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May 13, 2007

Randy Carlyle


JAMEY HORAN: Questions for Coach Carlyle.

Q. Randy, when the team goes through a dry spell in the power play with as much talent and experience as you have on both units, how much of it becomes mental and how much of it is tactical or mechanical?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I think in situations when things don't go the way you plan, you do an analysis. You analyze some of the things that are the deficiencies in what you're doing or what you're trying to accomplish. We all have power play setups we'd like to employ. You take a look at what the opposition is doing also.
But I think our area, one, it's got to start with the execution of holding on to the puck too long. We have to move the puck with more efficiency and quicker. They like to pressure the puck more down ice than the teams that we faced earlier. That at times can cause you some confusion.
Then in the zone, obviously any rebounds or any bobbled pucks with your player receiving the puck with his back to the opposition, they pressure right away off shots, off rebounds, off passes.
Basically it's about our execution and about getting pucks through when you have the opportunity and try to create that odd-man advantage by puck movement and shots.

Q. You have a number of guys who came to the NHL in a non-traditional manner: undrafted. Do you think they approach the game differently because their experience in getting to the NHL was different than the more normal path?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I don't know. I don't think you can call it "non-traditional" anymore. I think you have to look at it, they're playing in the best league in the world. They've earned their opportunity. They've been part of our group for a number of years.
I think that they're every bit as large a part of the NHL culture no matter where their background is. Once you're here, you eat, sleep and drink the NHL lifestyle. It's forced upon them. It's the environment all teams try to create. We take pride in being an NHL player and being associated with an NHL hockey club.
I think their route to the NHL, however different it is, once they get here, it's pretty much the same.

Q. Knowing that you have to win a road game in this series, how does a coach get his team to play with that right sense of urgency but at the same time not turn that into pressure?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I think there's a certain amount of pressure that comes and there's a certain amount of self-motivation that takes place before every game. In the playoffs it gets ramped up.
Obviously we look at it and our motto has always been: the next one is the most important one. That's no truer words spoken in our minds that every time you put the equipment on and go out to play the game, it's the most important game. In the playoffs, that's always the case. It's Game 2 of a seven-game series, possibility of a seven-game series. We have to play our best hockey game to date. We might have to play the best game we've played all year.

Q. Status of Kunitz and Pahlsson?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: There's an optional today and they were optional yesterday. Both players have the ability to choose if they want to play. We've got five other guys besides those two that didn't skate this morning. Some guys decided they would skate yesterday versus today. That's the status.

Q. How much of this series do you believe will be decided by those battles in front of the net?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: You know, I think you really can never make an assessment of how many. I know there will be lots, but I don't think that that is the only aspect of the series you have to look at.
I think you have to look at the ability to control the tempo of the game, the amount of hitting that goes in it, the forechecking styles of both hockey clubs, the puck possession, the specialty teams. Those are all things that make up. Just the one area in front of the net has obviously become a focal point because goals are so tough to get. The way the two goals were scored the other night were pucks that were directed at the net with traffic, people trying to defend it.
JAMEY HORAN: Thank you, Coach.

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