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May 13, 2003

Jacques Lemaire


Q. Jacques, your team all year long kind of prides itself on its work ethic. Is this sort of the situation, you're in this slump scoring and you think you can work your way out of it?

JACQUES LEMAIRE: We really don't know, but we'll try to do it by work. Maybe we'll get a break, and we'll go by there. You know, it's always easier to play with the lead. Every team knows that. Especially teams that are disciplined, play well like it's a disciplined team. I always said that, and when they have their lead, they're tougher to beat. They feel comfortable and we've got to try to get that comfort a little out of there.

Q. The last time you sat Gaborik a little bit for the game, he responded better in the game. When you said he started to play last night after it was 2-0, do you mean in terms of effort, or do you mean he's not playing proper?

JACQUES LEMAIRE: It's both at different times. You know, there is a time that the players you're playing with, there is a time that they're deep, and you're the one that has to come back, and I want him to do that job -- that same job as the other guy does. You know, a pure scorer has a tendency of staying up in the offensive zone, not coming back, and, you know, I wouldn't like Gaborik to get that habit, because then you always have to put defensive players with him. You know, when I played him with Bouchard, they got three chances to score, because we didn't come back, and when I put him with the more defensive player, it doesn't happen.

Q. Jacques, you talked last night about the job that their defensemen did as far as getting sticks, knees, skates on the puck. Is it just a matter of being sharper, making quicker decisions, or how do you combat that?

JACQUES LEMAIRE: Definitely we have to be sharper with the puck. We've got to stay -- we've got to keep moving, because they're -- you know, they will follow players around the net, and if you stay -- stand still, then you're easy to check. You've got to stay on the move all the time. That's how we create chances. Last game we were too stale. We've got to be on the move. We've got to get some shots, stay on the move and try to make plays on the move in the offensive zone. He was using our defensemen more. A lot of times we had the chance to use the defensemen, we didn't. We could get a lot of shots from there.

Q. Jacques, have they done something in this series to slow Gaborik? Have they done certain things or has he fallen back a little bit from the Vancouver series?

JACQUES LEMAIRE: You guys are only focusing on Gaborik, probably because he's the top scorer on our club, and, you know, he's a top player in a way, but, you know, it's not only Gabby. Gabby has to do his share. The other guys have to do their share. I hate to come back always, Gaborik's got to score, Gaborik's got to do this and that. We said that at the start of the playoffs. You guys said how do you feel going into the playoffs, Gaborik has got two goals in 24 games. Well, I don't want to put pressure on the kid. He's 20 years old. So, we'll let him grow and play as long as he plays hard. We want him to become a top player, and if he plays the proper way, he will be. Otherwise, he will only be an offensive player, which, just offensive guys, not all the time you're winning with only offensive players.

Q. Jacques, you mentioned last night six or seven guys weren't really up to snuff. Sergei talked a little about his lapse with the delayed penalty, and also when they scored in the second period, he felt you guys had let up. That doesn't happen -- that rarely happens. Why do you think that happened last night?

JACQUES LEMAIRE: I don't think we let up. I just felt that, you know, I looked at the tape, there was a lack of energy, mental, physically. You know, I really, behind the bench, looked at the players when they came out, and when they were on the ice there, and sincerely I have to say they were working, they were trying, but, you know, when you're trying and you're a little tired or your mentally tired, it just doesn't work. The little passes, the right play at the right time, that will get you a good chance to score. It's not there. And the energy, you know, we're a skating team, and if the energy is not there, we're not as good. We're not as fast. We're not on them quick enough. Even though we play the trap, we're not moving. We've got to be on the move.

Q. The special teams, is that the same sort of issues about keeping the puck moving, and what, in general, do you think needs to be done to improve the play on special teams?

JACQUES LEMAIRE: Well, you said it, we have to move the puck quicker, we have to -- you know, there is a time, there is a right play to make, and I know, you know, during the season, it happened many times that we couldn't make that play, and then we started to get it with Brunette, Bouchard when he came in, Gaborik, Zholtok, Cliff Ronning, these are all the guys that can make that play. Now, it seems that we have the other guy that is there for his presence in the front of the net, or that has the puck at that moment, or when we do have it, we're just not sharp enough to make that play.

Q. Jacques, can you talk about how Mark's surgery went this morning and how Manny's emotions are today?

JACQUES LEMAIRE: I don't know really. I can't tell you anything on it. It's tomorrow.

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