June 19, 1999
BUFFALO, NEW YORK: Game Six
Q. Given the Buffalo reaction to the victory, what is your take on what happened
tonight? They said there should have been a review.
JOE NIEUWENDYK: Having not seen the goal, you know, I don't know, I am just thrilled to
death that it is over. I don't know that there is a controversy or not. I think it is over
now. We have got the cup and you know, my hat is off to Buffalo. I thought they played a
great series. They have got a good young team and they are certainly going to be back in
this position again with the group of people that they have.
Q. You are a boy from very close to Toronto, you probably know the history of that
thing next to you there. What does it feel to win it?
JOE NIEUWENDYK: It feels incredible. So tough last year not being a part of the
Playoffs going down early and I just felt like I was really excited about coming into this
year's Playoffs. It just felt like I wanted to lay it all on the line and have fun with it
because I know what it takes to go to the end here. I was here ten years ago and I know
how grueling it is. Your teammates battle so hard and I can't say enough about the guys in
our locker room.
Q. You dream about what it would feel like and does it feel the way you always felt it
JOE NIEUWENDYK: It feels incredible. When I was 22 and won the Stanley Cup I was a
little naive, I think, thinking that that was the -- we had such a good team then ten
years later here we are again. You just realize what a battle it is to go through it --
all the adversity all the injuries, guys playing hard. It is just one battle after another
and it makes it all worthwhile in the end, though. It has been a great ride for us.
Q. Ken Hitchcock told us what Brett Hull had to go through just to finish this game.
When you see a player have to go through that, what does that mean to the rest of the
JOE NIEUWENDYK: It means a lot -- we need Hull on the ice even if he can only give us
50 second shifts out there. He is such an important part. Mike, what he did the last three
or four games with his wrist injury, we just had so many guys playing hurt and continuing
to get into the lineup and help our team. When guys are in the lineup it just makes the
other team little weary of what they can do. I am so proud of our team. We got a veteran
team, but you know, we certainly know how to win and the guys have a lot of experience and
just battled hard.
Q. Mike, can you talk a little bit about what was going through your mind there when
you were overcome by emotion?
MIKE MODANO: I think just a lot of relief that in 1988 they made a move to the -- pick
me, to make me a part of the organization and to have Bob Gainey come in and to pretty
much help me change my whole game last six, seven years last couple of years -- it was
kind of tough, frustrating for the fans and the players. We knew there was going to be an
end to the team in Minneapolis when we had 6500 people after the year we went to the
Finals. It wasn't all downhill, but just to see a lot of faces coming in and out of this
organization and finally we had a little bit of stability last two, three years and guys
had tough times to fit in with our team, a lot of guys had to change their style, Brett
Hull and Pat Verbeek, Zubov to fit in with our team system and it took sometime. But last
couple of years the jury was out on us still to see what we would do in the Playoffs. But
a lot of -- a lot of guys stepped up and made great plays and Eddie made some spectacular
saves tonight as well.
Q. You held the Stanley Cup tonight. How is the reality compare to the dream?
MIKE MODANO: A lot of the same. I spent a lot of time just by myself the last couple of
days and last day and a half seemed like it took forever to get here. You visualize those
things and the relief and the two months that we went through together is probably the
most emotionally and physically draining thing I have ever been a part of. I think that is
why you see the emotion kind of pour through and everybody kind of breaks down to be
pushed to the edge like that and to come out on top to go out with a game like this makes
it that much more dramatic.
Q. Mike, now that you won't have to play another game for at least a little while,
could you give us some details how badly you were injured and what it was like to play?
MIKE MODANO: Well, it has been a bit of a soap opera there the first couple of days, I
think that that happened. But it was clear crack in the wrist and afterwards after that
game I didn't think I was going to play the rest of the series. Next morning when I woke
up there wasn't much pain that I thought there would be, not a lot of swelling. There was
a lot of stiffness and -- in it. But as the series went on I was able to develop some
casts and develop some, you know, casts that I was able to play in. But there was a lot of
needles flying to take the pain off. Brett could barely move -- his groin is totally shot.
His MCL is shot when everybody thought it was his ribs. But in hockey you are good at
Q. Can you talk Mike about Buffalo and their effort and if you were surprised how tough
this series was?
MIKE MODANO: I think you get to this point everybody talks about how they were a 7th
seed, but they were the top two or three the whole year. Goals against were second or
third in the year. To us and I think everybody -- mixed reactions going into the Finals.
We figured that this series would be the toughest. There was a lot of similarities, like I
said, all along with the two teams, very patient, very good goaltending, to have the
number of 2-1 games that we had and low scoring, says a lot about the teams and the way
they are disciplined, they're good defensively, positionally, all over the ice. The
chances you did get were very few and far between, both powerplays were very good so far.
But the goal that ended it was kind of the goal that ends a lot of overtimes; you throw it
at net; everybody is whacking at it; bodies are missed and checking. We told Brett to get
to the front, we will get the puck there. Buffalo played spectacular. They played well as
a team. They are very disciplined and very good positionally. Very well coached. And their
goaltender gives them every opportunity to win every game they play.
Q. How demanding is Hitch?
MIKE MODANO: Very.
Q. Can you elaborate a little?
MIKE MODANO: Well, he has a lot of my phone numbers so he is able to track me down
wherever I am at and let his feelings be known about the way I am playing. Last couple of
games he was real quiet, pretty much compared to the rest of the Playoffs and the regular
season. But he demands a lot. He demands focus, execution, hard work. He installs a system
that guys had a very hard time adapting to the last couple of years. When he first came
in, and -- but it proved to be a winner and finally guys grabbed on and jumped aboard with
him and he is a very intense individual when he is behind the net, like a lot of guys he
has come along way to be where he is at today.
End of FastScripts