOCK: (On Langenbrunner) He worked out again very aggressively today. And today is a day that we prepared him as a player, and he is not going to play tonight. But we prepared him as a player to see how he felt when we did the things that we needed to do with him. He felt pretty good.

COACH HITCHCOCK: (about playing Grant tonight) No, I think we will just stay with what we have got right now. Stay with that line tonight.

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think that people talked a lot about Modano in the last game. I thought the difference was Nieuwendyk. I thought that Nieuwendyk's second and third period, he is up against heavy players, and he played great. I mean, he had a lot of play in the offensive zone. He cycled the puck out. He didn't get the scoring opportunity, but I thought he was a big difference maker. I thought he was one of the guys that bought us some time in the offensive zone. And they are a difficult team to get scoring chances on. But Joe's play, I thought, was outstanding. I think everybody looks at Nieuwendyk just from a goals and assist standpoint. But when he plays as gritty as he played in Game 2, that is a good sign for us.

COACH HITCHCOCK: Everybody is talking about Modano versus Arnott, but I don't really believe that that is to our advantage at home. I think that that is a matchup that we might do some work with. But when you are at home, you are looking for advantages. You are not looking to negate situations and just break even. You have to win your home games. We are in a position right now where if Modano's line is an advantage for us, then let's go with it. But I will tell you what, if they are just going to go out and break even against Arnott's line it doesn't put us in a good light because obviously that line is scoring a lot of goals. I don't understand what people are saying that we are just going to play it against Arnott because we are not. We are going to play it in different situations that if that is the line that is giving us a little bit of an advantage during a game, we need to find a bigger advantage for that line; not a lesser one. If we have three guys that can go out and check Arnott and break even, great, then we will find another place for Modano to play.

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think we are getting not enough bang for our buck as far as having powerplays. I think there is some penalties that need to be addressed because there are, what we consider to be calls that should be made and we need to have those calls made on our behalf. I am sure New Jersey sees it the same way, but there are more penalties out there than are being called and just from a selfish standpoint we'd like them to go our way a little bit because we feel that, in particular, two or three times in the third period we were held down in scoring opportunities and had no calls, so we need those to go our way. And, if they do, then that is advantageous for us because we think our powerplay, the one that we had was even another good powerplay and we have had -- our powerplay has been really good for the last five games and we need to have it poured on the ice a little bit more.

COACH HITCHCOCK: No, I think they are calling -- at this stage, what you see mostly called are reaction situations, not action-side penalties and what we feel is on our side, we'd like to see more of the action stuff get called and not just the reaction stuff. Hopefully we get a couple of calls go our way that way today.

COACH HITCHCOCK: I said this before, this is such a non-issue, but it becomes an issue and if the other teams want to make it an issue, great, because it is a huge advantage for us if they want to keep making it an issue. The ice is the ice and we have seen a lot worse ice than Dallas, Texas, I will tell you, and I think that our situation is these buildings are not going to be like Edmonton. These buildings -- the ice in San Jose was poor at times, but you didn't hear anybody complain about it. It is a combination of 100 above and everybody assumes that the ice is just going to be straight rotten. Well, our team -- we don't have a problem with the ice at all and if the other team does, great.

COACH HITCHCOCK: (on the ice being a psychological advantage) Well, hopefully it is. We could use all the advantages we can get. If other people are psyched out by it, great, but our team, we don't have any problem playing in this building and haven't had any problem in the last four years.

COACH HITCHCOCK: I like the way that Sim is playing but Sloan is really there because of the opposition. This is a quicker team. They get to areas faster in certain situations and quite frankly, Grant didn't play well in Game 7 as well as he played in the previous games and he did not play well in Game 1. So we have to look at things realistically and not hope for situations. We have got people who want to get in and when Marsh goes back in, I am sure he will be an effective player, but you are what you are, and he needed to play better in those games and hopefully gets a chance to do it again.

End of FastScripts…

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