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May 27, 2006
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA: Game Five
JAMEY HORAN: Start with questions for the players.
Q. You've all got your own special circumstance. You've been here forever, Smitty, all those years in St. Louis and Chris coming over at last minute on the deadline. Rollie, can you all talk about it?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Well, I think obviously it's a great feeling. Stanley Cup finals got a great ring, but we still got a ways to go yet. But we'll cherish this one for a bit and then get back on track and find out who we play next.
But a great opportunity and a great challenge. A lot of respect for Anaheim. They were down 3-0 in the series. They played hard against us in Game 4 and put up a good fight tonight. But I think the depth of our hockey club really prevailed.
CHRIS PRONGER: Just coming here there was a lot of question marks and a lot of media speculation about some of the players on our team and who could step up and if we had a No. 1 center, if Hemer was going get it going, if Stolley and T-Co -- I think as the season progressed, we saw those questions answered, and it was exciting to be a part of that. And obviously acquiring Dwayne at the deadline and getting that last piece of the puzzle that has ultimately got us to the finals now. That's exciting to be a part of. And, you know, happy for the guys.
You know, guys that have been here a number of years and been through the lean years, really happy for them. It's first time for me, as well.
DWAYNE ROLOSON: After getting traded here, it was -- when I got traded here -- at first, before I got traded, I didn't think I was going to get traded to Edmonton. That was the last places I thought. It was one of the best places that I wanted to go. My family wanted to come to Edmonton. And then when I got traded here it was -- I was elated. I know the team's work ethic and everything else. We knew we had a chance to do something special as long as I played half decent and gave them a chance it win.
Things have been working well for us as a team. It's great. It's great to see guys like Gator and Ryan and Steve and Ethan to get a chance to get here.
Q. Ryan, you've been in Edmonton a long time. Lots of disappointments and close calls along the way. Is there a way to describe, not just what it means to you, but the rest of the guys and the franchise as a whole?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Yeah, you go through the ups and downs, year to year. You learn so much. You know, acquiring different players, whether it's at the deadline or start of the year, throughout the years that I've been around, you're ultimate goal is to excel in the playoffs, and finally get yourself a chance to play for the cup. But I played against -- I played with the guy that we played, Todd Marchant, and the guy that really was, you know, a core guy in Edmonton. And I think, you know, you see -- once you go to different teams, it changes your dynamic of the team. And like I said earlier, I think we have a well-rounded team and, obviously, it starts with Rollie and then right on out.
It's all about opportunity. I looked on the -- you look Calgary two years ago. Obviously it started with Kiprusoff, and they had four solid lines, hard 60 to play against and they made it all the way to Game 7. And that's what we wanted to do, it give ourselves an opportunity and a chance. Now we got that, and, you know, it's not just one or two guys. It's a team effort that we've excelled in.
Q. Chris, can you talk about the penalty kill of your team. The entire series, it seemed to be the big difference. Dwayne, you can talk about it, too.
CHRIS PRONGER: It obviously starts with Rollie and making the saves, but we did a pretty good job overall. Obviously in Game 4, with a number of five-on-threes, they had, they were able to get one. But just keeping them to the outside and eliminating. They like to try to spread you out and get the scene passes and kind of the back-door passes, and by not running around the zone and pressuring when the puck went low. Obviously the ice plays into that, factors into when you're going to pressure as well.
We did a great job up front of getting into shooting lanes, and then in the back end, we pounced on the opportunity to press them when we had a chance. And obviously giving Rollie a chance to see the puck, he's going to make the saves for us.
DWAYNE ROLOSON: You know, our forwards did an unbelievable job, like trying to get in the shooting lanes and denying them the shot from the middle where they're getting the opportunity to get two or three guys there. And then our D were pressuring the guys to the outside. So they're always in shooter lanes, and if something did get through, they usually blocked it for me. You know, those are key blocks for me. If I don't see them and all of a sudden it goes off and goes into the corner, then all of a sudden I can pick it up.
So guys made great blocks this whole series, and they get one tonight. But we did a good job towards the end when we had the five-on-three or six-on-three, whatever it was. Guys were laying down in front of the shots and doing the smart things and getting pucks out. That's why we're having the success that we are. Doing the little things that make the big picture at the end.
Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN SMYTH: Well, I think that's probably been the difference in the series, starting from your PK. I mean, deflecting everything, like he said, from the outside and keeping them off the score sheet. And then power play once you get your chances. I think back in Game 1 and 2 back here, obviously, we had a little bit of the flu bug, but we had guys fighting through it and finding a way to capitalize on the power play. So those sort of things change momentum in the series from game to game. In that sense, I think it made the difference.
Q. Dwayne, can you talk a bit about the fact that they took that one-goal lead early and what it meant to have their crowd behind them and the way you guys came back in the second period?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Obviously, you never want to go down in any game. And for us to go down in the first period, it was, as a team we've always been able to battle back. You know, we've -- we did it against Detroit, San Jose. We did it tonight. So I wasn't thinking about anything else except for giving our guys a chance it win. I knew they would have the opportunity to get some chances, and when we did get the chances, we capitalized on them.
You know, JD played a great game and our guys were able to get a couple great goals for us and give us a boost.
Q. This is for all the players. What were the biggest adjustments that the team made from Game 4 to Game 5 either tactically or in terms of attitude?
CHRIS PRONGER: I think the biggest thing was we needed to have a better work ethic and match their intensity and their physical play. The biggest thing was not trying to chase them out from behind the net. A guy can skate, probably the top three best skaters in the league and Scott Niedermayer is going to beat you every time. Once you chase him out from behind the net, he's gone, and he's in the rush and now you're chasing them.
We pulled our first man back a lot more and trapped a little higher up and forced a lot more turnovers and forced them to try to throw the puck in traffic. We did a lot better job of from our forwards of getting back and helping us out as defensemen once they got it in. And we were able to have more players back because of that higher first man.
DWAYNE ROLOSON: I think the big thing, too, was we -- playing on the road, we've been successful. We wanted to make sure that we were not panicky, just get the puck in, not turn it over in the neutral zone because that thrive on that. Obviously they got great speed that can kill. And, you know, our D did a good job stepping up in the neutral zone.
Pronger mentioned the guy in -- the first guy coming back -- you know what, we got back to the basics of hockey, and stops and starts, worth ethic, and those were the difference from Game 4 to 5.
Q. Chris, you played with some pretty talented teams in St. Louis that never got this far. Maybe some people might argue that this team doesn't have the talent that St. Louis. What's the difference? What can this team do that maybe those teams couldn't?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, I think teamwork is the answer. And I wouldn't say we had big names, but, I think you're going to see a number of our players on our team become big names. The Horcoffs, the Stolls of our team are going to be stars in this league. And, you know, they're just not known yet. And, you know, yeah, we had good teams in St. Louis, but we never had this type of depth and this type of commitment to one another. And obviously having a goalie back there that is playing as well as Dwayne is right now, it was a big piece missing right now.
Q. Dwayne, there was a lot of talk since that last game that maybe the Ducks had figured you out. Did you come in tonight taking this game as a personal challenge? What was your approach coming into tonights game?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Honestly, I wasn't too worried about the last game. If you would have seen our locker room, you would have known why. I felt great tonight, healthy again, had a lot of energy, where I didn't have it in the last game. And I wasn't really -- the coaches can do and say what they want. I respect Mr. Carlyle. He's a great guy. He's got to do whatever it takes to try and generate some emotion for his team. We knew what was going on in our locker room. And we knew how to handle it and I thought we did a great job just deflecting all the adversity that he was trying to stir up in our locker room.
Q. Dwayne, there's still an ultimate goal at stake here obviously, but can you talk about what a stunning transformation this is to go from your situation in Minnesota and Manny's situation and then you're playing in the finals?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: You know, ultimately that was up to Mr. Risebrough. They had to make a decision. So it's, you know, I can't -- I enjoyed my time in Minnesota. I got a lot of great friends in Minnesota. I have a business there. I have a goalie school there that I'm sure I'm not going to be stopping any time soon. You know, it's unfortunate, but at the same time, I'm really happy where I am.
Come to Edmonton, I was, like I said earlier, I was elated to come here. I was so hope, and my family was just ecstatic because my wife's parents lived here for a while. And we knew that coming here that the team had a great chance and great opportunity to do something special. And so far we're doing that. But we're not done yet. Hopefully we can get four more wins.
JAMEY HORAN: Thank you guys.
COACH MacTAVISH: Hi.
JAMEY HORAN: Start down here, Coach.
Q. Coach, two questions: First, since you played on a cup winning teams in Edmonton for two years, what does this mean to you personally to guide this team in a cup final as a coach?
COACH MacTAVISH: I've always been proud of our players and the effort. I'm just happy for them. You know we've had -- I'm happy for myself, too, don't get me wrong. But it's -- you know, we've had Stanley Cup runs before and we all have great memories of those, and I'm just happy for the guys that haven't been this far in the playoffs to have the opportunity. You can just see it in their faces tonight how happy they are and what a sense of relief and accomplishment.
I'll just say quickly about Anaheim, you know, very, very difficult team for us to beat. We were plenty worried after the two games in Edmonton they played so well. I've been in this situation a lot and had teams down at that point, down 3-0 and more often than not, teams go away quitely. But Anaheim certainly wasn't going to do that. Played terrifically in Game 4, and again really heart-felt effort tonight out of their hockey club. And class organization and tough team, but they've got a real bright future and we certainly have a lot of respect for them.
Q. And my second question, is since Anaheim was out-hustling you, out-hitting you, and out-checking in the first period, what were the biggest adjustments from the first to the second periods in terms of tactics or in terms of attitude?
COACH MacTAVISH: Out-hustling, out-hitting and out-checking, I disagree with that. We took -- we got off to a good start in the first period, and what took us out of it again were the four penalties that we took in the first period. So I was really happy with the way that we were playing five-on-five. I thought that it was a very even period, five-on-five. But we knew that we can't take the amount of penalties and give them that opportunity. Of course we did in the third period and got away with it.
But I thought our game tonight was much, much better. I was really happy with our game. Obviously, you don't want to take the amount of penalties that we did and the crazy penalties that we did, but we're a resilient group and five-on-five, we were pretty good.
Q. Can you just take us through the last two and a half minutes the six-on-three, six-on-four. Do you watch the clock, I mean, what's that like from your standpoint?
COACH MacTAVISH: You just try and get your guys out there and ready to go. We did a terrific job all playoffs long in terms of killing penalties. I mean, Prongs is the most reliable guy I think I've ever played with. He lofted one out and then we got caught with too many men on the ice. They turned it up quickly, and there was a little miscommunication there. You know, so obviously we were worried killing that off.
But we did pretty good job doing it and got -- I would have been much happier had Spac put that first chance in on the slap shot. But I really wasn't as nervous as I was in Game 3, because you know that the worse thing that's going to happen is the game will go into over time and have an opportunity. Where Game 3, it looked like we weren't going to have much of a chance in overtime. So I was more worried in Game 3 than I was tonight in the last couple minutes.
Q. First of all, what's your basic feeling, I mean, your thoughts inside yourself? You mentioned looking around the locker room at some of those faces. Go through some of those faces and what you think you saw there?
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah, it was -- a lot of times when you want something so badly, as we did the last couple games, that when you do accomplish it, it can be, as I said to the coaches after, that it can be anti-climatic. But this isn't one of those instances. Tremendous sense of accomplishment at this point. Really happy for guys that have been here for a long time, the real core guys on our team that have gone through the ups and downs with the coaches and the managers along the way. You know never cheated the fans or their teammates out of the effort. And really happy for those guys.
But I can't begin to mention names because I know I'd miss somebody and that wouldn't be right. So I won't even start going down that path other than to say that, you know, real close-knit team. I like the fact that we know the job's not done and it's time to enjoy this certainly. We've got the time for that. But really start to ramp up and they're very much on side with that.
Q. What does that say about you?
COACH MacTAVISH: Well, just I was really happy with the way we played tonight. And we owe that to Anaheim. They forced us to be better in a lot of areas. We were tighter in our system play, and ultimately are a much better team now coming through these last couple games than we were where we struggled somewhat. But it's nice to know that your team has the ability to dial it in, and we very much did that. We got some great performances out of guys that didn't play much. Radek Dvorak had a terrific game. We had some great minutes out of some guys that only played eight or ten minutes, but big minutes. We think we'll be a tough team in the finals. We're looking forward to.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the role of special teams in this series, I guess specifically the penalty kill?
COACH MacTAVISH: Yeah. Our penalty kill, you don't get to the finals if you don't have good penalty killing. Lots of times that's a function of your goaltender, and, you know, goaltending and penalty killing. We've had a lot more structure in our penalty kill all year for that matter. And the guys that are willing to sacrifice and the work ethic, penalty killing is about blocking shots and sacrifice and work ethic and we have lots of guys that are willing to do that and great goaltending.
Q. Craig, last time the Oilers were in the finals there were a lot of superstars and hall-of-famers. How would you compare those teams to this team?
COACH MacTAVISH: Actually the team in '90, it was, to a certain degree, Curry, Messier, you know, what other, Glenny Anderson hasn't got to the Hall of Fame yet, but he should, but there are a lot of similarities, and I said that during the course of this series, a lot of similarities with 1990 because it was unexpected. Wayne was gone for a couple years, and people just naturally assumed with his departure that we weren't going to win.
So we had our struggles that year, as we have this year. Maybe not to the extent that we've had this year, but we're a team that's growing as the playoffs go forward, and that's what I remember about 1990.
Q. I meant more specifically just the glory years, not just the '90 team, but all the '80s, those spectacular, explosive teams?
COACH MacTAVISH: Well, Wayne was in the locker room and he reminisced a little, but we did it a lot. We had prolific offensive players. It's not a lot different because it very much takes everybody. It take twenty guys on your team. So it's not a lot different in that respect. That everybody's got a role to play. And that's maybe more so -- more valuable and more evident on our team this year than it was on those.
Q. You remember when you were a player in the '80s, it was a right of spring from '83 to '90, the Stanley Cup final went to Alberta province every year. What does it mean for the sport now, two consecutive Stanley Cup finals are back in Alberta?
COACH MacTAVISH: Well, we've always ran together Calgary and Edmonton. We've always been each other's biggest competitor, and also biggest ally in a lot of ways. And Calgary really forced us to get better when they had the run last year, certainly. We felt like we had the success earlier than that that forced Calgary to get better, and we're very much two teams that drive each other and motivate each other.
So I think to a pretty large extent, they are playing a pretty big part in us getting to the finals this year. We just hope we win one more game.
Q. They out-shot you every game. They had more power plays than you did ever game. What was the overall difference in this series? What was the thing that really won it for you?
COACH MacTAVISH: Well, you'd have to say goaltending. If you want to point out one area that we dominated, it would be goaltending. He was terrific, and bent when he could bend and didn't when he couldn't. And those are pretty valuable traits. Penalty killing, special teams. This is the third series in a row that we've won the special team game. Detroit, San Jose, two tough teams on the power play and penalty kill, and we won those, and then won this series. So those special teams and goaltending. Thank you very much.
JAMEY HORAN: Thank you, Coach.
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