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June 1, 2007
OTTAWA, ONTARIO: Practice Day
MODERATOR: Questions for Ray.
Q. When you see a guy like J.S. Giguere playing the way he is, do you almost look at it as a challenge to play a game of one-up?
RAY EMERY: No, not really. I just worry about what I have to do and try to stay solid, make the saves I have to make. I'm not too worried about what the other guy is doing.
Q. You played a lot of good games this season in the playoffs. Where do you rate the last game for you?
RAY EMERY: Well, it's one of the five that we lost, one of the worst five.
Q. What difference can the crowd make? You're back in your building now. That's your ice, your home. Can the crowd make a difference as it did in Anaheim?
RAY EMERY: Yeah, definitely. It's just momentum gets blood pumping. I think we're comfortable playing in this rink. You take your nap in your own bed. You're just comfortable. So there's that and just the emotion of the fans.
So it's definitely - home ice advantage is what it is.
Q. Do you feel that you've grown as a goalie going through these four rounds and that you have become a better goalie because of this playoff run and in what ways?
RAY EMERY: I've been in different situations that maybe I hadn't been in before.
But I think you always want to improve. I definitely can learn from the experiences I've had in this playoff run and am trying to do that as we go along.
Q. I was just wondering if you could comment on Daniel Alfredsson and what type of a leader he is and what he means to your hockey team?
RAY EMERY: Alfy leads by example. Definitely a team guy and is responsible for us being here right now. So that's part of being a captain. But I think he's an exceptional one.
Q. Just growing, different experiences throughout this post season, what have you learned through the first two games?
RAY EMERY: I've learned about the shooters on Anaheim. But I don't know. Not a whole lot. Not a whole lot is different from the rest of the playoffs.
Q. I understand you guys had a longer team meeting this morning. What, if anything, can you share with us about the kind of things that were discussed at home, things like that?
RAY EMERY: I don't want to get in trouble.
Q. We won't tell anyone.
RAY EMERY: No, we just talked about corrections we have to make, watched a little video. And started to prepare for tomorrow.
Q. Ken Hitchcock used to say when teams get down couple games in the playoffs, they usually have to lean back on some kind of adversity earlier in the season to help them get the kind of focus and the mental energy and whatever it is else they need. What do you guys need to look back on? What is it that you can draw from that can help you in the next two games?
RAY EMERY: I think for me it's just a personal thing. As a team, I think guys deal with things differently. But I just - I think about the last game I played or mistakes I've made in previous games and try to correct them. So that's how I deal with it personally.
As a team, each guy just has to kind of do his job, and we have a good enough team that we're going to win more often than not.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
Questions for Coach.
Q. Since 1992, five teams have been swept in the Cup Final. I think you're familiar with a couple of them. I just wondered, what separates your team from those teams who get quickly forgotten?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: History. We've lived on history the whole year here in Ottawa. So we handled it to this point in time, and obviously you're supposed to learn. I believe we've got a better team than we've played for two games.
I'm not sure why - I'm not even pretending to have the answer, but I know we're a better hockey team. And we now have to prove it. And that's what we'll try to do.
There are no guarantees in this business. It's a game, and you have to take it as that and understand that some nights things go for you, and some nights they don't.
And we're hoping they fall in place as we go forward.
Q. With last change now at home, how big a factor is that and how much is there a fine line between trying to match and watching what Anaheim did in previous series? They were good at getting their guys out quickly and getting caught up in a lines in, lines out kind of game?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think we mentioned that yesterday. I think the coach of the visiting team, if he wants to, probably can get the guy out, guys out in 15, 20 seconds in that area. So we're hoping if there's an offensive zone face-off, as an example, and we could ever win a face-off, that we might have a little possession time before the change is made.
But we know full well if you want to make - get the match, you have a chance to do that, given a little bit of discipline, I guess, on their team, and they appear to have lots of it.
Q. Related to that, as a visiting coach when you try to change on the fly like Randy has done, what are the pros and cons of that? How do you avoid too many men penalties and what do you have to take into consideration?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: You try to change the forwards first, usually, depending on the circumstance, where the puck ends up, there's no question about that. But at this time of year, after playing roughly 100 some games or whatever it may be, the guys are probably in pretty good shape in doing that.
The only thing you can do is throw the puck right at their bench time after time and hopefully it hits a foot or something and the referees are quick to call a penalty. Other than that, there's - I would think the discipline of their team will allow them to do that.
And that's what we're preparing for.
Q. First an update on Chris Neil?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Update on Chris Neil? His wife is having a baby today and so I allowed him to have the day off. So update, I'm not sure emotionally how he'll feel. I'm sure he'll feel good after it happens.
Q. Some people are talking in town that maybe you guys need to change up the lineup. Is there any scenario in which you would dress Brian McGrattan in a game of this series or Game 3?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Sure, there's a scenario that could happen. Do you want me to tell you if I'm going to? I don't think I want to do that right today.
Q. For the first two games, it seems people have commented that the Ducks have physically dominated you guys. Do you guys have to do something different to overcome what they've done physically, or is it something you guys aren't doing?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I don't think they dominated us. They got good forechecks, there's no question they got some hits on the forecheck. They outpositioned us and outdefensed us. That's what they did.
They played off our mistakes. That's what they did, really well. As far as hitting, we can point out the number of hits both ways, Fisher burying the guy in the first shift the other night and all that stuff. That was mainly because of our positioning. We hope we can correct that.
Q. There was a lot of questions about Ray Emery. Do you think he's answering all those questions right now?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: He's a young goaltender. And I really think he's played real well for the most part. I think the Getzlaf goal, I would say that he might like back. Under normal circumstances, that may not have gone in. But beyond that I think he's given us a chance in both games to win. And really that's what you ask your goaltender to do.
We haven't really tested Giguere. We didn't test him in the second game, in particular. We didn't get any - well, I think we had four on five on five scoring chances. That's not really a test. We know he's a quality guy. You have to find out for yourself each game, and we haven't found that out.
Q. You alluded to this before with respect to the face-offs and Game 2 your team particularly dominated on them. Is there anything you can do to reverse that tide, particularly with Pahlsson and Getzlaf who were really strong last game?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Again, we talk about it. We deal with it in the video room a little bit. But it does come down to the center iceman at least getting a tie, then getting some help from the wings. And their forwards have done a better job supporting the centers than we have. They've jumped on loose pucks and they get a win as a result of it. There's a combination of things. But first and foremost center iceman has got to do a better job of at least getting a tie.
Q. Do you see that being an important aspect in this series?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I don't overall, but it's an important part of our game. It's why we do it. Goaltenders at times have to freeze the puck and you have to, in your own end in particular, not lose a face-off and give up a scoring chance. And we've done that on a number of occasions. And partly because of their winger is doing a real good job.
Q. Bryan, what are you seeing in Daniel Alfredsson now or not seeing in him now that you saw during the season and how much of that line's struggles or problems is due to the line that's playing against them and how much do you think is what they're not doing themselves?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think it's really a combination. I think Pahlsson's line has done a real good job. Physically they've done a good job. They've won face-offs, get puck position down low, big bodies, protect the puck in the offensive zone and take time off the clock, as we've seen in the series, where our offensive guys don't have possession.
The other part is I don't think that we're doing what we did in the previous series in that we've had so many turnovers trying to do things with the puck and their defense have been able to lay back and really not have to challenge them at the blueline. And we've had impossible passes try to be made.
So I think it's a real combination. I think our guys will play better at home. Will it offset Pahlsson's line enough? I'm not sure of that. We'll have to see when they get skating and moving the puck better.
Q. What about specifically Alfredsson, do you see anything different, anything specifically different in Alfredsson?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I don't think he's getting the puck as much. In a couple of situations the other night he tried to do far too much again. Simply because he wasn't getting plays created. So I think when Alfy gets skating the way he does and working and he starts getting the puck when he's moving, I think you'll see him back to where he was against Buffalo and the other teams.
Q. The fact that your team's faced so little adversity in the playoffs and now you do have it, do you take this team back to the beginning of this season? Do you draw upon experiences from that? Do you talk to them about things that have to remind them?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I told the media the other day that you saw Jason play like in October, and we've talked about that. And we talked about guys being able to take charge and play back to the level they have to play at. And that's what we're expecting.
And the adversity of the early part of the year, we should understand. We do understand and now we have to try and step it up as we get home and take advantage of what we can do in our own building. And that's feed off the emotion of the fans and obviously work a little harder than we did out there.
Q. When you watched your team play in the first three rounds, almost every game you dictated the style of play and the way the game was played. In this series so far they seem to be dictating the style of play and the way the game is played. How do you take that back?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Again, you hope that we understand we didn't play - we were chasing the puck. We were trying to hit home-run passes against a team that plays like Anaheim do, where they play back with their D and two forwards back all the time. You can't do that. You've got to play the way we've tried to play against New Jersey. We're more patient with the puck. We had some puck control, which we haven't had in this series, and we try to attack their defense with some speed. And we haven't done that.
We've allowed Niedermayer, Pronger or O'Donnell, whoever it may be, to be halfway back in their own zone when we flip the puck and we get no forechecking as a result. And so our attack, puck possession, our speed has to be a lot better.
Q. Is this like two fighters' styles, trying to sort of find your way through a fight?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think you have to make adjustments. I think whether it be a fight or whether it be hockey, you have to - there's a little bit of a game here. We know what they're doing now. Our guys, we told them, we showed video. But until you get on the ice sometimes and you go through it, you don't really understand all the good things they do.
And they do some real good things. So we have to now make the adjustment and hope that our guys will force them to do something a little different. And that's fighting, that's in anything. If you get hit with a right hand one time, you better duck the next time if the guy throws a right hand. We're going to try to duck.
Q. Can you talk about Mike Connelly and is he giving you the type of play that you want in the first two games of the series?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: No, he's not. There's a number of guys that aren't. Mike Comrie isn't the only one. He played much better, had a chance to score a goal the other night in a power play and he couldn't get it in the net. He's a real hawk around the offensive net. We haven't got the puck in there, so therefore he hasn't had a chance to do the things he's best at.
We hope he and four or five other forwards get back to playing the type of hockey that we saw for three rounds here, and the latter part of the year.
Q. You coached Rob Niedermayer, seeing him evolve into this type of player after the concussion and everything in Florida, have you seen him kind of elevate in the playoffs like this before?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Well, he played - I like this guy a lot. I remember when I traded for him in Anaheim, I read a few articles. They were kind of laughing at us for making the trade and taking the two million dollar contract. But Rob Niedermayer is a huge man, strong on his feet. Good skater. Very willing to do whatever the coach asks him to do.
And playoff time, that's when he's most noticed. He's not going to - we thought when we had him in Florida he was going to be a 30-, 35-goal scorer. After the concussion he became a role player and he thrives in the role he's got.
I like this guy as a person and as a player, and you have to really be happy for the type of player he's become. I wish the hell he was playing against somebody else right now, in another league or whatever. But for now he's become a good player and a very important player and that line is a key line obviously in this series.
Q. Outside of when you came against New Jersey 1-1, every time you've played in the playoffs you've been in good shape in a series. This is the first time you've been really down. Do you expect a nervous crowd, nervous city, anything like that, facing adversity at home for the first time?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I expect a great crowd, an emotional crowd. I think people believe that our guys are going to make the best effort they possibly can. That's all we'll ask of anybody. And I think as long as we're not too hyper at the beginning of the game, things will be in good order.
And we've talked about that a little bit already with the players. We'll do it again tomorrow. I expect the building is going to be alive. It's been terrific here the whole series, the whole playoff the latter part of the year, the fans have been a big push for our hockey team.
Q. Talk about being a four-line team before we get into this series and as you get in a desperate situation, do you kind of go with maybe the top guys you are going the best?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: That's the fourth line right now. They're playing as well as anybody, maybe better. No, I'm going to start tomorrow using a little more than I did in Anaheim in the second game. The fourth line, I thought they gave us hits, gave us speed. And I'm going to play them.
And I don't really care the matchup with them. I think they can play in this league against anybody. And we'll try to do that and see if it can give us some energy as well.
Q. A lot of good has come out of taking the red line out. But I think one thing people feared when it happened was that teams were going to do what it seems the Ducks are doing, and that's sitting back and guarding against a quick transition team like yours. Do you think that's something that they're exploiting at this stage of the game, and can you counter that somehow?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think that's the difference we have to make tomorrow, is that we have looked for the stretch guy quite often. They really get back with their D. They sit back very well and they've got real quality people back there. So we have to do a little different in the attack as far as I'm concerned. We're going to try, anyway.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
Questions for Chris and Daniel.
Q. Chris, can you describe the tone of that meeting this morning and what you guys went over?
CHRIS PHILLIPS: Well, not specifically. It's top-secret plays, but it was an upbeat meeting, talking about some things in the game plan that we'd like to do differently. And for the most part it was a positive meeting.
Q. Chris, do the Senators need to play tougher?
CHRIS PHILLIPS: I don't think that's a huge issue for us right now. I mean, you look at the way we came out last game. I think we were coming out on the better end of a lot of hits. And it's part of the game at this time of year to play physical.
But at the same time, this team is built around speed and skating and those are some of the things that I think we have to do a better job of.
Q. Daniel, what things do you guys need to do as a team to get to J.S. Giguere?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: Shoot the puck, to start off with. I think obviously we're not pleased with the amount of shots we're getting. I think, like Chris said, we have to use speed a little more to our advantage. I don't think we've done that. I think we've been spread out too much as a team.
And it's been easy for them to slow us down. They've been playing good. But I think we can do a better job.
Q. Chris, can you talk about the playoff Ray Emery in Anaheim? Have you seen him play much better than that since you knew him?
CHRIS PHILLIPS: He's been great for us all playoffs and especially these last two games. We certainly haven't played our best games, and he's given us a chance to win them. And you can't say enough about that.
Q. Daniel, Teemu Selanne always says they want Pahlsson to be more offensive like he is when he plays on the Swedish teams. Is that true? Is he more of an offensive player when he plays with you on the national teams?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: Teemu's Finnish.
Q. Pahlsson. They said they encouraged him to take more shots and be more offensive like when he plays on the Swedish teams, and I was wondering if that's true.
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: I would think it is. He's thrived in the defensive role in Anaheim. Done a good job of it. But definitely has offensive capabilities, there's no question.
Q. Daniel, in the first three rounds seemed like you guys always dictated the style of play. First two games, they're dictating the style of play. How do you get it back to your game?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: That was a big part of our meeting today, for us to play with the puck more. And I think coming home to our building it's going to be obviously an advantage for us.
But support the puck a lot better. We're, like I said, spread out. When we get it, we don't have a lot of options. We've got to support each other better.
Q. Daniel, can you just talk about the importance of having the last change coming back home?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: I think it's nice to have it. I don't think it's a huge deal. But it's nice to have. I think it's probably easier for the coach to answer that.
But it gives us options that they had in the first two games, especially face-offs in their end.
Q. Daniel, getting back to Sammy Pahlsson. How difficult is it to weigh - because you've played together. How difficult is it to look at him and say, wow, he's playing so well when knowing he's an opponent and knowing that you two guys are fairly close in some ways?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: I don't know that it's too hard. Right now he's not very close to me. I think he's on the other team and, like I said, I think we do a lot of things that makes life easier on them. They're playing well, but I think we can do a lot of better decisions and support each other better to give us more chance to play with the puck and create more offense.
Q. Dany, you'll love this question, but before the playoffs or before this series began John Muckler compared your leadership to that of Mark Messier, and I wondered how you feel about that comparison and whether you feel that's put an enormous amount of focus on you as the team has fallen behind 2-0 in this series?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: No, I don't think I could get more focused than I had going into the playoffs. I think throughout the playoffs I've said it's very important to stay even keel no matter if they kick you in the ass, if they give you all the accolades they can give you. I don't pay attention to it during the playoffs. You sit back after the season and you evaluate the way you play, if you're happy or not.
But right now I'm not focused what people say good or bad about me. I'm going to try to go out there and play to the best of my capabilities.
Q. Daniel, on the way to the rink today as the captain, what are you thinking to yourself as you come in here in terms of what you're going to say to the team and how do you get these guys relaxed? Can you kind of give us some insight into how the captain prepares for this?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: I think we've been through three rounds. There's always adversities through every series. And our approach now is Game 3. And that's the biggest game of the year for us. We've gotta go out there. Everybody has got to go out there and play their best. And don't look too far ahead, don't look at what's happening in the previous rounds or games. We just gotta go out there give it our best tomorrow.
Q. Daniel, what is it about this team that makes you believe that this team will respond tomorrow? I know the Senators, maybe it's not fair to bring in past playoff history and things that haven't gone as well as you wanted in the past, but what in your mind makes you think this team will respond, this can be different this time?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: I think for starters we haven't played as good as we wanted the first two games. We've been within dying minutes in the third period and had our chance to win them. So we know we can play better. It's not like we're giving them our best and we don't have a chance.
We feel we can be a lot better, and I feel playing at home is going to bring that out of us. And we fought a lot of adversity throughout the year. And I think the way we responded makes me comfortable going into tomorrow.
Q. Chris, on what Daniel just said, there's a lot of talk about how the Ducks have been the dominant team for two games, yet they're two one-goal games. How do you keep perspective on the fact that the games were actually pretty close until the end?
CHRIS PHILLIPS: Yeah, when you're searching for some positives to take into Game 3, I think that's an area where we can definitely do that, that we feel where we know we didn't play our best and we're right there and maybe had a chance to win both games. So that makes the team feel a little bit better. But in saying that, we know they're not going to roll over and let us have anything.
We're going to have to bring our best game in order to get over that hump.
Q. Chris, can you just talk about tomorrow, how important will the mental aspect individually and collectively as the team be going into the game tomorrow? Is that something that could end up being the difference-maker?
CHRIS PHILLIPS: No question. I think as you get to this time of year, it becomes more and more mental all the time. And I guess that's up to a little bit the leadership and mostly to each guy to get themselves ready to play their best game.
If we do that, things are going to work better for us. We're going to come together better as a team if we all concentrate on what our own jobs are and bring that intensity and emotion of the home ice, the home crowd along with that.
Q. A lot of good things have been said about you guys. I'll ask a question to Daniel. During the previous three series one of the best being from Martin Brodeur who said you were so dominant, it was just impossible to get in your head. Could you say now that the Ducks got into your head?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: No. I don't feel so. Like I said, we feel we made life too easy on them the way we've played. And we've seen clips where we've been out of character, too, with the way we've played this spring.
And I think that's the way we felt good about the meeting we had and the adjustments we're going to make, we feel good about going into tomorrow.
Questions for Jason.
Q. Does this team need to play more physical in Game 3?
JASON SPEZZA: I think we've done a good job being physical. I think we just have to play with a little more confidence with the puck. And obviously coming home I'm sure we'll have a little bit more jump and probably a little bit more physical. You tend to be at home a lot of times anyways.
Q. What kind of captain is Daniel Alfredsson? In a situation like today or maybe tomorrow before the game would he be vocal? Would he be loud? Would he be subtle? How do you think he would handle this pressure situation that you guys are going to be facing?
JASON SPEZZA: Alfy usually leads by his actions more than his words. I think we had a little chat after the last game. Alfy spoke a little bit just about needing to play with a little more confidence and turn this around a little bit.
But I'm sure his play will probably be more than any words can do. And he usually leads by example.
Q. Where would you say that Ray's performance ranks from what you've seen so far from Game 2?
JASON SPEZZA: Pretty damn good. He gave us a chance to win that hockey game. He was real good for us, especially early on. And continued to make big saves and the only goal they got was a great shot through the D's leg off the post and in.
So we feel if you can give us an effort like that, which he's given all playoffs, it gives us a great opportunity to win most nights.
Q. When you guys got off the plane yesterday and there was 500 people waiting for you and another couple hundred people at the rink in the middle of a series, what does that do for you guys as players?
JASON SPEZZA: It just shows the commitment of the people here. They believe in us. That we don't think we're out of this. We're only down two games and they're both on the road.
And they've done their job by winning their home games. Now we have to do our job. And just the support in the community is phenomenal. We can't speak enough for the way people have rallied behind us and it definitely makes it exciting to play.
Q. Against Jersey you played well against Madden and Pandolfo. Why is it so hard to play against the Pahlsson line?
JASON SPEZZA: They're doing a good job of neutralizing us right now. You have to give them a lot of credit because they're doing a lot of things. But we're not playing as well as we can. We're not holding onto the puck as much, and we're not making plays that we were making earlier on. It comes with confidence knowing that we are going to make mistakes, make sure we make them in the right areas of the game. They're doing a good job neutralizing us, but we're also not playing our best.
Q. Is that just a matter of you guys trying to do too much? Because this is something that you've probably been thinking about for a very long time, and now that you're here you probably want to make a huge play every time you have the puck, that sort of thing?
JASON SPEZZA: Well, the first night we probably tried to do too much. Second night we tried to do too little and get the puck in every time and we couldn't establish a forecheck. We talked about - we had already addressed that a little bit.
Tomorrow everyone is going to be so excited we want to get ourselves back in this series. But we have to make sure we control our emotions and stick to our game plan. And if we stick to our plan, that's what's got us this far and we can't let the emotions get to us tomorrow night.
Q. How much more physical are they than the three Eastern Conference teams you beat on the way to the series?
JASON SPEZZA: Well, they're definitely more physical than Jersey or Buffalo. I think they're pretty much on par. Pittsburgh series was a real physical series for us.
They have guys like Roberts and Ruutu running around, and we're used to that. And they step up maybe a little bit more, control their gap better than any team we've played against.
But I think physically-wise, it's comparable to the first round for us. It was a pretty physical series.
Q. So much has been made about their checking line, defensemen getting last change. How important is it coming home?
JASON SPEZZA: It's going to help, but if they want to get their matchup, I'm sure they'll be able to get their matchup. And their big guys play 30 minutes a night on the back end anyways. That's where little things become important. We'll probably have shorter shifts, try to get out there a little more frequently. Home ice advantage does help a little bit. So we'll definitely use it to our advantage.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
End of FastScripts