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June 2, 2007

Randy Carlyle


JAMEY HORAN: Questions for Coach.

Q. Randy, any update on Chris Kunitz and his ability for tonight or beyond?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Earth-breaking news, gentlemen. All of our players are available for tonight. So read into it. All our players are available for tonight (smiling).

Q. To become more clear, then -
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: All our players are available tonight.

Q. Will Chris Kunitz be in the lineup this evening?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: We'll have to make a coach's decision on whether Chris Kunitz will play. He's been cleared by the doctors. All our players are available to play.

Q. Just want to clear that up -
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: All our players are available to play.

Q. Talk a bit maybe about Sean O'Donnell, seems to be the defenseman that nobody talks about, they always talk about the big three, but how valuable has he been to your team?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Again, with O'D, big, strong, defensive defenseman. A lot of the success and the strong play by our back end has been a tribute to the guys that play big minutes. And he's one of them.
He kind of goes under the radar when you have the likes of a Pronger and a Niedermayer and the emergence of Beauchemin, players like O'Donnell, the Huskins kid, DiPenta and Jackman, all fly under the radar when you have what people would surmise as our big three. And he's been a complement to our team toughness. Strong defensive play and a great teammate.

Q. What can you say about the way Samuel Pahlsson has been contributing to the team during the playoff?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I guess from our standpoint, Sammy has come and emerged as a force from the defensive side of it. He's been a strong checking center for us.
He's played a lot of the tough minutes from the standpoint of penalty killing and strong defensive situations, five-on-threes, checking up against the top offensive players on the teams that we've faced.
And, again, the playoffs are about people coming outside of the norm and Samuel Pahlsson, Moen, Niedermayer group has stepped out of that.
We felt that they were a very precious commodity right from the beginning of the year for our group. And, again, so as we've stated before, the playoffs allow people to separate themselves, and at this point these players have been able to play to a higher level.
The thing is that we're going to have to continue to play to a higher level, because as these games go forward, this one's the most important one. We will have to play the best game that we've played so far this year to date. We know that the Ottawa Senators are going to give us everything they've got, and we have to be prepared to respond. They're a very good hockey club. And they earned their opportunity to be here.

Q. Having established that Chris Kunitz could play this evening, what hesitation would there be to putting him back in? Is it one of conditioning or what?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: You have to make the assessment that the player has been out for a certain number of days. How much time has he had to actually heal, which is what the doctor determines when they clear the individual. And the last question we asked the doctor is that if this was your son, would you allow him to play?
And the answer, obviously, was yes. And the second part of it would be the conditioning aspect, but we felt that he's worked extremely hard off the ice.
But this is game conditions we're stepping into. This is not the first game of the season. This isn't mid-season. This is the Stanley Cup Final. The building will be very, very warm. It will be a raucous type of atmosphere. The body can get drained not only physically but mentally in a hurry, especially when you haven't had the opportunity to have a strong foundation of aerobic skates and hard practices and whatnot. But he's worked extremely hard off the ice.
It's a decision we'll have to make as a coaching staff if we feel that he is going to provide us the best option at that position.

Q. If he does play, what does he bring to your club? What does he add?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: He's been a top line left winger for our group with the Selanne/McDonald group, and he's played a lot of minutes on that group and he's played a lot of minutes with the power play.
He's the type of individual that has played more of the dirty work, as you would call it. He's been first on the forecheck a lot times and he's a banger. He will take the body. He has an excellent shot. I don't know how good the shot will be coming off a hand injury. But those are all things that are his strengths and he's a character individual. He plays hard for his teammates and they respect his work ethic.

Q. If Chris goes in, does he automatically go on back with that top line or do you spot him?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Nothing is automatic in coaching. We'll make a decision where he fits in, if we make that call that he's going to play. It's always difficult when you're in the situation that you're going to put the individual in a position that he can't possibly have success in. And that's a great concern for the coaching staff.
JAMEY HORAN: Thank you, Coach.

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