May 30, 2003
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA: Practice Day
Q. Mike, there seems to have been a lot of traffic in front of your goaltender. Are your focuses being emphatic enough about clearing people out from in front of the net?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: That's one of the issues. Let's be honest. It wasn't -- the trip wasn't very kind to us. We weren't very good. They scored two goals so that's getting the puck to the net by their D. That's a good job by them.
Q. Mike, do you need somebody on your team to say we're not going to take this, get mad, punch somebody, do something?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, what we need to do is we have to play. You think about the situation we're in is we're down 2 cobb here in the Stanley Cup Finals. The question is would you rather be at home golfing? Not a chance. Let's play. Let's be the best we can be. The tough part for us, and we're not trying to take anything away from the Devils, but we haven't played. That part is the frustrating part.
Q. Mike do you need to take more risks now to open up some offense and throw a little caution to the wind?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don't buy that for a second. I don't buy that risk/reward type thing, I don't see that working at all. I think you have to do the things you've done all the time. We haven't played or managed the puck. If you don't manage the puck against New Jersey, you never have any speed, you're never on the attack. What's going to help us is our ability to manage the puck and make good decisions when we have it.
Q. Coach, you have the last change now, and will you consciously be using it to get your best players away from Stevens and Madden?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: That's a real good question. We actually think the match-ups with the people you're talking about have been just fine. The thing about the playoffs is sometimes you've got to beat their players. That's just the way it is. We're going to do what we can to have our people play in the right situations. That's about as clear as I can be.
Q. There is not one certain situation that you're looking at that you can exploit?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don't know about exploit. You're trying to get the advantage to be in your favor the best you possibly can. Obviously through two games we have some people that haven't been able to get on the score board and generate the kind of offense we want. We have to do something about that.
Q. Mike, you talk about your best players need to your best players. Are you disappointed that some of the players like Paul, Petr and Adam haven't been?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: No one here on our team has distinguished themselves thus far in the Stanley Cup Finals. I thought we had a lot of guys in the playoffs. I don't think in two games you could say anybody's been spectacular. We have been below what we feel we're capable of being. That's the disappointing part for us. The great thing is about the change of scenery; we're coming back home. We have been good here at home. We have to hold serve. Now we have to get going.
Q. Mike, does it seem like when Jersey scores a goal that they're taunting J.S., going over in his face and kind of pointing at him. It looks that way.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don't know about that. That's the way the playoffs are. Everybody is doing it to everybody. I wouldn't spend any time worrying about that. I think there has been very little goaltender contact in the series because the referees won't allow it.
Q. You beat Dallas and Detroit and Minnesota. Do the Devils have anything those teams don't have?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: They're different players. They play pretty -- a lot of teams in the NHL play pretty similar. The way they play isn't any different than what we've seen. They're playing harder than we are at this point and executing better.
Q. Mike, you've repeated that theme a couple times. Can you put your finger on why your club hasn't played?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I would have solved that problem already and we wouldn't have been talking about it. The reality is we thought we were prepared and worked really hard. We didn't play as good. We thought we played way better in the first half of the game last night. When they scored I thought it was -- we have been resilient. That hasn't mattered. We haven't fluctuated all year long. As soon as we've scored we have been like, oh, my goodness. You can't be like that. It's a 60-minute plan.
Q. To that point do you feel your guys have shown them a little too much respect maybe?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: It appears like that. I don't know if that's the reason. We haven't played like we can. Any time that happens, that's frustrating, and you don't feel good about that obviously.
Q. Mike, Marty put up back-to-back shutouts. Has he been that brilliant or do you think it's a case of you guys not getting good shots?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don't want to take anything away from Marty. We have had 15 and 16 shots and our scoring opportunities have been very limited, quality chances especially.
Q. Just to clarify what I was asking you, it seems that Kariya is the guy they put Stevens and Madden on. You don't mind that match-up?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I guess you've got to look at it like we've got a team, right. If Paul gets five and they get six, what happens? We don't win the game. We can draw the Madden match-up against Rucchin on the road by doing what, by having Kariya on his line. They never won the game for them at all. It was in different situations. It's all how you look at it. We have used this way against every team so far in the National League. It didn't work these two games.
Q. Is it a matter of any of the younger guys being a little overwhelmed playing in the Finals?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I think our younger guys have played better. One of the things that happens to you is you play in the league a long time and you never get an opportunity unless you're with some specific teams, four or five, and they go back continuously it seems like. The rest of them, they know it's their opportunity and they keep saying to themselves, "We've got to do better." Just play. I think that's a major issue for us. We've got to put it in perspective.
Q. Mike, the third line, the Chistov, Thomas, Pahlsson line have been so good throughout the playoffs. You broke them up a little last night.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, that's the match-up. That's where your question to me -- that to me is the question right there. Gomez and Elias and Marshall have scored the -- basically the clinching goal in both games back-to-back nights against that unit. That's a situation that didn't work very good for us.
Q. Are you surprised at that; that they haven't been able to -- they were a huge plus line in the whole playoff up until this series?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: This is what I would say to you: These guys helped us get here. We're not giving up on them.
End of FastScripts...