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April 10, 2010
Boston College Â– 5
Wisconsin - 0
THE MODERATOR: Here is the head coach of the national championship team, Jerry York. Jerry, congratulations and your thoughts on the game.
COACH YORK: Unbelievably excited. Just an amazing feeling. And I think that at first I'd like to give credit to Mike Eaves and the Wisconsin Badgers. They were a very difficult team to play against. They're extremely well coached.
Good size. A lot of skill. Clearly the best team we've played this year was the Wisconsin Badgers. So I know they're disappointed with not putting their name on the trophy, but they've had an outstanding year.
Hobey Baker winner, Geoffrion certainly deserves the honor, so our hat's off to Michael. Plus he sent me two of the better players ever in the history of BC hockey. So I appreciate that an awful lot, Ben and Patrick.
A couple of things tonight. First, Dave is on his 20th Frozen Four. Which is unbelievable. I wish I could have made more of them. I'd be a better friend of his, but I have watched him age very gracefully for 20 years here.
But I thought our players, to win two national championships for the juniors and seniors has never been done in Boston College history. We have a long and very storied history in all of sports but you look at football, basketball, baseball, hockey, these guys bring two trophies back to Boston College, what a career they've had. It's been a remarkable career for the juniors and seniors.
We have seven of them that have repeated from their freshman year, and I think it will be interesting if they feel this one is a better year. I think the next one is always the best one. But I thought our club played very sound. John Muse was clearly on top of his game tonight. He was down 8-0 I think in NCAA postseason play, so that's pretty good.
I was talking to Jack Parker, my counterpart from Boston University, and we're old war horses in this game. But when he knew that he wasn't going to get into the national tournament, we were talking about at least let's keep the trophy right there on Common Avenue. We've done that. It's a great privilege to be in the Hockey East. Joe Bertagna has now had three championships in a row bringing back to Hockey East. So that's -- maybe he can get a free cup of coffee, Joe. Maybe a beer tonight.
But glad to have the players with us, and I'm very excited about this championship.
THE MODERATOR: Players, let's go with the players. Okay. Let's take care of the front row.
Q. Ben, we talked yesterday about how you were going to shut down their team offensively. How perfect was the execution and your game plan particularly in the neutral zone and defensive zone?
BEN SMITH: Yeah, that was huge for us, and whenever we didn't do a good job, John was there to save the chances. So we were solid in the defensive zone and playing through the neutral zone. Their game plan was to dump it in and try to chase down our defensive men. But we went back there, got it right out. We did a good job.
Q. John, what was the low point with the hip either before or after the surgery and could you have ever envisioned this coming out of this being nine months off the ice?
JOHN MUSE: I think the most difficult part was when I went into the surgery, they told me I was going to be on crutches for two weeks afterwards, and when I woke up from the surgery, they told me that they had found a lot more than they had originally thought inside my hip.
And they told me I was going to be on crutches for nine weeks. It was pretty tough. But like I said yesterday, I worked with Bert Lenz all summer long, Russell DeRosa all summer long. They're the reason I was able to come back like I did. I think I'm stronger than I've ever been, and I owe it to those two.
Q. For all the players, last year when BU won they said watching you win in '08 motivated them to -- inspired them to work for it last year. Did watching BU win it last year motivate you guys, or was it not quite the same because you already had the '08 one?
MATT PRICE: I think you always want to win, I've said it over and over again. This program strives to be excellent and strives for the top and this is it. And not getting there last year was something definitely that fed the fire, but our guys have it inherently. They want to win. I've never seen guys work so hard through the summer and all through the year. It was an unbelievable season.
JOHN MUSE: Yeah, that was difficult. We were home last year during break, and watched the whole thing unfold. And that's tough when you are sitting at home the year after you're there winning it. It's tough for the whole team. Everybody that's a BC hockey fan. It's kind of embarrassing, too, because we didn't even get a chance at it last year. But, like Matt said, every single person on the team all summer long, all preseason worked as hard as possible so we could put ourselves in this position, have this opportunity. And luckily it unfolded as it did.
Q. Wisconsin seemed to skate out with a lot of purpose, the starting introductions send some ice your way? I wonder if you guys took note of that or give you some added, to go out there at the beginning?
BEN SMITH: We noticed, but, you know, it's just the starting lineup. You can't win the game in starting lineups. Takes a full 60-minute effort. And I think we showed that we could play at a high level for 60 minutes. And that led to our success.
Q. John, wanted to ask you to reflect a little bit about pushing through the pain as you were going through rehabilitation and maybe that first time you got on the ice, and coming from that moment to this moment when you were on the ice and your teammates were all around you, right before the start of the game, what was that like for you? And what was said in that huddle that maybe got you focused for the next 60 minutes?
JOHN MUSE: Yeah, there wasn't too much pain during the rehabilitation. It was just long and tedious, a lot of stretching and stuff that isn't too fun. But, no, I knew I had to get it done. I did it for these guys, everybody in the locker room.
I wanted to be back for the first game. And like I said, the trainers, strength coaches, they helped me get there.
Q. (Question off microphone)?
JOHN MUSE: I don't know. I kind of think to myself in the huddle. I kind of do my own thing.
Q. Can you share your thoughts on that?
JOHN MUSE: No, I can't do that.
Q. About the eight-minute mark of the first period Johnny made a big save to point-blank shot from his right. Did that give you guys a big lift and did you have a feeling he was in the zone already by that point?
MATT PRICE: Yeah, that was an unbelievable save. I remember that vividly. And Johnny's been a rock all year for us, especially this playoff run. He's played unbelievable. And I think a ton of your momentum is generated from the back end there with Johnny, and that I think was huge. Coming back from the bench seeing the energy of the boys on the bench. I think we just feed off that.
And there's a lot of positive energy all night long. Anytime he'd make a big save or we'd get a chance down low, guys fed off of it. So it was definitely huge.
BEN SMITH: Wisconsin, yeah, they came out with a lot of energy. And they were really taking it to us there in the first few minutes. And John really just stayed in there and obviously made some huge saves and that gave us momentum and we got on the power play and the puck went in. That was definitely a huge moment in the game.
Q. Ben and Matt, going to take that jersey off for the last time. A couple of cards outside said "In Jerry We Trust." Could you talk about what the guy did in the second period before you came out for the third period?
BEN SMITH: I don't think it's been said. This is Coach York's 850th career win. Anytime you get 850 wins, you know you're doing something right.
But Coach all year has been so good at keeping things positive. And keeping -- you know, just keeping it all in perspective. And I think in that second period we were up 1-0, and we just -- we made a couple of fixes to say, hey, pay attention to this, small details. It really paid off for us because we were able to stay cool under pressure and take it to Wisconsin there in the third.
MATT PRICE: I think Ben said it perfectly. The positive energy you get from Coach is unbelievable. He always seems to know the right thing to say, how much, how little. I guess all those 850 wins paid off after a while and he's got a pretty good feel of the team and what we need, and I think he did a great job coming in there and making sure the guys stayed focused and we had one period left to play.
Q. John, you may be the most modest tournament goalie I've heard from, but could you tell me what it's like to shut down two phenomenal offensives in Miami and Wisconsin to earn this national championship?
JOHN MUSE: It's really not only me. It's everyone in the locker room. You can see how everybody's blocking shots. When I let up a rebound, my defense is right there to clear it out of the way. We get tremendous back pressure all game long from our forwards. And you know when they get the puck in the zone, our defense and forwards break the puck out the best in the country.
I can't take any of the credit, really, when I get 20 shots a game.
Q. Ben, against Notre Dame you scored that fourth goal, sort of like the icer on it. What was the difference between the feeling between that one to sort of like win it, know it was clinched, and then this one early in the first period?
BEN SMITH: That one, in a way it was huge. They scored a goal that got called back and we came back and Brian Gibbons and I came back right down to score. Made it 4-1. You're right. That kind of iced the game.
That first period was back and forth; it was anyone's game at that point. Pretty much throughout the whole game it was anyone's game.
That goal tonight, it was big for us. Definitely. Get on the board first. You always want to score that first goal. It was a great play by Steve. Gave me the puck and I was able to turn it and shoot it as fast I could and it beat the goalie.
Q. Ben and Matt, in your four years you've made three national championship games and you've won two national championships. One could argue that you've been the dominant team in your four years. Can you talk about what it's been like as just an overall journey and what this team has been relative to the rest of college hockey?
MATT PRICE: Yeah, I remember coming in as a freshman and I think what's great about BC and the culture that Coach York has instilled in the guys is you learn real quick when you come in as a freshman. And the older guys have always done a great job, and through my three years before I was a senior, just to kind of teach us the way.
I think that kind of carries through your career. And everyone's kind of on the same page. We're all team guys and everyone wants to be the best and strives to help each other. So I think that's been huge for our career. And it's been nice to be successful. I think all our hard work goes into it. And playing alongside these guys in my class has been something special.
On the ice and just the friendships off the ice, it's a special group of guys, and I don't think it's any different than any other class we have. We bring in some really great, quality people and it's such a pleasure to be around them.
BEN SMITH: As Matt said, I don't think our class can take all the credit for our success. Coach York and his assistant coaches do a great job of recruiting great people, great hockey players, great people, good leaders. And that attributes to our success. It's not just one class. It's not just one person. They recruit good teammates who make good teams who are successful.
Q. Coach York, your fourth national championship, you're only behind -- only a couple of guys in front of you now. Can you just comment on that?
COACH YORK: You know, I've been in it a long time. So that helps. Some coaches come in. They don't stay very long. I've had a lot of good runs three different schools and it's been a fun experience.
I think, like Matt and Ben said, I've learned an awful lot through my career. And first and foremost is that when you're recruiting a player you better make sure he's going to be a good team guy. You have to sometimes pass on a highly skilled player that you don't feel fit into the way I coach, and so I think probably get a little smarter on the recruiting part of the game.
But it's always fun to coach good teams and good players. And I've had a whole bunch of those guys over my career.
Q. Matt and for Ben, you just heard your goalie kind of deflect the praise that you guys were heaping on him and taking no credit for this. But I know you shake your heads, but when you look at his record in this tournament, the way he made that one-goal lead stand up for two periods and turning away the shots that he did, how much praise do you heap back on him? And, of course, what he went through to get to this point physically?
MATT PRICE: Johnny, way too modest. I've said it over and over again, the guy's a performer in big games. He's such a competitor. When the lights are brightest he shows up. You've seen -- how many goals against him in the Frozen Four? One. That's not bad. He's that kind of guy.
And we owe a ton to him. Your goalie's got to be your rock. And Johnny's been that for us.
BEN SMITH: You think what John's been through in the last year. Even after his recovery, in February he was the back-up to Parker, and he just kept pushing and pushing, and he got his chance and he just ran with it. To have him behind the pipes or in the pipes, you know, we have all the respect for him, all the trust in him. And 8-0 is pretty impressive.
Q. Apart from the injury I know it contributed to it, does this one feel different just because you did have to fight for that spot, instead of being the No. 1 all year long?
JOHN MUSE: I think it feels different because we didn't even make the playoffs last year. We turn the whole thing around completely, and it's different because different group of guys, except for the seniors and the guys in my class.
But the guys that we have in the locker room are one of a kind. A lot of weirdos. That's coming from me, the goalie. It's a fun group to be with. It's a group that I'd love to play with for the rest of my life. And it's just been -- it's been an awesome year.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach York.
Q. Jerry, I'm sure when you have a 1-0 lead going into the fourth period you just want to blow it open. Did you ever imagine, first off, you could score four goals like that and explode, and could you talk about the way your offense has been explosive, scoring in bunches in this tournament?
COACH YORK: I thought both games, you look at the scores you'll think, hey, fairly easy time against Miami and fairly easy time against Wisconsin. We were 3-1 with Miami 13 minutes left of the game. We've seen games switch very quickly. Today it was 1-0 going into the third period.
It was tight battles. We weren't thinking of breaking the game open we were thinking of trying to continue to play what we call eagle hockey: not be affected by the score, not, hey, let's protect the 1-0 lead. We want to attack and be aggressive. Probably if it was a basketball team, full court press. We don't like to sit back and change a style depending on the score.
So Wisconsin makes it difficult because they have the puck and they have good players. It's hard sometimes to defend them. But Johnny, where we stepped up, John made some great saves.
But we were just trying to win a period to win a national championship. That was my message to our players: Win the next period, win the national title.
Q. I was wondering, while developing your team this year, how important was your ability to allow your team your individual teams being so young to make mistakes, but have expectations that -- and the trust in them that they were going to learn from their mistakes and progress throughout the year?
COACH YORK: I think if you're going to play young players, you're going to have some mistakes made. But we wanted to be creative. We want to be a really good, solid team. You learn from your mistakes. Sometimes people say I wish I didn't do that.
I think you're better off having mistakes then correcting your mistakes and moving forward.
Q. You mentioned in your post-game on the ice that Wisconsin was probably the best team you played all year, I believe you said. Could you talk about why that is and how you're able to kind of take them out of rhythm tonight to kind of make them look less than they probably appeared to be?
COACH YORK: Again, it's 1-0. It's a tight, tight game. We've got some pretty good players on my bench. But I thought Wisconsin, like I said, they were extremely well coached. I think Mike Eaves certainly does an outstanding job, and they've got probably the best six defensemen as a group that we've seen all year.
We've seen players as good as those players but not six in one team. So they're just a good -- they're a good, hard team to play against. But we've also got some good players.
Q. Could you just comment on what makes John such a good, quality goaltender, efficient and just his qualities?
COACH YORK: I think his personality. He doesn't get flustered. He's a very poised young man. Came right out of Noble & Greenough, 18 years old, came into BC and won a national championship. Wasn't one of those where two or three years where he learned his craft in junior hockey.
That's what struck me. His patience, his poise, and just good work habits.
I think he doesn't get any All-American awards or First or Second Team in our league, but you're picking a goaltender to win a money game, you have to go with John Muse.
Q. You came in with a lot of history at BC. Reflect a little bit about the tradition and the first time you walked into Len Ceglarski's office and how deep was it for you?
COACH YORK: I walked into the Coach Kelley's office as a player a long time ago in the early '60s. But I think BC's been one of the really bright lights in college hockey since 1920, 1925. There's probably six schools that could say that through the long history of college hockey and we're proud to be in that top six. We're a fairly small school. But we're a special school. And I think we attract a lot of really good student-athletes.
Q. Now that it's over, what do you think of the venue? And would you like to see it in the future in other football arenas?
COACH YORK: I thought it was a great venue to play in. I talked to Tommy Anastos a little bit earlier, that I was -- the setting was outstanding. The crowd that supported college hockey was very, very impressive.
I thought the city of Detroit handled everything extremely well from the hotels to the police escorts all the teams had. I thought it was an A plus. I really thought it was an outstanding job by the CCHA tournament in particular. Danny on the ice, he's a doctor of ice, and from Olympics to all games NHL, he did a wonderful job here.
So I certainly would give it an A plus and I don't know if I'll go to the Houston Astrodome, but I thought it was a great experience for our players. And not just because we won.
Q. You struggled with giving up goals at times this year. You gave up seven against Yale. Did you make any adjustments before coming out to Detroit to tighten up defensively?
COACH YORK: During the course of the year, we've been a very good defensive team. We led Hockey East and that important category of goals in the 27 league games that we played. So we were a good, solid D team. Really right from the start of the season through.
We had some lapses, but I thought Yale was an outstanding offensive team and capitalized on some terrific plays. We had hoped to show the seven goals scored against us and say here are the breakdowns, but the more we watched them we said these are great plays.
But I thought we spent some time in all facets of our game, offense, defense, and when it comes to the most, we were pretty sharp in all three zones.
Q. Can you talk about what the feeling is for you different from this national title versus your first one in 1984?
COACH YORK: I think there's a lot of similarities. I had mentioned to my team tonight before the game that I've coached a lot of teams that have gone to the national championship game, but three have won the right to put your name on the trophy, and those three all three shared common maybe attributes I look at.
The team wins the game. The All-American players not going to be the difference unless you have a really good team going on that ice that night.
They have to be very, very disciplined in a setting that's hard to be, because it's bright lights and it's a big stage. And I thought all three teams shared that hard work, great discipline. And a team feeling. And I thought tonight we achieved those attributes. But they're all very similar.
'84 we had Dave Ellet, one of the best defensemen in all of college hockey. 2001 I thought Brian Gionta had to be clearly one of the top players in college hockey. '08 was Nathan Gerbe, and tonight you can pick a whole handful of our players.
I thought Cam Atkinson was an exceptional player tonight. So you need really good players but they have to be also kind of all on the same wheelbarrow, we'll use the expression.
Q. We know that your team's known for its speed. But can you talk about its physical play, especially early? Because you had set the tone with your physical players?
COACH YORK: Everybody talks about quickness, but our players are strong on the skates. Some have great size. Jimmy Hayes and Chris Kreider and we also balance that with some very quick players that are short in stature but Gibbons, Atkinson, they're strong in the skates. So they can play a physical game also.
And I think to be good you have to win battles. It's not always a flow game up and down the ice. But we have strong, competitive kids. I liked how we played physically.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Congratulations.
End of FastScripts