May 19, 2002
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA: Game Two
Q. What do you think of the guys that you got back today?
COACH QUINN: Well, you could see that the mental part of this game is probably as much or more than anything else, several of them have not been in a game where the face is up like it is or the demand to compete, and I think they got caught a little unaware or unprepared for what it takes at this time.
Q. It seemed like you started with Mats in the first and second and then you pulled him back and then you came back with him at the end in overtime. What was your general thinking on how you were going to use him?
COACH QUINN: Just to work him in slowly. We brought in enough that I was probably a little worried that we might have that sort of -- two reactions. One is the guys that had been there doing it, saying, "hey, the troops are here, we can relax a little bit." And then the guys coming in aren't ready for it and haven't played. So I wanted to keep their time down until they can see the pace right in front of them and then slowly see if we can work them in. Actually, they took a fourth line rotation for much of the early part, and then as the second period went on, the other team started to get more room to play out there and we cannot seem to have that attention to our position or quickness to position that we have had in the games we've won lately. So I tried to cut to three, two of the ones I was playing, and then makeshift on the other six guys to makeup three lines, so I moved it around a little bit. I'm not sure Mats lost any more time, but maybe it looked like it.
Q. Did you feel he played well?
COACH QUINN: It was okay. He didn't play well, no, but as he got a little more ice time in the third period, he started to give himself some more room. But at this time of the year, a lot of the frustration that guys during the regular season get room or find that they can make it because they are individually talented. They get shut down with their room and they don't show very well. A lot of times -- and I'm not saying this about Mats, this is a general statement -- but they will cheat on it, trying to get that good opportunity that they expect that they will get, and they don't come that easy this time of year. You have to work for it and be in position for them. So our positional game in the second, we got back to it a little bit better in the third, but in the second, we were not very good at it. Mats was very fine for being off so long.
Q. Can you go through the decision that brought him back today? You didn't sound very optimistic yesterday?
COACH QUINN: I think probably the deciding part for us was today, a final check by the medical staff this morning, and then a clearance by them to say that he could play; that no additional time away was going to make him any better. I wanted to -- once he was clear, I wanted to get him in because we are going to play a lot more hockey and we need him mentally toughened up to the rigors of playoff hockey for us to succeed. So the only way to do that is to get him in the game and get him playing.
Q. That first reaction you talked about, before where the guys who have been doing it for you, see the reinforcements and can finally relax, did you see any of that tonight?
COACH QUINN: No, I didn't, but I was worried about it enough to speak to our guys and say that that could be a reaction. You've done well and reached out and maybe you've played beyond some of yourselves, but we can't take a step now, because you know you can play at that level. You can't take a step back now because some skill guys are coming in and we'll be just fine. They will help us if we keep our same approach to it. They won't save us if we don't play the same way.
Q. Were there poor changes on the goals?
COACH QUINN: The first goal was a bad change. That one was one of those ones where you get in overtime and all of a sudden you've got three guys decide they want to get off fast and we got hit with that pass up the middle, it looked safe then, but by the time we scrambled around, we were not in the right spots to recover it. Then you make decisions. We've made at least one tired decision on that particular play. But it was a change where we either should not have changed or should have been one change, but we had more who wanted to come at the same time. You always think it's magic, beautiful plays and magic stuff that wins hockey games. Sometimes it's a simple little decision about when is it safe for you to come on or go off, and in a case like tonight, both of their goals resulted from changes that -- second one was one of those ones where they can happen because it was right at the bench and the play was right there and the guys made the decision, get the fresh bodies on and they made a nice play out of it. They got a good result. The first one was just a dreadful change, three or four come to our bench when they had possession of the puck and we just could not get out to defend against the last man on their team skating up and getting the break.
Q. Is that why Wallin in overtime was that open?
COACH QUINN: Two things. One, he rushed back in and we had to save initially and they won the battle for the puck. Then we left our feet. Sometimes you hate it, sometimes you love it, but I can't stand people leaving their feet. More often than not, it's one of those plays why where I say, "yeah," if it works; but if it doesn't work, you hate it. We had a guy take himself right out of the play, just slid over their defenseman and we were down deep trying to come out and a guy made a nice shot from a place you don't like him shooting from, in the middle, and it went underneath a blocker who was a good blocker, but we already had one down and it squeaked through Curtis. But your observation on the change was the key one. They made a nice play off that.
Q. Did you expect to get more momentum from the empty net goal?
COACH QUINN: Well, not necessarily more momentum. The emotion probably because you go right in gets spent a little bit but then by the time you come back out, you try to be efficient again and we actually had a couple pretty good chances before we gave that one up. So I wasn't unhappy how we were going. It wasn't full-bent. That first period, it must have been a hell of a period to watch because there was lots of action, lots of skating. It got to be a slower game after that. Slower mostly because they played a good checking game tonight and we gave up ours.
Q. Did they give you much different tonight? Looked like their forecheck was a little stronger?
COACH QUINN: The style was no better, but the execution was better. Style was basically the same.
Q. You got a split on the road. How big is taking home ice back to Toronto?
COACH QUINN: Well, you always try now to say this is terrific, we came for one. And it is good going home for two, but it's really getting ready for the next game, I don't care if it's Toronto or here. We have to change how we played tonight in a couple of situations. We made some mental errors. We were not making a lot of them for a while, and tonight we did. So, we have to change that.
End of FastScripts...