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January 18, 1998

Kevin Constantine

Marc Crawford

Ken Hitchcock

Jacques Lemaire


Q. Are you disappointed in the amount of goals that were scored despite the change in format?

COACH LEMAIRE: Are you talking to myself? No. Really, I don't think a game, if you would play a game like this one, and you would have a two-to-one game, I don't think that the people would appreciate that as much. People, they want to see their best scorer -- their best player score goals. But we have, I think, the best record last five years for goals allowed (laughter), which is seven.

Q. Would you like to see the format continue?

COACH LEMAIRE: I think it was good because you could see at a certain time the intensity. I think, you know, it's maybe a little hard for the players to get really focused on the game because of the competition they have. Having the guys all together for one day, you know, after you got to go and beat up each other and stuff (laughter). But I like the format, there's no doubt. You know, we could see that every time one side started to play hard, they took over.

Q. Kevin, how about you as a former goalie? Do you appreciate the amount of goals scored?

COACH CONSTANTINE: I think it's great the amount of goals scored. But everybody, we cut the goals down. So you guys can go on saying Jacques and I, defensive coaches because the goals are down a little this year. We slowed it down a little. No, it was a fun game. Very entertaining to watch. This kind of hockey, I think a coach keeps a pen or pencil to take notes. On a day like today, I kept a Sharpie so I can get my autographs, too. It was fun to be back there. It's like a fan being back there watching players this talented perform.

Q. Why do you think All-Star Games are so much higher scoring than when you play? You look back in the '60s, early '70s, normal scores 4-3, 5-2. Any different style back then?

COACH LEMAIRE: I talked about this to Kevin before. In our days, you know, we didn't fraternize with the players that much. There was a little thing going on against each other. Today, it's completely the opposite. You know, you have the association that keeps them really close. You know, you have so many chances to meet each other, do different things together.

Q. I have to ask you, you're zero and 11. You have a three goal lead?

COACH HITCHCOCK: I found somebody that's worse. This was really a good situation for us, just on the personal basis, with the World players. You know, you look at it as a coach, we're all in our own group, but for Marc and myself, this was a terrific experience just to see the interaction of all the different personalities and countries, the peer groups and everything at work. I think it was really a great experience for us. Win or lose, this was something I think both of us will really value, just to see how appreciative a lot of the younger players, even though they're the stars of our league, respect the older players. I think it was really a good thing for both Marc and myself to see.

Q. Ken, it was a nice touch by you to put the guys from the same country together on the forward lines. Was that your idea? How did that come about?

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think both of us thought it had some uniqueness to it. You could see when the players came into the dressing room that even before we had established any lines, that the training staff had put them together already in little groupies. It just was a natural thing. You know, the players themselves were really excited to see each other. You know, whether it was the Finns or the Swedes or whatever, they were really excited to see each other. We just thought it would be fun for our group and there would be some strong chemistry hopefully.

Q. Marc, can I get a thought from you on how this helps you or what you take, what you learn about this from the Canadian team's perspective of going into Nagano, what this really means?

COACH CRAWFORD: Again, I think I'll echo Ken's sentiments. From my personal standpoint, I don't know all the European players, especially the ones that play in the other division. This is my first chance really to spend any time with the Jagrs and Koivus and people like that. You do get a little bit better personal understanding about what makes them tick. It was a pleasure to be around them. I think, again, Ken and I both noticed how excited they were to be around one another. I think all the countries are gearing up for the big competition in Nagano. You know, this All-Star Game came at a great time because it is kind of a little bit of a dress rehearsal for the various players who are going to be playing for their various countries in the Olympics.

Q. Hitch, perhaps you can comment on some of the combinations out there? Certainly Selanne, Koivu, and I know you're familiar with Lehtinen. Probably one of the better combinations out there. Can you comment from a coach's perspective on Selanne's play?

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think the chemistry starts with Kurri. To me, I think for both of us, that was something that surprised me because Selanne's a superstar in our league, and yet the focus of all the younger players is on Jari Kurri. I think he really has established a format of play within that group. You know, I've made comments here this week that I can't believe how well disciplined a lot of the Finnish players are defensively. We have Lehtinen and Lidstrom in our group. It's amazing to see how well these people have been coached. Then you see Kurri, and the way that he deals with the game and the responsibility that he has, not only now and in the past, but with Marc's team. He's a very responsible player. You see those players with that same responsibility. I think I got a better understanding of where it started. I think he's a guy that brought it over here. A lot of the players, it's amazing to see how much they focus on his energy and his talking.

Q. Jacques, did you get a sense that for your team there was a little home-team pressure? Did the format perhaps lend itself to that in any way?

COACH LEMAIRE: No, I didn't have that feeling at all. The feeling I had is the guy they wanted to have a good time. They wanted to score goals. At times didn't care about back-checking (laughter). They didn't want to play the trap (laughter), which we asked them not to. In general, they had fun.

End of FastScripts....

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