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May 22, 2006

Craig MacTavish

Michael Peca

Fernando Pisani

Dwayne Roloson

Steve Staios


Q. Dwayne, first off, can I ask you about the grind that is the post-season. You go in to play games, go home, play games. You travel across the country, you have news conferences in the airport hangar. Can you give me a sense of what the grind is like for you guys.
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Well, I think the grind, there isn't really a grind for us as a team. We make sure we take care of ourselves. That's why we didn't leave last night. That's why we stayed in Anaheim, so we got a good rest and got up this morning.
Coach has been great for us, giving us days off. The players, whenever they feel they need a rest, they take it off. So realistically, there isn't a grind.
Q. Mike, can you answer the same one, the travel? More difficult than the regular season?
MICHAEL PECA: There's much more emotion involved. I think, you know, that could wear on you if you allow it to. Like Dwayne said, the coach has done a great job in spotting days off, optional skates, letting us get our sleep when we can.
I mean, you know, to a man in our locker room, I don't think any guy is going to say he feels tired or he feels like this has been a grind because it really hasn't felt that way.
Q. Mike, can you talk about yourself and the post-season. You made a pretty good name for yourself in the post-season, big events like the Olympics, taking Buffalo in '99. How do you gear up in the post-season as a player, take your game to the next level?
MICHAEL PECA: The game is much more fun to play when you got 16 games from you to a championship. I think, you know, right from day one of training camp, our goal as a team was to win a Stanley Cup. We felt we had the personnel to do it. The coaches committed themselves throughout the year to do it. As the season went on, we gained confidence despite the ups and downs.
Once we got into the first round, you know, it wasn't just a lot of hearsay in the fact that we could beat Detroit and move past Detroit and continue to get better. We've just gained confidence. We feel we're playing great as a team. We're doing a lot of the little things now that we've been pushing ourselves to do throughout the regular season. I think that's why our play's been so consistent.
Q. When the team got Dwayne, I think we talked about the need to get stable goaltending, make the solid saves, didn't have to be spectacular. I think it's obvious he's been more than that. Can you talk about when the team started to get a sense of how good this guy is?
STEVE STAIOS: We've always maintained the defensemen try and limit the opportunities they have, keep them to the outside. Feel like wife done a pretty good job of that. Then, you know, we've given up some pretty big five-star chances lately. Rollie has been there for us.
To play as a defenseman, to play in front of that type of goaltending, it's a big confidence boost for us. We can step up and make plays, try and make plays in our own zone under pressure, knowing that if it doesn't go our way, that Rollie is going to be there.
He's been there for the big saves for us, makes the first save, and we're just trying to make sure we're strong in front of him, make sure we clear out the rebounds.
I can't say enough about how he's playing, the confidence that he's helped not just the defense but I think as a team as a whole, get that type of goaltending, I think it just keeps building confidence for us.
Q. Any period in particular?
STEVE STAIOS: I know when it was confirmed. I think the goal save on Cheechoo in that overtime game was probably so spectacular. But even from that point, I think it was always real solid. I don't think there's been one instance. I think there's been a lot of big saves that sort of helped us build confidence. He's been there for us.
Q. Steve, talk about the blocked shot, Penner in the third period when you barely got off the ice? How do the players avoid getting sick when lots get sick? Do you all have rooms to yourself?
STEVE STAIOS: Yeah. I think the doctor, Dr. Clarke, was the hardest working guy on our team over the last few days. Quite the sight. IVs, funny sounds coming out of the stalls before the games.
That blocked shot was just a reaction. Call it a lower-body injury (laughter). Is that what you're supposed to say? Just reaction. I mean, Rollie would have made the safe anyways, right (laughter)?
Just one of those desperation plays. Everyone has been committed to doing it. When you see guys that are out of their element doing it, I think that's another thing that we've had with this team throughout these playoffs, you know, Horc head first in front of shots, Sergei Samsonov blocking shots. Everybody is doing things that are out of their element.
Just keep building. We want to continue to get better. If we're going to win the Stanley Cup, we're going to have to continue to get better.
Q. Fernando, can you talk about the reaction you got from Edmontonians, especially from the Italian community?
FERNANDO PISANI: Well, it's been great, you know. It's been a lot of fun. The city has been so supportive and excited for us to do well, get this far. You know, the family, you know, pretty exciting.
Q. Dwayne, can you comment on Michael's play. You saw him in '99 when you guys were going. Maybe just compare his play then to what it's like now, and if you see similarities of his taking his game to the next level?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Yeah, like when I first got here, I had a little talk with Mike a couple of games before the playoffs. That's the Michael Peca I know and love. Just when playoff time comes around, he brings his game to another level. I watched him in Buffalo. He led our team. He was the character of our team in Buffalo. He's doing it here in Edmonton. He's one of those guys who has taken the role upon himself to be a leader, as well as Stevie and [] Gator and the rest of the guys.
Playoff times he brings it to another level, he does things to win hockey games. He's such a smart player. There's not enough you can really say about all that stuff, what he brings to this locker room and what he brings to this team.
Q. Could any of you respond, do you get the feeling the rest of Canada is pulling behind you guys, maybe Calgary Flames fans pulling for you guys? Has anybody said anything to you? Generally your sense of whether you feel like the rest of the country is pulling for you right now.
STEVE STAIOS: I think that's the great thing about our country, playing in Canada, is that it is a very supportive nation to hockey. Once any one city's respected team is eliminated, they seem to get behind somebody else and then it filters on until there's one left, which is us, fortunately. They seem to get behind you. It's a real nice feeling when you're on Hockey Night in Canada, it's nationwide, to know that everybody in their homes in Canada is probably cheering for you. It's part of the privilege of playing in Canada, I think.
Q. Does it benefit your team that Anaheim hasn't won in Edmonton since 1999? Does that help at all based on how the team is rolling with the two wins in Anaheim and now back in your building?
STEVE STAIOS: I don't think it has anything to do with it. It doesn't have anything to do with our mindset. You know, different players now, different system, different coach. Has nothing to do with it.
Even throughout the season, I think you can put that away, too. Playoffs are a different time. I think they're a very good team. I think they're a very good team on the road. I remember the game we won here that we needed with a couple games left in the season. It was one of the more difficult games to play that anybody's played against us in our building.
So we expect their best. I think we're going to expect they're going to be even better than they were in Game 1 and 2. We're going to have to raise our level of play, as well.
Q. Steve, can you talk about the defense, keeping the Anaheim players away from the net? They keep saying they're not getting enough traffic. Are you playing differently against them than you did against the Detroit, Datsyuk, then Joe Thornton?
STEVE STAIOS: Yeah, I think so. They have some big bodies. San Jose did, as well. Each series has been different. We just -- we're trying to keep the shot from the outside. Their net driver is trying to box out. Like I said before, we're always making the saves and controlling the rebounds. Anything that does come out, which hasn't been very often, we have to be there for them. Just try to get good position in front of the net on their bigger bodies.
Q. Steve, can you run me through the end of the game getting to where you are right now. More the grind thing of how you sleep when you can, you go here, there. Run me through to the end of the game to where you are now, where you found some sleep, how you do that.
STEVE STAIOS: It's not easy. I mean, you're excited after games. Any time you think of the situation, you're going to get excited. Just about to fall asleep on the plane, you think about it, you're up again.
But it's been very businesslike. We've done a very good job of being mature on our team. We've shown a real process that we have used, taking it one game at a time. It's such a cliche, but it really has worked for us. We've taken the wins and losses with the same attitude. That's helped us stay even-keeled. That's helped us get our rest. It's helped us keep our focus.
Q. How much has having the charter helped?
FERNANDO PISANI: It makes it a lot easier for us to relax and get some rest. We can fly out when we want, get in when we want. It's a huge advantage.
Q. Can you talk about '99, about coming that close and how badly you wanted to get back there. Does that play into this at all with you?
MICHAEL PECA: It certainly does. One of the messages you try and pass along to guys who maybe haven't been there is that, you know, you can come close, then you don't quite get there. You may think you have the ability to build on that, and we'll get there next year. But it doesn't quite happen that easily.
If you have an opportunity to get yourself to a Stanley Cup, maybe the only time in a 10-, 12-, 15-year career you have the opportunity to play for it. We seem to have the group of guys that are extremely focused, willing to do whatever it takes to get to that moment where we're raising the Stanley Cup because we realize, old and young on our team, this is a great opportunity we have. You can't think that it's just going to come again.
Q. Dwayne, Randy Carlyle intimated last night you're playing this very veteran-savvy game, shaking your mask off. Is it just happenstance? Is it a wily move on your part?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Well, my mask thing, head to head, the straps come off, what am I going to do? The mask comes off. There's not much I can do about it.
Coach Carlyle can say what he wants. Coach Wilson said a lot of stuff, too. You know, that's why they're coaches. They can say what they want. We as players, we just go out and do our job. I'm not worried about what he's saying. I'm just focusing on what I have to do.
Q. Dwayne, there are some reports today that you're possibly trying to rework a deal with the Oilers right now. Is that true? It would be a good time for you to do so with how well you're playing. How much have you enjoyed your time here?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Well, for me personally, that's the furthest thing from my mind, is a deal or anything else. Right now my focus is on this team right now. I think everybody else's focus is on that team. I don't think any of the free agents that are unrestricted or restricted free agents are even looking or thinking about that. That stuff will take care of itself later on.
We have more games to win. To get to where we want to be, we have six wins to get there. That's all we're focused on right now.
Q. Fernando, can you give a sense of what the atmosphere will be like there in Rexall tomorrow night and what your run means to this city.
FERNANDO PISANI: Well, I think, you know, the fans are extremely excited. It's been a long time. They've been waiting for this opportunity. You walk down the street, and people are so excited to see you, praise you, say all the good things we've been doing.
The building tomorrow is just going to be nuts. They're excited. They're going to show their excitement. We look forward going back into the building.
JAMEY HORAN: Thank you, gentlemen.
We have Coach MacTavish at the podium.
Q. Seems to be a lot of similarities to this run that you're on compared to the 1990 run that the Oilers went on as far as first time you have had a 2-0 lead in the series, won both games in Anaheim, first time you won six in a row. Anything in your mind that seems similar to the last time when the Oilers won the Stanley Cup?
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah, a lot of similarities. I think just in that the team is constantly improving, same thing with 1990. When we started, it was maybe my favorite Cup because it was unexpected. You could classify this run similarly. I thought we could have some success. But we're playing at a level that we hadn't played at all year long. It's been a good unexpected run. The seem is playing very well. Those two things are very similar.
Q. I wasn't here earlier, but I heard the fans in Edmonton used to be considered a lot quieter than they are now. You played on those teams. Can you reflect back on that.
COACH MacTAVISH: They were all spoiled back in those days. We spent the last 10 years appreciating this latest run. I think it was time. The fans were ready for it. I think, you know, their run that Calgary got on last year really served as a motivator for our fans. I mean, there was, "Why not us? When is our turn coming?" We all felt that way, players, coaches, fans.
They're reveling in this right now and creating an atmosphere that's really helping our players on the ice.
Q. You talked about Steve's block in the third period, barely getting off the ice. Does that epitomize the way the team is playing?
COACH MacTAVISH: I think that rubber stamped the Oilers' mantra this playoff run. He absolutely pounded the puck, too. Penner, he got it all. Very dangerous scoring area. Stevie went down in front of it. We've had four or five of those blocks throughout this playoff season that really epitomizes the sacrifice, what we have to do to win, have success.
Q. Everyone is talking as though they knew all along that Rollie was going to be as good as he is. I'm not sure that's true. What is your thought when you got the sense?
COACH MacTAVISH: I think right at the end of the year he started to put together a real good stretch. The last couple weeks were a real consistent stretch of goaltending. The goals that were getting by him, you couldn't fault him. They weren't the type of goals where coaches go to the video room, we put it in super slow motion, could he have seen this, was he screened, did it get deflected, where was the breakdown. They were really, really tough saves to make.
After he got comfortable here, it took him I think four or five, six games to get comfortable here, he was a little rusty because he hadn't played that much, it's been well-documented. After that, he really settled in.
He, like our team, and it's no coincidence, has continued to get better as the playoffs have started up until this point. The team has gotten better. You know, you have to give him the lion's share of the credit in this because some of the saves that he made, like just the Cheechoo save, Kunitz on the breakaway last game, he's making those huge saves that in a playoff run where you're a little physically taxed, they energize your team. He's given us all of that. Terrific leadership. He really epitomizes what we stand for as an organization. It's good to see and good to hear.
He's very unselfish. He's unassuming, modest. Good team guy. Always defers to the team, deflects the accolades and the praise that he's getting to the team. Those are pretty valuable characteristics.
Q. How is the health? I saw Marc-Andre coming off, Raffi. Do you know how they were feeling? Is this your first news conference in a hangar? Is it going to add to the surreal nature of this, 'We're not in Kansas anymore'?
COACH MacTAVISH: I don't know. I think this might be a first hangar conference. I've been in a hangar over at Fort Edmonton a couple times. This is quite something, when you fly in and see this setup. It's just a sign of having some success, I guess, to a certain degree.
Health? Both Bergie and Raffi felt much better today. I anticipate on a good night's sleep, they'll be okay with tomorrow. Jason, he's not as good. He could be iffy for tomorrow. He is iffy for tomorrow. Horc has not digressed at all, but he's tired, little energy. We're hopeful he gets a good night's rest tonight and he feels better tomorrow.
In this series, the playoffs, as they progress, teams get worn down. Even the pace of the play, as anybody that's seen the series so far, the pace of the play is not what it was against San Jose. The pace in any playoff run starts to slow down because guys get tired. It's more important that you play an intelligent game because a lot of times you're managing your game around your energy level. I think we've seen that.
Q. Are you beating Anaheim the way Dallas used to beat you?
COACH MacTAVISH: I don't think so. The games have been too close. Both games have been really close. I think you're referring to us being more opportunistic, relying on some pretty good defensive play.
But both those games could have gone either way. I think the they're two closer teams than when we played Dallas. I think Dallas, you know, last night would have been a good example. When we went in to Dallas before, we won Game 1, Game 2 was normally a pretty easy game for Dallas. It wasn't so last night. It was closer. In that respect, it's been different.
You know, we have some similarities in terms of our ability to play defense with Dallas when they were winning.
Q. Craig, it may be an obvious question, but how substantial is having a 2-0 lead here in a situation where you guys really haven't had that, whether it's this year or any years?
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah, well, I don't know. I guess that question remains to be answered in the next couple games. I said last night after the game that in my estimation, Anaheim is a team that this year has played better on the road than they have at home. Saw them in Game 7, dialed in an absolute clinic performance up in Calgary. I know what they're capable of.
The last thing we want to do is take our foot off the gas. We want to make sure that we continue to put the pressure on them. I don't think we've played our best game either. We played a couple good road games and have given ourselves enough where we've relied on some good defensive play and some very good goaltending, an empty netter to give us the wins in both those games.
I'm anxious to see how the game unfolds tomorrow. But I know that we don't want to take our foot off the gas. We actually want to ramp it up even much higher than we have up until this point in the series.
Q. Can you talk about, it looks like Pronger is coming off the year -- is he sick at all? Also, your reaction of the fans to Pisani.
COACH MacTAVISH: You're jumping to conclusions on Pronger. Your medical assessment from 150 yards is inaccurate (laughter).
Fernando, he's played great. I mean, Fernando, that's a Brett Hull style goal that he scored last night. Found the soft area, high slot. I'm sure the goalie didn't see it. He's a guy that's got that type of shot. He gets open, he can put it in the back of the net. He's done that throughout these playoffs.
I mean, the city, Little Italy, everybody is a cousin of Fernando, right? In every airport I've ever been into, somebody always said they're Fanny's cousin. I'm sure the city is, as they should be. He's playing well. Good to see good people like that really have the success that he's having.
Q. Playoffs are all about momentum, getting whatever edge you can. How much does it mean that you haven't lost to Anaheim here? Can that play on their minds? Can you use that as an edge for you at all?
COACH MacTAVISH: No, I don't. I don't think it's an advantage at all. I think you can't bring that history into tomorrow's game. All I see is two pretty evenly matched teams through the first couple games of this series, two very closely contested game. I anticipate tomorrow being the exact same.
I mean, there's two ways of looking at a stretch of home ice success. Eventually, you know, the percentages are going to work against you. They're going to win. They're good teams. Or you look at it that you've had success and that success will continue. But I don't read anything into it.
Q. (Question concerning the flu.)
COACH MacTAVISH: Well, very concerned. The last thing we want right now is for this to go any further. You know, of all the years I've been with the Oilers, I haven't seen a doctor as busy as Dr. Clarke was, and Kenny. Looked like he had the flu, and he didn't, because he was up most nights helping the players through it.
I mean, water bottles, different towels, all that stuff, all the precautions that you can to try and make sure that this thing isn't spread any further than it already has.
Q. Do you get a sense that you've become kind of Canada's team, that you've been adopted by fans of teams in other cities as the last Canadian team standing and also because of the way you've gotten this far?
COACH MacTAVISH: I don't get a sense of that. I mean, you'd have to -- we're pretty sheltered here in Edmonton. I know during Calgary's run, people were having a hard time wrestling with that. I'm sure in Calgary, it's the same. I remember all the flags, the Calgary flags, here in Edmonton two years ago when they had the run. I can tell you as a coach of the Edmonton Oilers, seeing that was tough to swallow.
But I'm curious as to whether it's the same in Calgary. We're the only team left in Canada, so to that degree, I'm sure people are cheering for us.
Q. Can I ask you about your defense, doing a really good job of keeping a lot of the bigger players away from the net. Is your defense playing differently against Anaheim than they did against Detroit with Datsyuk?
COACH MacTAVISH: Not really. We're playing similar. Just smart positional hockey. We knew they were going to come to the net harder last night. Normally I think crease intensity manifests itself in determination getting into the net. But our defense, you know, is really playing a good positional game. Probably expending less energy than what we did when we weren't quite as efficient.
A lot of it is attributable to watching a guy like Pronger that does it so effectively and so efficiently. As a coach, you can try and describe it as much as you can, but when you see a guy that's that good with his stick positionally, it can't help rub off on the other six or seven defensemen that you have. I give Chris a lot of credit for the improved play there.
Q. Coach Carlyle has picked out Dwayne Roloson and talked about his acrobatic moves, delaying the games, taking the mask off. Is that just him getting to them? Is it part of the gamesmanship?
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah, I heard the complaints about the mask coming off. I mean, the supervisor has discussed it. I mean, it's not as those he's shaking it off. He's getting hit in the head with the puck at about a hundred miles an hour. I'm sure it's not a tactic. Rollie is a smart guy. It's definitely not a tactic.
It's just one of those things. I mean, you get hit in the head that hard with a puck, it knocks your straps off, then your mask slips over your eyes, you got to shake it off so you can get a sight line on the puck. I think that's ludicrous, any suggestion that that's a tactic.
You know, goalies have to have the right to perform their trade in the crease area. If they're getting bumped in that area, they're going to get penalties. That was the case when Perry last night bumped him. It wasn't that hard, but it throws him off. You can't move laterally. When you do that, you're vulnerable to a penalty. You want to stay out of that area.
All the talk about Rollie diving or whatever the case may be is moot. It's a moot point. Just stay out of the paint.
Q. When you saw Penner playing with Selanne, moved him off the line, did you interpret that as desperation in the sense of the Ducks couldn't score, they have to get a big grinding guy to get it going?
COACH MacTAVISH: No. I think it was a product that Penner was having some success. You know, as a coach, when you need offense, you've scored one goal, you have to make some changes. I don't think there's many of us that will stick with a pat hand for very long. I just think it was a case where Penner was playing pretty well and creating some things. He's a good passer down low. You'd have to ask them, but I interpreted it as them trying to shake things up and trying to get some offense.
That's always a good sign, when you force the other team to make some changes.
JAMEY HORAN: Thank you, coach.

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