May 19, 2001
DENVER, COLORADO: Practice Day
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
AL MACINNIS: You know, somewhere along the line, we've got to try play with the lead. I think the first four games, I think we play played a total of 52 seconds. I knew it was less than a minute with the lead. So that's tough to do in the conference finals against the best team in the league. It's something we really have to focus on and go in to Game 5 and try and get the lead. It's tough playing catch-up hockey. You can't spot these teams two and three goals and expect to win. You can come back in overtime, but pretty tough to do game in and game out.
Q. You said you were getting treatment. Did you have to ice down your shoulders? You're taking so many shots?
AL MACINNIS: Taking a lot of shots. No, I don't have to ice down the shoulders, but, you know, I thought we did a good job in Game 3 getting a lot of shots on Patrick and getting a lot of traffic. That's what you have to do against a goaltender of his caliber. This time of year, he really steps up his play. And you need to be good against him to beat him. He's been certainly at the top of his game since midway through the LA series. So we know we've got a battle on our hands, but, again, we feel we've played pretty well the last three games. We've just got to continue to do that. I think if we can trust one another to stick to the game plan, get a little more from everybody and hopefully win Game 5. I mean, you know, you don't want to look at it as though you're trying to win three games. We know it's a tough task. Our main goal is to have a good first period in Game 5 and try and get the lead.
Q. Would you pull even from 3-0?
AL MACINNIS: Well, we thought we had the momentum. It's amazing if you look at the overtime status. Either the winning goal is scored in the first five minutes or it goes a long way. You know, coming back, we felt good and we played hard. We had pretty good puck control and stuff. But, you know, it just goes to show you never know when the big play's going to come. You preach about the little things that take place in the playoff game and winning the little battles along the boards and at the blue lines, turnovers in the neutral zone. There are things that cost us last night. We can correct those things.
(Jamal Mayers enters the press conference)
JAMAL MAYERS: We're going to Game 5 and it's not going to be easy, but our backs are against the wall and we've just got to win one game at a time and bring it back here.
Q. If it gets to 3-2, does that completely change the complexion of things? I mean, actually, what I mean is, if you would have gotten it -- is there a huge difference between 3-1 and 2-2? How big a difference would that have been?
JAMAL MAYERS: Well, I mean, it's just a whole new series. But we can't think like that. That's not the case. It's not going to do us any good thinking about it from that perspective. But no question, it would have changed things. We're in a situation 3-1, and last time I checked, you have to win four games to win best of seven. But we're going to get back to work and just take it one game at time and hopefully bring it back here for Wednesday.
Q. When you came back and tied that Game 3-3 last night, did you guys feel like you had all the momentum and it was your game to take?
JAMAL MAYERS: No question. We put ourselves in a hole, getting down 3-0, and then showing the resilience and character that this group has shown all year long and tied it up, I kind of had the feeling that we were going to win it. It was disappointing, but hockey's a funny game sometimes
(Pierre Turgeon enters the press conference)
Q. Is the key the fast start in the game?
PIERRE TURGEON: Yes. We're back and the same time putting good pressure in their zone. And the shots got to be coming from the sideways. They've got to be tough shots. You can't give too many quality shots. And we've got to have a good start. That's the bottom line. You can't be in that situation too often, being down 3-0. That's hard. You're playing catch-up hockey and we did it. We came back, but, I mean, just got to make sure we have a better start.
Q. Otherwise, do you feel good about the way you're playing?
PIERRE TURGEON: 40 minutes in the last, second period, third period, we played well. We had some momentum, we had good forecheck and it's a 60-minute game. A lot of times, they only need five or ten minutes to change that game. We've got to play a 60-minute game.
Q. When you tied the thing 3-3, did you guys feel like you had it all going in your direction?
PIERRE TURGEON: We all felt pretty good. We had some momentum. I thought we came back pretty strong as far as the start in the overtime. They had a little bit of momentum. We felt pretty good. We felt like we could get a goal and especially the second period and third period. We had a lot of momentum. We played pretty well as a team. And you're expecting the same in overtime to be the same way. And we had one good chance and they put it in. So we've got to regroup now. And obviously we can't look at the picture we've got to look at right now. We can't look at we've got to win three games. It's a big thing we've got to look at. We've just got to go game by game and period by period and shift by shift and focus on a game at a time. And go from there.
Q. Is that difficult? Obviously everyone always says to take it one game at a time. is that difficult to do?
PIERRE TURGEON: Well, we would have preferred to be in the situation of being 2-2. It's 3-1 now. So you don't want to look at the picture as far as we have three games -- we've got to win three games. It's there, but we've got to take it game by game and even, like I said, shift by shift and have good result in those shifts and we should have good result in the end of the game you can't look at the picture we have to win three games. You have to approach it game by game and go from there.
Q. How does that change the complexion of the game for you when you can go in there in the second period and get two quick goals like that?
PIERRE TURGEON: Well, you feel obviously down 3-0 and you want to get some flow, you want to get some momentum. We got a goal, got two goals. There it is. We got some momentum, got it going. We felt petty good about the team. And then we got the third goal after that. So, you know, we felt pretty good getting in overtime. We just didn't get that break or, you know, we only got a couple of minutes in overtime and the game was down. So tough, but, hey, we've got to regroup and focus for the next one now.
(Chris Pronger enters the press conference.)
Q. You rallied together and that doesn't happen very often, that is, win three in a row.
CHRIS PRONGER: It's happened. You look at last year, New Jersey did it to Philadelphia last year in the conference finals. You just go back a short number of years, and you can find a few times where it's happened. But those are different years and that's the past. We've got to look to the present and what we've got to do to get it done. We've obviously got to get off to better starts. The first periods have been critical in this series. Being ahead 52 seconds in four hockey games isn't a lot to be happy about. But we've played well, but some mistakes that we're making are costing us goals and getting us down early.
Q. How do you keep from looking at the big picture and keeping it simple?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, it's win Game 5 or you're done. It's pretty easy to keep it simple. You've just got to win the next hockey game. If you continue to do that, ultimately you're going get to Game 7. But we've got to just stay patient and play a little better defensively. Whether Roman's playing well or not, we're still giving up too many scoring chances. Especially in the third period, we've got to come out with a better determination and desire in the first period that we're not going to let them score. If it takes 0-0 or whatever the case is, then we'll have to keep with it.
Q. What does Patrick Roy do that makes him so good this time of year?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, I think the biggest thing is he just makes the first save and lets his defensemen either clear out the rebounds or take out the guys and let them -- let the guards come back and pick up the loose pucks. It's no secret how you score. It's just a matter of getting it done and getting traffic in front of him so he can't see the puck. Sometime that is a little more difficult than it seems.
Q. Can you tell me just technically what goes into making a big hit? What were you taught when you were younger?
CHRIS PRONGER: I don't think you are taught it. I just think you pick it up and figure out how to do it. Some people can figure it out more than others. Others can read the play better than others and realize that that guy has only one way to go and you're heading that way too. You're almost caught in the train tracks and the guy is either going to have to bail out and ultimately you're going create a turnover or you're going to run him over. You know, I think that you look at a handful of guys in the league that are real good at it, Blake being one of them, coming across the blue line. Obviously Scott Stevens, Kasparaitis, guys like that that, you know, that's the first thing they think about. When the guys are coming down is how they are going the hit him. Not how they're going to get the puck from them.
(Scott Mellanby enters the press conference.)
SCOTT MELLANBY: We could be down, and I think what's good for us, really, is that we've been a very resilient group to this point. I think we showed last night, we showed the game before, we showed a couple other times that we were down in the third period. Even last night after the first period, we were pretty good in the room. We were down 3-0 and we felt like, hey, you know, there's 40 minutes to go. I think there is a good belief that just gets kind of cultivated over time that, hey, we can come back, because we've done it. This is the ultimate test. It's not like we're down a couple goals in the game. We're down 3-1 and it's going to be tough, but, you know, I think that the way we've played, we felt that we've had an opportunity to win each of the last three games. And, so, you know, just take it one game at a time, like you say. I think the belief is definitely that we can do it.
Q. In your long career, when you were down in the series before, everybody always puts on a good face. Here it seems more believable. Is this different than any other team?
SCOTT MELLANBY: I think so. I think you're right. I think we've shown that we're resilient. We've come back the last couple games. We've come back a couple of times in the playoffs down in the third. So I think there's a belief that we can do it. It happens, teams come back. And my first year, we lost the Edmonton Oilers in seven games in '87. We were down 3-1 in that series. We came back and we had a lead in Game 7. That '87 Oilers team was the best hockey team I've ever seen. They had everybody. That was when they were in their prime. We were able to come back in seven and almost win it. So, you know, those are the types of experiences you draw off of. And I've been up 3-1 in a series, too.
Q. What's the mindset on other side?
SCOTT MELLANBY: You're concerned. You're thinking, if we lose that one, we've got to go back to the other team's building. That's going to be almost impossible to win. All of a sudden, you've got all the pressure of the Game 7 at home. So obviously they're happy with their position, but they're not going take anything for granted. And we're not going to take anything for granted either. And that's not say we're not going to take for granted that the series is over. We still believe in the way we've played. We feel we've had an opportunity to win each of the last three games. And if we can go out there in Game 5, we're really back, we're in it. So LA forced Game 7 in the last series, so they're not invincible.
Q. I know that everyone's going give their 100 percent support for Roman, so that's not an issue, but how difficult is it, no matter what position you play, to be in the hole every game and you guys had the lead for 52 seconds. That's not easy hockey.
SCOTT MELLANBY: It's difficult. I mean, statistics reflect teams getting the lead and scoring the first goal and all that kind of stuff is going to win a greater percentage of their games. It's been tough. But, you know, that's hockey and I think we showed a lot of character battling back. And last night was tough. I think we felt we had the momentum going into overtime and we fell short. But, you know, the belief is that we feel that we could easily be 2-2 in the series or even better. So we've just got to go in with the attitude that it would be nice to get a lead. And, you know, let them play catch-up.
(Coach Quenneville enters the press conference)
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think the parallel might be more so in the Phoenix series two years ago. I think we were down 3-1, but we felt that we should at least be even or ahead. I think more so in this series, we feel like we should be in a better spot that than we are right now. And the situation is that whether we reflect back on that, I think we still got to reflect back on how we're playing right now to give us some inspiration to think that the situation is solvable. We've got to give ourselves a chance by just -- with the same mindset and the same approach, knowing that we deserve better fate.
Q. Are you contemplating any changes next game?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Thinking about Goose coming back in. I don't know. We may be looking at altering some of the line combinations.
Q. No thought to Johnson playing?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, we always look at all the angles, but I don't know. We'll think about it.
Q. Why do you think Roman has had a hard time? It's strange. He settles down. The challenge is done, but he plays great after that. Why is he fighting it early?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think more so in the last two games than the whole series. We've had to play a lot of catch-up, which is the thing that bothers us the most, knowing that we haven't found out what that type of game's going to be like. And having the lead is one of our strengths and we've been playing a different type of game. It's tough to be productive. Whether it's his preparation or the mindset of trying to get the lead for us and preserving it, you know, I don't know if it's his warm-up or something different, but certainly it's been tough to overcome. You're going against a top team and a top goaltender. Spotting them goals early is -- you've got the commend the guys how they've kept it together and Roman how he's bounced back from it, too. Last night, when it was 2-0, my decision was, What do you do? The night before, I didn't do anything. At three, I just tried to change the momentum. It was certainly a thing that -- it's a big hole. And last night was usually insurmountable, but it was a great comeback. The guys did everything they could to possible give us a chance to win the game. Roman was part of that, too. That's where we can draw the positives, knowing that we are doing everything we feel we have to do, but spotting them one, two, three, can't happen. There's no room for error anymore. We've got to -- we've got to -- can't give them anything.
Q. Because of the way he played in the first two rounds, is that one reason you give him respect by not making a change at this point?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think going down in the year, when he had the challenge of being the guy who was going to be our number one guy, and, you know, he really had a strong series against San Jose that was instrumental in us winning. And then he had a great series against Dallas, which he was single-handedly our key guy. So that layoff may be -- might have been lost a bit of his momentum and confidence, but, you know, I still think that he's had some strong parts in this series.
Q. Even if you were thinking of a change, it would be hard for Johnson. That would effect him because he's been off so long?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, Johnny's, he's an eager kid. I'm sure he would relish an opportunity. You just watch him practice every day and I'm sure he would welcome something like that.
Q. Can you talk about shortening up the defense like you have in the last couple games?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, I think it's been a little bit of playing catch-up, knowing that we're looking for a little offense and trying to get going on the offense and on the attack. You'd like to play the opposite where you can get everybody in the game and you're more in control with just trying to protect the lead or trying to peck away and add to it. But we haven't been playing our style of game. One of our strengths is playing with the lead. I think when we have that, I think we can probably go deeper, as opposed to trying to create and manufacture it. It takes more energy to do that.
Q. I think you've had it for 52 seconds in the series?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I know. That's the frustrating part, knowing that we're always trying to come back. That's part of it the last couple games, knowing that we're trying to be more on the offensive mindset.
Q. Can you tell right away that Finley doesn't (inaudible)?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, he hasn't played much. But I think his conditioning is part of it and being the pace of the game at this stage, knowing that it's quite different the last game than he played. And what he went through, it's a tall order.
Q. So he's likely not to?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: That's one of the decisions we're going to talk about.
Q. Can you talk about Tkachuk and Footer going through a war that's continuing all throughout the series? These guys seem to be banging the hell out of each other.
COACH QUENNEVILLE: They are both warriors. They are competitive guys. You'll find them as the series gets deeper and deeper, they are going to be more noticeable and they are going to be there all series long. They have that mean streak, they're no fun to play against. They butt heads themselves and they butt against anyone else who wants to get involved, too, but they're the type of guys you need on your team if you want to win.
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