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June 19, 2006

Craig MacTavish


COACH MacTAVISH: Good morning.

Q. Did you see their skate at all? Doug Weight was on the ice. What did you think? And do you think he will play tonight? Is he a Larry Murphy decoy?
COACH MacTAVISH: Tell me the Larry Murphy story. He might play too? (Laughter) I hope he does. He hasn't played in a couple of years.
I have no idea. I think it would be tough. Whenever you see a guy in a sling, you know, 48 hours earlier, you would think it would be difficult. But you know, they saved the horse in that race, Barbaro, whenever he might run again, I don't know.

Q. All those months just in the back, what can you say to a team at this point going into Game 7 that you haven't said already at some point? Anything more to be said?
COACH MacTAVISH: I think it is just important to keep your routine the same, and we have been able to do that through these Playoffs. And today we have kept the routine the same. It is a little different because, you know, it's your last morning skates and last pre-game meeting, all that sorts of stuff.
So just really keep the focus on what you have done well, what you need to prevent, what you need to accomplish in the game. Not get, you know, not try and take a scatter gun approach to the game where you try and talk about too many things. Focus in on three or four areas on both sides of the puck and try and accomplish those things.
If you do that, you should be able to win the game. But just keep the routine the same.

Q. You guys didn't hold back at all on Erik Cole in Game 6. If Doug does play, I would imagine it's the same approach with him.
COACH MacTAVISH: Well, we're trying to be indiscriminate on our physical play. So whoever it is, we're trying to finish our checks. We'll be doing that again tonight. I mean, the faces and the numbers are almost irrelevant. They are all very skilled and very talented and integral parts of their team, and you want to make sure you finish your checks.
We have tried to do that with Doug throughout this series so far, and we'll continue to do that tonight if he plays.

Q. Can you speak to just how you handle your team? You know, down know 3-1 people and say well they may not be able to come back. When it's time to kind of pat them on the back and when you might have to be more vocal. How you have worked that seemingly near to perfection to get to this point in understanding your players, when is the right time to do the right thing as a coach?
COACH MacTAVISH: I think for me I am a vocal person, and the players, you know, I don't -- they know how I feel. You know, I am very clear. I think that's important. They know how I feel about the game.
The thing that's of value for our team and is a real benefit for our coaching staff is that the effort is never a question, or the sacrifice is never a question, so, you know, mistakes can and do happen, and they are based on trying to do the right thing, obviously, and good healthy mistakes and if they are correctable.
The players are very coachable. You have to, as a player, be able to accept the coaching. And we had a few things after Game 2 that we had to rectify and make some adjustments, and they are very receptive to that because we haven't had the success.
The one thing that has been steadfast on their part is their confidence, confidence level, and their ability to get back in the series. I mean, even when we were down 3-1 it was almost -- you know, as a coach you are wondering, you know, because as a coach, as I said before, you are in the worst case scenario department, and you are wondering if the players -- they are so confident that do they recognize the gravity of the situation? Quite clearly they did and put us in this position.

Q. How do you take all that has been said and written about you guys now have the momentum going into Game 7, but the Hurricanes have the history on their side with Game 7 in their building. How do you take that and throw that all out and say we just have to focus on the game?
COACH MacTAVISH: They are starting the game 0-0 tonight as far as I am concerned, and all that stuff will be analyzed in hindsight. Whether we did have the momentum; whether the advantage was Carolina's because they are in their own building.
And statistically that's a huge advantage, you know. You do throw it out, what we can control, again, is how we play tonight; how we focus our energy; what we do and don't do on the ice.
And, again, you want to try and dominate the game and take the lucky break out, the bad bounce out, take the hot goaltender out. You know, you do that by taking care of all the areas that we did pretty well in in Game 6, so we want to do more of that.
Fully recognizing that Game 6, we have home home but they have got motivation coming out of Game 6.

Q. Can you anticipate -- or compare the anticipation, excitement, and satisfaction getting here and winning as a player compared to a coach?
COACH MacTAVISH: Hopefully (Laughter), you know -- no, I'd like to do nothing more. Nothing more would make me happier than to do that tonight. But right now, we're a step away.

Q. Not a lot of people involved in tonight's game, whether it be coaching or players, have been in a game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final. Can you maybe discuss what that's like, the feel to it.
COACH MacTAVISH: It's just -- the feelings are those of anxiousness, anticipation, excitement. And you go through a myriad of emotions prior to the puck dropping.
And for me, as a player and a coach, you know, you run the gamut of emotions. But once the puck drops the game is on, and as a player, I was able to settle in and play my game. As a coach, I can settle in. I feel most comfortable once the puck drops, and I think, you know, I have been able to -- we'll have a good sense early on what direction this game is going in.
As I said yesterday, the team that plays well normally wins; not always. There are a lot of factors at stake, but I will have a pretty good sense, as will they, how this game is going to unfold fairly early into the hockey game because it's going to be an important start.

End of FastScripts...

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