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May 29, 2007
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA: Practice Day
Q. Chris, two-part question. First off, your penalty killing was so good in the first two rounds and numbers are dramatically different against Detroit and Ottawa. Is that just a credit to the opponent or what is going on with your penalty killing? And then I'll have a follow-up.
CHRIS PRONGER: I think as you continue to move on in the playoffs you're obviously playing better and better teams. You look at Detroit's power play, it was very effective throughout the playoffs in the regular season as was Ottawa's. You have teams like that, an opportunity time and time again on a power play, they'll be able to put the puck into the net.
You look at their two goals last night. We got a few bad breaks on some power plays against, and similar in the Detroit series, early goals in that series, bad bounces that happened to go in the net.
When you give teams, as I said, that many chances, they're bound to put the puck in the net.
Q. How can you guys be better killing penalties three-on-five than you are four-on-five?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, we've got a good goalie. That's half the battle. You have to rely on him to make some saves and control the rebounds and he's done an excellent job of both.
And, you know, really limit kind of - limit where they're getting their chances from. Allow them not to go through the box and diagonals for one-timers and things of that nature.
And really just allow Giggy to square up to the puck and he'll make the save and we've got to clear the rebounds.
Q. For either one or both, the style of play that the team likes to play, that you like to play is kind of on the edge physically. Why is it so difficult to stay on that edge and not go over it and - you know, kind of undisciplined penalties that have been taken. I'm not specifically talking about the penalties you guys had last night, but the team has taken a lot - okay, let me talk about yours (laughter). How fine is the edge and why is the team unable to respond when we're always talking about the number of penalties the Ducks take?
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: You got that part right. I've been hearing a lot about that. There's always things you're going to improve. There will be faults you can find in any team's game. Some of the penalties we took last night were really not from being aggressive. They were bad decisions, bad mistakes with your stick or sort of reacting to what the other team is doing. You can't afford to do that in the playoffs.
I don't look at those two things as being sort of intertwined together. I think we continue to be aggressive with our forecheck, aggressive with our play physically and try not to take those penalties that don't need to be taken.
Maybe we do take one with a hard hit that maybe the ref deems an elbow or a boarding or whatever. But the ones I think we can prevent don't have any correlation with our style.
CHRIS PRONGER: Ditto (laughter).
Q. For either or both of you, Randy just said that he feels, and Travis, Sammy and Robbie, that he's got a checking line that can match up against any line in the league, and that he would shudder to think where you guys would be without them and their contributions. Do you guys at all concur in that regard?
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: Well, there's definitely a lot of talented offensive players in this league. And you need to have - at least try to have an answer to play against them, to try to slow them down. When you have a group of players that's committed to do that, it helps your team win.
There's two ends of the rink obviously that are both equally important. And to have success you have to do both well and they're a line that's committed to trying to slow down those offensive players and it's a tough job.
Like I said, there's some good offensive players in this league and some great ones on the Ottawa Senators.
Q. Chris, '93 draft, given that you're playing, were you pissed off that they didn't pick you? Were you thinking to yourself, What the hell were they thinking not picking me? A lot of time has gone by now.
CHRIS PRONGER: No. I knew they weren't going to take me.
Q. Did it offend you?
CHRIS PRONGER: No. I think pretty much the whole year everybody knew who was going number one and the rest of us were jockeying for position two through seven or eight.
Q. Chris, tell us playing against that Spezza line and what you and Scott were able to do, and the fact that you two got paired together throughout most of it, was that an in-game decision or was that something that was thought of early on?
CHRIS PRONGER: No, they talked to us right before the game that they might go to that pairing and really it wasn't - I don't think there was too much talk beforehand between me and Scotty. Really with that line you gotta take away the time and space and not allow them to have free reign not only in the offensive zone but through the neutral zone with their speed and their play-making abilities.
Q. Chris, just curious about the NHL's move in the last year or so to, like celebrities, bring big names to the hockey games, get the product out there, try to create a buzz? What do you think of that effort and do you think it's an important thing to do?
CHRIS PRONGER: It certainly creates a buzz around hockey, around the Final and a lot of our games throughout the course of the season. And it helps playing in Southern California where a lot of them live and they're able to get to the games. You'd be surprised how many of them are actually fans of the game that sometimes don't get an opportunity to come to too many games, but when they get an invitation they want to take advantage of it. Especially now in the Finals they can come out in droves and try to help promote the game for us as well.
Q. Just wondered if I could get a comment from each of you on Beauchemin and what he brings to your team and what type of a player you think he is.
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, he's been fantastic for us all year long. I'm sure Scotty can talk to how he played last year. But him and Scotty have been paired all year long and they've been our go-to paring. They have the physical element out there for us and keeps players certainly aware to keep their heads up.
And has an offensive side to him. He's got a great shot and certainly when called upon can fight, play with that physical edge. And since he's come to Anaheim last year he's certainly proving to everybody in the league why he's here and why he's the type of player he is.
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: When we traded for him last year, I really didn't know a lot about him and ended up I think being partnered with him pretty much off the bat. We really sort of hit it off quickly.
I think with the styles that we sort of play, it was a good fit, and I was just impressed. He's got good skills. He's got a good shot, good skater. Likes to take the body, like Chris said. He's dropped his gloves a few times. He really does everything very well.
And I guess in a sense probably was a bit surprised when you can trade for a guy you haven't heard of, all of a sudden he's out there doing everything that he did for our team since he's been here. He's been a big part of our team having success, that's for sure.
Q. When you play together like you did last night five-on-five, do you have to change each of your games a little bit because of the guy that you're playing with and the differences that might occur from other guys you might play with, just the skill level for each?
CHRIS PRONGER: I don't think so. I think both of us need to play the way we play. And hopefully that fits seamlessly with one another.
I play very similar to Beauchemin, so it's probably not much of a difference for Scotty. I can't really worry about what he's doing on the ice and he can't worry about what I'm doing on the ice. We kind of need to work together to make sure we're doing all the little things, you shut down their big line or get up on the attack, try to create some offense ourselves.
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: It's not, I don't think, a real big adjustment. When you're out there, you're really concerned about trying to do your job and if the other guy's doing the same thing, you know what he's going to do. Obviously there is some differences as far as finding out preferences and little things like that.
But Chris and I have been on the power play. We move the puck around a little bit, a lot, all year. So it didn't feel like a big adjustment.
Q. In the sense you knew you were going to get physical, but was it a case in making sure - you provided a great example just how physical this team can be and set the tone in Game 1 in the same breath. What do you expect from the sense in Game 2?
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: I think it's an important part of our game in the forecheck, getting in there and initiating contact and trying to get the puck and play down there. I'm sure most of the teams are trying to do that. That's something we try to do, forwards do a good job of that when they're on their game.
And as far as how Ottawa is going to come out, you always expect the best from your opponent, no matter what the situation is. You expect that they're going to come out, be at the top of their game. I would expect that from them. They're a great hockey club, playing very well.
CHRIS PRONGER: Yes, I would expect they would come out the same way they came out in Game 1. Playing hard, skating very well. Being physical. I think they'll obviously try to match that intensity.
Q. When Randy decided to in the playoffs to sit J.S. because of his family concerns and situation, could you tell that he was upset about that decision on your drives into the games and practices in that first round?
CHRIS PRONGER: No, I think he understood the decision. He hadn't practiced a whole lot. He wasn't around the team much. He was dealing with his family issues. We all understood that and supported him. We wanted to make sure he knew we were there if he needed us. And it's tough going through situations like that, and feel for the guy.
And it's difficult when you've been a starter and come to playoff time, it's what you play for all year, and you don't have the opportunity to play. But he had other things going on in his life that he had to take care of first.
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: I thought he handled it considering everything he had on his plate. I didn't notice anything.
Q. Chris, would you talk a little bit about the Getzlaf, Penner and Perry, particularly here in the playoffs?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, they've been a great line for us all year long. They've given us a 1-2 punch with Andy and Teemu's line. And at times during the playoffs our best line. And they're moving the puck well and cycling the puck, banging it around the front of the net. Tough line to match up with. They have the size and like to work the corners and the front of the net.
As I said, they're a tough line or tough trio to really match up against the three guys down low on the opposition.
Q. Scott, back to Francois Beauchemin for a minute. You talked about the surprise when he first came over. He was considered a throw-in on that deal. Do you take any credit at all about making a partner you're with a little bit better and maybe a little credit with his emergence?
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: I don't know. When we traded for him - I'm an older player. I sort of lost a little bit of contact with the young guys that were out there and different things like that. I didn't know a lot about him.
Did I help him out a little bit? Maybe a bit. You have to ask him that, I guess, more than me. Right when he got here we hit it off and really there was not big adjustments. I enjoyed playing with him really right from the start. So it's not like it took a couple months to figure it out. I guess that's more of a question for him.
Q. Robbie's game, what makes him successful? Working on the boards, playing physical against guys? Does that get at all underappreciated during the regular season and does it carry more value in the playoffs?
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: I think more of the game and the playoffs is played in those type of areas. Everybody has got their intensity cranked up and the battles along the boards and in front of the net, there's more of them. They become tougher. And he's, along with that whole line, not afraid to get in there and engage in those battles. That's a big part of playoff hockey.
It's tough out there. We're playing hard. The other team is playing extremely hard, and you have to be willing to do that to try and have success.
Q. Speaking of your drive into the game, at the start of the broadcast last night they were talking about how you guys car pool together. Does that create a bond? Is it hockey talk or do you guys get away from the sport?
CHRIS PRONGER: I try to engage all the guys in the car, and usually I'm talking to myself (Laughter).
No, there's some good talk. Sometimes we're talking about stuff that's on the radio, stuff that's going on, things around the league. Sometimes it's just quiet in the car and we're just driving, just enjoying the Southern California traffic (laughter).
Q. You talked about how you took some bad penalties last night. Is that where you take your experience from your past Cups and talk to the guys, saying you can't do that? Or how do you address that, being the veteran?
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: I guess try to be a good example, which maybe I wasn't (laughter). We know. I mean, I'm not going to tell anybody something they don't know as far as if that was a good or bad penalty. It was just one thing that we could be better at. And I guess that's a good sign that you can always try and improve and play a better game or be more effective with what you're doing on the ice.
Q. How do you use, then, your experience, your past, to help the young guys along, then? What is it? In the locker room? Is it on the ice?
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: I think it's more how you handle the situations. Obviously if you're continuing to get penalties, you know, the most important thing is you maintain your focus, you get out there, do your best on the penalty kill and you deal with the situation that you dealt with.
There's no time there to start the complaining or to point fingers or do different things like that. You just have to deal with the situation and go out and do your best with what you're dealt with, whether it's five-on-three, five-on-four, and really deal with that at that time. If that's what everybody is doing, that's giving yourself your best chance.
FRANK BROWN: Thank you, gentlemen.
End of FastScripts