May 18, 2002
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA: Practice Day
Q. Will anybody be coming back for Game 2?
COACH QUINN: We'll find out if we can add a couple in after practice. There seems to be progress with a couple of guys, but they are not done yet and we'll find out after.
Q. How do you feel? I know you missed yesterday and you're getting run down.
COACH QUINN: I feel good right now. For about four weeks, just as many of you have had, I have just been plugged up and not getting air through the passage and not getting good sleep because of it. Getting pretty grouchy, too. I wasn't feeling good after the game the other night, so I went and got checked up and things are fine. Did a few tests and everything is okay.
Q. Any heart concerns?
COACH QUINN: Well, what I had was -- I think not getting good breath -- I don't know, I'm no doctor. But I can imagine what happens: The heart at night says when you can't breathe right, "send me some air." So I had a little piddling around, but it's all checked and fine, so we're all set. Everything is in order and I had a good sleep last night and away we go.
Q. Were you feeling run down from the amount of work that you did in the playoff games?
COACH QUINN: Everybody works hard. You just keep plugging along and probably as you get older, you just don't resist it as well as in the past. But everything is fine. I'm not too worried here. We have Game 2 to come here tomorrow night.
Q. Is there any concern about disrupting the chemistry, with the success you've been having, bringing back some of the injured players?
COACH QUINN: We would have some decisions to make. Obviously Gary has done real well with Alyn, and if Mats came back you would not say, "sorry, Alyn you're going somewhere else." We would try to make it stronger, the position, if we could.
Q. A lot of people really like the position your team is in, not only up one game, but the incredible belief that the team has, the things that they can overcome?
COACH QUINN: Those are important elements. You want your team to believe that way. That's hard to manufacture. It's like trying to sell something. You can sell it and sell it and sell it until the guys participate in it and feel it on their own. It's not just because someone is saying it that it happens. They made that happen for themselves. Whether that can continue, that's the real test we have now. We are trying to run through a potential of 28 games where you're going to be tested every night by a team that's trying to figure out similar sorts of things. I really believe that they believe in themselves right now. Tomorrow night, depending on the outcome, there might be something drastically different. That part of going forward and hopefully succeeding is dealing with each of the turns in the road. I watched them practice out there this morning, it's pretty light, pretty cocky and I'm saying, "oh, geez, we don't need that."
Q. Maybe it's confidence, not cockiness?
COACH QUINN: There's a lovely difference there. I can't really articulate what it is. I'll know it when I see it.
Q. What is the psychological impact of having of changing the balance of the team?
COACH QUINN: Well, certainly could be a lot of things. They could think, boy, we're strong, but that's the positive side. We've got talent, we're getting all kinds of things that are obvious. Will the good players coming back in buy into the commitment that some of the ones made, because some of the boys have stepped up the commitment to each other. That's a big difference in a lot of our team game right now, is the team game is a result of guys saying that "this is what we are doing and I know what you're doing and you know what I'm doing and you can really trust that I'll do mine." Sometimes the better players don't buy into that all the time. They trust themselves to do their work and maybe aren't the best team players sometimes. So there's that fear. It could go both ways.
Q. In terms of players you're speaking about, that should not be a concern?
COACH QUINN: That's right. We've worked on that. Mats is one you've seen become a better team player all along. To me, when he came from Quebec, he wasn't. He was a great athlete that was going to continue being a great athlete and that's the way it was going to be, and we've seen a terrific change that way. I've said to you people before that if the Yzerman mold could happen there, because for years, I thought Steve was the same way; great athlete, smart, play the game, but as a teammate, didn't buy into a lot of the things you had to do to win. And when he bought in, they started winning championships. That's why he was so valuable to them now. You all remember, Scotty Bowman was trying to trade him all over the League for the longest time, because he didn't play that kind of game. And when he started playing, maybe about the time was when he started to figure it out. They went to the finals, what, three in a row and won two of them. A lot of that was Steve Yzerman being a whole player.
Q. You talked about guys figuring it out. Bryan McCabe has done an amazing transformation and become a guy that you can count on in every situation. Can you talk about his evolution and what you've seen there?
COACH QUINN: Yeah, Bryan has made terrific progress. He was one of those athletic young men that each coach that had the opportunity to get with him thought they were really lucky, but then three weeks later, "We haven't gotten anything." But he's beating it. He's learning how to play. It might be just age. Some guys just wake up and say, "What am I doing?" He's making some real progress. His decisions are a lot better. Both offensively and defensively, he still has some problem areas, but he's made up for it a lot in so many other fashions. And he's a leader. The guys like him. He's a leader. The guys like his effort and his commitment. There's one thing you know you're going to get. You know you're going to get an effort out of him. It might not be the right way all the time, but there's more right ways now than there was two years ago, so that really speaks well for Bryan.
Q. Is it impetuous; that they react instead of letting the game flow?
COACH QUINN: That's been the basis of a lot of their problems when they come here, because maybe when they were younger, they are so much better than the other kids. When they wanted the puck, they would go get it. When they don't want to play anymore, they just go rest for a while. Suddenly when they get to a competitive level, you can't get the puck when you want and the other guys won't let you have it. So you run out of position trying to get it. So you almost look like a dumbo for a while, and some continue that way, but some learn. It looks like he's starting to figure that out.
Q. Talking about commitment, is there any temptation on your part not to put anybody else in unless you lose a game?
COACH QUINN: I think we have the luxury -- I haven't played the 3-on-4s very much, so we had the luxury of putting the guys back in, to at least sit and watch. I would say our team, both the ones that are playing and have been carrying the load right now and those that would be ready to come back in would be ready to help those come back in to make a contribution. They would want it, as well, to make us stronger rather than to be afraid of it; that we should go ahead and do it when the time is right.
Q. The guys who have stepped up, what message do you give to them if they start to sit on the sidelines?
COACH QUINN: I think they for one would be happy initially for the opportunity. Secondly, in their own mind, they probably in this part of the game think when the coach takes him out, he must be nuts. Thirdly, they are around an environment that if they pay attention, could help them become better players and maybe some day will allow them the comfort of being here and enjoying it as the one in the catbird's seat rather than the one on the bubble.
Q. How much has the style of play changed having to accommodate a different lineup than having all of your guys healthy?
COACH QUINN: Not a lot. We have, roughly, a system, a style of play. I've always liked to believe that I am not a demander; that you must be at Place X at a certain time. The system won't control us. I'd like to think I allow the players to control their system. So when players come in, they have some freedoms. Less defensively when we lose the puck; maybe that's why we've had some trouble because guys might confuse that freedom from offense to defense and think that they could have it all the time. But we are supposed to be a little more disciplined within our system of play and rely on others to do certain things at certain times when we don't have the puck as for when we have the puck than when we do have the puck. Primarily we have not changed very much. I might have done a little line matching a little bit that I don't do during the regular season, but philosophically, we have taken the same approach.
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