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June 12, 2002

Rod Brind'Amour

Ron Francis

Jeff O'Neill


Q. Ron, is it a tremendous adjustment for you if you are used to playing with Jeff and Sami and Paul Maurice switches around puts Battaglia there, Gelinas there as did he in Game 4?

RON FRANCIS: No, we have had different stretches over the course of the season, we have used different guys. Jeff even used the left side, we switch guys around. At this point in the season, you just go out there and whoever you with you try and work as hard as you possibly can, play the system as you well as you can. Doesn't make a huge adjustment at this point.

Q. Jeff, you coming into this town, you see everything Detroit. What kind of mindset does it give your team coming into, you know, the next game kind of situation? What do you guys think right now when you see all of that kind of stuff?

JEFF O'NEILL: What kind of stuff is that?

Q. Everything here is, you know, completely pro-Detroit, all that kind of stuff. What kind of mindset does that give your team?

JEFF O'NEILL: Well, I think they are not exactly going to start cheering for us at this point. It's part of the deal. Everybody in our city loves us, and everybody loves them here. It is a great hockey city and, you know, they want to see their team win. And we definitely got our backs up against the wall. But I think we believe in each other and believe in our dressing room that we can come back and win some games here.

Q. Ron, to win, to pull this out, obviously one thing you have to do is score more than the other team, but some other things have to happen. What scenario has to take place in terms of for this to work, to come back from where you are in this deficit?

RON FRANCIS: Well, you know, I mean, you can't win the third game or the fourth game until you win our second game. So I think that's our strategy. Takes small steps here and, you know, start with a good first shift, play second shift, then a period, then a game. Just go with it that way. We can't sort of get ahead of ourselves. It's sort of what we are trying to accomplish.

Q. Does anything change because Fischer isn't playing? Do you think that was a fair punishment by the League?

RON FRANCIS: It's the League's job to assess those and handle those, so you know, that's not for me to decide. But you look at their lineup, they still have other guys that they can throw in there that have a lot of NHL experience. We're not concerned so much with one guy being changed tomorrow, and we'll play as well as we can.

Q. Rod, the other night you talked about how all the cliches can come out now that you are down 3-1, so on, so forth. Are you guys -- do you have a lot of tension built up in you? Are you relaxed? How are you, as a team, going into this down 3-1?

ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Well, I think there's always tension in every game. Obviously now we're at a point where you can really sort of let it loose. I mean, not that we haven't tried to do that all along, but I think there's probably less pressure now, less tension maybe, than there has been. We can throw everything at them. That's the mindset we're going to try and do within our system. Obviously there's no tomorrow for us. We know that, but I don't think it's going to change the way we're going to play. We're hoping to get to our game still. I don't think we have really reached that, I don't think. I think we're still hoping that we can rally and show Detroit what we're made of.

Q. They are making preparations for a celebration already here. They are being asked who the Conn Smythe trophy winner should be, all that kind of stuff. Does that seem to you that they are getting ahead of things?

JEFF O'NEILL: We're not really concerned with what is going on here. We are just worried about ourselves and you know, we're fighting to play another day here. That's the way we have got to look at it. We can't be concerned about what they are planning or what they are planning to do. We just literally have to fight for our lives here and live to play another day, and that's what our goal is tomorrow night.

Q. Surely all three of you know the history, that there's one team that's come back from your kind of deficit in the Final. Obviously you believe you can win this Final. How do you convince yourselves of that? What do you think you have to do?

RON FRANCIS: I think the biggest thing is looking at some tape last couple of games, last couple of days, especially the last game. I mean, it's one thing, I think, if we're throwing our absolute best at them and haven't been able to win, there's still room for us to improve in the way we played. I think that's -- that's sort of the signal that gives us hope. We know we can play better. We're going to have to execute plays that way we feel that we can improve that's going to give us that chance to win. To this point a lot of those games have been real tight towards the end of the game, no reason why we can't turn those breaks into our favor.

Q. Jeff, when the lines have been shuffled it's given the team a bit of a boost in the past. Why has that worked in the past and could it work again?

JEFF O'NEILL: I don't know. I think sometimes when, as a player, things aren't going well and you are maybe put on a different line and you realize you just have to get back to the strengths of your game, I think sometimes as a player you see when you play with Ronnie you are obviously going to see the best in Ronnie and Roddy, the best defense pairings for the other team. Sometimes when you maybe make a shift of the third line you are playing against guys that you can maybe get away with something different or excel in different ways so I think that sometimes when you change lines, definitely the players that you are playing against, it might be an advantage for some players. But then if you get it going again you are right back where you started, so it's something Paul does, I think, to just switch things a little bit and basically let guys know that, you know, he expects more and expects more contributions.

End of FastScripts...

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