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June 4, 2006

Chris Pronger

Dwayne Roloson

Ryan Smyth


Q. Chris, want to talk about the power play going into the Finals, your penalty killing is No. 1, and have you seen on film what they do?
CHRIS PRONGER: I think the biggest thing is take away their time and space and not allowing them an easy setup. They have obviously got a lot of offensive weapons and work it around pretty good to try to stretch the defense out. You know, when you see yourself running out of position, it's just a matter of getting back and trying to stay a little bit tight and not getting spread out and allowing them that easy seam pass that they score goals on.
Q. What's it like for you to kind of literally have arrived here for the Stanley Cup final, all your time with the Oilers to get this chance?
RYAN SMYTH: Well, seeing all you guys just magnifies everything.
No, it's a great opportunity. It's an awesome feeling. We work really hard as a team to get this far and we've still got a long ways to go yet. We're really thrilled and excited to enjoy this challenge.
Q. Dwayne, what's the learning curve going to be like for the two teams that didn't see each other in the regular season and especially as a goalie picking up on tendencies of shooters?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: The first four or five minutes is going to be a feeling-out stage. You know, before the lockout, we all played each other once or twice and the way guys move around the league now, you sort of know tendencies, as I'm sure Chris knows what Doug likes to do since he played with him a lot and same with Ryan. I think both guys know a lot of guys on each team, so I think we'll be fine.
Q. Dwayne, the Hurricanes have been able to solve Brodeur and Miller, your thoughts on their attack, it seems pretty explosive?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Obviously they have great offensive players, like Chris said earlier. That's one of the reasons why they are where they are today. But you know on our side we have a lot of great defensive players. We have Chris, and Jason Smith and Spacek and all of these guys are great defensive players. We just have to keep doing the little things and keep switching lanes and hopefully we'll be fine.
Q. Chris, Doug said he thought it was going to be strange after spending the time that he did with you in St. Louis to finally get to this point in his career and finds you across the hallway, have you thought about it and will it be odd given the time you spent in St. Louis together?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, I think you think about that, the answer he gave you, we probably thought we were going to be in the same dressing room going through this.
It is going to be a little bit different after the years we had in St. Louis, but at the end of the day, he's in the other side of the room or other side of the hall. We have to put friendships aside and make sure when the first puck drops that we're focused and prepared and ready.
Q. Can you talk about the getaway you guys had in the last few days and if you feel looking back on it like it was a good thing to go and do, and secondly just the weight, you've been waiting for this a long time, and what's the last eight days been like in your spare time thinking about it, has it been agonizing to wait so long?
RYAN SMYTH: I think the big thing to get away was to get in the same time zone and get used to the humidity and adjust that way. I thought it was great, the fact that we had this facility that the Rangers gave us, their practice facility. So we had the work-out stuff, the ice stuff, and you know, I think that's what we needed to do is get together and get away from all of the media up in Edmonton and all of the fans, just so that we can really focus in and settle in.
The eight days leading up to it, obviously the last couple practices that we had were more of a scrimmage and they were a little more intense. I think if it went on a little bit longer, we'd get in scraps, so it's time to play.
Q. For both Chris and Ryan, I think outside there's a perception that you guys have written this great Cinderella story just to get here, how do you guard against being satisfied with that?
CHRIS PRONGER: I don't think anybody's satisfied. I don't think we set out on this path to just make it here. We've got bigger dreams and expectations to win it. I think it would be very disappointing for everybody in the locker room if we don't finish it out and do it up the way we envisioned it. You know, I don't think satisfaction or feeling comfortable just getting here is not, I don't think, anybody's mindset in our locker room.
RYAN SMYTH: Yeah, I think the thing with what Chris is saying, the fact that we worked hard to get here and we don't want to pass up this great opportunity. The fact that it takes, you know, a long road to get here and you know, it doesn't come very often. So I think we've got to take full advantage of this.
Q. Chris, it's obviously been a long time, what do you remember about Glen Wesley?
CHRIS PRONGER: It's been a while, 10 or 11 years. Obviously he's a competitor. He's a solid two-way defenseman and he's one of their most experienced guys back there, he's been through a lot of playoff success, obviously earlier in his career in Boston going to the Cup Finals and hopefully losing to Edmonton again down here. (Smiling).
He's a player that certainly has been a backbone of their team for the last number of years and is certainly a guy we're going to have to compete hard against in order to get past them?
Q. Dwayne, your second time to the Finals, first time with Buffalo in '99, this is the first No. 8 seed that's ever gotten to the Stanley Cup Finals. Can you contrast the expectations of Buffalo in '99 at the start of the playoffs to this team?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Well, I think it's pretty similar. Obviously we were not the No. 8 seed then, but we were fairly far down at that point. To come into the playoffs, it really reminds me of the team that we had in Buffalo except for we had Dominik Hasek there.
Hopefully we can get a better ending, that's for sure?
Q. Chris, wondering, it's been a long time since a Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup, does that add anything to the Oilers and how you're preparing, just the overall sense of it, or do you have to cast that part of it aside?
CHRIS PRONGER: I don't think you can dwell on that too much. Calgary was here the last time we played. I don't think you can focus or hone in on that or try to do it for your country or anything like that.
We've stuck together all season long, we've played for one another in that locker room and now is not the time to switch?
Q. Chris, these are two of the smallest market teams in the NHL that have made the Finals and some people are interpreting it as the new economics of the NHL, this is what happens, and you landing in Edmonton is another example of that. How do you interpret this final between these two small-market teams?
CHRIS PRONGER: I think it's a combination, but at the same time, both teams had to be already down the path of getting better and building towards this situation. I don't think one trade or one signing and the new C.B.A. is going to put you over the top. You have to some pieces of the puzzle already in place. You look at Carolina, they made a few trades down the stretch and picked up Doug and Mark Recchi. I don't think you can totally pin it on the C.B.A.
Some of the other teams might have something to say about that, but I don't think so.
Q. Three-parter here, sorry everybody else, Dwayne and Chris, when you played against the Oilers, did you always see Ryan as being the face of the Oilers during your time against them? And Ryan, for you, a lot of talk about losing the teeth, can you just speak to the sacrifices that you've made for a long time, to get to this point for you, and what it's meant to you to stay as an Oiler throughout your career when there's so much movement in the NHL?
DWAYNE ROLOSON: Well, I don't think Ryan's the face in my eyes, because I always saw the back side of him. (Laughter) if you want to put it that way, yeah, he is, like when you play the Oilers, he is the guy you look out after and you try to know where he is as a goalie, and know where he is on the ice, usually in front of you, knocking you down and doing all the other crazy stuff he likes to do with goalies.
Yeah, he's a leader, obviously, big-time and he does whatever it takes to win hockey games. Obviously coming back from getting the puck in the yip from Chris there and coming back and doing whatever it takes for us to win, it's inspirational actually.
CHRIS PRONGER: It's the only way he can keep quiet. (Laughter).
RYAN SMYTH: A lot of players go through injuries that go along with playoffs, and obviously this was an accident. (Laughter).
No, these sort of things happen to a lot of players. I'm a guy that if I'm not injured, I'm going to come back and play. In that instant, it didn't have any -- the teeth were gone and everything just, they stitched up the lip and off I went. Aside from that, I think playing in Edmonton through my career thus far, it's been a great feeling, knowing that they wanted to keep me around, and playing close to home, Banff. Obviously it's a childhood dream when I grew up playing for the Edmonton Oilers, wanting to go play for the Edmonton Oilers, the old Oilers, but being in the situation that we are in right now is something undescribable. We have a good nucleus of guys there and guys that care and want to win and get to the next level.
Q. You guys just got off a plane, you take the van here, you walk into this room, do you feel like you're at the Stanley Cup Finals now?
CHRIS PRONGER: Seeing you here, yeah. (Laughter).
No, I think just coming in and seeing all the media and kind of the build-up to tomorrow night, today is probably the first day that I've felt like we're finally getting close to playing in the Cup Finals.
You start getting excited, start feeling the butterflies and the emotions and things like that and come tomorrow, we'll get things going.
Q. For Chris and Ryan, there's a lot of things back and forth in terms of the matchup but I think one thing that Carolina might have that you don't is a bunch of older guys who have been going at this for a long time, they have three guys that have been to three Cups and not won, Rod Brind'Amour is one. Can you talk about playing against those guys over a career, but how much different it is for them when they are right near the end of their career and their last shot at a Cup, what difference will that make once the game starts?
RYAN SMYTH: Well, hopefully they are tired. (Laughter).
Obviously we have tremendous respect for the older players and their team for that matter. Guys that haven't won it, like I said before, all those names on that Cup I have so much respect for, for how hard it is, and they have got three of them. It's a matter of us dealing with it within our locker room. We feel that we have the depth in our team to handle that kind of pressure.
Q. Ryan, you didn't answer the part of the question about being the face of the franchise, and do you consider yourself the face of the Oilers franchise and what can you tell us about Cam Ward?
RYAN SMYTH: Joe Moss is the face of the Edmonton Oilers. (Laughter) Yeah, that's about it.
Q. Chris, we're all going to right six degrees of Kevin Bacon stories about your trade from Hartford, what do you remember about playing for the Whalers and the trade that sent you to St. Louis for Shanahan?
CHRIS PRONGER: That was a long time ago, man. You know, really just a couple great years of learning the game and learning how to be a professional and learning to play in the NHL. At 18, 19 years old, it's a little bit of an eye-opener and a wake-up call, having gone through the situations that I did in Hartford, they were not always easy, but they were an experience and the biggest thing I remember is the Brass Bonanza.
Q. Do you think they gave up on you too soon? They made you the second overall pick, then they trade you two years later.
CHRIS PRONGER: They had ownership change, the GM that drafted me wasn't there anymore, the coach wasn't there anymore, a lot of turnover. Things change and they wanted to go in a different direction and that's what they chose.
Q. Could you talk a little about the importance of getting Spacek and how well he's played with you over the last part of the season?
CHRIS PRONGER: He's been great, he's been one of the key pickups for us, along with Dwayne. He eats up a lot of minutes, plays well defensively, plays with a physical edge and obviously plays the power play with me. He's been a real force back there for us in a lot of different areas and not only having the experience that he has, not only in the NHL but international competition, winning the gold medal in '98 with the Czech Republic. It's a solid pick up that gives us a lot of depth.
Q. Do you remember Brass Bonanza fondly or just can't get it out of your head? (Laughter).
CHRIS PRONGER: Can't get it out of my head. (Laughter).
Q. Will you bring it back?
Q. How did it go again? Can you sing it?
CHRIS PRONGER: No. (Laughter).

End of FastScripts...

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