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May 23, 2003

Jacques Martin


Q. I wondered how devastating it is for you guys to have climbed all the way back up the mountain just to have a goal like that late in the third period?

COACH MARTIN: Well, that's part of sport. That's part of learning, I guess, and it's a game of mistakes and it is a game of inches. I think we came back and tied the game and kind of broken play in the miscommunication gave them an opportunity to win the game. It's frustrating, but I think you have to look from the standpoint that I think you do a lot of learning with these situations and you hope that you learn and you are better for it in the future.

Q. It is a time of -- obviously you are upset right now, you are disappointed, but will there come a time where you might think that it was a bit of a lost opportunity in the sense of what happened in the Western Conference?

COACH MARTIN: Well, for sure. I think -- and that's why we have talked about that really since the beginning. That's why it is so difficult to get there. I think that every year it's not easy. I think when you look at our season, I mean, when we beat the Flyers, that was a good accomplishment because the Flyers were a tremendous hockey club and Devils probably had the easier route with Tampa, nothing away from them. But we beat a good club in Philly and we new it would be tougher against this team. You just had to look at the regular season. They were the second best team behind us, and they had 15 players that have won the Cup, and I think that's a factor. But we definitely missed a great opportunity because if we got through these guys, then we're on the same level of competition with the Ducks from the standpoint of experience with the Cup.

Q. When the whistle blue at the end of the game the guys on the ice collapsed like they were in pain. They talked about failure in the locker room and I was surprised to hear them use that word, big standing ovation from the crowd. Talk about the effort your soldiers gave in this battle.

COACH MARTIN: Well, I thought like I am proud of our players. But obviously it's a failure because we lost the game and the business that we're in is to win the Cup. But at the same time it doesn't take away what you have accomplished and what you have learned. And that's what is probably the most important each individual has to look back and see -- take something from this year's Playoff and to make himself better for next year so that you don't have that repeat again.

Q. I wondered how you read the winning goal. Who missed what there?

COACH MARTIN: Well, it's probably a lack of communication and it happens quick, but those are the type of plays that win and lose games, that's probably how we won the game in Game 6 in New Jersey, there was a miscommunication on their defense and we jumped on the opportunity. That's what it was same thing here tonight.

Q. It has been such incredible year for this team and you speak of how an experience like this is a learning one. Would you agree that the community as well has learned from this year that they can trust in this year to leave it all on the ice?

COACH MARTIN: Yeah, I think that you know, it's difficult for the community because they have been so good and they are such tremendous fans that they were almost like their players. They play the game. They feel the losses as hard as the players, and when you don't win and in the past like you know, we have built and it's difficult for them because when you don't win the Cup, they are disappointed and I think that -- a lot of them recognize that it's a long learning process, and to me, probably the most positive thing about our hockey club is that we still have a lot of room for growth. When you look at our key players in most cases are still so young, you know, when you look at the age for instance or the experience factor on the blue line of the Devils versus ours, you know, it is unbelievable. So with that experience you learn and you get better. I think it's disappointing and it's really -- it's sad because I thought this year was a great opportunity -- there was a lot of reasons why I felt that we would win and we had made some great progress. But at the same time I think at the same time you have to think that we were better than before and people have made some progress, certain players have learned a lot and have shown that and when you look at the nucleus of this team you should be better next year. So that's encouraging from that standpoint.

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