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NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: DEVILS v RANGERS


May 18, 2012


Peter DeBoer


NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Practice Day

Q.テつ Can I ask a Game 3 question, but more specifically, I'm doing something on your fourth line.テつ How much does it mean to a coach that can have a fourth line that can you trust as much as do you with your guys?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Invaluable.テつ We wouldn't be here without our fourth line, the way we've played, how we want to pressure the puck, the way our systems are built.テつ We need energy.テつ When you're playing every other night 82 games‑plus, we're getting around 100 games already.テつ You have to have four lines and six defensemen.
So it's been critical.テつ It's been a season long progression, first getting a third line that we felt comfortable with that could contribute, and then a fourth line, the fourth line that can really roll in the last couple weeks of the season.テつ Brought up Bernier and Carter, moved him to the wing.テつ And Gionta came in to replace Josefson, and those guys have done an exceptional job.

Q.テつ And they're scoring too?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Yeah, they're scoring goals.テつ They're having a positive impact on the game.テつ That's what we talked about.テつ Whether they scored or not is a bonus.テつ Spending time with the other teams and creating a chance to score.テつ Even if they don't end up going in the net, they're having a positive impact.

Q.テつ As a follow‑up on this question, you have (Indiscernible).テつ What made the difference for him to stick to the fourth line here and having the role that he's having, which he was not able to do in Florida and Vancouver and all the other places?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Well, I think he played a pretty effective role in San Jose and Vancouver during his time there.テつ When we got him in Florida he was pretty effective for me there.テつ Broke his jaw about halfway through the year, and then the last third of the season was a disaster for everybody after the trade deadline down there.テつ I was surprised he went through the summer without finding a job, based on my opinion of him.テつ When Lou came to me and asked me what I thought, I was all for bringing him to camp.テつ We're benefiting from that now.

Q.テつ What is the status with Josefson and Tallinder?テつ Are we likely to see them in the series?
COACH DeBOER:テつ That's a good question.テつ My gut is I think they'll be available at some point in the series, so first practice today with the regular team.テつ They've been practicing with our American League team, but it's a great step.

Q.テつ Can you talk about the trust that you have in having him in late games and difficult situations, I guess, due to the fact that he is such a young guy and that you do trust him?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Yeah, I think you forget how young he is, at least I do.テつ I think it comes down to hockey sense, and responsibility.テつ He's a responsible player.テつ He's won before, which I think has put him in situations where he's had to play on the right side of the puck and put the puck in the right place and do the right thing.テつ I think that those experiences have really quickened the learning curve at this level for me to be able to put him out there.
I don't even think about his age now.テつ We're way beyond that.テつ He just gets the job done.

Q.テつ Asking you about Game 3, or Game 2, much like it was in Philly where you were behind and you stayed with the plan.テつ Won the game, came home.テつ Is that a similarity in this series as well or is it a completely different series and you throw what happened out the door?
COACH DeBOER:テつ I don't think you throw anything out.テつ We know the Rangers are going to push.テつ We know they're going to come out and play a great hockey game tomorrow.テつ It's on us to do the same thing.テつ So I expect it to be the best game of the series tomorrow from both ends.テつ I think both teams are going to take their game to another level.テつ
テつテつテつテつテつテつ But to compare it to Philly, I don't think you throw it out.テつ We managed to get a split and put ourselves in a good position coming home.テつ We did the same thing against Florida and dropped a ball and ended up in a Game 7.テつ So we've got to take care of business.

Q.テつ Are teams doing anything differently against Patrik Elias?テつ And if not, I would imagine you're still very satisfied with his game?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Yeah, I'm very satisfied.テつ Patrik isn't a guy we measure on his numbers.テつ His numbers are always good.テつ He does so many other things for us on the ice and in all three zones and in the dressing room.テつ If you're inferring his playoff numbers aren't where they should be, I don't even look at that.テつ He is an impact on our games on a nightly basis in so many different areas that that's the last stat I look at.

Q.テつ Is Larsson back in for this next game?
COACH DeBOER:テつ We haven't decided on a final lineup yet.

Q.テつ Do you think it's become more enjoyable for Kovalchuk since he's gotten over the physical problems that he's had?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Oh, absolutely.テつ And I think the deeper you go, he's enjoying every minute of this.テつ He played, what is it, ten years in the league without getting past the first round.テつ This is what it's about.
People tell you how much fun it is and how important it is.テつ But until you actually go through it, I don't think you realize that, and I think that's what we're seeing.

Q.テつ Do you think now you've had two goals the other night, both on deflections and just throwing the puck at the net and trying to make things happen there.テつ Is too much made about the fact the way the Rangers go and block shots and dive after it, and throw their body at it?テつ Is that something you're expecting to see more?テつ Do you think you put those thoughts in their heads maybe being able to avoid the diving bodies and putting the puck in?
COACH DeBOER:テつ I think I said after Game 1 you make too big a deal about the blocked shot thing.テつ I think part of it was our execution in Game 1, our execution in Game 2.テつ They're a good shot blocking team.テつ That's part of their identity.テつ You have to deal with that, just like you do other team's strengths, whatever those are.
I said, we've got a plan for it.テつ They're still going to block shots and be in shooting lanes.テつ That's not going to change.テつ We just have to get more through than we did in Game 1, and we did that in Game 2.

Q.テつ It's one thing to know a guy's reputation and that the coaching is different.テつ What did you find out about Kovy this year that maybe you didn't know?テつ What was it about him that you wanted to change?テつ What was it about him that impressed you?
COACH DeBOER:テつ I think right off the bat, this guy's a good person and a good teammate.テつ Superstars often get bad wraps, especially Russian superstars.テつ That couldn't be further from the case.テつ This guy could be born in Canada or the United States and you wouldn't know the difference other than his accent.テつ He's here to win.テつ He's a team first guy.テつ He's very unselfish.テつ He's just a great person.テつ I don't think that's common knowledge around the league.

Q.テつ You have two or three players on your team that have come a long way in their careers.テつ You yourself were drafted but didn't get very far.テつ Do you have an appreciation for guys who have done that?
COACH DeBOER:テつ I was just starting to feel good about myself (laughing).テつ Do I have an appreciation?

Q.テつ For those players?
COACH DeBOER:テつ Yeah, sure you do.テつ Anybody that, for me, has had to battle and scratch and claw their way to where they've gotten to, I think you have a tremendous amount of respect for those types of guys.
For me, the more of those types of guys you can have on your team, around your room, the better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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