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May 30, 2000

Ken Hitchcock


Q. You chalk this up as a bad night for Eddie also was it your decision or his decision to make the change there?

COACH HITCHCOCK: It was my decision to pull him. He hasn't had too many nights like that.

Q. How much credence do you put into external factors such as the crowd or fatigue from the last game?

COACH HITCHCOCK: I don't think the crowd -- the crowd here is -- there is a big difference between the crowd here and the crowd, say, in Edmonton or Colorado. They are very loud there. I think that the extension from Game 7 is irrelevant too.

Q. Why was the Arnott line able to dominate your defense so well in your own end and at the same time basically erase the Hull line and the Modano line?

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think our whole group really struggled in our own zone with the quickness. I don't think we have -- I don't think we have played against a group of forwards this quick before and I think that we made a lot of mistakes because of it. I think that they not only had that line but they had the Gomez line. They had a lot of quickness that we haven't been exposed to. We have had certain players on certain teams who have that but not as a group element that we saw tonight. I also thought the difference in the game was the game really swung on the third goal. The game was 2-1. We were starting to come on early, made a great save on Hull and that play from behind the net, that third goal was a terrific play on Jersey's part. That really swung everything the other way. But I think that we really struggled with some of their quickness in our own zone. We were flat and a step late in a lot of coverage areas with and without the puck. We were just -- we were late and some of our best players were late.

Q. How disappointed are you in the game that Zubov and Sykora played and how do you turn them around?

COACH HITCHCOCK: For whatever reason we have played games like this. The only difference between 7-3 and 4-3 has been Belfour. We have had a couple of performances from our team like this and we have always bounced back with a good performance. I think it puts a little bit of the pressure on us now for Game 2, but I think from our standpoint we know we are going to play a better game.

Q. You mentioned their quickness. Is there a bit of element of surprise here? You obviously had no time to prepare for this team after beating Colorado just on Saturday night, something that maybe caught you guys off guard a bit?

COACH HITCHCOCK: Well, there they are a different team now. With Mogilny and Malakhov they are a different team than they were before. So they are deeper and I just I think that they had a great night. Right off the hop they beat us out of the corner for the first goal. Beat us in the front of the net for a couple of goals. They had a great night. I don't think that we had the necessary response. It didn't matter who we played against them. We didn't have the necessary response, but we were late in a lot of areas defending and they took full advantage of it. Like I said, Eddie didn't have a great night. He had great nights for us all Playoffs. He didn't have a great one but I know he will bounce back.

Q. What happened to Derian and what is his status?

COACH HITCHCOCK: He hyperextended his knee and right now it is minor. We are thinking right now that he's going to be a player in Game 2. If things keep moving along like they did in the last hour or so he should be a player in Game 2. I am not sure which knee. Middle one.

End of FastScripts…

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