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June 11, 2002

Sergei Fedorov

Brett Hull

Brendan Shanahan

Steve Yzerman


Q. Any of you guys, how much pride do you take in your defensive responsibilities, especially many you are known offensive players?

BRETT HULL: I think you have to if you are going to be successful in the Playoffs. The guy to your left and the guy across from you are counting on you for you to do your job. If you don't do your job, they are going to look foolish, your team is not going to be successful. So it's easy to say your offense all stems from defense. You have to take pride in it because -- especially in today's game. Years ago, or I don't know how many, whatever, it is now, you know, nobody talked about defense. They talked about great defensemen and goaltenders, but never really talked about defense, that I could remember. At least they never talked to me about it. But now it's, you know, you look at the things that people do defensively. And in today's game, they are just as or more important than putting the puck in the net sometimes.

Q. A brief comment on the emotions, between this and the Olympics, what the difference is. I realize the other is very short. That's what I would like to dwell on.

STEVE YZERMAN: Biggest difference is that the Playoffs is over a two-month period versus whatever it was, 12 days; that's the biggest thing. It is more stressful, more draining over a longer period of time. That's the biggest difference. I guess when you get in the Olympics, quarter Finals, semifinals you play three games where either you win or you are out. And you play that in this situation in the Playoffs a couple of times, maybe, but just the overall length of it and the stress and the wear on you over a longer period of time is more draining.

BRETT HULL: I think it took part of a team to grow with a team throughout the whole year, I guess you use the word family or whatever, to be successful over this long of a stretch of Playoffs with a group and to feel such a part of it I think is biggest difference between throwing a group together from all over.

Q. It's kind of an All-Star team where you have got a team with all facets of the game, from grinders and defensemen to great skill people and other people sacrificing. I think that's the biggest difference. .

SERGEI FEDOROV: I think the way the Playoffs and Olympics set up, obviously it is a different system the way games begin. And in Playoffs, even if you're a game down or two down, you still have a chance to turn things around. Olympics, the way the format works, you're basically out after the quarter Finals, and you don't have a chance to go for another chance. I think, like Steve and Brett said, it is more draining and a longer period of time. You got to glue together, and basically you can't really enjoy and relax until it is over. That's why it's way different, both those tournaments.

BRENDAN SHANAHAN: Nothing really to add. But the emotion -- the Olympics, like Steve was saying, it's like a sprint. This is more like a marathon. And, again, like Brett was saying, for the Stanley Cup you build a team and sometimes that takes years and years and years. That doesn't just happen in one year. Sometimes it's development through the draft and through obtaining players, and so it is a journey that doesn't necessarily just start in September. So you certainly do develop, you know, a sense of family on the team.

Q. Talk about how you guys are in the position that everybody, including yourself, thought you would be in way back in late September. What is that like being, you know, in the place that everybody thought you'd be? Obviously everybody doesn't succeed like that, but.....

BRENDAN SHANAHAN: I think that, you know, we're in a position obviously where we know that we have got an important amount of work still left to do. And that's the one thing that I think when this team was put together -- the one thing we always said was, well, yeah, this has been a great start to the season, but we're not finished with our jobs. And this has been a great season, but we haven't accomplished our goal. And it has been that way with each round of the Playoffs. And it's that way today. It's that way until we do accomplish our goal. But it has been -- I think when you are in that position, you know, obviously it's a greater test, and it's a mental test. Not every player in the NHL enjoys being considered a favorite from the early stages of a season. Not every player reacts to that. But there has been pressure on this team all year long, and we have all kind of shouldered it equally, and the depth has really helped.

Q. Talk about briefly what the one thing that impresses you the most about how Scotty Bowman operates as a coach and the one thing that you would tell a new arrival on this team if you were advising him as to how to get along with Scotty Bowman as a coach.

STEVE YZERMAN: How to get along with him is to just show up, work hard, and keep your mouth shut. Simple as that. And play well defensively. And I think Scotty -- as the situation, the importance of the situation, grows or the magnitude of the game is bigger, he gets more relaxed. It's the times when, you know, you let your guard down, when it's not a big game, when, you know, you might ease up on things, that's when he really makes it difficult on you, makes you uncomfortable. But the more pressure, whether it's a Game 7 or a clinching game, or anything like that, he seems more comfortable and really at ease. And he has something about him that makes you feel like really comfortable and just much more relaxed in tough situations.

BRETT HULL: He has got it right on the button there. There's not much to say. I think the biggest thing with him is you -- if you want to lean on someone that's your coach, you look at the experience he has and the experiences he's gone through and the experience that, you know, he's drawing from. And you look at the decisions he makes and you trust them and you go with them and you do them to the best of your ability. And that's, again, the best way to get along with him, is when he puts you in the situations, do whatever it takes, and do whatever you can to succeed in those situations, and you will get along just fine.

SERGEI FEDOROV: I'd just like to say when you are doing your job, I don't think he is on your case and he's not pushing you that hard. He pretty much lays off and let's you do whatever you want as far as the preparation, as far as even sometimes how a game goes. As long as you are doing your job and you are focused and he sees you moving out there on the ice, I think he's pretty much a relaxed man towards you. But when you step off that edge, I guess he always tries to find a way, either mentally or something, he does that. You always pay attention and try to find that edge again. It's one of his qualities, and I think he has been very sharp throughout the years I've know him and I've played for him. It has been a quite mutual understanding, even though not too many words have been said.

Q. You have played with Sergei for a long time obviously. Can you talk about his development, even though he's sitting right there, and what impresses you? And maybe, Brett, this is your first year up close watching him. Can you talk about what you have been struck by?

STEVE YZERMAN: Well, I think his abilities are obvious in his strengths, skating ability, and puck-handling ability. But he's played really hard, and competed hard and his biggest asset is his ability to go get the puck get it and skate it down the ice. There are very few guys that can do it with the authority that he has with it. And he's asserted himself more so in this Playoff than any Playoff he has been in, and has played very well throughout his career. But mostly just the ability with speed and strength and skills to, like I said, go get the puck and skate it down the ice is something that there's only a few guys that really can do.

BRETT HULL: That says it all right there, I think. I have known Sergei for a long time, we had the same agent when Sergei first came over, and we became friends. And his maturity -- not only on the ice, but off the ice -- has grown immensely. And, like Stevie said, there's not too many guys in this League, if any, that have the skill that he does. And he's learned to use it over the years, and I think everyone can see that.

Q. Dominik Hasek, when he came in this year, what were the expectations, and did you figure you were getting a certain comfort level getting a goalie as good as Dominik Hasek or the great saves or what did you expect?

BRENDAN SHANAHAN: Well, I just think that with Dominik, from playing against him over the years, he has an incredible presence. And he's the kind of guy when you go in night in, night out and you are playing the regular season schedule, it's not too often that when you have a meeting about the other team, the first guy you start talking about is there goaltender. And as soon as you start talking about the other team's goalie and how do you beat him and what is the best way to beat him, you are now taking a player who usually uses his instinct to score and now getting him to think. That's where Dominik is all season long. Dominik just seemed to have that for him. We have always had good goaltending here, but when you get a guy like Dominik Hasek with his reputation and his ability to make saves that you didn't necessarily expect, that's the thing he can do, steal saves and things like that. And I think for our team, though, it was a comfortable thing for him to come in because he wasn't the main guy. He wasn't the only star. He wasn't -- all the attention and pressure and focus wasn't necessarily just on him. So what impressed us most was his work ethic and his commitment in practice.

STEVE YZERMAN: I guess I would just add that it gave -- we have had strong goaltending for quite a while here, but in Dominik coming in it gives you a guy that cannot just win a game but potentially can put together a string of games where you are not playing your best or you are being outplayed and can win, not just one but a number of games in a row and feel comfortable doing it and not be worn out by it. So I guess it was an upgrade in goal, although our goaltending was strong it gave us one of the top, two, three guys in the League. And who had the ability to win a Playoff series or win a number of games in a row where -- keep your team steady where when you went three periods where you were tired or a difficult schedule or whatnot, so --

Q. If the season was already over and each of you had a vote for Conn Smythe, which teammate would you vote for?

BRENDAN SHANAHAN: Can Peter Forsberg still win it? That doesn't happen too often, does it? I don't think we're worrying about stuff like that, honestly. I mean, that hasn't entered anyone's mind and it's not our job to be focused on that, and so we won't be.

Q. Have you guys reached a comfort level against their trap, do you feel? In the beginning you guys talked about sloppy that first game but you seemed to --

BRETT HULL: It's one -- it is a style where it -- I mean, it kind of just sneaks up on you, then you have to kind of sneak up on it. You go out and you play and you figure out -- because every team does it different. Some teams are really disciplined in it; other teams play more of a loose trap, and these guys are very disciplined. But there's always a way to beat it, and you just have to figure out the way they play it, what is the best way to beat it and the things you have to do and things that more importantly that you can't do because it is designed to turn the puck over and send them the other way. So the things you don't want to do are play into it and the things you do want are to move around it or through it. And that's why people like Sergei are so valuable because you can play whatever you want and you are not going to stop him at a full gallop.

Q. I wanted to know how you are going to spend your time off, spend time with your family, watch a movie, relax?

BRETT HULL: Yes, all of them, I think. It's just normal days, just go out and make sure you stay focused but also relax and free yourself from a little bit of emotion and stress for a day, a day and a half, maybe, before you really, you know, tomorrow at practice start refocusing on the job at hand that we want to do.

Q. At this point in the series do you have a sense of where the Carolina Hurricanes offense is coming from and in what manner they maybe a little easier to defend than they were in the first couple of games?

STEVE YZERMAN: I really don't feel they are any easier to defend. I have spoken out a few times. We're fortunate that we got to watch a lot of the second and third rounds that they played in so we -- we're aware of Vasicek and Svoboda, that line, we're aware of Cole more and Battaglia more than maybe we would have been because we have only played against some of these guys twice in the year or two they have been in the League. Having watched them, we were more aware of them and had more respect for their abilities coming in. The games have been relatively tight, low scoring, low shots for the most part. And that has been kind of their entire Playoff has gone that way with low scoring. I think they are comfortable playing that well. For us, it has been let's not panic if we are not getting 30, 40 shots in a game, and just make sure we're solid defensively. They are really kind of a quick-strike team, a highly-skilled team with good speed. So we haven't done anything significantly different than any other series, or altered to play against them. But you know, they are very close to getting good scoring chances and Dominik Hasek made some good saves and our defense has been there in other situations, but they play a low scoring, a low shots type of game and very disciplined. We are just trying to -- we are comfortable. We're getting more comfortable, I guess, in playing these low scoring and tight, not a lot of room, not wide open games.

End of FastScripts...

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