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May 29, 2007
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA: Practice Day
FRANK BROWN: Questions.
Q. Coach, I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about Drew Miller, about his game and the process that ended up with him playing a bigger role in Game 1 here?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think that we didn't hide the fact that we had confidence in the player before. And thought it might have been smoke and mirrors, but in fact it was the truth. We felt that the young player had done an excellent job in his first year in the American Hockey League. First and foremost he was a safe and responsible player.
The second point being that he has the ability to get around the rink. He can skate. And those two things were at the forefront of the thought process of putting a guy in. Obviously, it's a difficult situation to put an untested rookie into the Stanley Cup Finals, but we felt we could match him up with a skating group of Selanne and McDonald, and that he was responsible enough. That was the best option we had for that game.
Q. Two parts. What was your relationship like with Teemu in his rookie year? And the second one, is there any sense inasmuch as they want to win it for themselves, there's a bit of they want to win it for Teemu too?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: The relationship I had with Selanne probably was one that - he would describe it that he wasn't my best friend. I was kind of hard on all the rookies and he was a rookie, and I felt that there was a certain way that those players had to make their mark. They had to earn it. And it was awfully difficult to implement that veteran domination to some degree. John Paddock controlled that. And he said the game had changed and they weren't allowed - in the old days they used to have to carry the bag and they were the last ones or the first ones to let the veteran players pick the seats on the airplanes and whatnot.
But when a guy scores 76 goals, it's kind of hard for you to implement those things when he's having that type of success. I was hard on him from the standpoint that I didn't think he practiced as hard as he should, simple as that. I told him on numerous occasions. He didn't like it. But I still told him.
Q. Slowed him down evidently?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Had a major impact on him (laughter).
Q. And the reaction?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: The reaction in the locker room for Teemu, obviously there's a history with the individual playing the number of years that he has, the success he's had scoring goals, the commitment he's made to our group, revitalizing his career back with our hockey club, all those things are huge positives.
And it is an element. It's not something that we talk about. But I know it's there.
Q. Randy, it's been described you did well last night, but given the video you've seen of the Senators and the playoffs, can you imagine them coming out any flatter than they did, what you expect from them in Game 2?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think, again, they'll play a much more, I guess, structure to their system in the sense of they feel that they turned the puck over way too many times. They didn't cycle the puck enough.
They did some things uncharacteristic of the previous three series that they played against. And when we look at them, they're an excellent hockey club. We respect that opposition immensely.
We think that we had something to do with that obviously. But we know that we're going to have to play a better game than we played last night to have success, because I know in our minds they will come a lot harder and they will be a lot better.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about Getzlaf, Penner and Perry, what each brings to the table?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, people described the game last night with Getzlaf, and I asked him if his dad was in town because he was the First Star and he was picking him (laughter). Because I thought he was a nonfactor in the game only on the negative side for the first probably half of the hockey game. Because I didn't think he was moving his feet.
And I thought he turned the puck over and he wasn't strong enough in some areas. And he took a horrendous penalty. But in reviewing the game, he was better than I thought. But he still had lots of area for improvement.
But the type of goal that he scored only certain types of players can score those goals. And he's one of them. So I forgave him (laughter).
As far as Perry and Penner, I thought those two players, again, acquitted themselves strong along the wall. They're hard men to control. When they're effective, they're controlling the puck in deep, in the corners, in behind the net. We think they have the ability to control and force teams into making defensive miscues or wearing people down. And that's part of the grinding that we have to play to have success.
Q. Back to Getzlaf, to what extent are we watching the emergence of a first-rate, big-time player in these playoffs?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think with Getzlaf - we've made the statement numerous times - we think he can be as good as he wants to be. Now it's up to us to continue to monitor, to coddle, to kick, whatever word you want to describe, everything that at one point or another fits the description, because I think sometimes we can be too hard.
Because as coaches we always coach the negatives, and that's - at times we gotta shake yourself and say, hey. And I think that's what we did last night with him. Yes, he wasn't as good as I thought he could be. But when he goes out, scores the tying goal with that type of move, you have to give credit where credit's due. And he was better than I thought he was in the hockey game.
He is a young player that has the ability to do things that other players can only wish they can do. He's a big man. He can be physical. And he's tough. Right now he's emerging as a player that wants more, and that's a great sign.
Q. Randy, with the elite defenseman like Pronger and Niedermayer, what does that leave for a guy like Beauchemin, what do you expect of him when you rely so heavily on two other guys?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I think that you look at them doing an analysis of the minutes. I think Beauchemin plays more minutes than those two at times. And that's a tribute to him.
To say that we would have thought that he would be the type of player he is, I would be incorrect. Yeah, we thought he would be a good defenseman, but he's turned out to be a player that you can rely on for the tough minutes. He'll do whatever you ask of him as far as the defensive side of it.
He has an offensive side of it, but he doesn't get to use it as much with having Pronger and Niedermayer. He scored some big goals for this hockey club, and he will fight. He's a tough kid.
The one thing you have to do with him at times is temper him because he gets too wound up. I'd rather have to temper it than instill it in someone.
Q. Randy, your penalty killing numbers have been dramatically different since the first two rounds. Is that credit to Detroit and Ottawa or is there something else at work here with your penalty killing?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: It's an area that we have to improve on for sure. There's some things that they were able to do. Like last night the first goal was - it's a goal but it's not a true, traditional power play goal where it goes off the guy's shoulder, it's in the air.
We actually had an opportunity to clear the puck. I think O'Donnell took a swipe at it with his stick versus using his hand if he bats it. Those are all things. And then the other one, we had an opportunity to get it down the ice. And the one thing we have to limit is - the concern for me is the ability for teams to move the puck through our box or through our defensive system. And we think that's a huge area of concern at this point for us. Obviously specialty teams will continue to play a major role in the success or failure into the playoffs. And it's an area of concern for our hockey club.
Q. Some coaching decisions in this playoffs, you kind of stuck your neck out using Motzko and Carter in the last series, using Miller where he's being used in this series, pulling the goalie as early as you did in the one game in Detroit, are those just things that -
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Personnel moves are things that are thought through from the group. You know, I think we've always made the statement that - and we'd like to continue to live the life of - if a player earns an opportunity, then he's given it and there's no free pass here.
And that's exactly what we thought with these young players when we put them in the situations. The reason Miller didn't play against Detroit is because in my mind he was from Detroit and it would be too much. That's the simple factor. We felt we needed the size of Carter down the middle. And I thought it was an issue. Motzko is somewhat of more of an offensive threat. That's why we used those two players in the Detroit series, and now with the Miller kid, we felt it would be easier from his start at home, manage his minutes at home, give him an opportunity to skate with some of our premiere players.
And those are decisions that are made within the group. As far as pulling the goalie and that stuff, those things are all just kind of gut things that you go with when you're on the bench. What happens with it, if you do score, it looks good. If you don't score, you look like a dummy.
Q. Would it be overstated to say you're almost willing to lose a game in terms of being physical and having that edge and maybe taking some penalties if it kills the will of some players as you go deeper in the series?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I don't think we ever want to be in a position where we're willing to lose a hockey game. This is all about winning. We do everything we can to give ourselves the best chance to win. I think every coach could never go into a game saying we'd be willing to lose a hockey game from any aspect of it.
Q. Can you talk about the decision to put Moen, Pahlsson and Niedermayer together at the start of training camp and then the process of the season? And then have they kind of taken on the lead role in this, not only last night but the entire post-season?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, we had Pahlsson and Niedermayer together last year for the better part of the year. We made it a conscious effort to try to develop a checking line. And I think that's one of the staples of our style or my style of coaching and our understanding of how the teams are going to have to play up against us.
We take a huge comfort in the feeling that we have a line that can play against any line in the league. And it's not easily developed. It's not something that you just go and say, well, that's the group. There's a lot of things that go into it.
At the end of last year, at the trade deadline, we had acquired Jeff Friesen from I think it Washington and he was inserted there. We have actually tried Friesen with McDonald and Selanne and tried to give him an opportunity. When I asked him where he would like to play, he said he would like to play with Pahlsson and Niedermayer because he knew he would get lots of minutes. That was really the start of that. Moen didn't play all the games in the playoffs, but did come in. We felt that would be the perfect fit there.
And we were lucky enough that the three guys have molded together. And they're a strong group. They're big men. They understand their responsibility to our team, and as I said before, we shudder to think where we would be without them.
Q. Randy, when you have a team that's first in penalties in the regular season, now in the playoffs you're high up again, is it almost too late to try to instill discipline or can you still preach that to your guys?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I've talked about the discipline factor. I've been asked that question so many times that you think I've never talked to the players about it. And it's like your kids at home, I guess. Sometimes there's a thousand different ways to tell them, but it's a lot easier to say it than to live it.
And the game in a lot of situations, some of the penalties, like we talked about the Jackman penalty today, that's it. That's an unacceptable penalty. The Getzlaf penalty, it's unacceptable. Beauchemin tripping penalty, those are unacceptable.
There's other penalties that you take in defending your net position and whatnot that you would consider good penalties or acceptable.
We think that we have to play the game to a certain level. But those things are - we're not making excuses for those. Did we take too many penalties? Yes, we do take too many penalties and it taxes people in certain situations.
We want to limit the number of penalties. Simple as that. Sometimes it's easier said than done.
Q. Can you go over your reasons for keeping J.S. out at the beginning of the playoffs, and had he really not faltered in that Game 4 would he still be in there or were you planning on bringing Giguere back at a certain time?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: The issue with starting Bryzgalov in the playoffs was totally a family issue with Giguere and his child. What happened was was Bryzgalov won the first three games. And then I'm dumb, but not that dumb. I didn't think I could put myself or the team in a position to put the other guy in until he faltered. And Giguere would have gotten the net at some point. Because he stole the net probably in the last half of the season, he would be - earned the opportunity to be our go-to guy.
It just so happened in the one playoff series, with the issues with the family matters and the health issues with his son, you had to make a decision and it wasn't one that went over favorably with personnel that we're discussing.
But I had to make that decision and I think from our standpoint, was it right or wrong? It was effective. And that's all we're here to do is we have to win and this game is all about winning. And at times there's other issues that become bigger and they are larger than the game on the side and that was an issue with him with his son's health.
Q. You talk about a player, you kind of compromise your feelings with Selanne in practice and how Getzlaf you have to think it through, how you bring him along. Are you anywhere near the coach that you thought you would be back when you were in the Winnipeg blueline?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I never thought I would be a coach.
Q. Do those years - because the game changed so much that those years, you can't be that same guy anymore?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think parts of it you can be. I think there's things that you take from all the decisions you've made when you're in your youth. I think that we all learn from our experiences and I think the quicker that you can learn and the more that you can apply the positives, ones that work for you, and eliminate the negatives, that you're a better person, not just a better coach.
We're all in a learning curve here. I think life is all about learning. You can't never think you know it all. And there's always things to learn in this coaching pro sports. It changes daily. And it changes with the personnel of your team.
And the huge aspect of my job and with our group is the ability of the players to go out and perform day in, day out. And I have a lot of no-maintenance players, and that's huge that I don't have to spend a lot of time. We talk about certain individuals. But I don't spend a heck of a lot of time in the dressing room.
I think that's the players' area. They earned that opportunity, and that's one of the things I didn't want as a player. I didn't want our coach always in the dressing room because it's the players' area. So I don't go into the dressing room very often. I go in, deliver whatever I have to do, and come out.
FRANK BROWN: Thanks, Coach.
End of FastScripts