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May 18, 2006

Craig MacTavish


Q. How much of the face-off and the way you guys block shots, how much of that is kind of a reflection of what you did when you were playing, and also, how tough is it to get guys to buy into blocking shots as often as you guys do?
COACH MacTAVISH: Well, it's just a simple product of playing good defensive hockey, and any time, you know -- penalty killing in particular, you got to make sure the shooting lanes are obstructed, you know. Our guys have always been very willing to do that, to play that price to win, and now we're getting some finish along the way. So we're riding -- everybody that's at this stage right now is playing well, and we're not different than the other three teams right now. But we've always had a willingness to pay the price and we know that we have to if we're going to have to success.
Face-offs, you know, we're just really fortunate to have guys that are good face-off men Billy Moores works with them more than I in getting them to take the face-offs in practices, but a lot of it maybe he can get a 5 or 10% improvement through practice, but most of guys are just bless with that type of ability where they're strong, good hand-eye coordination, but it played a big part certainly in home games, the face-off percentages.
Q. You talked a little bit last night after the game about how -- first couple of rounds you, the actual talk about the Stanley cup and whatnot, there's not too much of it, but at this point, guys can actually start to think about that, and realize that it is closer now. Can you talk about that.
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah, you can't be afraid of talking about winning the Stanley Cup or you're not going to have the belief in your ability to win it. And there's the smell of opportunity in the air, for sure. And there's going to be one savvy team. And I don't know if there's a lot to differentiate between the four teams that are left right now in terms of who's the favorite. I think that little things are going to go a long way in determining this year's Stanley Cup champion, and we want to make sure that we're handling all those details and giving ourselves the opportunity so it's us at the end of the day that has the Cup.
Q. You've had less than two days between wrapping up last series to this one. Is there a balance as to what you try as a coaching staff to update your team on the Ducks and yet not disturb what you've done so well, particularly in the last four games?
COACH MacTAVISH: We're fortunate in that the teams that we've played have played similar styles, largely, and so there's not a lot of tactical change that we're going to need in our game plan going into this series. Obviously there's going to be some, but we know the routine right now. I think we had plenty of time between the end of the regular season and the start of the first round. We had plenty of time between the end of the first round and the start of the second round, and we're getting familiar with the procedures of preparing, and I think -- I know it takes less time now.
We just had a good meeting for an hour. We went over a lot of things that we're going to need to do to be successful, and there's not a lot of radical change in that. In terms of the physical part of it, you know, we'll have to wait and see. You know, I said last night I don't really know whether it's a advantage or disadvantage for us right now. We will wait and see how the first game plays itself out. Right now I'm feeling pretty comfortable with us playing tomorrow.
Q. When this team wobbled a bit after the trade deadline and it looked like making the playoffs might be an iffy type thing. Is it just about the finish now?
COACH MacTAVISH: It's just about getting better as a team. And, you know, you add components at the trading deadline and you think, as I said before, you have just add water and it works itself out, but that's seldom ever the case. It takes player time to adjust to new surroundings. It's disruptive to them. As a coach, coaching staff, you have to find individual player's strengths and weaknesses above and beyond what you've heard coming in, where they fit in. You try and integrate them into your lineup, so there's a transitional period there. It takes time. And I think, you know, who knows when a team gels.
As I said last night, we had a good team in 1990 that wasn't very good until we got into the playoffs and this team reminds me a lot of that team. The expectation of us winning the Stanley wasn't there going into the playoffs, but we quickly got ourselves to a level where everybody was confident in their belief and their ability to win it. I see a lot of parallels here.
Q. You played a pretty good goalie in San Jose. You were able to beat him. You are now facing a guy that you haven't seen before. You haven't played him before this year. Any thoughts on facing this guy?
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah, the number speaks for themselves. Obviously the challenge for us is going to be to try and peck away at the confidence level that he has, much like we had to do against Toskala in San Jose, and, you know, that's our game plan going in. Your game plan going in is to always see both goalies, and we very much want that in this series. And, you know, we know that he's hot right now, but we also know that he's got a history of being hot and cold, and we have to make sure that we get the quality chance that can get the pucks behind him where he starts to doubt himself, because he doesn't have a lot of experience either at this stage.
Q. I think you alluded to it a little bit, but in the ducks, are you sort of playing against a mirror image of yourselves, how the teams are made up personnel-wise and even how both teams have arrived at this point?
COACH MacTAVISH: I think clearly in the West, the teams that had to play so hard to get into the playoffs have benefited by that, by being playoff tested tough before the playoff started. And Anaheim was -- we're conceivably going to have to beat the three hottest teams in hockey in Detroit, and went wire to wire, and then San Jose was maybe the second best team after Christmas or even before that, and then Anaheim. So it's been a constant for us, but, you know, both teams skate well and both teams are very excited to be in this position and both teams are completely unsatisfied.
Q. Can you talk prospect of playing against Marchant. Spent a lot of time with your organize, has a lot of the history with a lot of players there, he's obviously looking forward to it. He said even during the regular season a game against Edmonton means a little bit more for him. What about you as a coach and former teammate? Actually, you got traded for him, didn't you?
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah, yeah. He's got a couple of real stars on Fedeoruk and MacTavish (laughter).
I don't look into too much. I mean, other than to state the obvious that Todd was a great for us here in Edmonton, and great for me, and always a good supporter of the coaching staff and the organization. So I have a lot of respect for Todd. He knows that.
But we're at different ends of the spectrum now, and it's a situation where he very much wants to, you know -- you can say what you want. As a player, there's always added motivation. I guess Todd has stated it, that his games against Edmonton are a little more meaningful, but that's pretty much a given. It's human nature to deny and it's human nature to feel it. At least Todd's not denying it.
But the games are always -- he had a tremendous series against Colorado with Penner and Lupul, and if we're going to have any success, they can't have the same level of success that they had in that series, for sure.
So outside the personality and the histories that we have together, it becomes much more than that. It's just a situation where we're going to have to do a good job of shutting him down.
Q. Can you talk about the play in Roloson and how he's elevated in the three games?
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah, he's really played well. He's played that well for a long time. He played brilliantly against Detroit, so he's hadn't played a bad game, maybe one questionable game since we got him. But it's very obvious to me and everybody else that he's a confident goalie and he's on top of his game.
Q. We've talked about how the teams, you and the Ducks are pretty similar teams. In a case where you're playing a team that's similar, is it almost tougher in the sense you know how you -- you know that your guys can step up their game when they have to, and they can challenge and they've met the challenge, so you know that if you guys can do it, maybe their guys can do it, essentially. So what makes the difference?
COACH MacTAVISH: We have to do it at a higher level than they do it, basically. But, you know, the team game plans are all pretty similar, especially teams that have similar personnel. We stated it many times in the San Jose series, you know, we're hunting their defense and they were hunting ours. It's going to be very similar coming into the game tomorrow. I guess you never really know how the series is going to unfold until you get into the middle it of or at least start it. But we're coming in with some fairly solid preconceived ideas on how this thing is going to unfold and what we have to do to have success, and I'm sure they feel the same way.
You know, it's going to be a good match-up and exciting hockey.
Q. Thanks, Coach.
COACH MacTAVISH: Thanks a lot.

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