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June 9, 2006

Craig MacTavish


Q. Talk about how much the extra day means to this team mentally and from a practice point of view.
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: I think we had an extra day after we were down 2-0 to San Jose, if I am not mistaken. I am not positive, but I think we did. And, you know, the extra time is going to favor the team that lost a couple, just to give us a little bit of time to regroup and get some changes into our game plan because it gives us an extra day and it's important. Hopefully we can take advantage of it.
But it's a good thing for us. We view it as a real positive. We have got the extra day, it's tough travel to go -- even today would have been a tough game for both teams with the travel. The travel is not easy.

Q. A lot has been made about the number of shots they blocked in the last game. From your perspective does that got everything to do with defensive posture? Does shot selection have to do with it as well?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Both. We didn't do a very good job of freeing up unobstructed shooting lanes for ourselves. It's quite clear what they are trying to do in terms of getting in front of our net-front forwards, and we got to get pucks somehow inside behind those guys. When we did get them in behind, Ward was up to the task. We were jamming pucks from a foot or a foot and a half in front of him, so it was difficult to get the pucks to the areas that we need to get some offense from them. But they were effective. They did a good job. Their forwards are really willing blockers and they pose some problems for us.

Q. Rem Murray has fought a courageous battle to come back and play. Talk about your feelings as you watched him go through this struggle and also what does he add to this team now?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: He's playing the type of hockey that he played before we lost him to New York and great story for Rem. Couldn't be happier for him. I always, we like to in a lot of ways base our philosophy largely on loyalty and he's a guy that we have a great deal of loyalty to, from the way that he played here.
I always say when we get players like Rem back that the door swings both ways, and it's not always "because we wanted to get rid of you." And Igor is the same way, the door swings both ways, and he's a guy that -- I'm really happy to give him the opportunity and I mean, he's really filled a role for us. He's playing very well right now, but pretty tragic story, looked as -- pretty happy ending so far.

Q. He said that even when you guys signed him he wasn't quite ready to play at this level. What did you see back in March, what did you want from him and he also described it as sort of being surreal, being here in the Stanley Cup Finals after what he has been through. What has he given you through this playoff run?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: He had to get used to the NHL speed coming from the American League and it takes players -- then you wonder as a coach whether they are at the age where they have lost a step, or whether they will get that step back given the opportunity to play in practice with NHL players. He has gotten that step back and he's skating very well. He's always been the smartest player on the team. Certainly one of them. So positionally his play is impeccable. It was just a case of -- he didn't have a lot of confidence early after seeing him when he initially got here, but having had him practice the way that he has and certainly play the last few rounds, I have got a lot of confidence in him and you see his minutes growing because of that.

Q. (Inaudible).
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: He was brought in for depth. It was a good thing, obviously, when we lost Marty Reasoner for -- to get Sergei Samsonov, that we needed somebody at center with some experience and it was a good thing that we got him.

Q. Now that a couple of days have gone by, any chance or any change in Dwayne Roloson's status? Totally done for the series? Any chance maybe as a couple of days have passed that he could come back later?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: It's doubtful. I guess there's always a chance. I think if he was a defensemen or a forward there would be a pretty good likelihood, but being a goaltender, butterfly goaltender, it makes that movement that much more difficult. If he was a forward, you know, probably brace him up and get him out there, but it's more difficult for a goaltender.
So you never say never, I guess, but we're not -- the calvary isn't coming, doesn't look like it anyways. We're going to have to make due with what we have.

Q. Just a quick two questions: A lot of talk about Cam Ward. How much would you say it's his spectacular play and how much does the onus go back to your goal scorers? And part two, you have been talking about Rem Murray being an inspiration, would that be the way you would describe Joey Moss for all the years and everything else he's done and you have seen him as coach, player, in all situations?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: I am not sure Rem would be flattered with the comparison, nor maybe Joey (laughs), but it doesn't really matter with Cam. Cam Ward, I mean we have to find ways -- he's played well and I don't want to take anything away from him, he's played very well, even in the first game he let -- we got four by him, but I was tweaked at that point. Maybe I wasn't expecting a guy that looked that formidable. The second game, we didn't get enough pucks through and, you know, we didn't exploit what we think there are a couple areas that we think he's vulnerable and we have got to find those areas.
So it doesn't really matter whether it's him or us. I guess it's a combination of both. He's played very well and we haven't been as effective as we need to be offensively.
Joe Moss is, I mean, he's an inspirational guy for a lot of us. He comes to work with a smile on his face, and make no mistake, he does do a lot of work. Sparky sees to that (laughs). But it was just nice having him on the trip, and he loosens the mood up and he's good in situations like this. I mean, you can get so wrapped up in your own problems that you lose perspective, and he's a guy that very much grounds us and keeps us focused and in the right perspective. And he's not adverse to giving us the odd kick in the rear end if we need it. He's a good motivator from that respect.

Q. Going into the series Peter Laviolette said he wasn't too concerned about line matching. Now that you are home, you have last change, your thoughts on line matching and last change?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Well, you know, we have been through a situation where we were always afraid of our No. 1 line matching up against the other team's No. 1 line, and I will tell you as a coach, it's a -- I haven't been that concerned with -- you know, if it's a checking line against our first line, that's a different scenario, I'd be more concerned in trying to break that matchup up, but I think top line players like that challenge. I am not saying that I will want that matchup tomorrow. I am not going to say that one way or the other, but it's a real -- it's a nice change for us this year that I don't have to try and hide a No. 1 versus No. 1 matchup.
I mean, Brind'Amour was really effective in the first game. I thought that game was ours to win. The Brind'Amour line, we have felt is their most dangerous line not just offensively but the combination of the overall game, their ability to defend and their ability to create offense. We feel like our line is a similar line. They are very capable of shutting down Brind'Amour's line and capitalizing. We haven't done that to this point, but it's nice to not to have to hide that matchup on the road and we may try something else tomorrow, but I am not going to get into that.

Q. You talked yesterday about some of your guys maybe trying to do too much, yet in a game when you really need somebody to make a big play, score a big goal, is it sort of a catch-22 because you want the results, but you don't want them getting out of their own --
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Yeah, it's just we want to score the right way and we want to play responsibly, and you know, 10 goals in two games is you are Not Here Long, NHL. Not here long for 10 goals in two games in the playoffs. I mean, we got to shore up our game offensively. Offense is a product of good defensive positioning, and we don't want to put pressure on guys internally to score, because a lot of times that pressure can manifest itself in risk taking, and we want an overall complete game and that's what has gotten us to this point. And you know, we'll find the goals the right way, and that -- I guess that's the point I was trying to make in not putting pressure on guys to score because a lot of times that can be dangerous.

Q. You talked about the NHL being the "Not Here Long" league?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Or "Never Hungry League."

Q. Most of Canada, everyone has watched this underdog come up from eighth seed are looking at the series now, flatly, pretty much over. I am sure you got 25 guys who aren't. What about that dynamic, does it mean anything to you, do you understand it, do you care?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Absolutely I care. I mean, it's a situation where we don't feel, and here I go into the sales mode again, but we don't feel like we're finished, obviously. Pretty confident group. I think that's important, that you have the belief. If you don't have the belief, you don't have a chance.
And there are always areas, as I said yesterday, that we have to be better in certain areas. And I said to the players today that Carolina is a little bit like carbon monoxide poisoning; you don't really sense it, you don't really sense the fear, but it's lethal and we have a good healthy respect for them and we have to do some things tactically different. We threw a lot at them through the first two games physically and just try to take the game over, put a lot of pressure on them, took the body and tried to steamroll them and just impose our will and our game on them and they survived it, and thrived under it, certainly in Game 2. So we have got to do a few things a little differently, certainly for us to be successful. We're going to make those changes.
We have been in series where we have been dominated before. I don't get the sense that this is one of them. I think that we're going to have to be real smart to win. And now our margin of error is very fine and we're going to have to be almost perfect to turn this around and win this series, but we're capable of it.

Q. How much of Jussi's demeanor, his calm attitude, the fact that he doesn't seem to get all excited or out of control, how much did that play a part in you going with him instead of Ty?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Well, not a lot, just, I admire the demeanor but I know Ty has got the confidence too, so I viewed their mental makeup as being a wash. I just felt a combination of things. The bad break that he had to end Game 1 would have been tough. I know that he could have overcome it mentally but Jussi has looked really sharp in practice, and, you know, that's in concert with our goaltender coach Pete Peeters and talking to everybody internally, what their impression was, we just thought that Jussi at this time is capable of giving us our best chance. That's not to discount Ty.
But the other thing was that Jussi played his best hockey when Ty was hurt and he had the mental latitude, I guess, to know that he was not looking over his shoulder to get pulled and knew that he was going to be the guy and we were going to swim with him. I think that helps, but he's been calm, and I am pretty confident he's going to give us another good game.

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