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June 19, 2006

Jussi Markkanen

Ethan Moreau

Chris Pronger


Q. What was the first thing coach said to you after the game?
ETHAN MOREAU: Proud of us. Proud of the year that we had. Came up a little bit short. It didn't go our way. Didn't happen. Just congratulated everybody on a good season.

Q. Seems like up until that empty net goal, you guys had the belief the whole way through. Maybe that was the moment that you probably realized it was not going to happen. What was that moment like?
ETHAN MOREAU: It was devastating. We truly believed that we were invincible. We thought all along that we could overcome any adversity. Looked like we were going to do it, and the first time all year we fell short.

Q. Fernando gets that goal third period, gets another good chance, and Ward just seems to just -- guy has had a fantastic year.
ETHAN MOREAU: Unbelievable. He had a great year. Great Playoffs. He handles himself really well, says the right things.
Obviously, the difference tonight. Not to take anything away from our guys, Roli and Jussi were phenomenal.

Q. You have been a leader in that room for a while now. How proud are you of the guys? Just where you guys got?
ETHAN MOREAU: That's why it would have been so special if we won -- convincingly say I will never play with a group of guys like that again. It will just never happen. I have played long enough to know how tight our group was and how much everybody cared about each other.
Guys would have done anything it took to win. We fell a little bit short, but I am sure you guys know, you could sense it when you walk into our room compared to other rooms. It's phenomenal. The leadership we had from Gator right through. The guys that were new, our young guys were phenomenal. Just our team in general, just great people, from top to bottom, our organization, the coaching staff, trainers, players, just never -- probably never assembled a group like that again now player Moreau.

Q. Talk about the group coming together.
ETHAN MOREAU: I think we had to go through a lot of different adversity throughout the course of the year. I think that plays a big part in how we have been able to deal with things. You know, it's learning on-the-job and losing seven or eight in a row early in the season.
Then obviously you guys question Kevin, should he make changes? He doesn't -- you know, we fought our way out of the hole. Get back skating in Dallas and don't see pucks for an hour and a half, and have 10 o'clocker and get called a junior team and things like that. You start learning your lesson, and there has always a method to the madness and certainly you know, the injuries and all the things, the playoff stretch drive, leading into the playoffs trying to get in, we get in and obviously what we have been able to accomplish so far, it all plays into guys learning what we do best as a team and certainly we have had our fair share up to Dallas and this series as well and hopefully we have been able to learn from those and we have seen that the last couple of games in how we have played.

Q. Chris, talk about how disappointing it is.
CHRIS PRONGER: I don't think there is anything -- well, there's a lot of things worse than that but right now it doesn't feel like it, certainly that's not the way we wanted to end our year, and you know, it hurts.

Q. (Inaudible)?
CHRIS PRONGER: Obviously, knowing that they are going to come out and put their best foot forward and certainly they did that, he got that quick goal and had us back on our heals. We battled through the first, had a couple of chances to score and weren't able to bury it. We get a bad break on the second goal and you know, came back in the third knowing that we have been in that situation before and certainly weren't going to give up and another great goal -- he had another great chance with 3 minutes to go to tie it up and Ward made a great save.

Q. Looking back maybe in a week or so at the year and, look at the positives how far you came -- (inaudible)?
CHRIS PRONGER: Obviously a lot of positive. Certainly aren't looking at it right now. It sucks to lose. There is no easier way to say it other than that. I am proud of everybody in that locker room, battled hard and never quit. A lot of guys in tough circumstances, Jussit plays unbelievable, hadn't played in four months, whatever it was, and to play as well as he did it is unbelievable. Came you up one game short and it sucks.

Q. (Inaudible)?
CHRIS PRONGER: Obviously when they scored the empty net goal it is 3-1 with a minute left and 45 seconds whatever it was, that's pretty much the game right there, and we didn't quit, we still tried to get in, but you know, it's tough coming back against a team like that, that has the skill and you know, the offensive wherewithal to put the puck in the net. We were a little loose in the first period, they capitalized on that quick chance and got the lead.

Q. Talk about how you guys came together as a team, the way -- this playoff run -- (inaudible)?
CHRIS PRONGER: I think you look at what some of the young guys, the contributions they made in Hemmer and Torres and Staaly, the big goals that they were scoring. Both goalies played unbelievable. Can't say enough about how proud I am of our team the way we played and the never say die attitude. Very easily could have folded the tent at 2-0 and we came out and stormed them and had a number of great opportunities to tie it up but weren't able to.

Q. Ryan just brought up the '83 Oilers in how they had to watch the New York Islanders win the Stanley Cup. Do you buy into that theory that you have to go through something like this for a team to learn the nuances of winning?
CHRIS PRONGER: Yeah, to a certain extent, but you know, it sucks to lose, man, I don't know what else to say, but it's not a good feeling.
JUSSI MARKKANEN: Right now the only feeling is you get so close it's even more disappointing to lose and see the other team get the Cup.

Q. The reviewed goal, what happened there -- (inaudible)?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: I made a first save and I think the puck went up from my bat or my stick, and then our guys catch it in the air and it was a delayed penalty coming up, so that was finally the reason that there wasn't a goal or a penalty shot. They called a delayed penalty when we touched the puck in the first place.

Q. Did you have any idea where the puck was?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: I know it was behind me and I tried to find it and I think it was under our defensemen, Staios -- I think Staios.

Q. (Inaudible)?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: It's pretty tough to say right now, but the way I would remember it was great bunch of guys and unbelievable character in the room.

Q. What do you think the difference was in this series?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: Obviously, I think their power play did a little bit better job than ours, but it's not much difference when you get so close, you know, it's a great hockey team and we battled really hard and we had some chances today, but like I said, well, Cam Ward was really good in those couple of chances we had and especially early second and then late in the third, but if I have to pick something I would say their power play was really good.

Q. Were you screened on the first goal? Did you get a look at it?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: I was screened and I think it hit something in the front, should still not get through you, but -- doesn't really matter now.

Q. You probably didn't grow up dreaming of the Stanley Cup when you were 6, 7, 8. In Europe it seems a little different. But to come this close and not get it now regardless of your background --
JUSSI MARKKANEN: I dreamed about it, I think when I was eight, nine, ten years old it was starting the prime of Edmonton Oilers and there was always the Finnish players there so you kind of watch them play and obviously you dream about that, but coming this close, it's pretty tough to take right now, but hopefully in a few days it's kind of get your heads up and be proud of our couple months run.

Q. (Inaudible)?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: We did an unbelievable job. There is no losers, no losers out there today, only winners. Obviously Carolina obviously was a little better and they deserve all the credit that they were able to come back after the Game 6 and played their best game, I think, in the seer rear today.

End of FastScripts...

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