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May 22, 2003

Jacques Martin


Q. You've been to the seventh game in a final twice, Buffalo-Toronto, they were away, you lost both times. Does it feel pretty good to try to get this one at home?

JACQUES MARTIN: Well, I think, you know, that's one of the incentives and motivation during regular season, to do as well as you can so that when you get into a playoff, a situation like we are tomorrow, that you have the home crowd behind you. You have the fans, you know, you've got their energy, their enthusiasm. Hopefully that's going to help. That's one of the reasons why I think, you know, when you talk about meanings of regular season, I think it's to have that home ice in a key game like tomorrow.

Q. Patrick took a lot of heat after Game 4. After the way he's played the last two games, do you think he's silenced whatever critics he may have out there?

JACQUES MARTIN: Well, yeah. I think, you know, to ask to the organization, to myself, to his teammates, we've always known what he's meant to us and how important he has been in our success. One thing you got to like about Patrick is that he's honest, he doesn't pull any punches. You know, like sometimes not all goalies are like that. He doesn't mind admitting when his performance is not up to his expectations. But by no means is he the culprit of our hockey club. I think we have a lot of confidence in him. He's brought us here. It's a team game. I think you need everybody to pull together and do their job.

Q. You've been around this game long enough. Who is the pressure on tomorrow?

JACQUES MARTIN: I don't know if there's such a factor, I mean, from a standpoint that both teams are expected to win. I think that question's been asked before. Was the pressure on us since Game 5? We couldn't afford to lose a game. Was the pressure on them last night for them to win at home? I don't know if that's a factor anymore. A lot times it seems like pressure becomes more a factor early in a series, you know, when you start like first round. For instance, the No. 1 team playing the No. 8. If you don't perform well, I think that's when you feel it more. I think when you get to this stage of the game, you know that both teams are excellent clubs, both teams match up well. It's a matter of going out and you've prepared all year for this event.

Q. It strikes me the last two games you guys have kept constant pressure on them, especially on the forecheck. But it seems you're giving up very few scoring chances and have always got the heat on them. Is that the plan? Is that what you're doing differently these last two games?

JACQUES MARTIN: Well, there's no doubt, you know, I think we're playing better the last two games. But I think when we have had some breakdowns, Patrick has been there and made some big saves. Both teams are well-matched. The one thing that I think has been better is our specialty teams. You know, the last two games we've got a power-play goal, which has been huge. I think last night we had about four or five posts or crossbars. I think sometimes it takes a while to adjust to an opposition, to an opponent. But I think we seem to be getting better at executing what's available.

Q. When you get to a Game 7, do you think more weight falls on the goalie's shoulder, theirs and yours, when you get this late in the series?

JACQUES MARTIN: You know, a goalie is always key to any game. But I think it's the entire team. I think, you know, the goalies are prepared, they know what's at stake as well. Everybody in the dressing room has to understand this is the last opportunity, you know, you've got to be at your best.

Q. What would be your message to the players today? Would it be that while you've accomplished a lot to get to this point, that you've also accomplished nothing?

JACQUES MARTIN: Well, you know, I don't know if you've accomplished nothing. You know, you're here. You've earned the right to compete. There's 27 teams that are aren't competing any more. But, you know, I don't think that's the focus, that's not the purpose. The purpose is to win.

You know, I think as a coach, you don't look at the other side. I think the message is: We're going to have to be better tomorrow night than we were last night. You know, we're going to have to keep executing, we're going to need everybody tomorrow, we're going to need our special teams to do the job, we're going to need to play within, you know, our game, basically why we got the Presidents Cup for tomorrow night's reasons. I think that's the key. You want to have that seventh game right here. You want to have the luxury of having your fans, the noise, the support, the energy, the enthusiasm. I think that's a big, big thing.

Q. As kind of a follow-up to that comment really, the players really seem to be aware, they're taking it all in, a lot of people are saying it's the biggest game in Ottawa sporting history in this city.

JACQUES MARTIN: Well, those are the facts. You know, I think the key is that today's a day to relax, today's a day to rest, today's a day to prepare. Tomorrow is the competition day. Tomorrow's the day where you need to bring your intensity, you need to bring your focus, you need to bring your concentration, you know, feel good about yourself, enjoy the challenge. When you look at this season, it's a long season. It's all for tomorrow. That's what you've worked from day one of training camp for, preparing yourself for that ultimate game.

End of FastScripts...

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