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May 26, 2006

Randy Carlyle


JAMEY HORAN: Questions for coach?
Q. Todd Marchant is known more for being a checking forward, but now there seems to be more of an offensive side. You're moving players around and keeping Todd as a constant.
COACH CARLYLE: Again, with every combination that you do try to put together, we've only got so many icemen. And with Todd Marchant, I think that he was -- from conversations with him and watching the way he played when he first got to us, that he deemed himself a checker and he was cast into a third-line role. And we had conversations that he had to become more of a speed player, and thus we thought we could put some offensive players with him. That offense was expected. That he wasn't just going to be a checker. He was too quick a player, too smart of a player, too much of a committed player, to not have offensive numbers behind him.
Q. Coach, not that you want to face elimination games, but when you do and you're successful like your team has been so far this year in the playoffs, what develops within the team's mind-set, perhaps, or their frame of mind as they experience these kinds of games?
COACH CARLYLE: I think the one thing -- there's gratification, satisfaction, that self-worth builds within your group when you have success in critical games. I think, you know, as each game goes deeper into the series, it's that much more important. The emphasis is greater on having success. And we're in a situation if we lose another hockey game our season is over. All we can really do is try to build on the positives as we've stated.
We didn't feel that we played extremely poorly in those games. We did a lot of good things in the games. Now we're starting to get some rewards for the work we put forth.
There was the first couple of games; it was like we couldn't score. Now we scored nine goals in two games, so we've eliminated some of those.
Q. Randy, you guys have gone with this one-game-at-a-time focus for as long as I can remember. Other than that, though, when you're facing a potential elimination game, do you change your approach, change your mind-set at all, simplify things, anything any different than you would in an earlier game in the series?
COACH CARLYLE: I think what you try to do is you try to go back to the foundation that you've built with your group through the course of the season, so that there's nothing extreme that you are trying to implement. You stay the course and do the things that you do well. Focus on the things that you're doing well, the areas that need improvement, and really ask for ten percent more from each individual.
If we could be ten percent better as a group and every individual was ten percent better in the game, we feel that we would have won more games. And that ten percent theory has been around a long time. I don't think it's too much to ask of individuals to be ten percent better than they were the last game.
Q. Coach, can you talk about your young players? Obviously, you don't like calling them rookies anymore. Are they playing better, or did they just get rewarded for their good play last night?
COACH CARLYLE: Again, you know, we've talked about these young players for, well, probably the better part of a month and a half now, and the contributions that they've been able to make. The one thing that we've remained consistent with is their responsibilities. A, they've got to be strong defensively; B, and they have to be able to provide a level of energy for us; and C, that wasn't the factor before, but now it is. Our expectation is for them to provide some level of offensive.
That's probably the last thing that we've asked of them. And you can tell by some of the enthusiasm that they display and the abilities that they do have that they have been offensive players at a lower level.
Now they're developing into offensive players and making offensive contributions in the NHL, and that's a huge step and that is a huge responsibility to put on young players. But as I said, we're about now. And we have to be better than we were yesterday and they have to be better than they were yesterday to continue to go forward.
Q. Coach, you touched on this briefly in the last two games you have put nine goals past Roloson. Maybe you don't want to say this, but do you think your players have figured him out from the first two games? Or are you just getting the bounces or the shots that you didn't get the first two games?
COACH CARLYLE: Well, I think there's a combination of things. We continued to direct pucks towards the net and get traffic. It's difficult for any goalie. He's been pretty acrobatic about traffic. He drew a penalty last night that was one of those where he stuck his leg out and somebody -- looked like he shot them. But that's part of the games within the game.
I think that for us, scoring the nine goals has given us the confidence that we can score. And there was an aura about their goaltending situation that we weren't able to score. But we found a way to get pucks by them, and we've worked hard in a lot of areas. But, again, it's not just that one area. We've got to continue to improve in all areas. We want to make sure -- our responsibility is to play the best game we possibly can tomorrow.
Q. Randy, to get back to Todd Marchant, in the third game, early in the game he pushed Chris Pronger over on top of a couple of people. Is that what Todd Marchant, around the goal crease to, is that what he does? He's got a bit of an edge to him for a small player.
COACH CARLYLE: He's committed to getting the job down, and we have to play desperate hockey. That's what the playoffs are about. The intensity level goes up, and I'm sure that in a bunch of situations that Todd's been presented with -- he's had success in the playoffs. He scored a big goal for the Edmonton Oilers against Dallas, I don't know, how many years ago was that? But he's competed in the playoffs and he knows what it takes. You have to give that little extra, and that's just a case of somebody stepping out of the norm to make a difference.
Q. Randy, you said you wanted ten percent more from each player. Does that apply to the goaltenders as well? And how do you assess how Giguere responded last night given he hadn't played for nearly a month?
COACH CARLYLE: Again, every member of our hockey club the expectations are the same for every member of the club, the coaching staff included. We could be ten percent better in our adjustments and in our match ups and our line changes and our preparation of our team.
And with Giguere specifically, that's -- the same expectation would be on him or Bryzgalov, that whoever plays tomorrow night has to be ten percent better than they were in the last one.
Q. Can you share a little of your thought process behind some of the different combinations -- the very different combinations that you've went with -- and maybe address even in particular a change in Lupul and Teemu up on the right side?
COACH CARLYLE: Well, things weren't going our way in the offensive side of it, so you have to -- and I think that's the coach's responsibility to try to change things however you do that. Sometimes it's moving a player here or there; sometimes it's double-shifting an individual; sometimes it's, you know, laying the law down or a kick in the pants or whatever term you want to use, or a pat on the back and kiss and make up. It's all those different things.
And I think when you're not having success, change has to happen. And you have to do it -- some people would say I should have did it earlier. And I think those are the things that, as a coach and a staff, that you try to do is you try to monitor what you're getting and where your players as far as the quality of scoring chances, the winning of the one-on-one battles. Their line, are they creating anything for you out on the offensive side of it? Are they strong defensively? All those things go into the factor in deciding what you're going to do with -- who's going to play with who.
We've been pretty consistent all year keeping two guys on one line together. We've interchanged left-wingers at times and we've interchanged right-wingers. So this is nothing new for our group, to play with somebody differently. In the situation we were presented, we felt that it was necessary to move some people around.
Q. Coach, were you happy with your goaltending in Game 4?
COACH CARLYLE: I thought our goaltender gave us a chance to win the hockey game, and that's what we ask of our goaltenders on a day-to-day, game-to-game situation. It's always nice when your goaltender steals you a hockey game. We'll take that. But when we put people in situations in the playoffs, in intense games, we think that they have to make a contribution and give us a level of goaltending that is enough for us to win the hockey game. I think any coach would take that as long as they win.
Q. Randy, some people tried to make an issue of the rest versus no rest before the series started. Do you feel it's becoming more of an issue now that you guys are more rested? You seemed to be the more energetic club for at least four periods. Is there a momentum change going on?
COACH CARLYLE: I think that, you know, we feel good about ourselves as far as our physical strength right now. We've had the opportunity to have that rest. We played every second day for I think it was 22 or 23 days. We played 11 hockey games in that time frame, and then we got the rest and we came out of it. As I thought -- it wasn't like we didn't have any energy, we just weren't getting enough done. And desperation has set in and will continue to set in, because we have to play a desperate game.
And the energy we've been able to provide for the last four periods are even -- I would say that all 12 periods of the series we haven't been where I would say that we've been lax from the energy aspect of it.
Q. (Inaudible.)
COACH CARLYLE: Well, I see a committed group. Their game, in our minds, hasn't changed. We watched the San Jose and Detroit series. They have confidence in their work ethic and the things that they do well, and they rely on key people as we do. We said that the teams were evenly matched, and I think it displays that.
Q. Randy, McDonald is not getting quite as much offensive points as he did in the regular season. Are they doing something to him, or are you just getting it from other people?
COACH CARLYLE: Again, those are the ups and downs that happen in a playoff series. And right now, McDonald and his situation hasn't been as effective as we would like him to be. We've talked about it, and we'll continue to give him opportunities to step to the forefront. To say that we're unhappy, that would be wrong to say that he's got more to give. I think that he falls into that ten percent more category.
JAMEY HORAN: Thank you, coach.

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