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June 4, 2007
OTTAWA, ONTARIO: Game Four
PHIL LEGAULT: Questions for Coach.
Q. I just wonder, I understand Dean McAmmond is skating. Will he play?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I don't know. I just talked to him briefly. He's taking a light skate. See how he feels afterwards. Obviously, we have to talk to the doctors before we let him play, but he's trying. He'd like to play. But in talking to him, he's certainly not 100% at this moment.
Q. Is it mental right now with Dany Heatley?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: He's very physical. If he gets his legs going a little better and does a few things with the puck, things will happen for him. He had kind of a similar start to another series and then got going pretty well. Dany is one of the people that the line plays well. He'll play real well. And we've got to get Spezza getting him the puck more and Alfy getting back to his game.
Q. If Dean can't go tonight, who would probably replace him?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Probably Pat Eaves. I don't have a center to put in. I'm not sure how it will work that way. But more than likely, Patty.
Q. Was the penalty against Pronger long enough or should he stay out as long as McAmmond stays out?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I don't think that's what they do in the Stanley Cup Final. I always feel as a coach I thought as a follow-up to what happened in the Detroit series and history, he might have got at least an additional game. But it didn't happen. And that's the way it is. That's the rule, and I don't know that it always has to be because of the injury involved. Beyond that, we just accept what the league awarded him.
Q. On the Spezza and Heatley line, do you find that maybe they're cheating to kind of get back into the offensive flow of things, and if they were more mindful on the defensive end, that could lead to turning the offense around?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: They weren't very good in Anaheim in one good defensively. But I thought the other night, they did an adequate job without the puck. Just, we have to give the other team credit sometimes. You have good players, and we think we can put a line out against their good players and shut them down for a big part of the game.
And I give a lot of credit to the Anaheim players. They've done a good job against that group and not allowed them to have the puck as often as they might want.
And you hope that they find or figure a way out to make more happen.
Q. Is McAmmond a game-time decision, might you know before then what the doctors might say that he can't play?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: They might say he can't play after the skate. They probably won't say he can play until game-time. I think we'll wait. We'll talk to the trainers after - he was on the bike for a few minutes, then he tried to skate. But I want Dr. Chow, whoever works with him in that area, to give me the green light. I will not put the player in if there's any chance of him hurting himself again.
Q. Could Anaheim be a more dangerous opponent without Pronger, just because they want to prove they can win without him as they did in Detroit?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think they're very dangerous with him physically, without a doubt. No, I don't think you can be. I think when you lose a top player, it does have an effect on your team.
I think people rally around other circumstances, and it doesn't mean that they'll play that much lesser. But it would be dumb of me to say that Chris Pronger is not a big part of their hockey team because he is.
Q. What did you make of Brian Burke's beliefs that Chris Neil had the most dangerous hit in that game, and secondly, if you put Eaves in, does that mean you have to change the line around?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: First of all, Brian gave you a great job of giving you guys the story. He did a terrific job of camouflaging really what was the real point. Chris Neil, everybody I'm sure has looked at the hit now. Andy spun; he got hit in the helmet with a forearm.
I've got two other incidents with Pronger hitting to the head. Corey Perry never hits anybody without going to the head. So there's lots of stories in this, and we can point out, but Brian did a job. He sold lots of papers for you, gave you an easy afternoon on Sunday, which you had to have. And that's good.
Lines, we would probably have to double shift Fisher and Spezza and people like that to make our fourth line and Patty or whoever plays in that spot would be kind of a spot guy. He's a responsible player, and I would try very hard to give him some ice time. But I don't know what I would do at the moment.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about facing Anaheim without Chris Pronger tonight? Is there anything you can do with that situation and did you watch Detroit Game 4 where they had the opportunity and failed to take advantage?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I watched that game. I think teams - we had the whole history of it right here in Ottawa when we lost Spezza, Fisher, and Vermette at the start of the year, the start of December, latter part of November.
Everybody dug in, played responsible, and we survived. We know that there are star players in this league that are important to their team. But you can play without them; short term, in particular.
So they'll play hard. We know that. They'll be very responsible. They'll be physical. They're not going to change their game.
Our opportunity is to play like we did the other night. Get the puck in, work hard down low. Hopefully, get some traffic at the net and find a way to get some bounces around the crease that might go in for us.
And our game will not change.
Q. When you talked to the players yesterday, and we just met Chris Neil a few minutes ago, there's a huge difference in atmosphere and self-confidence level. That's the feeling I have at least. Does victory, one victory make such a difference?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think after we played the way we did out in Anaheim, I think the guys are very, very disappointed in their efforts.
For whatever reason, we didn't have any legs. We didn't play with the puck. Maybe we hadn't seen them and we thought we showed them lots of clips and all that. But we didn't show up. We didn't really play.
I think after you play better - and we didn't play a great, great game the other night, but we played better. I think the guys now understand what they have to do, and they felt pretty good about themselves. Yeah, I think coming home and winning a game and getting somewhat back to the way we had been playing gives us a big boost.
And talking to a number of the players this morning and having our meeting yesterday, I felt they all left the room knowing, if we worked that hard and played well like we can, we can do it again.
And so, yeah, I think there is a big difference in the atmosphere right now versus going into the game on Saturday.
Q. The GMs are meeting at the hotel over there. And they're going to be talking about head shots. What do you think they should be considering? Do you have any idea of what would be a good way to deal with this?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think the only thing - I think we still have to understand the difference in size of our players. So a hit, a body check, a hit with a shoulder that happens to hit a guy high in the head area, we have to understand. And that's part of our game. But I think when you have an elbow, a punch, something that really puts a guy in jeopardy, I think we have to address that. And the player in all likelihood should be eliminated from the game immediately. And then whatever the league decides to do afterwards, I don't know.
I really think we're playing with real dangerous areas here when we allow the types of hits that we've seen, not just the one hit this series. So many times this year we've seen guys get dinged real hard and almost in a deliberate fashion.
And that type of hit has to be eliminated.
Q. You would call for game misconduct?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Immediately five in the game and then the hockey department rule, whether it be a one-game suspension, they have to determine the seriousness of it. And maybe the whole issue was if the guy is out for five games, he sits five games. I don't know if that's the solution or not, but it's a thought.
Q. Follow-up from an earlier question, but this team throughout the post season has played with a lot of confidence. Just on the heels from that last game after being criticized for the better part of 3 days straight, is that swagger back now, do you sense, in the room?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think you have to win a game or two before that comes back totally. I think we're much better. And that's the one thing we've tried, as coaches, bring to them a calmness and confidence, and willingness to battle.
And I think winning really reinforces that. As I said, we didn't start the series in a very good manner. And it put us in a little bit of a negative slide. But I think it will be better tonight. I think you'll see a better team right from the drop of the puck.
PHIL LEGAULT: Thank you, Coach.
Q. Alfy, can you talk about the potential loss of McAmmond just from the penalty killing role that you're often paired with him?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: Yeah, I think he's played a very big role second half of the season for us, especially in the playoffs, anchoring the fourth line. And like you said, penalty killing, it's been very valuable to us.
Q. Ray, you and Martin Gerber, could you talk a little bit about the relationship you have and maybe how frustrated you think he might feel not getting a chance to play because you're playing so well, the role of the back-up goalie and your relationship?
RAY EMERY: It's kind of a different relationship you always have with the other goalie on your team. Just because both guys obviously want to play.
But we've kind of put that behind us, I think, and really try to help each other. Marty's been great for me, especially during the playoffs, especially with Anaheim. We talked about different guys' tendencies, and he gives me all the feedback that he has as far as what he knows about the team.
So we get along great. And as far as both wanting to play, there's nothing personal there. It's just two guys for one job type of deal.
Q. Can both you guys speak to Chris Pronger not being on the ice tonight and how it will affect both of you specifically?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: I don't think it's going to affect us at all. We're not going to change our game plan. We're going to play the same way.
So for us, it's really no difference.
RAY EMERY: Yeah, I'm just back there kicking pucks, so he doesn't do much for me. (Smiling) But at the same time, he plays a lot of minutes. And I think he's a pretty decent defenseman in the league.
So, hopefully, we can take advantage of that and work him deep, work whoever is playing those extra minutes for him.
Q. Daniel, do you think maybe possible to get your line going would be to worry more about what's happening in the defensive end, create those turnovers and have the advantage on the odd man rush?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: Without Pronger you mean?
Q. In general. It just seems that the more you guys have struggled, that maybe you're cheating a little bit to try and create the offensive chance and maybe stick more on the defensive end and that could help to lead to chances on the other end?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: Yeah, I think we did that the last game and we got a little bit more puck possession and that's what we have to have. So, yeah, same thing. We've got to play smart, and I think that's the whole playoffs. Don't give up too many chances against us, and we'll find ways to create some.
Q. Daniel, I think Dany Heatley is going through the longest drought he's had, I think, in about 2 years. What can he do or what can you guys do to just kind of get him back on track, so to speak?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: Well, just getting in front of him. He's such a good tipper, and getting goals around the net.
So for me and Jason to try to get more pucks to the net and for him to get there, get into the dirty areas. And if you look at most of his goals, they're not too far out. And I think it's more up to Jason and me maybe to get pucks into that area for him.
Q. Ray, what adjustments have you made now that you've seen Anaheim shooters, especially Getzlaf and Corey Perry, now that you've seen them three times and weren't quite aware of them prior to the series?
RAY EMERY: You know, you start to get a feel for guys as far as passing and shooting around the net; both those guys tend to like to just stuff pucks and kind of spin and fire.
So I'm a bit more prepared maybe than I was before just playing them like an ordinary player; like a player who I wouldn't know is going to spin and shoot or just certain moves they have.
So, hopefully, I can become more familiar with the rest of the guys on the team as the series goes on.
PHIL LEGAULT: Thanks, guys.
First question for Dean.
Q. How are you feeling? Are you going to play tonight?
DEAN MCAMMOND: I actually feel pretty good, considering taken a pretty good shot to the chin. As far as if I'm going to play tonight, I'm just going to continue on with my day and see how I feel later.
Q. Dean, are you surprised to feel as good as maybe you are today?
DEAN MCAMMOND: Yes and no. I mean, it's pretty - it's different having a head injury like this. I got knocked out in Calgary a few years ago. At that time, it was like a mandatory seven-day period of rest that you had to have if you lost consciousness.
But after a couple of days, I felt pretty decent. So I'm hoping I can get back on that kind of track again.
Q. Dean, have you had a chance to see the hit, and what are your thoughts on it?
DEAN MCAMMOND: I did. I looked at the hit. And it looked like he was trying to - I think I caught him flat footed because of the turnover. I just was trying to step around. Looked like he was trying to step up on me and play the body. And looked like when I tried to step to the side, he just reactively threw his elbow out, and that was it.
Q. Can you talk about from where you are, from yesterday to today, because I think you were just on the bike for just briefly yesterday and to be able to get out on the ice today, is it a noticeable difference in terms of how you're feeling today?
DEAN MCAMMOND: Yes, yesterday I rode for about 4 or 5 minutes. Didn't feel quite comfortable in the head. Again, it's hard to explain.
I rode today. I didn't have as much discomfort. But because of the kind of the whiplash, for lack of a better term, maybe that's the exact term, but I have a lot of stiffness in my neck and whatnot. So it's kind of tough to differentiate the pain. You want to be careful to know exactly what it is you're feeling. But from my shoulders up was feeling -
Q. On the ice, shooting the puck, do you feel discomfort now?
DEAN MCAMMOND: For about 16 years now. (Laughter).
Q. Dean, looked like you were out. Did you lose consciousness at all?
DEAN MCAMMOND: Yeah, because I don't remember - I don't remember. I kind of faintly - actually, after watching the play, I kind of faintly remember getting that loose puck after I saw the play. But up until that point, I couldn't remember much passed being in the dressing room in the second intermission and then up to where they got me back to the dressing room after the hit.
Q. If you play tonight and, especially if you play well tonight, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that the Ducks will accuse you of faking all this to draw the suspension on Pronger, is that -
DEAN MCAMMOND: They can think what they want. If they want to speculate that, I mean, that's up to them, really.
Again, I think to make a comment on that, is that - I know a few years back in Calgary, we had a teammate, Matthew Lombardi, who took an elbow from Darren Hatcher in the playoffs. I don't believe he played the rest of the year. I think he's still having repercussions of it when I saw him in the minors almost a year later. There was no suspension, and again, same type of incident.
I guess it depends on the person, how they react to the incident. I think you should kind of look at the hit and judge it by the flagrancy there and not matter if the guy is up the next minute or a whole year.
Q. Given that, are you concerned not just about tonight but are you concerned about long-term what a hit like this might do to you?
DEAN MCAMMOND: Yeah. You know, I guess right now, I'm kind of thinking short term. If I try and push it, get back in tonight or depending on how I feel the next game. You know, again, until I get into the bump and grind, I could - I don't know if relapse would be the right word, but get dizzy or whatever. I want to make sure I do whatever I can to play as much hockey in the remaining part of this series.
And after that, (chuckling) I want to make sure I'm okay, too.
Q. There was much made yesterday when Chris came out with Brian Burke about whether there had been an apology made, and I guess Bryan Murray perhaps either talked to you or somebody someone from the team. Have you had any contact with Chris and does it matter to you whether someone apologizes?
DEAN MCAMMOND: It hasn't been an issue for me. I saw Bob on my way out of the rink yesterday, and he just kind of said, you know, we just kind of had a brief exchange. And he seemed sincere in his - it wasn't really an apology, but just checking out to see if I was okay.
Q. Along those lines, I apologize I came in a bit late, if you've addressed this already, do you harbor any ill-will towards Chris?
DEAN MCAMMOND: No. I'm really not that way. I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to him in return or anything like that. It's just an unfortunate circumstance for me and for them now as well. But we're going to have to deal with that and go forward from here.
Q. Dean, the managers are meeting and talking, and this is one of the issues they're talking about, blows to the head. Do you as a player have any thoughts on what might be a good action for the NHL to take or do you think you just continue as it is right now?
DEAN MCAMMOND: I think definitely they're meeting on it because it's an issue. My thoughts are if you can eliminate the blows to the head, that would be great. I mean, that's a perfect world.
On the ice, there's some gray area. So it's a matter of them trying to figure out how they're going to govern that gray area. I think they're pretty good at disciplining flagrant elbows, charges that they deem is intentionally. I think it's an area they'll be discussing.
Q. How much disappointment, because you've had a very good playoff year up to now, and how disappointing will it be for you to have that broken, not to be able to continue?
DEAN MCAMMOND: Haven't really thought too much about that. I've been in the - I've been knocked out before. And like I said, it was a few days and I felt relatively normal.
I feel like I seem to be back on that track. So I'd like to be in the lineup tonight. And there's a chance. It's just a matter of if you rush it too quick, maybe set yourself back again.
So I'm believing that I'm going to be back in it.
Q. How does the process work going forward to tonight? Do you meet with the doctors this afternoon and then the coaching staff, or what's that process?
DEAN MCAMMOND: Yes, I'll pretty much keep in communication with those guys and tell them exactly what's going on with me as far as we're trying to differentiate between, again, the neck strain and neck pain and then into the head. It's all kind of - believe it or not, it's all connected even on me. (Laughing). Just trying to go through the symptoms as far as headache, neck pain, dizziness. After the game, I was pretty coherent and a little bit of head pain, little headache, definitely neck pain.
The headache seems to be going away. The neck seems to be loosening up with movement. That's pretty good, but there's other things too. Just sometimes, if you ever got clunked in the head, you go along, some things you just know aren't right. It just doesn't feel right.
So until you get right into the middle of a game, you won't really quite know if it's exact.
Q. Given that this is where players grow up dreaming to be, how hard is it to balance the desire to play with the need to protect your own safety at a time like this?
DEAN MCAMMOND: Well, I think right now that balance I'm trying to find; if I get out on the ice and I don't feel quite right, then I don't feel like I should be in a situation trying to help this team win.
If I'm out there killing a penalty and I don't feel confident that I can compete 100%, then I would not put myself in that situation, nor the team.
Again, if I feel confident that I can compete at 100%, then I think everything is a go.
Q. Do you think the one game was sufficient, and what do you think of the idea about that somebody like that in that situation shouldn't play until you can play again?
DEAN MCAMMOND: Well, I think the one game - I think it was necessary, just because of the straight elbow to the head. And then if - again, like I can only reflect on the Matthew Lombardi case, where he was - he took an elbow. And like me, on the track, I'm on right now. I feel like I could be back right away.
In his case, he was out for a while. Again, the situation of the elbow to the head, it was the same in both cases. So I don't think you can really judge it by that. I think you have to go by, in my opinion, just go by the foul or the incident alone and make it probably strict enough that it will keep guys from raising their elbows.
I know the infraction, the hooking and holding, sometimes I don't even want to bring my stick on the ice it's called so much. So we'll see how that helps.
PHIL LEGAULT: Thanks, Dean.
End of FastScripts