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June 4, 2007

Randy Carlyle


ALEX GILCHRIST: Questions for Randy?

Q. Could you talk about the life without Chris Pronger tonight? You did such a great job in Game 4 in Detroit without him. What do you expect tonight?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: When you take a player like Chris Pronger out of your lineup, you don't expect one, two guys to be able to fill the void. You have to expect the group to accept the responsibility of the minutes that are going to be distributed.
We'll have to have another player step up and play in the power play situations that we create; all those things. It's a piece of adversity that we've talked about. We've dealt with it historically, and we've had to deal with it at Christmas, and over I think a three-day period, we lost Pronger. We lost Beauchemin. And there was one other player. Three key players out of our lineup for almost up to the All Star break. And those are the things that your team learns in the regular season, but, obviously, in the playoffs, it's a little different.
Then we lost him for the suspension during the game against the Detroit hockey club. We found a way to get it done. That's when specialty teams will play a huge role in your success or failure in the game.

Q. Would it surprise you that Dean McAmmond may play tonight?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Nothing would surprise me. It's playoffs. It's what happens. People make huge strides in their recovery after suspensions. It's amazing.

Q. Have you decided who will take Pronger's spot in the lineup, and can you also talk a little bit about Ric Jackman, who stepped in last time and has played ever since, kind of taken over his spot on the D before?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Joe DiPenta will go in and play, and we'll try to distribute the minutes. And, of course, Jackman will get more opportunity to play in tonight's hockey game from the standpoint of power play and offensive situations. And what we'll try to do is spread the other three members being Beauchemin, Niedermayer and O'Donnell, and even Huskins to some degree will have to take up more minutes.
But we're accustomed to that, and the one thing about hockey players is that usually they'll say the more you play me, coach, the better I'm going to be, and the coach says if you play better, you play more.
But that's all we've got for tonight. We've got our six guys, and I know that they'll put their best foot forward and do what's necessary to give us a chance for success.

Q. We all know that there was a lot of calls against you guys during the last game. I think it was four or five power plays in a row for Ottawa. Are you saying to your players, guys, watch out, you need to be cautious, or are you telling them play as you are playing and we'll see what happens?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, again, we always talk about penalties and there's been lots of characteristics applied to our group about being undisciplined.
We think there are some, obviously, some calls that our hockey club is being called for that at times we question. And I think every coach does. That's not an unrealistic part of the coaching profession or being involved with any pro team. There are penalties we talk about. We talk about the undisciplined ones, the slash behind the leg or the cross-check or the use of the stick carelessly.
If you take a penalty to prevent a goal or prevent a scoring chance, most teams will kill those off. And most teams will take those. It's the reaching, the new rules, hockey, the free use of the hand. Those are what we determine undisciplined. And those are things that we'd like to cut down on and we think that we could play to a higher level, specifically than we played to the other night, and it's going to be required. We're going to have to play the best game we possibly can tonight.

Q. On the topic of recovery, how is Chris Kunitz, and have you made a decision on whether he'll be able to go?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Chris Kunitz will be a game-time decision. He received treatment yesterday or today. We'll make the decision today after he finishes warmup.

Q. In writing the stories about the defense and how they're going to handle the Pronger absence, and everything else, the big three, we always talk about minutes played, so and so played 30 minutes. Do you even look at that? And this late in the season, how much credence do you put into? Can the guys just play - there's only just a couple of days left in the season - can guys just play forever in your opinion?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I liken it to the term you put all the bullets in a gun. I don't think you can put any in the holster at this time. You utilize people to get the job done. Obviously, as you spoke to it, there's four games left in the series. That's four games left in the season. And you're going to utilize personnel that you see fit in all the situations.
Are you afraid of overusing somebody and worrying about the next one, the next game, we worry about tonight. We'll use the people that we think gives us best chance for success, and we'll use them extensively.
We've done it all playoffs.

Q. Is Chris Kunitz at 80% worth going into the lineup because of what he means to that line that was exhibited in Game 3 in the first period?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I don't like to put the term, is he 80%, is he 70%.

Q. Is it worth going with him in that regard?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think coaches will - sometimes they'll look back and they'll say, would you use Mario Lemieux at 50% or would you use another individual at 100%. And that's a determination that you have to do. But you have to make sure never risk the player's health or well-being by putting him in a situation, because every player is going to tell you he's ready.
It's the Stanley Cup Final. This is a dream for a lot of kids. A lot of people have dreamt this and envisioned this, and this is an opportunity for them to participate and those are tough decisions. As a coaching staff, as a medical staff, with your doctors, you have to make that sometimes the player doesn't agree with or you don't want to jeopardize his opportunity to come back in the series at a later date.

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