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May 23, 2010

Joel Quenneville


SCHUYLER BAEHMAN: Questions for Coach Quenneville.

Q. Three acts down, ready for four?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think today was one of those games where everything was kind of going against us. We give up a shorthanded goal, get hit in the face with the puck. I think we were in a little bit of a disarray for a minute. Seabrook makes a real nice play on the first goal with good patience, good vision and awareness. And Bolland scores a big one at the end of the second period. And all of a sudden it's anyone's game.
It's one of those games you have to be happy and proud of the way the guys came back and got ourselves in the game, win the series. I think the series was a lot closer than the way the score looks. But at the same time, I like the perseverance and where we're at today.

Q. Talk about Duncan Keith.
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Yeah, I thought he had a great third period. He's a battler, he's a warrior. Obviously we certainly missed him through that stretch. But his quickness, his puck pursuit, the way he defends just complements our whole team game. That pair again did a nice job again.

Q. Can you pinpoint the exact moment when Dustin became the best power forward in the NHL?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think he certainly had a remarkable playoffs, particularly last two rounds. I think when he got back to forward there, I think he would rather play defense, but right now today, he'll discount that and say no way.
But I think he creates so much space when he does get in the net. He's a hard body to move. Has a decent set of hands. Physically, he can be overpowering sometimes.
I think he's had a real good round here and a real good playoffs for us.

Q. Seems to be easier for the Blackhawks the deeper you're going. What is the level of confidence with the players in the locker room before the game?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, the guys have been great. I think, you know, they go in a game very focused. I think the leadership and experienced guys are really helping the focus, keeping ourselves in the right fashion, the right type of attitude.
I think as a team, I think we find we're more effective by keeping it simple and taking it easy, keeping it easy on ourselves as opposed to trying to force and create. I think that's something the guys reinforce amongst themselves.
I think the approach of being ready to play a simple game, the guys have been really diligent about it.

Q. You played this team eight times. They had one more point than you in the regular season. You beat them seven times. How can you explain something like this? Do you just match up well with them?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Like I said, I think you look back, particularly I'll talk about this series, the four games, three of them were, I felt, anybody's ballgame from start to finish. I thought Game 2, we had maybe our best game of the series. We had the lead throughout.
Every series was very unpredictable. The scores throughout were tight. The timeliness of our goals in the last couple of games, that makes it look a little bit like a larger margin than really what happened.
I just think every game is different. But I like the way our guys stuck with the game plan and what we had to do.

Q. You mentioned over the past few days everybody knows about Philly coming back from 3-0, talked about having a different mentality. Were you able to go through with that? Was that a key to this game?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: We saw that. Talked about it. When you look at the game, all of a sudden you're starting the game, the start wasn't great, had a couple things where you got some adversity, give up a shorthanded goal, you lose a lot of momentum, you're down 2-0, you lose a key defenseman for an extended period, you got to find a way to get back into it.
I thought the guys were resilient today. Crowd got ourselves in the game as well. At the end, I think everybody liked the way we played in the third period, particularly probably the last half of the game.

Q. Can you talk about the job of David Bolland. I believe he held Thornton to one assist in this series.
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Yeah, I thought Bolland had a great series. I think one thing with him, whether he's underrated or underappreciated, I think we have a real good sense of his value to our team. You trust him, the top matchups, looking at the two top forwards maybe you could argue about in the game with the Sedins, Joe Thornton. I think he welcomes the opportunity play against those guys.
I think defensively, you know he's always surrounding the puck, around the play. Offensively, I think that's where he can chip in and be the difference. When you make plays against top players, sometimes you get some nice chances along the way. I think that line throughout the playoffs, but in this series was not just Bolland, I think Ladder and Versteeg really helped him out.

Q. Kind of a quiet, reserved celebration in that room. Does that show the focus on what they really want here?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think that's what it's all about. I think getting to this stage was a great accomplishment, not easy to do. We should be proud of where we're at. I just think it creates a greater appetite for what it's all about.
The experienced guys certainly bring that type of attitude around the room. But I think our focus and concentration by watching our preparation going into these games, is something that is improving as we're going along here. I think it's help setting us up where we're at.

Q. I assume you've been paying attention to the Eastern finals, watching tomorrow night. Should the Flyers advance, do they look like a seventh seed to you? Are they playing much better than that seed?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: No, I think it's a remarkable story. They're on life support the last game of the year, in the Boston series as well. They found a way to get themselves where they were playing as well as they played at any stretch this year. They got healthy.
At the same time, we'll watch the game tomorrow night, like you said, see what happens. You know, they got a lot of ammunition there. But we'll see what happens.

Q. You may not be able to say much, but Andrew Ladd, extent of injury?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: He should be fine.

Q. Conditioning-wise, hypothetically, if Philadelphia and Montréal go seven, is there any special plan that your strength and conditioning coach has for the time that's upcoming here?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think they're looking at a couple potential options as far as how the schedule looks. But we'll give the guys one day off tomorrow. We'll see what happens after tomorrow's game. We'll come in Tuesday and we'll see how we're going to go off of that.
But, you know, we've had kind of a scheduling that's gone on here where we've been on and off the ice every other day. The guys have been in that routine and they seem to enjoy it.

Q. Coach, talk a little bit about Niemi. Seems like he's getting better every game. Most of us are surprised. Are you surprised at the performance?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, you got to commend him, how well he's handled the situation. I think the one thing that makes him keep moving on, he's a very relaxed guy, very comfortable, confident as he approaches the games or during games just moves ahead to the next shot. I think that attitude helps facilitate maybe the attention or I guess the focus of what the goaltenders bring at this time of year. He just goes about it like, Hey, I'm just trying to stop the next puck and do my job.

Q. Marian said he's a little frustrated the goals aren't coming for him. Can you talk about what he's bringing to the team?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: He's had some great chances in the last three games. But he's a threat. His speed certainly backs people off. You know, I just think defensively, you know, you can't ask for him to do anything more. His backside pressure, his stick, his strength in the puck area. But I think there's a lot of time where they got to be aware of him on the ice because he creates a lot. He's dangerous, creates a threat, and defensively gets the job done.

Q. I know this isn't a great time to look back. Since you've taken this team over more than a year ago, can you imagine where you guys are right now?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, we should all be fortunate about the opportunity we have here, being in Chicago with the Blackhawks organization. The team, the foundation, is in a great spot. You know, some core young players that are going to have special careers.
But I think over the last two years I think trying to get better as a team has been the objective, and as individuals we think there's room to grow as well.
I think our same course of development this year was basically on the same path as last year's was, and I think we gained some experience of knowing what it took to get to this round, using that to our advantage throughout this series particularly.
SCHUYLER BAEHMAN: Thank you very much for your time, coach.

End of FastScripts

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