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May 21, 2006

Craig MacTavish

Chris Pronger

Dwayne Roloson


Q. Craig, there apparently was some sort of virus going through the entire team; is that correct? And how many players did that effect and did that have any affect on whom you decided to suit up for today?
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah. Absolutely. It didn't go through the whole team, but seemingly we were losing a guy every couple hours. I'd get the call from Kenny Lowe saying another player was coming down with the same symptoms. Obviously Raffi was sick tonight and Bergy was sick as well. Hork, he was fine in the morning and then during the afternoon he became sick, and it just hadn't quite ran its course through Hork, so he ended up playing. But he was certainly disabled by it. He was the color of this sheet of paper the last period. So a really gritty effort by him. Jason Smith had it before, so was feeling better today but he had to play through it the in first game.
But, you know, it's good that we have the depth. Obviously you can put a guy -- you who Bergeron and you can put a guy with the experience and the ability of the Dick Tarnstrom, and the drop off isn't that much. And I thought he played well tonight. Toby Petersen kind of a good story there. Getting an opportunity. Had a terrific year this year in the minors. And we felt with Hork being sick that we possibly could use a guy with a little more versatility. That's why we didn't go with Winchester in that situation. Toby played well. He didn't play a lot, but when he was out there he was a threat.
Q. Craig, you guys have been pretty forthright in thinking about the Stanley Cup and even talking about it. Obviously now with 2-0 lead heading back to what's going to be a charged up city, do you just kind of welcome that or do you want to sort of rein things in?
COACH MacTAVISH: Well, we want to go back there with the mentality we're down 2-0 and have a real hunger. Not that we won't anyway, but we want to play the type of hockey that we played in Game 3 against San Jose when we were down 2-0 and really ride the emotion that the fans are going us in our own building and continue to make home ice advantage a real advantage for us. That's our mindset for us going in.
Last year in the conference finals it was a similar situation with Calgary up 2-0 in San Jose. They beat San Jose twice in their own building, came back to Calgary and then dropped both of those games. So I've been on teams where that's happened, and we're going to continue -- have to continue to execute and even play a little better than what we've played the last couple games. We've played two good road games here in my estimation, but they've been very close hockey games.
Q. Which way were the two games similar and which ways do you think the two games were different?
COACH MacTAVISH: Well, there are certainly far more similarities than there were any differences. It's really hard to separate the two. We got a power play goal in each game. We were ahead 2-1 going into the third in each game. Got an empty net goal I think twenty seconds later tonight than we did in Game 1. But it was two very similar games. We relied on our goaltending and good defensive zone coverage throughout the third period when we were protecting the lead and we did that as well in Game 1. So a lot of similarities in the two games.
Q. Seems every game now we come in and ask you how well Michael Peca played tonight, but instrumental Pisani goal and scores the empty-netter, killing penalties. Do you get surprised or is this just what you expect every night in the playoffs from him?
COACH MacTAVISH: He's absolutely on top of his game from a confidence level. When you have that level of confidence that he has right now, he's making a play every time he touches the puck, and we talk about it a lot. The measure of a good player is to continue the play and the play not dying with you. And Michael's continuing to play and the play never dies with him seemingly and he's making good plays every time he touches the puck, whether he' under pressure, whether he's got open ice, he's making great plays with the puck. Getting it out when he needs to, hanging onto it and making all those good critical decisions that you do when you're a confident player with a lot of ability.
Q. Michael has talked about a conversation he had with you during the Olympic break about his season as maybe a turning point. Do you think that was a critical juncture when you look back on how things have turned out?
COACH MacTAVISH: I don't know whether it was a critical juncture, but I will say this about Michael, that I myself was not very helpful for him early on in the season because I was trying to figure his game out and the personality. And you know, I was surprised. I had really high expectations, very excited to get him, and he was struggling with the new situation and surroundings, and I had a hard time getting my head around his game. And as I became more familiar with him, not only the player but the person, then I could try and help him a little more than what I did through the first 40 or 50 games.
Q. Craig, take us through Dwayne Roloson, did you guys honestly have any idea that he could be this good? What did you think you were getting when you got him and has he exceeded your expectations?
COACH MacTAVISH: Well, the numbers were all there. I mean, the numbers were all there. Obviously he didn't play as much this year as he had in the past with Fernandez, they had decided they were -- both goaltenders were in very similar situations. You know, I guess they defer to the younger goalie in that situation, and, you know, they had decided that Manny was there number one goalie. But when you look at the numbers, the wins and the losses, obviously he wasn't getting the run support in Minnesota. But the numbers were there, and you know, we saw a veteran guy, a guy that had been to the conference finals before so he had experience in the playoffs, and you evaluate all those things and hopefully you get the type of goaltender that we obviously have right now, who is as consistent a goalie night in and night out as I've seen.
Q. Dwyane's been in the NHL for years, but you're the first guys to give him the ball.
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah, well, he got the ball a few years ago and did very well with it. But there was a rotation there that Jacques had in Minnesota where they had played two or three games -- I don't know the exact mentality behind the rotation, but they had two good goalies, and obviously with the extra workload, he's thriving under it right now. That's an understatement.
He's given us terrific -- it's amazing. I was saying to the coaches after the game, it's amazing how that quality of goaltending -- what that quality of goaltending does for your defensive zone coverage, but he's been terrific. As good as he's played, he's been that good off the ice in terms of helping us. He's always got some insight into the opposition and he's really into it. He looks like a vintage Oiler that's been here for a lot of years.
Q. How much differently did Anaheim play tonight in terms of the crashing the net, trying to create traffic, trying to shoot from different angles, this sort of thing?
COACH MacTAVISH: I thought they came out very, very aggressively in those regards. We did a good job early boxing them out. We knew that they were going to apply a different level of intensity. Not that they didn't have the intensity in Game 1, but we know what it's like to be in that situation where you apply the intensity in hopes that that'll be enough to win you the game. And we survived it early, but they came at us pretty well early on in the hockey game.
And we had a big period out of Rollie in the first period and we felt very fortunate to get through it 1-0 again. But they were a very determined hockey team today as they have been all year.
JAMEY HORAN: Time for one more.
Q. I know the players and coaches come and go over the years, but the Ducks have not won in your place in seven years. Does that mean anything at this point?
COACH MacTAVISH: No. Absolutely nothing. Zero. I mean, different teams, as you mentioned, different coaches, different era. No, I don't think that means one thing going up to Edmonton right now. They've played -- the Ducks have played better hockey on the road in a lot of respects than what they've played at home from what I've seen. And we're very leery of their ability to win games on the road.
JAMEY HORAN: Thank you, Coach.
We have Chris Pronger and Dwayne Roloson here.
Q. Same question for both of you. Start with Chris. Compare Rolllie's game tonight to any other game in the playoffs. Is he just getting better and better?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, definitely. If you look at all facets, rebound control, he's certainly feeling a lot more comfortable in there with us, and playing the puck, the exchange with the defensemen. I think now he's adjusted to, and we've adjusted to him, as to how we play, not only the man in front, but rushes coming towards the net. And, you know, he's square to the puck and he makes a save and we're there to make the rebounds. I think that's a pretty good luxury to have back there as a defenseman know that your goalie's going to make that first save and it's up to you to clear that rebound and make sure that they don't get second and third chance opportunities.
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Whatever Pronger said you can just ditto it. I feel really comfortable playing with these guys. Took me a while to get used to where they wanted pucks and setups and where they're going to go when I'm playing it. Honestly, I'm just trying to stay square and give our guys a chance to win. Tonight, same thing. I haven't changed my philosophy since I got here.
Q. Dwayne, how much does it matter that this team's this organization has basically put it all on you as opposed to other situations you've been in, whether it's split in time or whatever, the fact that they've decided to put everything in your corner?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Well, it's always nice to get that chance to play. I think as a goalie that's what you want. You want to play and you want to play all the time. I think if you didn't want that then you wouldn't being playing goalie. It was great to get traded here. I was excited when I got traded to Edmonton. My wife's family lived there for a little while. They have some family friends there. So it was nice when they came out for a few days. She was able to see them. She hadn't seen them for five or six years. It's been a great thing that we got going here. Hopefully we can continue it on.
Q. Talking with some of your teammates, they say you're carrying the team through these playoffs and that they feel bad. They wish they could help you out with more than a couple goals per game. Do you agree that you are carrying the team and do you enjoy being in that position?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: No. I don't agree whatsoever. It takes 23 guys to win a hockey game, 20 guys to win a hockey game. I'm just doing my job and everybody else is doing their job. It's one of those things, everybody's working together. We're all, sorry for the cliche, but we're all pulling on that same rope. We're all doing the things that we have to do to win. Our defensemen are blocking a lot of shots, Prong blocked a big one today in the second again, like he did the other night. And Steve Staios slashed on in the third period, late in the third period, and the forwards are doing an unbelievable job. It's everybody, it's not just one person. It's a team game and that's why we're having the success is because my teammates are playing well.
Q. Dwayne, you went through California and Buffalo and Minnesota and you played well there, but they never gave you the ball there. How does a guy your age finally get the ball and get this good and no one ever spotted it before?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: You have to ask the scouts and the GMs that question. I think the best thing for me was having to take a year back and going to Whister. I played a lot of games down there and had a lot of fun and worked with Keith Allain at the time. He was the goalie coach. Then I went to Minnesota, and the first year we struggled. It was the second year in the league. I was fortunate enough, Manny and I played -- alternated and I just took advantage of playing time there. A couple years ago I ended up playing 50, 60 games. And for two years in a row there I played that many games.
Now that I'm getting the opportunity to play, and I'm just happy to be able to play and trying to use it to give our guys a chance to win.
Q. In some ways, Dwayne, was this your best game, especially what you did early and then after they tied it up, I think you had eight shots in a row. Being there, you say give them a chance to win, but in those specific situations where you had to be there?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: I wasn't too focused on having to have to be there. When you start putting all that pressure on yourself, you start to tighten up. I was literally trying to stay square, like Chris said, and defensively, like Gator and Prongs made some great plays to keep guys to the outside. I was able to make some save there. They gave me a little bit of time to make the saves, which has been great. That's why he's one of the best defensemen in the league.
Q. In 2003, you played in this building against the Mighty Ducks in the conference finals. What's different about your game now than as opposed to in 2003 when you were playing here for Minnesota against Anaheim?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: One, I'm healthy, and, two, nothing.
Q. What was the health issue?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: I severed -- I torn my groin pretty much off my bone in the Colorado series, so it was basically just getting back into it.
Q. You talked about coming in here and winning two games on the road. You're going home. The history seems to be in your favor. Let me ask both of you, what do you need to do now to just close this out and not let them get back in it?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, I think you said it, just not let them get back in it. We've taken advantage of the first two games here on the road and now we're going back to our building and we've got to continue to ramp up the pace and find our legs and get back on the forecheck. I think in these first couple games we haven't forechecked as hard as we would have liked.
Today, obviously, with a lot of guys having the flu and whatnot, their legs weren't exactly going full-steam ahead. But I think that their game back in Edmonton is going to be huge for us to try to put a nail in the coffin and put them in a position where they don't want to be in.
We've, as I've said, these first two games are critical, but the third game in Edmonton is the huge game for us, to make sure that we don't give them any life.
JAMEY HORAN: Thank you gentlemen.

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