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June 12, 2006

Craig MacTavish


Q. Knowing what kind of player Doug Weight is and what he meant to this organization, have any opinion on the booing that he gets every time he touches the puck? It's not just a playoff thing, this was a regular season thing, too.
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Was it? I can't remember. He was getting booed in the regular season. Oh, I think it goes back to when Gretz left, it was a huge ovation first game back, then the gloves were off as it should be. It didn't demean what he meant here as a player. He has got a lot of respect in the community, a lot of respect in our locker room, a lot of friendships there, but in this situation, all bets are off and you want to be -- the fans do it their way which is vocally and we try and do it our way, which is physically as best we can.
I just think it's nothing more than that. And anybody that reads anymore into it is -- is probably misinformed.

Q. You had mentioned after Game 3 you thought that that win might maybe loosen up your team. Do you sense that they loosened up in the next few days going into tonight?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: I didn't mean that we were tight emotionally. Just offensively I think that when you are not having the type of success and you get shut out, that there's nothing like a goal or two to spur your confidence and hopefully that will do it, certainly with Hork's line, but collectively as a group that we have got to be more efficient given the odd-man rushes that we have had the last -- for the first three games, we just aren't capitalizing enough on those, and we need to be more efficient there and hopefully a little bit added confidence will help that.

Q. There were times in Game 3 where it seemed the crowd visibly gave your team a lift. Late in the second period, middle of the third when all that stuff should have long been gone. Talk about the effect the crowd has on your team from minute one to minute 60.
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Yeah, they are sharp, an astute group. They know the timing. They can sense when maybe we're losing a little momentum or Carolina is gaining a little momentum and they try and do their part and that's always -- that inspires the players. That's just human nature to get a little bit of an adrenaline buzz from that and that helps your game. I think we're at the point now where we're not letting that adrenaline carry our thinking in our positional play. We were better last game positionally and that's important to understand as a player.

Q. You said that you left Jussi in a little longer in Game 2 just because you wanted him to feel the rubber and get a feel for the game. What you saw in Game 3, are you happy with how he's seeing the puck now, do you get a sense --
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: I think you have to be. I think he played very well and you know, I don't think he was lacking confidence when he got in there in Game 2 and I certainly didn't get that sense in talking to him that he was lacking confidence at all. I didn't get that sense in Game 3 either and it's important that a goalie gets that five-star, first or second star of the game performance too and then you start to build some really -- have some reinforced confidence. I think he has got that right now, obviously every game is its own entity, but I am not as worried about our goaltending certainly as I was right after Game 1.

Q. Georges Laraque played 24 seconds in Game 3. You've got some other options up front. Wondering what is the thought process, because --
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: There was a little bit of a -- we had some penalties and there reaches a point with a player, especially a big player like Georges, where - and I have been there as a player myself - where you get to a point where you want to play at the start and you want to get in the game and then all of a sudden you lose your legs and it's a 1-0 game, which it was, and then all of a sudden you are going, "Don't put me out there." Like, you do not want to go out there in that situation because you have been sitting on the bench, you are cold, and you know, we're involved in a game that's going to frame our season.
So I think he was fine with it. I have never seen that, where a guy had three shifts in 24 seconds. I mean, we talk about short and hard (laughter). And I haven't talked to Georges about it. He understands it. Doesn't mean he won't be a factor tonight.

Q. The story is out there about Erik Cole maybe being ready for Game 7. You are talking about a guy like Georges who did a lot of work to get you here, Harvey too, now you have to balance getting him some minutes or even getting him in the lineup?

Q. Todd, Georges, any of these guys who are maybe on the fringe of your --
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: They are all ready to go back. I don't have one issue of putting in any of those guys that are on our fifth line right now. I think Toby looks real good, it's a series that he can help us. Winchester is back skating. Todd is look good, he's fresh again. Maybe as early as tonight, I don't know, we may see something else tonight. We will make that decision later, but all those guys look really good. And as Harv told me today, they have been our best line for two weeks now. (Laughter).
But they look good and Brad is skating and shooting and Toby can move the puck, so they are all ready to go. I don't have any qualms about putting any one of them in right now. They all add something different. You know, Todd might be a guy that's better suited on the road because he's a real reliable, smart, experienced guy. And the other guys, Georges is in that category as well and Brad, are pretty dynamic guys in their own right but you kind of have to put them in their areas of strength, and you know. So there are maybe guys that you'd be more willing to play at home.

Q. I think a lot of people gave your team a real physical edge coming into this series. Has Carolina surprised you at all with their ability to handle themselves physically?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: They have surprised me in their ability to withstand the physical punishment, and you know, we still think in the long series that we'll wear you down. It's the old proverbial body shots that you give that don't pay initial dividends in the first few rounds of a fight, but as the fight wears on, you start to reap the benefits and we still have to make sure that we're making those players that are playing a lot play hard, physical minutes, guys like Brind'Amour, Hedican, Commodore, Wesley. All those guys are guys that we have to finish our checks on for sure if we're going to have success.

Q. The Brind'Amour line did score the other night, but the Peca line seemed to do a pretty good job causing them a little bit of trouble. All along we have seen Peca do this throughout his career. What in particular makes him so good in that role?
COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: Experience, great speed. He's always on the right side of the puck. If he loses positioning he's two quick strides away from getting back on the right side of the puck. Tremendous stick. He's always working from the middle of the ice, good defensive fundamentals, good faceoff guy. So he can compete in those areas. And highly skilled, highly skilled guy, can make plays and reads the ice well, so it's no coincidence he has had the Selke Trophy sitting on his mantle for a number of years.

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