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June 4, 2007
OTTAWA, ONTARIO: Game Four
FRANK BROWN: Questions?
Q. Scott, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit how important it was for you guys to survive that onslaught in the first period only giving up the last second goal, and then what changed in the second period when you were almost as dominant.
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: Yes, obviously, I think we were, basically, doing the same things we did in Game 3 in the first period taking penalties, not making good decisions with the puck. Not on our end. Obviously being down one goal. After that, we felt a bit lucky, managed to regroup; played a lot better in the next two periods. We knew we had to.
There was no option at that point. We had to come out and be a lot better.
Q. Scott, what does it say about the character of this team? That's two big wins now without Chris Pronger, and as mentioned earlier, fighting from a deficit here tonight down 1-0. You played on a lot of great teams in Jersey. What about the character on this hockey club?
ANDY MCDONALD: I don't think we want to get used to playing without Chris. He's a great player and helps our team a lot.
But, obviously, we, realized when he's not there, we have to be at our absolute best. Everybody has to do their jobs. And we got to doing that in the second and third period.
We managed to do it all year. If we come out, maybe don't play a good game, we manage to dig down, find a way to get back to our game quickly and start to work and skate and do the things we need to do to have success. So we just have to keep doing them.
Q. Scott, rather curious turn of events at the end of the second period with Daniel Alfredsson appearing to shoot the puck at you. What's your take on that and your thoughts on what transpired there?
ANDY MCDONALD: I don't really have much to say about it. That really has nothing to do with trying to win a hockey game. We're here to try and win a hockey game. So as simple as that.
Q. Andy, you had the scoring chance early in the second period when it went off the crossbar and some guys will go a whole game without getting another chance like that.
Can you talk about what it was like to redeem yourself for that chance the way you did in the game?
ANDY MCDONALD: I had a pretty good chance there. The puck just kind of popped out. I swung around and didn't really get a good shot off. Went off the crossbar, and, yeah, I think that's a good point, that sometimes you don't get those scoring chances. So I think I was fortunate to get some more good scoring chances later in the second.
Q. Dustin, I'm curious if you can walk me through your goal, and, also, it appeared on TV, I'm not sure if this is right, that you were kind of a late addition to that line. Was that the case? Like on that play, you kind of jumped in late?
DUSTIN PENNER: Brad May was making a line change, and the puck was just inside our own blueline. Matt made a strong play, got it out to Teemu, and Teemu kind of fed me coming off the bench; when I was in the middle of the ice, I gave it back to him, then just drove the net and he put it right on my tape and I had an open net to put it in.
Q. Just to clarify on that, were you supposed to be on that line or were you coming out for a shift? And I have one other question.
DUSTIN PENNER: It was at the end of their shift and our line, me, Getzlaf, and Perry were out next. May was the first one to change. So he was my winger and I took him.
Q. Looked like you nearly collided with Teemu at the blueline. How strange was that and you found your bearings?
DUSTIN PENNER: It was a set play (laughing).
Q. Andy, you started that passing play that led to the game-winner. Could you tell us what you saw as the puck moved up ice?
ANDY MCDONALD: I think Ric Jackman made a nice play in our own zone. They were forechecking pretty hard, made a nice soft pass to me, and I just kind of waited and they had two guys come in; I just chipped it out. Actually, I was going to the bench and I looked back and I saw Dustin put the puck in the net.
Q. Scott, can you talk about Andy's contributions?
ANDY MCDONALD: Huge. I mean, obviously, you know, you need to score goals to win a hockey game. And what you need is from different lines at different times. And we've had that up till this point. And, obviously, that line tonight was the difference in the game for us.
And, I mean, they've been doing it for us all year. So a great game by these two guys by Teemu and these guys to get us those goals.
Q. Scott, I understand you were reluctant to give your take on that incident in the second. Can you tell us what you said to Alfy in that period?
ANDY MCDONALD: You can probably figure out what I thought after it happened. Doesn't do any good to talk about it, really. I wasn't happy. No need to get hit with a puck at that point. So I'm not going to say anything more than that.
Q. Because of the way that the schedule is, you don't play very often in this part of the country. Can you tell us what it's like to have a game like that, a series like you're having in your home province?
ANDY MCDONALD: Yeah, it's nice to come back to Ontario, like you said. We don't get a chance to come back very often.
It allows a lot of friends and family to come to the game. So it's nice to see them. And it's nice to win here.
Q. Andy, can you talk a bit about what the mood was like in the dressing room after the first period and whether anything was said and who might have said it, especially coming off of Game 3?
ANDY MCDONALD: I think we were pretty down. We gave up the goal late in the period there, and obviously we took the penalties and that makes things pretty frustrating, especially the amount of times we talk about being disciplined, and the message was that we have to be a lot smarter in the second and get in on forecheck and get our game going and gain some momentum.
I think the message worked. I think we had a stronger second.
Q. Scott, you and Francois and Sean O'Donnell didn't look at the minutes seemed like lots of minutes do you even have breath to talk during shifts or are you guys just recovering during a game like this?
ANDY MCDONALD: Tonight, I actually felt pretty good. I felt Dave Farrish, who changes the defensemen, was rotating us out there at different times. We had different partners a lot during the game.
For most of the game I felt pretty good. I never felt that I was getting caught out there, too tired. So for whatever reason it just seemed to work where we were able to sort of rotate and get the players out there that we wanted.
Q. Dustin, how emotional was it in the room after what happened at the end of the second period?
DUSTIN PENNER: I don't think it was as emotional as you guys would have thought. We came in, we had a good period, especially after the way we came out on the first. And we knew we just had to stay disciplined and play our game going into the third. And fortunately we did that and got the goal there to finish off the game.
Q. Scott, most of your hockey life you've been expected to be one of the guys on the podium after Stanley Cup games or after international games of importance. The two guys beside you, undrafted, guys you wouldn't necessarily know, what does it say about your hockey team that these guys have emerged and what does it say about them and by themselves?
ANDY MCDONALD: Well, we wouldn't be where we are as a team without a bunch of these guys. When I came to the team two years ago, I didn't know a lot of the players here. I definitely didn't know some of the young guys that hadn't played in the NHL yet.
I mean, they've just been great for us just last year and improving through this year and they're a huge part of our team already and they're only in their second, first year, Andy fourth or fifth year on our first line.
And it's been a lot of fun. It's been a lot of fun to see how they've just taken it, and for their young age, they're playing very mature and committed to the team, doing the things that you need to to help a team win. That's why we're here.
Q. Scott, the penalties in the first period were not smart penalties. And yet it was almost as though the faucet just got turned off after that and you guys just stopped. How did that happen?
ANDY MCDONALD: It's not going to happen every time you just can't talk about it in the room and make it happen.
But I think we knew before that game we had to do it. We didn't do it in the first period. A reminder after the first period, we managed to find a way to do it. We talked about just focusing on playing hockey. Don't worry about anything else. Don't worry about a call, a bad bounce, slash in the back of the legs, and just play hockey.
And, hopefully, that's, what we tried to do. And if you do that, you don't worry about the other things and you don't take penalties.
Q. Andy, you're sitting there rather unemotional. What's going through your head right now?
ANDY MCDONALD: Not too much. Just we're going to enjoy it here probably for the next couple of minutes. But this game's over, and we have to get ready for the next game. I think the key will be in the first period for us, we came out, we didn't have a strong first. Hopefully, we can use our fans in our own building to be a little bit extra motivated for that next game. And like I said, it's just - I'll enjoy it here for the next ten minutes and start preparing for the next one.
FRANK BROWN: Thank you, gentlemen.
Q. Can you talk about the change between the first and second period which seemed to be fairly crucial for your team?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Again, I thought that we really got carried away early in the hockey game with some of the emotions. I think we were actually trying too hard. It was one of those situations where it was possibly an overpreparation on the focus and the mental aspect of it that we wanted to do so well that it was counter-productive for us. We took a couple of penalties. I think we played over half of the period on specialty teams. I think we took three in a row and then we had a four-on-four and one power play, and we seemed to be out of synch and all the four-on-four and on the power play, but the penalty killing saved us.
And then they get a goal with .5 seconds. It was kind of deflating, but then we got the opportunity to get back in the room and talk about a few things and how we needed to turn it around. And it wasn't really a strong message. It was just a message that if we're going to continue to play like that, we're not going to have success. And we have to establish our game and establish that forechecking game. And I thought we were able to do that. And then we had some individuals step to the forefront.
Our goaltender kept us in the hockey game early in it, and then we had some outstanding efforts from some individuals, and we played more of a team game, and we were desperate.
Any time you lose a player like Chris Pronger, you need other people to step to the forefront. I thought as a whole, our group did that.
Q. Randy, without Chris Pronger, obviously, you were going to need big gains and big minutes from guys like Niedermayer and Beauchemin and Sean O'Donnell, but what about some of the other guys that chipped in back there like a guy like Kent Huskins who played 17 and a half minutes?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Like Huskins, it's amazing the guy playing in the Stanley Cup 17 minutes in a crucial game; he earned that opportunity in the hockey club. Good to see. He's a no maintenance guy that's been able to find a way to make a contribution and play in the NHL.
I thought that he stood out in the ability to retrieve pucks and skated out, made good decisions with it. And it's not really rocket science, but it's a difficult thing to do. Maybe the most difficult thing to do is recover pucks off of dump-ins and soft side dumps, knowing that the forechecker's got a bead on you. I thought as a whole our defense did an excellent job of that tonight.
Q. You had a couple of potentially explosive situations after each of the first two periods. You had the late goal by Alfredsson, and then after the second period, you had and an incident with Alfredsson and Scott Niedermayer. Did you have to calm things down in the room at either time?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Not really. Not in the room. I thought it was blatant shooting the puck at your player at the end of the period. You could tell he directed it towards him, because he changed the shooting angle halfway through his wind-up. People have long memories.
Q. On both McDonald goals, incredible amount of patience for a guy who hasn't played in big games like this a ton, he really held onto the puck longer than most guys would dare to?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Again, when people are put in situations, and when you see them execute to that level, it's just a tribute to the individual about his skill level.
That's not an easy play to be as patient as he was in both of those situations, and those are big league plays. That's a hockey player stepping up and playing desperate and executing at a very high level for his teammates. And there was nobody happier than any one of our players on the bench when he did that, in both situations.
I thought Teemu Selanne moving to free Dustin Penner was another big league move. Those are big-time skill-type plays that not every player can execute.
And those players sit out and they were at the forefront of the win for us.
Q. Why do you think so few teams have been able to come back from down 3-1 in the history of the game?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I don't know. I don't want to focus on what other teams have done. I think we've got more important tasks at hand. We know that we're going to have to play a hockey that's going to be very desperate. We'll have to play the best game we possibly have played this year in the next one. We know that.
That's a fact. They've got a lot of pride over there. They've got a good hockey club. They've got some outstanding individuals. And we have to match their intensity. We have to match their skill. We have to match their will.
Q. Teemu had the great assist on the game-winner. Can you talk in general what he's meant in this run for you guys, and then what it would mean for a guy with a career like that to finish this thing out?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Again, for Teemu, it's been a revitalization of his career in the last two years. And we were fortunate. We get spoiled by it because you see him day in, day out. The one thing he's demonstrated for our group, he's demonstrated a tremendous amount of leadership. He's provided that passion for our group. He's delivered some big goals, his first opportunity to play in the Stanley Cup Finals, which is huge for him. Has a Hall of Fame career already in the book.
All those things are things that are great accomplishments, but his biggest accomplishment is the next one. And that's what he's pulling for. That's what every member of our organization has pulled for. And that's the key in our preparation, it's not just one or two individuals, it's a group of people that have worked extremely hard and been very fortunate. A lot of the pieces, you know, got us to where we are now. But we haven't accomplished it.
We still have lots of work ahead of us.
Q. Randy, considering the circumstances, you're on the road, you're without Chris Pronger, did your team surprise even yourself or members of the coaching staff the way you were able to battle in the second and actually limit Ottawa to 23 shots?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, surprise, no. It's not a surprise because we've done this previously in the earlier series against Detroit. We were able to do it and the difference was it was at home.
So we had an opportunity to match up differently. But, again, it just proves the point that our players have found a way to reach back and give more when it's been asked of them.
The one thing that we were very disappointed in our work ethic and our display of discipline the other night when we lost the hockey game. We did some things that we would determine ourselves as maybe self-destructing, and we were able to regroup. The suspension to Pronger, once it's dealt with, we try to move on. It's about preparing for the next one.
If you have the player available to you, yeah, we would have loved to have Chris Pronger in our lineup tonight. But the way it was handed down, he got a one-game suspension.
So our focus has to be even more intense, and we have to prepare to win all the little battles without Chris Pronger. And our guys, as I stated earlier, I thought we had some people really step to the forefront and gave us a great effort.
Q. Dustin said it was on his goal it was in the middle of a line change. When was that change going to be made and what did you see his role in that play was?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, again, I think the guy that made the play was Teemu Selanne. He was able to gather the puck and went down the ice. I guess it was a two-on-one, and he was able to slide the puck through to Penner. And Penner had a wide open net. The amazing thing he almost hit the crossbar with it. He roofed it so high. That was one of those things that we hit a couple crossbars, hit the posts outside of that. I think Corey Perry hit one on the breakaway and one on the first period, crossbar going down the wing, a shot over the glove. Those are all things that hopefully as you go through the game that they don't come back to haunt you.
Q. But Corey and Ryan were going to come on right after that?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Yes, that's usually what we try to do, we try to get changes and out change groupings and get people on the ice that are fresh and against who you want. But I didn't really worry about the matchups tonight as I have historically.
I wanted to make sure that the coaching staff we had discussed it that we would just try to get the one matchup and that would have been Pahlsson out against the Spezza line.
Q. Randy, you've been preaching discipline, discipline, discipline, and finally you get the lead, 16 minutes left and you stay out of the box the entire last 16 minutes. In retrospect are you surprised by that as well as delighted by it?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: No, I'm not surprised by it because we've done it before. I think in certain situations, you know, if you continually are on the receiving end of a forecheck, the other team's going to force you into making mistakes. And the mistakes can happen, new rules of hockey, pushing the hands, a push with the stick, a free hand.
Those are players battling. So the one thing I thought we were able to do is we were able to put more pressure down ice and we played more of a cycle game. Once we got the lead, we just didn't sit back and wait for them. There were a few instances on line changes and that where they had a free entry and they applied the pressure but they pinched the D down the wall a lot. And they were going for it.
Again, you have to credit our group for staying with the game plan as I stated earlier, some big-time effort from some individuals and we stayed with the program.
Q. Has it sunk in that you're one win from the Stanley Cup here?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Sunk in? We know we've got a 3-1 lead. But the reality of it is the next one is going to be the toughest one to win. As a coach, we talk about it. We talk about our group. We can enjoy this for ten minutes, but the preparation starts for the next one. That's where your mind set has to go.
FRANK BROWN: Thanks, Coach.
End of FastScripts