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June 17, 2006

Erik Cole


Q. Did you convince Peter to put you in the lineup? Or tell us how it all kind have happened.
ERIK COLE: It just came about on the plane ride out with -- I didn't know the status of Doug until we got on the plane. Kind of made the comment in passing that, you know, if Weight can't go does that mean I am in?
And it was kind of cast aside by our assistant coach, Jeff Daniels when we stopped in Des Moines I told him to run it by Peter. And we got to thinking and kicking it around and decided it was certainly worth a look to get another CT scan and see how much more progress had been made in the healing process.
We found a way to get it done but it was a long day yesterday.

Q. What was that process of getting the CT scan done?
ERIK COLE: We tried numerous locations here in Edmonton that never quite panned out, and the final verdict ended up being me jumping on a charter flight to Denver. I was taken care of very well there by an orthopod named Doug Folk (ph) who got me right in and out, CT scan right back here with me, sent it back to Dr. Bill Richardson at Duke.
He looked at it this morning, and we also wanted to have him come and sit down with me face-to-face, so he jumped on the family charter and came out and we sat down over lunch, went over the CT scan with myself, Dr. Martini, Peter Friesen, and Peter Laviolette, and you know, it was still kind -- I think it was after lunch it was still in my court even after warm ups whether or not I felt comfortable, and I felt well enough to go out and try to contribute.

Q. Was there a moment where you knew you were playing where you said to yourself, I am actually going to do this. Talk about the hit by more re early on.
ERIK COLE: Well, yeah, I think once I got to the rink and I mean it was tough getting some sleep this afternoon, a lot of anxiety, a lot of emotions, been a long process.
I got to the rink and I felt good and I was excited and you know, got out there and thought I felt good my first shift and warm ups, then power play, I knew he was coming and, you know, not surprising that he was trying to head hunt me a little bit.

Q. Were you playing with some risk tonight? Were you taking a risk in playing? Did you just decide you wanted to play?
ERIK COLE: We maximized the healing process, and anymore healing that goes on is going to be very minimal to where we're at now. The risk is going to be with me the rest of my life. I mean, I had my neck broken three and a half months ago and, you know, it's going to be this way.
But I felt strong over the last several weeks on the ice, and the coaching staff felt confident that as long as I felt that I could get it done and we talked it over with all the doctors and got all the opinions we needed, that we could do this.

Q. There's been instances in sports history Willis Reed, for example, in 1970 coming out and being an inspiration for his team. Did you feel like you could give your teammates a boost just by getting out there?
ERIK COLE: I wasn't, you know -- certainly you know, didn't have in mind that I was going to come in and be any kind of a savior. The scenario we talked about the before the series, Peter and I that kind of -- that got let out and kind of blown up and put to bed.
But was if, you know, if there was an injury and there was a spot in the lineup, why not take a look and see where we're at. So we did, and we got good news and I was excited to be out there with the guys and excited to have the opportunity to play with them.

Q. You say that you felt good. In warmup you felt good the first shift. How do you feel now? How did it feel taking those hits and giving those hits? Do you feel like you got it out of your system and are you ready to play in Game 7?
ERIK COLE: I am looking forward to feeling better in Game 7. Didn't feel great in the third period, but you know, we'll get some rest. And it's my first game in three and a half months, so, I thought I handled it pretty well for being Game 6 of the Cup Finals.

Q. If wait wasn't injured would you be in?
ERIK COLE: Probably not. I don't think that we would have gone through the effort to look at the CT scan had Doug not been injured.

Q. After everything you have been through these last three and a half months is there a part of you that's disappointed to come back and be a part of a game like this that was so disappointing for your team?
ERIK COLE: Well, I mean, it's -- it's a tough building to play in and you know, it's the Playoffs and you know, I mean, it's tough to get a shot on goal recorded in this building let alone a call, so you know, it was -- they got the momentum and they kept it and just snowballed on us and it's frustrating, but it has to stay here and we're just going to regroup and go home and we have got the chance to win the Stanley Cup of Game 7 at home.
I am excited about the opportunity to play with this group of guys in a Game 7 for something I have been dreaming about my whole live.

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