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June 1, 2006

Rod Brind'Amour

Cam Ward

Doug Weight

Justin Williams


Q. Doug, can you talk about the change emotion from Game 6 and what happened there to getting the game winner there?
DOUG WEIGHT: Probably referring individually, I think?
Q. Yes.
DOUG WEIGHT: It was a rough night after Game 6. I stated I think it was your article, I stated I deserve -- I screwed up. I made a mistake, and I did feel like it was embellished a bit, in overtime it's emotional. He is a great ref. I put him in a vulnerable position. I think more than half the time maybe he would have called it, maybe he wouldn't. I was in the box when they scored. It was a terrible feeling. Didn't sleep much the last couple of nights, but as I --
I tell what, these guys in this room are just great hockey players, wonderful people, great organization. They were awesome to me, and said, "Don't even blink an eye about it." They supported me whether they thought it was a penalty or not. Maybe they all lied to me. By the time the game started I felt great. All the support. Excited.
It's behind me. I don't care about the goal, believe me. I care about winning. It's excited to be going somewhere where I haven't gone it yet.
Q. It was hard for you to leave St. Louis yet this is the reason you came here. Talk about what the last couple of months been like for you.
DOUG WEIGHT: It was tough originally. As great as our team is, like I said, the guys have been great to me. You want to show yourself every time you get on the ice. It's a different role than I have had, a different even system-wise. It took me a while to get engrossed in how great these guys are and now I just feel like I am -- not saying about my game, but a perfect fit in this team. I am excited about my role, I think we're deep, I think the hockey world hasn't seen goaltending like we have. They don't get enough credit. Defense on our team, no one says we have a star but they play like stars. They are unbelievable and our team in general. So, I feel great.
It's been a wonderful three months. The ride is not over. But to be here, I give Jim Rutherford and Roddy, the team leaders, I got the utmost respect for every person in that room. It's been exciting. I am going to continue to do everything I can to win.
Q. Do you have mixed feelings about now playing against the team that you were captain of?
DOUG WEIGHT: I did about a week ago when you start looking ahead. When you are going to bed at night it's hard not to look ahead to think about what it would be like to play them when they were down 3-0, you feel a little nervous bit.
I talked to my dad and everyone about it. I feel great. I feel settled. I think I have been gone from there for six years. It was a wonderful place to play. Great hockey city. They deserve to be there, watching the playoffs they played great, and I have learned a lot. It was a big part of my career being there, and I think I am going to take that into it and try to beat them. I think, you know, I think it's going to be great. Great atmosphere for hockey.
Q. Have you ever been a part of a series like this one?
DOUG WEIGHT: I have been in a couple of battles but no, I said earlier, this is the best team I have ever been a part of in the National Hockey League. I think in Edmonton, we upset Colorado and Dallas both in seven games once, and it was just that that was a huge upset. I think in every series we have been a part of, I think we were the better team. I think you win when you are the better team in a seven-game series but I think we dominated a lot of periods when we played our hockey and we know how to do that.
Having said that, I give a lot of credit to Buffalo. Man, wow, they played with diminished defense. Obviously losing Connolly was tough for them. They played hard. It was a great series, but no, I felt like we were in command the whole time but we were down 2-1 then we found a way obviously. I didn't help things but to lose Game 6, we felt like we were right there to win it, you know it feels good to win.
Q. Could you discuss what the fan support has meant and what do you think their perspective means for them? We know what it means for you but what does it mean to them?
JUSTIN WILLIAMS: Being in a small market, our fans are unbelievable. They care so much about the game, not only the game they care about the players and they all know your story and tonight was just a great treat for them, coming back in Game 7 and getting a big win. We got to thank our fans' support for being that sixth guy out there.
CAM WARD: Yeah like Willie said, we have had tremendous support throughout the entire season and it's something that we worked extremely hard throughout the entire season to get home ice advantage and have the privilege of having a Game 7 in our home building. Because you definitely feed off the fans and, you know, it's something that they deserve, also.
DOUG WEIGHT: I can't say any more than that. I think you guys heard the building, I have played in some loud buildings. You heard the building after the second quarter for about 45 seconds, I had trouble standing up, getting back on the ice after that. It's a pretty amazing feeling, and, you know, this isn't a hockey -- it's in the South but we have people that know the game, love the game and support these players and this team unbelievably. I have been so impressed with our fans.
To be honest with you it was a huge, huge part of this series.
Q. Justin, you were very effective on the forecheck tonight. Did you sort of go into the game thinking that with their depleted defense that you guys had to get on them and wear them down because it seemed like that's what you did?
JUSTIN WILLIAMS: We found that throughout the whole series, they have been very diminished on the back end. Kudos to their defensive core tonight. They played with a lot of adrenaline and I thought they really moved the puck well and really battled well. That's what we needed to do to win. We needed to get pucks deep and try and take advantage of that because they got a lot of guys playing a lot of minutes back there and the more you make -- the more you make them turn, you know, the more tired they get and that's an advantage for us.
Q. Doug, going up to Edmonton obviously you have played there, and they have a strong Stanley Cup history. What are you going to tell the guys to expect from Edmonton as a team and even the fans up there?
DOUG WEIGHT: It's crazy there. It rivals this building, definitely, and they feed off it emotionally. We did every year and played very well in that building, so it's going to be a tough atmosphere. But the team, they don't pull any punches.
I think as I said, they deserve to be where they are at they; beat some great teams. They play a lot like us - they skate, hit and finish. When you are the last two teams standing, the word heart and character is throughout the rooms, both rooms. So we expect nothing easy up there, but we're not looking too far ahead here. We have to protect home ice in the first game Monday and they are going to come out hard.
Every game is going to be a battle, but I think those are the first two things I'd say is, obviously discipline in the series is incredibly important, within yourself and staying out of the box, and don't let them feed off anything. They are going to create energy. They get the puck in. They hit, they finish their checks and they scramble around the net. They got great players around the net. It is going to be important to keep the puck out of the zone and do what we do best, which is puck control and get it in their zone.
Q. Marty set a franchise record for wins this year. With that being said, obviously going into the playoffs, realistically what did you expect from yourself?
CAM WARD: Well, a lot of credit goes to Marty. He's definitely a big reason why we were in the playoffs in the first place. I don't think anybody forgot that in the dressing room. And once again, this series he stepped up and came up huge for us in Game 4 and gave us some life back. We have said all along that it takes two goaltenders to make a solid team, and when he's in the net, you know, he has got my support and I'd like to think it's the same when I am in the net.
Q. Why is though that you seemed to play your best?
CAM WARD: This is the best time of year, kind of up and down regular season, something that you definitely learn from and once the playoffs starts it's a fresh start. Everybody starts from scratch and it's a new beginning and this is the best time of the year. This is when you have to hold yourself accountable to step up your game. It's something that you just enjoy, you thrive on it.
Q. Cam, growing up in Edmonton, were the Oilers your favorite team and have you allowed yourself the thought of playing against them?
CAM WARD: It doesn't seem like it was long ago that I was watching Dougie from the stands playing the Dallas Stars in the first round, but they definitely were a team that I had the privilege of going to watch and cheer for, and enjoy doing so.
Q. What is it going to be like playing there in your hometown?
CAM WARD: It's going to be exciting, going to be unbelievable. I've got a good understanding of what it is going to be like down there. Probably a lot of friends that are going to be a little bit torn. It is going to be a lot of fun. It's something that I am going to enjoy.
Q. Talk about the impact of what your captain had to say to you guys yesterday, especially a couple of young guys, and how that inspired you guys for tonight?
JUSTIN WILLIAMS: Sure, I mean, couldn't have picked a better time for meeting. Elimination games are -- well Game 7s, you know, are not just for one team, it's elimination but it is for both, and we just didn't want our season to end tonight. Rod reminded us of that, reminded us of how hard we worked and reminded that we got great players on this team and we got a real good chance to win this and came out tonight and he led the way again and we got great place from everybody tonight?
Q. Roddy, you talked about how you were telling people they may never get this chance again. You have played a long time, were you thinking about that at all during the game, about you may never get this chance again?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Not so much during the game. Most of the emotions about hockey seemed to be after the game. At night you start thinking about the game, when you are in the game you are just playing your hardest trying to do whatever. But I think you're making a little much of this meeting; there wasn't much said.
Q. I am talking about your mindset, what were you thinking 2-1 after the second period?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I was pretty bummed when the first goal went in. I don't know who said it, somebody else said it, those goals are not going to be beat us. "We're not going to lose because of goals like that," somebody said in the dressing room.
We just came out and played hard. Got a great goal right away, took the pressure right off. Great play by Weighter, and we can just go and play after that. This team never gives up. That's a pleasure to be on this team.
Q. Cam, given the third period comeback, it's gotten to be a trademark of this team. What were you thinking after the second intermission?
CAM WARD: Obviously I was disappointed with that second goal. We worked extremely hard all season long and we're going -- we weren't going to accept it to end that way. I think we had the feeling after the second intermission that if we go out there and just lay it all on the line, we like our chances. It definitely is a situation that we have been in throughout a lot of times during the season and once again our character showed and couldn't -- can't say enough about the guys in the dressing room. They stepped up their game to another level. Roddy came up with a big goal and it's one thing to talk in the dressing room, but to go out there and execute is another.
Q. Rod, talk about the trophy presentation first of all. In 2002 you guys handled the trophy a little bit, this year obviously you did not. Also at what point did you decide to call the team up there?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Well, I guess it's not that big a deal. It's big that we won and we're going to the next step. That trophy doesn't mean that much to anybody. I think no disrespect to it but obviously we're looking for bigger things, we like to celebrate every round, every victory, everything so it's a team effort and so we just thought we would come out there and it's the way we have done it all year.
As far as not touching it this and that, that's kind of some guys being superstitious. We didn't touch it when we were in Philly and we got swept. I don't know that it really means that much, but some of guys didn't want to do it here.
Q. You played a lot of years in this league, a lot of playoff series, a lot of tougher series, where does this series rank? Seems like it just went back and forth the whole time.
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Yeah, I haven't played through more, I don't think, like you said back and forth, where you just didn't know; we get momentum, they get momentum, a power play here, it was like you just never knew who was going to win the game until it was the final whistle or the buzzer. I give them a lot of credit. They had a lot of injuries, that team over there fought pretty hard and they deserve a lot of credit for hanging in there.
Q. A lot of your teammates and people close to this team have said that there's a special chemistry about this team that has been going on all year long. When did you realize this is a team that could have a chance to win the Stanley Cup?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Well, I mean, today. (Laughter).
All year we knew we had a good team. We knew we were as good as anybody, and to sit here and say when you know you have a chance to win, pretty much when you know you are as good as anybody and you can beat the best teams, you know you have a chance.
So I can't really tell you the exact moment but it was way back, first couple of games of the season when we were playing the best teams and knocking them off. Right there.
Q. Rod, on the goal, the power play goal, the puck is loose in the crease. Give me a run through what you saw there?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I hesitated actually. I was not having a very great game, to be honest with you. I really should have been there a little bit sooner. These guys, Willie and Still, were fighting in front and the puck just kind of laid there and I don't know who it was, their defensemen, I figured he would get it. He lost sight of it. It squirted out. I let it rip and it went in.
Q. Tell us what happened when you called the meeting after the last game.
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Again, I said it wasn't much of a meeting, just to get us all together and to forget about what had gone on in the last game, just to kind of enjoy the fact that we had to win one game to go to the Stanley Cup and we're in our home building, and if we had been asked about that a couple of months, ago we would have jumped at it. It was a great opportunity for us, and it was just to get us together and forget about what had gone on and look forward for tonight's game and the guys, you know, they did it.
Q. Do you guys feel more comfortable playing from behind or does it just seem like that?
JUSTIN WILLIAMS: No. I like to have the lead all the time, but we kind of have that, just that X factor that when we are down, you know, I mean, not so when we're not down, but it just means so much more, and ice is so much harder to come by and we battled for every puck. We didn't let a shift go by us tonight where we came back and said what if. That was the difference tonight.
We didn't maybe put the game away when we had a lot of shots in the second period, but at the end of the game we ended up on top.
Q. Third Finals, happy it's not Detroit?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I wanted a shot. If you play the odds, I'm due to beat them. Didn't matter. Whoever you are playing obviously at this point of the year, you are playing one of the best teams. So Edmonton you just watched them the last month, just been incredible, so we know what we are in for.
Q. Eighth seed is irrelevant?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Everybody talks about seeding, it's a joke. The hardest part is getting in. Whether you finished eight or first, doesn't make any difference nowadays in the NHL. Maybe 20 years ago it may have been different, but the hardest part is getting in. Once you get in, everyone has a chance.

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