May 20, 2002
TORONTO, ONTARIO: Practice Day
Q. An injection of four regulars into the lineup doesn't necessarily translate into a victory. It's an overused term during the regular term, chemistry, but again it means a lot here, doesn't it?
COACH QUINN: Chemistry has all kinds of meanings to it. It could be away from the ice. It could be how it comes together on the ice. Really, what messes with any athlete coming back in is the mental side of it. They may be physically ready to go and have trained and worked and skated, but coming back in and having to involve yourself in a team setting and pick up on your responsibilities, when it's happening probably faster than you remembered because the pace seems to go up as these series go on; it's pretty hard.
Q. Is this a good problem for you to have, trying to reintegrate guys who have been out of the lineup, especially given the varying degrees of severity of their injuries?
COACH QUINN: It's only a problem if they come to make a contribution. If they come in and can't hack it for whatever reason, even though they are stars at some other time, then it's a problem. There's also one thing about missing players that may be dominant on a team, is that a lot of times, it stifles growth in others because they always have the tendency of saying, "well, let so and so do it or let so and so do it." Then, when they are gone, you either do it or you fold, and this team didn't. So now, the stars coming back in, the circumstances have changed a little bit. Does the team that did it now step back and say, "I don't have to do it anymore, the troops have arrived"; or do the troops coming in just not have it ready to put on the ice yet.
Q. Did you feel that the troops were ready to put it on the ice?
COACH QUINN: No, they weren't. They were ready physically. They were as ready as you could get without playing games, and the only thing we had to play them. We didn't expect a lot out of them. If we had gotten a lot out of them, it would be more of a bonus than anything. But we hope that within a couple of games they can get themselves acclimatized to what's going on out there. We don't have a lot of time, but without taking too much time.
Q. Do you expect that Tucker and Domi and the guys that sat for the latter stages of yesterday's game will be worked in a little more in coming games?
COACH QUINN: Possibly. Depends how the games are going. We didn't sit them down for any reason, but to try to win that game last night. That's the way the coach made the decision to go.
Q. One of the St. John's call-ups that you didn't underestimate, that you left in the lineup, was Ponikarovsky. What made you go with that decision and then playing him with Mats?
COACH QUINN: I think what he brings is a good energy. He's a big, strong kid. He can get in on the puck well. At this stage, it's less, pretty generally speaking as far as how the game is played. You have to have people that are willing to get there and get the job done. So you give the puck up. If you've got a team that never can get the puck back, and certain guys on our team don't want to go get the puck, they want to get it from someone else. You have to have the getters, and he's one of those and that's why he's in the lineup.
Q. Who do you expect to play with Mats tomorrow?
COACH QUINN: I'm not sure yet. It may mean splitting up -- see, this is the problem. They are good problems, I guess. But at the same time, it may mean splitting up some lines that have been pretty good.
Q. Do you go to the forwards to get Irbe to play the puck more?
COACH QUINN: My guess is he's under instructions not to play it. We watched the Montreal series; whereas he tried to handle every shoot-in, he didn't handle hardly any. So my guess is unless it's really a play where you have to play the puck, they don't want him to.
Q. Does that mean splitting up possibly your best, the McCauley line which has produced so well?
COACH QUINN: Well, I was just asked a question about a line, what I'm going to do. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. It may mean splitting up some lines, including MMcCauley's or anybody else's. If we are trying to put together a team that can accomplish things, sometimes you move people around. I don't know that that's the answer yet. I was just trying to respond to a question.
Q. Just wondering if that line was untouchable or not?
COACH QUINN: I think in this business, you don't have untouchable situations if something better can come of it.
Q. Things are never as they seem. You withstand a 17-shot barrage in the second period, and yet, some would be inclined to say that you didn't deserve to win anyway. Is that unfair?
COACH QUINN: I don't know who says that?
Q. Just speaking as a fan.
COACH QUINN: Well, there are a lot of questions about it. I can't even go in that territory. You can bring up lots of stuff that in the end -- you can make any judgment. You guys are in the judgment business, the opinion business. So at the end of the day, whatever your opinion is, it is what it is. It doesn't necessarily mean it's based on good factor based on merit, and sometimes it is based on it. The second period sucked. But first period didn't. Beginning of the overtime didn't. So it still is a 60-minute game. That's why you have a goaltender that can -- shall we say, who didn't deserve it because our goaltender was too good? I don't know.
Q. The team you're playing now, during the regular season, was the best faceoff team in the League. Obviously, they have got three or four guys who are really good at it. Travis has taken most of the defenses on faceoffs. Do you have to change your strategy to reflect not winning as many draws? How do you deal with the fact that these guys are such good faceoff guys?
COACH QUINN: Well, it's not just that they are mechanically sound. They have guys that are quite good in their mechanics. But there are a lot of loose pucks that become team faceoffs. We are okay some nights and not okay the other nights. A lot of that depends. You watch the centers, they are responsible for setting up their people at the faceoff, depending on what they think they are capable of. Watch how many times they set themselves in offensive formations, which is telling everybody, I'm going to win this thing, because it's not set up for retrieval or support, or if the other guy happens to be good. So centermen have to do a little thinking before they do go in there, not just about, I'm beating this guy 62 percent of the time. There's some other things you can do going in there. Defensively speaking, when you're the 38 percent guy, then you're trying to think block. You'd better be ready over here because the puck is going to be laying here, and that determines who wins the faceoff. It's not just the guy that has done the mechanics of handling the drop. So it's an important team time. The centers are the guys that really have to think their way through, and not all centers do. They rely, like many athletes do, the ones that depend solely on their physical talents usually are losers, no matter how talented they are. You have to think in this business. You have to plan, you have to be prepared, you have to be alert. The intangible side of the ledger an athlete that has to be stronger than probably the physical side.
Q. Physically, other than some of the questions we've been asking, how is your health and how have you been feeling?
COACH QUINN: I'm fine. Thank you for asking.
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