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June 18, 1999

Guy Carbonneau

Ken Hitchcock

Mike Modano

Darryl Sydor

Pat Verbeek


KEN HITCHCOCK: I mean, for us it is a hockey game. We can show video of cheap shots just as much as they can. It is the type of game it is. It is a very intense game and from my standpoint, I really don't want to comment on what Lindy feels like right now. But I think what I will comment on is I think both Lindy and I know why Warrener was out there at the end of the game and I was very upset about that.

Q. Is that what you were upset about at the end of the game --


Q. To follow-up on the first part, Mike Peca also said this afternoon that he thought the Stars were the dirtiest team that he has ever played against?

KEN HITCHCOCK: I think what you are doing when you start barking like this in Game 6 or 7 or whereever, obviously you are hoping that the referees read the papers and why don't we just let the players decide the outcome because I am sure our players can talk about some of the dirty deeds that happen. I am sure both teams can complain about it. But I guess -- I hope this isn't used as an advantage for the referees.

Q. Question for Hitch and Guy, if you both could, could you -- could you speak to -- you guys aren't just old; you are old and mean. I think that is experience and being through the wars. Can you speak to that in terms of how tough it is, how many times you have been here and Ken having a veteran team who has been through the wars, what that means to you as a coach and Guy, having been through those wars, what benefit that experience brings to you?

GUY CARBONNEAU: I don't know that you can say that we are mean. This is a Stanley Cup Final and we have proved it the last two years that we are ready to go to the extent to win games. I don't think we have tried to hurt players during the course of the game. But we will do anything to try to win the game. If they don't like it, well, you know, that is too bad. We have one goal in mind; that is to win the Stanley Cup and you know, whatever in between doesn't really matter to us.

KEN HITCHCOCK: Hockey is a game of spaces. You have either got theirs or they have got theirs so whatever way you have got to do to find it, you need to have space on the ice. You need to create it. Some people create it with speed. Some people create it with the physical play. Some people create it with meanness and toughness. Whatever way you create it, if you are going to win hockey games, you have got to have that space because if you don't have it, they do and that is their advantage and that is what winning is about, taking space away from people.

Q. Ken, is this the situation with one game to win, winning the Cup, that you have in mind when you acquired players such as Guy and the other veterans that you have on this team with the Cup-winning experience, the closers if you will; is that sort of what is in mind? You have talented players, younger players, but you also have what I would term as closers, and the idea that you don't want to prolong this thing, you want to get it over with when you have the chance....

KEN HITCHCOCK: Well, I think we brought Carbonneau and Patty Verbeek and players of that magnitude to give us direction as far as commitment and sacrifice. We felt strongly that those players would show us another level that had to be played at and I think Bob had decided that the Dallas Stars, for the division that they played in, were a team that needed to play at a higher level, not just ability-wise, but intensity-wise. And we needed people who were fully committed to winning hockey games and Bob was familiar obviously with Patty and with Guy and he felt that those players could provide our younger players with firm direction and he was right.

Q. Is this the perfect opportunity?

KEN HITCHCOCK: I don't know about perfect opportunity because I think in a team game, Modano was a good player last night and Sydor was a good player, Patty was a good player and Guy was a good player, but I think there is new heroes every night in Playoffs. But I think what people like Guy and Pat do is that they provide us with a steadying influence of not-too-high and not-too-low and they also keep us pointed in the right direction. If we don't happen to win the game tomorrow, we are still going to be going in the right direction because those people will right (sic) the ship. That is what you need those veteran players that can play and that is really important thing of the -- they have to be able to play the game and have credibility by being able to play at the right times. They give you that ability to get yourself righted (sic) very quickly in and back in focus again.

Q. Do you think that maybe people outside the game are a little more astounded by the level of - violence is a little strong of term - but the level of physical intensity you get in this series; you have been around hockey all your life, you guys have had too -- I mean, familiarity breeds contempt. You get this in every Final big Playoffs series it is just the nature of the beast, isn't it?

KEN HITCHCOCK: I think it is. I think the difference here is that you have two teams who are entrenched in positional, physical checking hockey and both teams systems are firmly based on that. Buffalo is different than us a little bit. They use maybe more speed than we do. We use more positional play. We play more of a strategic game that way but both are firmly committed defensive hockey; play without the puck. I think as you move along in Playoffs, in order to get to this level, you have to be very, very good without the puck. That means in order to play here you have to be physical. It doesn't matter which way you play, but you have to play physical because you are going to have to take that space away. But the interesting part for us is that -- and the players maybe can speak on this -- but this series, from a physical nature, is nothing, nothing compared to the series that we went through in the three years we have played against Edmonton - nothing. There was twice as many hits per game in the Edmonton series and the battles in the critical areas and you know, Edmonton skates as well as Buffalo and they are probably two inches taller and 20 pounds heavier per man. We have survived that series and hopefully we will survive this one too.

Q. You said that you and Lindy know why Warrener was on the ice at the end. For those of us that were sort of in transit between press box and pressroom and didn't see it, chief, can you elaborate why he --

KEN HITCHCOCK: In my opinion a skilled player was taken off the ice and a tough player was put on the ice. The faceoff puck dropped and Warrener went after Hatcher and that is fine. But Lindy is the same guy that was bitching and complaining at Pat Quinn for doing the same thing in the last series. So don't go and play the almighty when we both know as coaches what the message was there. I just wanted to let him know that I knew what he was trying to do.

Q. Just a follow-up; how did Brett Hull hold up through the game?

KEN HITCHCOCK: He is fine. We are 100% ready to go with the same lineup hopefully that we finished with unless we get food poisoning or something like that tonight that we finished the game with.

Q. This is for the players. A lot was made about Hasek and what he said after Game 3 to kind of inspire his teammates. Could you guys talk about what kind of a steadying influence Eddie has been back there for you guys and have you guys felt him take on like a quieter leadership role?

DARRYL SYDOR: Eddie has gone about his business in a quiet way and obviously Eddie had -- Eddie has had it tough. A lot of people have been against Eddie for not winning the big thing, the big prize and I think Eddie has gone on right from Day-1 to prove a lot of people wrong, doesn't matter who he has been up against. He is one step closer to being able to do that. I think he has just gone about it his own way; quiet, getting the job done and not getting involved in a lot of things and just trying to keep his game simple.

Q. Ken, a follow-up, can you see how much this -- he talks with Eddie -- faced a lot of doubters and critics. Can you see how much this means to Ed Belfour to win this final game to get the Stanley Cup?

KEN HITCHCOCK: Well, I think it is pretty obvious that he feels strongly that this is one of the best chances he is ever going to have, but I think he has never lost sight of the big prize. There has been some times during the season where there has been some ups and downs, but he has just kept a steady deal. I think that is why he is where he is at and where we are at is because he has been able to keep that steady deal. I think he has had a great ability this Playoffs and this season to really keep himself focused on the end of the season and the Stanley Cup. I think that he has been able to, for instance, overcome a tough game in the Colorado series and bounce back with two great performances. He came back from a disappointing game not for himself but for his team here in Game 4 and comes back with a terrific performance. I just think that he has responded so quickly and he has kept his focus. He has been a strong player for us day in and day out and I think right now he is just -- he is so focused in the moment that I don't think he is allowing himself to think of anything past tomorrow night's hockey game.

Q. Hitch, maybe a couple guys, you said that even if you lose tomorrow you are still going to be going in the right direction. But can you talk about the importance of getting this thing over with as soon as possible, winning tomorrow night and ending it in six as opposed to going back and dealing with a seventh game in Dallas?

KEN HITCHCOCK: I don't know that I can -- all I know is we have got -- we have to win one game, they have to win two. From our standpoint you'd like to win it as quickly as possible. But I don't think that the focus is that there is this sense of urgency or panic or whatever. We just -- we are in a focus where we just want to keep playing well and we feel like if we play our best then the result will take care of itself. What we don't want to do is go in and hope we are going to win, or play cautious and hope that Buffalo doesn't play their best. I think that is more our focus. Our focus is more how are we going to play; how well are we going to play so that we are taking control of the outcome, not waiting for another team to give us something so that it can get handed to us. I think that is more our focus rather than the end of the -- I think sometimes you get in a position when you are at this stage where you get too far ahead of yourself and you are looking at so badly wanting to win the game you are not performing properly to get the win. I think our focus - and you can talk to the players - but our focus is more play well, play our best and let the outcome take care of itself.

Q. Guy, you have been in this situation before. If you could comment on it?

GUY CARBONNEAU: Definitely, I think we are going to try to end it tomorrow. I think we have worked hard for the two games to have the ice advantage, but as much as it is important for us we don't want to use that seventh game. I think like Hitch said, you are trying to end every series as quick as possible because you never know what is going to happen the next day, injuries, or whatever, and I think the team right now feels pretty good, we are playing well and that is like you said, that is our focus for tomorrow is to go on the ice play our best game and see what happens.

Q. Pat and also Mike, has this been a dirtier series than other series you have played or is this just an example of stuff that happens in a Stanley Cup Final for two teams that are trying to get the ultimate prize?

PAT VERBEEK: I don't think it is a very dirty series myself, really. I have played in a lot worse than this. This is actually pretty minor than some of the series that I have played in. Probably the two referees have probably eliminated a lot of the dirtiness, you know, the stuff behind the play that used to never get called or ever get seen. You know, this is just really two teams just butting heads and trying to play the best that they can to try to win it all.

MIKE MODANO: Well, I think there has been a lot of strange stuff that has been going on after the whistle and I think that had has got a little out of hand lately, last couple of games, you know, earlier in the Playoffs there was nothing after the whistle, teams were very disciplined where any extra push or shove or shot after the whistle there was penalty calls. Right now it is not. So that is where I think you see a little bit of the temper and frustration boiling over the last couple of games, Game 4 here and Game 5 last night where you have the little extra after the whistle which was called before which isn't now. I think that is where you are seeing maybe some frustration on both sides.

Q. Hitch and for Pat Verbeek. A lot has been made of the guys on this team, the older guys on this team who bring you know, Stanley Cups with them. But you also have a lot of older guys on this team who haven't won one like Pat and Brett Hull and Ed Belfour, Dave Reid, guys like that. My question for Hitch is does what those guys bring to the room and so sort of add to the whole mix; is that just as important as what the guys who have won bring? And for Pat, I know that it doesn't make you any better player to have won the Cup, but a lot of players are measured by whether or not they win the Cup. Doing that, does that sort of bring closure or does that bring more completeness to your career?

KEN HITCHCOCK: Well, we would prefer veterans or experienced players to old.

PAT VERBEEK: I'm a little little sensitive about "old."

KEN HITCHCOCK: (laughs) Really sensitive about "old." I don't know, I feel that there is a confidence level when you have experienced players that they can get beyond the rhetoric and beyond the mind games that go on in Playoff series and the advantages that people try to take in the media and things like that. A lot of experienced players and veteran players can look beyond that and they help you focus on the moment. I think sometimes all of us, coaches included, we can get rated up in things that really aren't as important as the game being played on the ice and I think the players, when you have veteran players, they have a great ability to see through that stuff and get your team back on the right track again.

PAT VERBEEK: It has been so long I have forgotten your question. (Laughter)

Q. Is it fair to judge a player by whether or not they have won the Cup?

PAT VERBEEK: If you look back there is some great players that have never won it. But for myself, I am just here really enjoying it to the most. Trying to play the best that you can, put out there on the ice and leave it all on the ice. Just really trying to enjoy playing the game and just when you leave it there, and you can look yourself in the mirror and say I have done the best that I can possibly, you know, do on the ice. You let the chips fall where they may.

Q. Mike, what adjustment, if any, did you make last night with your wrist that allowed you to be effective on draws and what have you learned about the art of the draw from Guy Carbonneau?

MIKE MODANO: Well, we have put a lot into that area of our game last couple of years with Doug Jarvis and Guy and Joe who is one of the best pretty much all season long, and we feel you know, quicker we get the puck, better team we are, the more we can get on the offense, or territorial in our game. I just was experimenting a little bit with the cast and cut a little bit out in some areas to give me a little more movement so I can get my bottom hand turned over and get a little more strength in it and it seemed to help out a little bit in areas. When you have the confidence in the draws, in the faceoff areas, you can allow for some icings to relieve pressure, but you still have that confidence that we are still going to win that draw in our own zone and we have made it a real critical part of our game last couple of years and especially in this Playoff run.

Q. Guy and for Mike, can either one of you guys when you have come this far, one game away, do you have a sense of it? Can you almost smell it that you are just that close and what is the view like from here with that down below, that you have been aiming for? What is it like looking down seeing one game away from grabbing it?

MIKE MODANO: It's a real weird feeling. We have worked hard to from the start it was it took 16 wins and it got 15 and you have butterflies and the anticipation the excitement of tomorrow night, just is getting overwhelming. To think about tomorrow night and what a great game it could be. But it has come a long way. Our whole team and organization has come a long way and to realize to be this close, working together as a team and even if it's the five on the ice supporting one another, it is a great feeling. It is really a great position to be in. We have worked hard to put ourselves in the position. We have been able to bounce back from bad games that we have had and bounced back when our backs were up against the wall; all we needed was a desperate game; we have been able to pull one out. But looking forward to it tomorrow.

GUY CARBONNEAU: I think it is the same feeling. You know it is there. You know we have a chance to achieve something that 26, 28 teams start thinking about in September, but it is like touching the Stanley Cup when you have never touched it or you have never won it, you want it, you know it is there, but you don't want to think too far ahead. You don't want to start making plans before the game and that I think that is where the veterans are going to come in just make sure that everybody is on the same track and our focus is going to try to play our best games, have a chance to win the game.

Q. For Pat and Mike, variation on the same question, you have never done this before and you have dreamed it your whole life; it is hard not to jump ahead to how is it going to feel to pick it up, what I am going to do with it when I get it after you win --

MIKE MODANO: I dreamt about it last night laying in bed, but two months of Playoff hockey playing every other night, it doesn't get anymore emotionally or physically draining than this run and I think that is where you see a lot of guys just breakdown when it is all done because you have been pushed to the limit, pushed to the edge and you find that little extra to get through it and to be the top team in the League for 1999, I think it is something we have all thrived on and really pushed ourselves to be the best. But physically and emotionally there is nothing more draining.

PAT VERBEEK: I think for me I am not looking past the first 20 minutes. I think that I am looking to really have a good first period and you know, as our team is the same. I think that if you start to get caught up in the end result you are going to lose focus on what you have to do. I think really just enjoying playing the game is what it is all about anyways. I mean as kids that is one of the one things that you always enjoyed when you are out on your pond or out on your backyard rink that you always enjoyed doing this, just being on the ice and playing and playing the game and loving to play the game and now we are just really grown up kids right now and we are just trying to achieve the same thing we did as kids in our dreams.

Q. Pat, back to the comments from Lindy, you were one of the guys that he pinpointed in terms of being highly critical of the vicious style of play and he also said that they didn't plan on retaliating by going after Hatcher; that they would go after a Carbonneau or a Modano or a Nieuwendyk. Your thoughts on that.

PAT VERBEEK: I play the way I play. My game hasn't changed -- I played this way for 16 years and nothing has changed, so I am not going to stop now. I played hard. I play to win and I try to play within the rules and I play to win. I don't play to, you know, have a nice time out there. I play, you know, I play to make sure that you know that I am on the ice and I don't want to be an easy guy to play against. I have played that way my whole career and it has what has got me here and it is what is going to keep me here. So nothing changes that way.

End of FastScripts....

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