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June 7, 2006

Craig MacTavish


Q. Let's see, Craig, who is your starting goaltender tonight?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: I will tell you who it's not. I will tell you who it's not. Dwayne Roloson will not start tonight.
Q. Who else is it not?
No, we're not going to divulge that tonight. We saw, I mean it's a small thing, but this time of year sometimes small things can add up and give you a little bit of an advantage. We're not making a lot of it. It's not something that, you know, we're putting a lot of credence in, but sometimes it's a little more difficult, as we found out in the Anaheim series to prepare for either Bryzgalov for Giguere and they did a good job of cloaking that. So it's not a huge adjustment for a team (Czech sounds words before (it's not something that we need to divulge.
Q. How long have you had it in your mind who is playing and how do you make the decision? Is it more based on past history or how they are playing in practice this morning?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: I think a little bit of everything. How they have looked consistently in practice, mental makeup. There are a lot of things that factor into making the decision. But, you know, we had it in our minds pretty early who it was going to be, and you know, all those factors factor into it. I mean, it's not -- you can't say adamantly one way or the other who it's going to be because it's a closer call. They have both been at similar levels, the last little while, so it's a closer decision and one that you hope you make the right decision.
But I will say that the starter tonight will have my utmost confidence and I have no plans to use anybody other than the guy we use tonight. So if we get into a situation where he plays well, great. If he doesn't, he's going to continue to play. We got to play him sharp, and I can't be in a situation that I was in during the course of the year where you are going back between 1 and 1-A, and never give them the opportunity to get confident in the net.
If he struggles, he will continue to play. If he plays well, he will continue to play.
Q. How much better do you think the team is overall than the last time these guys have been carrying most of the load for you?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: They are going to get more shots, but I think they are going to be -- our M.O. has been that we're giving up more shots than we did during the regular season when we were very stringent in that respect, but really feel like they are coming from better areas, and they are not the five-star opportunity that they were earlier in the year.
So from that respect, I think the goaltender has the ability to make saves in less dangerous areas.
Q. You said after Roloson got hurt that you might consider platooning, you just told us now that's not an option. Kind of go through the process how you changed your mind on that.
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Well, you got to get a foothold with somebody in -- of confidence and not to flip flop too much. I just think given the time to think about it rationally you have got to give the goaltender the confidence that he can make a mistake. You can't have a guy sitting there looking to the bench every time a goal goes in and I just feel in my heart that that's not the best way. I mean, you always have the option, I guess, but they have to know that you have the confidence in them.
Q. Looking at Game 1, do you feel that there's a lot that needs to be changed? Does your approach remain the same because you had success early in the game and just because you didn't like what happened in the back half, is there going to be much change?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Not really. We did a lot of things, as I said after the game, I was reasonably pleased with how we played overall. I was very pleased with how we started and how we handled the break. I thought we were sharp and energetic early. We did the things that we set out to do tactically. We had the legs and the energy. We executed at a high level early, and built a three-goal lead.
The one thing that aggravates coaches and players and everybody in the organization is missed opportunity. So it really left a sour taste in our mouth after the game because, you know, we left one on the table and we did some things tactically when we were protecting a lead that led to our ultimate demise. When you are protecting a three-goal lead with five minutes left in the second period, you dial that in and you get through the second period and you win the hockey game. We didn't do that. We got seduced as I said, into trying to make it 4-0. We should have, we had plenty of opportunities to make it 4-0. We didn't capitalize, but you end up trading chances and we traded a chance for another chance. We didn't score. They put it in the back of the net. It's 3-1 and the momentum changed.
So we have regrets obviously. Even the second goal we were a little overaggressive in the second goal early, and so then the momentum has further changed and we learned a lesson. You don't want to learn too many lessons at this time of the year. You can't afford to because your margin of error is small, but at the same time, we will be a better team because of it today and now we just have to go out and have to dominate the game at a level that maybe we didn't have to.
Q. Does your guy know? Have you told whoever it is, that they are the guy?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: I told the guy after the game, so unless he's forgotten (LAUGHTER).
They are goalies (LAUGHTER).
Q. When all is said and done, your players are sounding very confident still. You have played and coached in every situation, what is the key for your guys to believe what they are saying and not to think that, what most would in this situation, that it's a disastrous turn of events to lose a guy at a key position that has played so well for you in the Cup Final?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: You know what, I actually think we're getting good at selling our ability to compete in these playoffs and it started in the Detroit series and, you know, we're starting to get better at it. And so we're more convincing, but you know, that's why I got into coaching so I didn't have to get into sales, and yet I am still finding that I am trying to sell to you guys that we have a chance in this series. We have been doing that for four series now and we're getting good at it.
Q. You have been coaching for a while, toughest decision you've ever made, considering the stage and considering the position?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: I don't think so. Like I always do in decisions of this magnitude, I do it in concert with a lot of other people in the organization, not the least of which are the other coaches. We throw ideas back and forth, and I think it's not all that difficult. I mean, you try and take all the information -- like any decision, you try and take all the information in that you possibly can and you ultimately spit out an answer and you hope it's the right one.
Q. You mentioned earlier that Ty and Jussi are about the same level, what is that level like as compared to Dwayne, because Dwayne's been at times carrying this team. So do you convince whoever is going that they don't have to carry the team, they just have to do what they have to do?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Yeah, I don't have to convince them of that. I think you are going to see -- I didn't view goaltending as being an issue in Game 1. There has been situations in games where Dwayne has had to really help us and help us win a game and he's done that. I didn't view Game 1 as one of those situations. So from that respect, I think it's going to be, and I have said this to the goaltenders, we're not expecting them to win us games. We have to collectively play a very solid hockey game where, you know, obviously we're going to need some saves out of our goaltender, that's no secret, but I don't think we're going to need him to come in and steal us a game. If we do, then that's not the goaltender's fault; that's our fault for having not played well enough.

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