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May 22, 2002

Rick Ley


COACH LEY: First, I'd just like to say, we really don't have any real update on Pat, other than we know that he rested comfortably last night, and obviously, we're all certainly hoping for a speedy recovery.

Q. Did you speak with him?

COACH LEY: I have not, no.

Q. Do you expect to be coaching tomorrow night again?

COACH LEY: Well, let's put it this way, I guess I'm preparing to do so, but I hope there's bigger shoes behind the bench tomorrow night.

Q. The line alignments as we saw them last night, were those what Quinn had given you or were you making it up as you went along?

COACH LEY: Well, the lines the way they had started, yes, he had given me those lines in the morning, but as the game went on, especially when we went down early, the lines got shuffled around a little bit. Then we left the game, obviously, they got shuffled around.

Q. How difficult is this, you're in the middle of the playoffs, big game and yet your good friend is in the hospital. How difficult is it to deal with all of this?

COACH LEY: That's the hard part of it. That's the hard part, as you say, friend and my boss, our coach, is not doing great. So that obviously is on everybody's mind and we are worried about him. I'm sure that our players -- well, I know for a fact, I didn't know really until after the game and this morning. I think maybe it was a little bit of a distraction because they are worried about him.

Q. Do you worry that so many things have happened, that you've finally reached a point where it's too much? Seems like you guys have taken just about everything imaginable?

COACH LEY: Well, we haven't taken too much. We've been a resilient team and we kind of hope that last night would be another rallying point for us. As it turned out it wasn't, but it doesn't mean that starting today, that can't change around.

Q. Do you expect Pat to be released from the hospital today?

COACH LEY: I do not know that. As I said the only thing I know is that he rested much better last night than he has the first few days, and other than that, that's all we know.

Q. How big of an adjustment was last night for you, were you able to draw on your experience as a head coach quickly?

COACH LEY: Well, I've been a head coach for 1,048 games, so it's not new to me. Maybe a little bit more difficult stepping in. Although, I have been handling the defense, it's different. Now it's a whole new game. I had to go watch the tapes of the previous games to see the penalty killers, because I basically have been concentrating on the defense. So from that aspect, it's not hard. To say I was not nervous would be a lie. I'm a little nervous because it's this time of year.

Q. How is Mogilny?

COACH LEY: We're not sure. He'll be assessed again tomorrow and hope he looked better today. So hopefully, he will be in the lineup tomorrow night.

Q. How difficult is it to be one coach short, also?

COACH LEY: Well, obviously we are missing Pat because he's the boss. Woody did a great job handling the defense last night, and we are going about it like this is our job. We are going about it as we would any other day. You can't -- there's two of us there, and the two of us will do fine.

Q. Given the circumstances with Keith there, do you find the relationship with you and the players , that they are looking at you a little different or do you approach them a little different when you are asking them to do things?

COACH LEY: I'm approaching it different. I can't answer for them. I'm approaching it different because I have a different role and a different job to do. The rudder has to be directed. I'm approaching it differently, and how the players look at me, I'm not -- obviously, you would like them to look at the situation and grasp it, because that's the way it is.

Q. You were a player about 30 years ago with the Leafs when John McLellan took the reins, did that cross your mind the last couple of days?

COACH LEY: It didn't, no. I didn't have time, really. I didn't know until yesterday in the afternoon what was going on, so I really didn't have time. I was back in here probably within 20 minutes after finding out that Pat was not going to be here. I was back in here by two o'clock to get prepared.

Q. Do you remember anything about that?

COACH LEY: I remember it very well. King Clancy had stepped in and John McLellan who coached me -- I had a brief stint my first year in Tulsa, I believe, and I was sent down for two weeks of conditioning that turned into about six, but I guess I needed to get in better shape. But John was a great guy and he pushed and pushed me to keep working at my game and get better to get back, and then fortunately for me, he became the coach the next year in Toronto and I had an enjoyable time. Then obviously when he got sick, it wasn't, but King stepped in, a little different and light-hearted, and he did a terrific job.

Q. If you are coaching tomorrow night, how will you go about making the lineup?

COACH LEY: First of all, we'll see who is going to be available.

I've already thought about it, and in my own mind, I've worked some combos with and without people, but it won't be really formulated for sure until tomorrow when we find out who is healthy and who is not.

Q. Is that something you go back to Pat on and go over?

COACH LEY: No. The last thing Pat said to me was, "Do things the way that you would do them." I will talk to him, obviously, if he wants to give me some advice , but I'm not going to bother him with hockey matters at this time. If he wants to pass something on, certainly, he's the boss.

Q. Were you concerned at all, it seemed obvious to everybody, the guy did not look good leading into yesterday, but did you have your own personal concerns looking at him?

COACH LEY: Well, I think we all look back upon this year and seeing what Pat's gone through physically and emotionally, the All-Star Game, the Olympics, certainly a lot of pressure. He was in a position there where he could almost only fail if that team did not win. They had the one bad game , and I think we all pulled out the papers at that time and there was a lot of negative stuff written. But it was a team that was supposed to succeed, and if it didn't, who was going to get blamed? It was going to be him. That's a lot of pressure. That's the pressure that goes along with coaching. He's been under the gun since the opening of training camp this year, and we were concerned because we knew he was not sleeping well.

Q. What does your offense have to do better in Game 4?

COACH LEY: We have to work our five-man unit better to move the puck position properly, and we have to find a way to break their trap.

Q. Why practice today?

COACH LEY: Well, we didn't want anybody sitting around feeling sorry for themselves. We wanted to get them on the ice. We had one thing that we wanted to work on a little bit, but it's not the time of the year to feel sorry for yourself. It's the time of the year that when the going gets tough, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get it back on track.

Q. Through all of this, Pat has been the strength and the center of the team. With that removed, what does that mean in the locker room?

COACH LEY: It's another obstacle that we have to climb over. That's what it is. We have been pretty resilient in doing that, so this is something that we have to, as a group of people, that we have to conquer. We've conquered a number of obstacles, and this is just another one that we have to, as a hockey team, that we've got to set aside and get ourselves playing as a united group.

Q. As someone who is a friend of Pat's, would you advise him to take a few more games off and relax and just get his health back?

COACH LEY: You know, health is the most important thing. I'm sure that the doctors will be advising him much better than I could ever.

Q. Would you feel comfortable doing anything or something differently from the way you know Pat would?

COACH LEY: In a lot of ways, Pat and I, our thinking is similar, and in a lot of ways, it's different. But I think at this point in the year, we have to stay on line as much as we can, and there's not any drastic changes, certainly, that I can imagine trying to do. That's a process. That's a gradual process. At this point, the main thing is that we get this team back up to where we've been, playing with passion and grit, determination. Last night, I don't know if that's a fact of not respecting our opponent, but as I told the fellows today, they are in the third round like we are, so they must have done some good things to get here. We did and so they did, too. So we have to respect our opponent and be better than we were last night. I know what's in that room; we just have to draw it out.

Q. Is it time to break up the McCauley line?

COACH LEY: I don't know I don't think so. I think they have been very good, and at this point, obviously, as I said, we've got to assess it tomorrow. But I have no intention of breaking it up. It's been a line that's had a lot to do with getting us to this point.

Q. Can you talk about the emotional roller coaster that you've been through in the past four months, starting with what you've gone through, and Pat going through his health problems?

COACH LEY: Well, it is tough. When you see someone that you work with every day not well, it's a concern. But at the same time, we have to go on and persevere at our jobs and try to draw the best out of our team. It is a little bit of a roller coaster, but that's why we've been in the business as long as we have, some of us. It's through the experiences that you have, when you get into these tough times, you draw on those experiences.

Q. After two games, does Darcy Tucker look effective?

COACH LEY: I don't think Darcy has been effective as, obviously, he has in the past. His style is a certain style, and it seems that the fact he's coming off an injury, it has affected his style and overall play.

End of FastScripts...

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