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NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: DEVILS v RANGERS


May 17, 2012


Peter DeBoer


NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Practice Day

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for Coach DeBoer.

Q.テつ Pete, when your team is at its best, what percentage of the action was your team creating along the boards as compared to the percentage of the open ice.
COACH DeBOER:テつ I don't know.テつ We're a heavy team.テつ We're heavy on the puck, heavy on our sticks, heavy in the corners and along the walls.テつ That's the way we're built, when we're playing our best in those areas of the ice.

Q.テつ Is it fair to say then that the team isn't nearly as effective when you're not outworking the opponent in the corners?
COACH DeBOER:テつ I think that's fair to say.テつ I think that's a big part of our game.テつ We're not a team that wants to trade rush chances or power plays with you.テつ We're not built that way.テつ So I think our success has come, and it's a common theme, through five‑on‑five play and wearing down the other team and playing on their end of the ice.

Q.テつ You just mentioned, is that five‑on‑five thing something that you're stressing again?テつ You stressed it throughout the playoffs, but with the Rangers having success, is that something you really have to stress?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Yeah, it's the same thing.テつ Again, this isn't complicated stuff.テつ When we've gotten ourselves in trouble in the playoffs, it's been when we stepped away from our game plan, taken too many penalties and didn't play to our strengths.テつ So I think as a team you learn as you go through, and I think we've gotten better of limiting those poor patches and consistently playing the way we need to play.

Q.テつ Is there anything you do or anything the other team can't do to win at home and play in your own building?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Sorry, what was the question?テつ I lost you there for a second.

Q.テつ Does home ice give you any advantage that you can do or take away something that the Rangers might do?
COACH DeBOER:テつ It's always nice playing in your own building.テつ The crowd can always breathe some life into your team I thought they did with the Rangers in the third period.テつ I thought when they scored that goal the crowd got them into it, and I thought really gave them an extra gear.
The trick is to make sure you give your crowd something to be involved in and make sure the other team doesn't control the play or dictate the game.

Q.テつ Can you just define the difference that Marek Zidlicky has made since he came over?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Yeah, tough to really identify how important it is adding a number one, number two defenseman to your lineup at a critical time of the year.テつ He's been invaluable.テつ Wouldn't be here without him.テつ I think it was a great trade that Lou made identifying him, and paying the price to go get him.テつ It looked like a heavy price to pay, but he's been worth it every bit and more.

Q.テつ How much different does the "D" look and the dynamic of the "D" with Zidlicky over Foster?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Yeah, Foster gave us good minutes.テつ He helped our power play and did some good things.テつ The thing about Zidlicky is he's multi‑dimensional.テつ He's not just offensive or a power play guy.テつ This guy can do a little bit of everything.テつ He plays in your top two.テつ He can play 25 minutes a game.テつ He can play against top players in the league and defend and compete in the zone end, and he can also run your power play.テつ There are only a handful of those guys in the league.

Q.テつ Wondering if you thought you got much out of playing Parise and Kovalchuk together in Game 2?
COACH DeBOER:テつ I think we got the desired effect.テつ Maybe it didn't translate into five‑on‑five goals, but I think more than how that line specifically played, I thought it gave us four lines that we could roll and really keep pressure on the other teams.
I like what they did.テつ I think they're capable of dominating a game and maybe we didn't see that last game, but every time you roll those guys out.テつ They've got the potential to do that on any given night.テつ I like what it allowed us to do with our other three lines in the balance we had.

Q.テつ As a follow‑up, very few teams are forechecking as aggressively as you guys are and were this season.テつ Did you come to Jersey with the idea that's what you wanted this team to be?テつ Or did you look at your personnel and say, you know what, we can do this?
COACH DeBOER:テつ I think it was a combination of both.テつ I've always believed in a pressure‑type game and a pressure‑type system.テつ I think when we got to New Jersey and I looked at the situation.テつ We had been 30th the prior year in goals scored, had been 29th or 30th in shots for a night the prior season.テつ Defensively they've always been the New Jersey Devils and that's always been part of the identity.
I just looked at our personnel in our forward group, and I'm like maybe previous New Jersey teams that have had success, the strength of this group really is in our forwards.テつ What is the best way to get them involved?
I had conversations with Zach Parise and some of the other players over the summer, and they really felt that we could put a little more pressure on other teams.テつ They felt a lot of times they were playing three against five last season rather than having a five‑man forecheck, and five men involved in the offensive zone.テつ I'm going to go on and on here, but that's basically how it evolved.

Q.テつ I know you're not one to kind of single out players, but you've coached many great ones throughout your career, including Junior.テつ But have you ever coached a player who works harder than Zach?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Not many.テつ He's right at the top of the list.テつ What makes him special is you've got guys like that that play on your fourth line on every team you've got.テつ They're there because of their relentless work ethic.テつ What separates him is he's got world class skill and world class hockey sense on top of that.テつ That's the special combination that Zach has.

Q.テつ Why does Salvador have so many points?
COACH DeBOER:テつ I don't know.テつ I think maybe contract year.テつ I don't know.テつ He's an unsung warrior for us.テつ I can tell you he's the one guy that probably doesn't even know how many points he's got.テつ He's just playing his game, and that's what he needs them to do.テつ He's had a fantastic year for us, and, again, another guy we wouldn't be here without him.

Q.テつ Do you think these two days off are good for your team?テつ You played hard last night, but those two guys mentioned that they were tired after the game.テつ Do you think the break will be good for you guys?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Yeah, I said before, I don't think you can get too much rest this time of year.テつ I think both teams are in the same boat.テつ We start going every other day again next week through the end of the series.
So I think the break comes at the right time.テつ Everyone can regroup, and we can get ready for a home game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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