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June 8, 2002

Brett Hull

Igor Larionov


Q. Brett what were you guys thinking there in the last two minutes? In fact, the last ten minutes, actually. I mean was it just get anything to the net?

BRETT HULL: Well, yeah, not really. That's not really the way we play. We have done it a whole bunch of times this year where we have given up a goal and we have come back, and so our confidence level was obviously -- we are down a goal, but we also look on the -- pretty much you have got so many great players and so many guys that can score goals, you never feel like you are out of it. I think there was a little over a minute left when we had the faceoff in there, and obviously there's desperate times. But you know, because I think for the last two or three minutes before we scored they were doing a great job forechecking and bottling us up. We weren't able to move it out. When we did, we were getting at least some chances, so I think it's just, I don't know, dumb luck or what. But you know, for that puck to go where it did, and to be able to tip it, it's such a great feeling and it really just takes you to another level. It tips the scales from a team thinking they are going to win to a team that thinks they might have a chance to go down 2-1 to all of a sudden now oh, my God, now it's tied.

Q. Igor, I'm not sure if they have told you, you now established the record being the oldest man to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Finals. Any thoughts on that? And maybe if you could take us through the winning goal.

IGOR LARIONOV: Well, first of all, it's obviously nice to score the goal in the Stanley Cup Finals. It's my first goal, I have been in two Finals and this is the third Final, and scoring the goal in the third overtime, it's a huge goal for me. Tomas Holmstrom made a great play, so we start to break out and I tried to chip a puck, got to the boards to Tomas, then he took the guy with him, drop it to him in the blue line, got two against one, and I just decided to wait a little bit and then see what the defensemen were going to do. He committed to me. He just slid on the ice, and I just walked around him and took my time and put the puck in the net.

Q. Have you ever scored a bigger goal than that in your career, more important goal?

IGOR LARIONOV: No, I don't think so. Usually I go back to '81 Canada Cup in Montreal Forum against Team Canada, first goal of the Finals I score, but scored some overtime goals, but not many, not too many. This is, I think, the biggest goal of my career.

Q. Brett, does this game remind you of Game 6, Dallas-Buffalo game? Maybe even this series reminded you of that series, very tight checking games?

BRETT HULL: Really does, yeah. You know, it's not -- it's not just like tonight's game. It seems to be a weird circumstance, you know, we lost Game 5 to Colorado and we did this year we did in '99, we came back and won 6 and 7. Then lost the first game in overtime to Buffalo, came back and won 2 and 3. I feel bad for the Hurricanes because of all the stuff that was being said about them before the series. They are a great team. They are imbedded in the system that their coach wants just like the Dallas Stars were with Ken Hitchcock, and when you have got teams that will play that way and are determined to play that way, and it's such a tough system to crack, you know, they are a tough, tough opponent. And we're very fortunate to be up 2-1. We know that the next game is going to be just as hard. But, yeah, to answer your question, yeah, it is similar.

Q. Igor, how do you feel physically right now, exhausted or elated or something else?

IGOR LARIONOV: Well, I didn't check my ice time, so I don't think I played that much. So maybe 20 minutes, guys played like 40 minutes, I played maybe 25 minutes, I don't know exactly but I feel okay.

Q. Are you still getting up tomorrow to watch the soccer Game?

IGOR LARIONOV: I just check it, Mexico against Equador, it's not a big game for me. I wait for Russia against Japan at 7:30 in the morning.

Q. Talking about some weird similarities between this series and the last one. 9th goal of the Playoffs, 99th of your career, and probably the biggest since 99. 9 a lucky number for you?

BRETT HULL: I don't know if 9 is a lucky number, but it's you know, you can't really look into the past and I think like Igor said, his goal is the biggest of his career that one at this moment is the biggest because with a team that plays unlike -- they are down 2-1 and obviously you are not out of it, but it changes things. It changes your outlook. It changes the way they feel about themselves and the way you have give people on your team to feel about themselves. To come in and know that we still have a chance to win when we were almost down to seconds before we were losing, so, yeah that's, right now, bigger than any goal I have scored.

Q. When you have gone through 82 games in the marathon of the Playoffs do you even wonder yourself where you get the energy in a situation?

BRETT HULL: You really do. It's hard to explain because it comes from the other guys, it doesn't come from within so much. As you look at the other guys and what they are doing and how they are battling and it just -- you know, you take a look at Igor or Chelios and you go look at them, how can't you go out and compete for them, and I think that's what makes that Red Wings -- this Red Wings team so wonderful because they have kept that core group that cares so much about themselves. Draper Maltby McCarty, Lidstrom, Yzerman, Larionov, Fedorov, Shanahan, these people, they care about each other more than you could ever imagine. And to be a part of this, is very special, and that is where we draw the energy from.

Q. Can you speak to the character of -- we're always told a 7-game series or this type of overtime, it is supposed to be a weakness with your age, speaks to the wherewithal of your teammates when you get into a situation like this....

BRETT HULL: Well, I have always think that youth and enthusiasm will take you only so far. I said to Iggy after the game I said, I'd rather be old and smart than young and dumb any day. And I think with the experience that our group has, but if you look at the age but look at the people that are mixed in with it Datsyuk and Devereaux, Draper and Maltby, McCarty, they are not old guys, you have got Dandenault on defense and Fischer on defense, it's such a nice mix of age with inexperience and enthusiasm and I think that really helps us because when you are in a tight situation you come in between periods and Steve Yzerman is talking like he's about to fall asleep, he's so calm, but he's so -- he's so -- his words just ring loud with everything he says, and I mean, it's a huge help for the whole group.

Q. Brett just getting back to Carolina, you talked about how you think they are a terrific team coming into the series, you don't see them a lot. Are you more impressed now having played three games against them?

BRETT HULL: I was asked that yesterday. It is hard to explain how much you are impressed with them, but I am. Because you don't see them, they just -- they have -- they also have a great mix of veterans and youth and they are big and strong and fast and they are disciplined and that's -- then their goaltending is wonderful right now. So you know, when you play a defensive system like that and we are not -- you know, it's not like we love to play against that system. We want to wheel and gun and run, and so I think obviously I'd have to say yeah, I can't say surprised, but I am more impressed because just because of lack of knowledge of what we were going to run into.

Q. Igor, you grew up in and developed playing in a system where hockey players generally were finished by the time when they were 30 or shortly thereafter. Give us a sense of what it means to you to be able to play at this level score the winning goal in a game like this, maybe some perspective from where you have come.

IGOR LARIONOV: Well, it is a tough question for me so that's -- I wish I would come to this League at age 18 or 20 but I have no regrets obviously playing for the Soviet National team and the Red Army team accomplished so many things, Olympics and World Championships and the Canada Cup, but to be able to play 'til 40 and to play for the team like Red Wings, and it is a privilege, and to play for the coach like Scotty Bowman so that's for me I think it's highlight of my career. And I am just everyday enjoying my life and enjoy to be around these guys, and the way this team played we played back home when I was when I started to my career with the Red Army team because we trying to control the puck, trying to make some plays. That's what I guess the game should be, and I think it's enjoyment for the players to play that system and to play that game and I think for the fans I think it's a great brand of hockey which has been last 6 or seven years Detroit playing.

Q. You came down to Florida couple years ago and obviously experience wasn't the best. Talk about what it's meant to you to go back to Detroit and catch up with the Olympic team and continue your career when a lot of people kind of thought you were at the very end of your career?

IGOR LARIONOV: Well, it's obviously -- it's nice to be back and to be able to play with the same guys I have been playing last 6 or five, six years, and have another chance to be in the Finals and try to win the Stanley Cup. So that's fantastic.

End of FastScripts...

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