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June 7, 2000

Martin Brodeur

Scott Stevens


Q. Just talk a little bit about the fact that experience will play a part in this game. You guys have that experience, but also being able to help out the guys that don't have any experience.

MARTIN BRODEUR: I think it is, you know, doesn't matter how much experience you have. I think it's always a tough situation when you have to win the last game of the last series. But definitely, I mean, we have been there before, a few of us anyway. We started already to talk about how hard this game will be. Definitely everybody wants us to do well, and we want to do well. But I think everybody knows that a certain moment in this game, it is going to be important to really concentrate on staying ourselves and really be focused on what we have to do and not reacting to the situation. If we do that, we will be okay. But definitely I think for the coaches and for the veterans, I think it is important that we take charge and we make sure that everything goes smoothly for us to be successful. If not, we're going to make it hard on ourselves.

Q. You guys really seem like you got your heads together and are not getting carried away. Remember your cross-town rivals in this situation in 1994 that came back after winning two games on the road for Game 5. It was all over; parade was set. Ended up losing. Really important to maintain focus?

MARTIN BRODEUR: It is really important. It is tough. It's big, big, what we are going through right now. I said that yesterday in Dallas a little bit. Everybody calls us, everybody talks to us, and it is really hard to get your focus. And we made the right thing yesterday, we got together during the night, spend the night over at the hotel, and this morning also and tonight, just for the fact I think it is easier when we are all together to really get focused and get ourselves thinking the right way, because the fact that we were able to do it to a team in the series, we just passed here against the Flyers, kind of makes us realize that it is doable. It was really hard what we accomplished, but it is doable because we did it. That is a fear that everybody has got a little bit. I think that is a good fear to have right now.

Q. What do the veterans -- you have got a lot of rookies, but a lot of players who have won it before. What is it that you tell the kids that haven't been through it?

MARTIN BRODEUR: That it will be not the game that you ever experienced. This is a game -- it's a game where -- because I was always on the good side of it last time around. But it is a game that it is just so different than playing real hockey, because there is so much at stake. And next thing you know, you get a lead, you start thinking. There is a lot of things that is going to go through your mind throughout that game, saying: Oh no, we are going to go back. There is a lot of up and down usually you see in the series. Now it is going to be condensed in one shift or in one period or in between periods. That is where I think everybody is saying it is important to really just think about what you have to do and not the outcome of the game; because when you get caught up in that, positive or negative, it could hurt you a lot if you don't have your mind at the right place.

Q. Did you find Scott Stevens has had a bit of a rebirth this year in these Playoffs, that he is playing as well maybe as he has in a few years?

MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, I mean, it is like anything, with success, people play better. It is like anything. You don't have success, people will see why we don't have success, and you look up to the big guys all the time. Scotty has been really steady for all of his career. I think right now he has been playing really, really well. He is a big part of our success, and I think the way that he played physically doesn't show that he is getting older in there.

Q. Do you feel you are on top of your game after a couple of games against Philadelphia that were not so good? Seems like your game is coming up now.

MARTIN BRODEUR: I feel pretty good. I feel pretty good about our team. Myself, personally, you win; that is what counts. It doesn't matter if I feel bad, I just want to win. But definitely, I feel pretty good. I felt real good playing in Dallas and in both of these games.

Q. You have won a Cup. You have had incredible stats. But do you feel you haven't gotten your fair recognition through the years? Do you need to win a second Cup to do that for yourself? For the team, the last time you won the Cup, the next season was really tough. Is that a good thing to have to guard against next season?

MARTIN BRODEUR: Next season is next season. Getting recognized is getting recognized. I am real happy that I accomplished what I have in my career. I don't feel you have to win tons of stuff to feel good about yourself or people talking about. I am really happy to be in a situation that every year I have to have a chance to be really successful in hockey. And that is the reason why I play hockey. And here in New Jersey, it's an opportunity for a young player coming up. It has been seven years for me, and every year but one we were always on top of the League in the regular season, and we did pretty good in the Playoffs.

Q. Because Dallas is having their backs against the wall and you know they are going to come out and throw everything they have at you, do you feel you probably have to play your best game of the series?

MARTIN BRODEUR: Everybody -- everybody in this dressing room will need to play their best game, because it is tough to play against a team that, right now these guys -- nobody expect them to come back, and it makes it hard on us. It puts a lot of pressure to do it. They will be fightin', and they will be playing well, and they have a lot of guys with a lot of talent and a lot of leadership. So I think we need myself, and the players that play in front of me, to be on top of our game if we want to have success.

Q. When you look back at 1995 compared to now, now there seems to be just a lot more offensive thrust, more opportunity to score; whereas, maybe in 1995, more focus on yourself and keeping the other team scoreless. Do you see that difference? And how does that affect anything that you may do?

MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, in the Playoffs it doesn't really affect as much. In the regular season, you see a big difference of scoring goals, and that made my job a lot easier. There is less pressure throughout the full season playing on a team that is able to score a lot of goals, and special teams that we have had success on in the Playoffs, a lot of games are really tight. Even though we scored three goals, it was late in the game. So you had still to play well defensively, and myself, it is tough throughout the whole Playoff. It is Playoff hockey. It is 2-1 hockey almost every game, so it makes it tough. I don't think it is a lot easier this year than it was. Some games we had more goals scored for, but that is the way the game goes.

Q. How much confidence have you gained personally just from how well the penalty killers play in front of you guys-- the way that unit has performed in the Playoffs, does that give you a little extra confidence knowing how well they are playing in front of you?

MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, for sure. It is fun to know that we are able to get the job done. It is not like every time we get a penalty we are like: Whoa, it is going to be tough. Guys have that confidence, and to really pull through, and it seems in this series right now we always -- because the way we kill, they really changed the way the game ends up to be. I think, give a lot of credit to the penalty killers.

Q. Will you give any kind of speech or anything tomorrow? Any need for it just to get your team together?

SCOTT STEVENS: I get that question asked before every game if I could say a speech. I mean, I don't think I will say a speech, but I will have lots to say before the game, and it will just come when it comes to my mind; things that I think are important, I will bring it up and talk about it. I know Larry will talk about his experience being in this type of situation in the Playoffs, because he has been there. But like I said, I don't have anything planned, but I know I will be thinking about things, and I will say them as they come. It will just be from the heart when I talk, and what I have to say it will be just spontaneous.

Q. For you, how much of the unrealized expectations over the last four years, since the last Cup, have been a motivation for you during these Playoffs?

SCOTT STEVENS: Well, I guess, you want to be successful and you want to do well in the Playoffs, and it is a big time of year. Obviously, see a lot of people here, a lot of press. It is important. We have had good regular seasons, but we just haven't played to our potential, and have had trouble playing well in the Playoffs as of late. I think it was -- definitely, the focus was there; and I mean, I was prepared for the long haul, and things have gone well. And we have gotten a lot of great play from a lot of people, and that really helps in the Playoffs obviously.

Q. You go in, you win two games in Dallas, you have to wait 72 hours to play the next game? Has this hiatus been good for the team?

SCOTT STEVENS: I kind of like it. Against Florida and Toronto, we had that where we had a couple of days off a few times. I kind of like that. It wasn't bad. Because the schedule, the every second day it is nice to have a day off sometimes. It is nice to get a couple days off. So I think it is going to be good for our team. I am sure it will be good for their team also; but on a personal note, I don't mind it.

Q. Larry came in so late as head coach in the regular season, I don't imagine that he drastically altered the way New Jersey plays hockey, correct me if I am wrong. But specifically, what have been the differences and the things that he has brought as the head coach, the biggest change in atmosphere?

SCOTT STEVENS: I really think the biggest change has been with the forwards, and the forwards responded great. I give them a lot of credit, because I think that is where he has worked and changed more things than anything. He really hasn't had a lot -- the defense has been playing pretty much the same way. But he, I think he has had the forwards just being a little more responsible in helping us defensemen go goaltending out, because that has been the biggest asset of this hockey club for many years. I think we were getting away from that, and playing a real offensive game I think finally was catching up to us I think. He has it -- just tweaked certain things up front, not as much swinging, more positional, and third guy high, you know, more backchecking. The forwards have been great, and they have really helped make life a little easier for the defensemen.

Q. Typical for defensemen -- (inaudible) --

SCOTT STEVENS: Every coach, yeah, they get -- they have a different view of it. Larry, that is one thing -- Larry knows what it is like to play defense and he knows what kind of help we need. I think he has really found that. It took a little while for some of the forwards, but I think that is a big reason why we are playing so much better is because we are not giving up the odd-man rushes, not giving up 2-on-1s and 3-on-2s. We were giving up a lot of those odd-man rushes, and you can't be doing that in this League.

Q. How important is the experience of having been in this position before going to play?

SCOTT STEVENS: Well, it should be important. We have been on the other side of this. Like I said before, no lead is safe. We have our work cut out for us. We have to just focus on this next game and just look at that, not look at what lies ahead of it or what we have done in the past. We just have to go out there and play the next game and play our best game, because I think a team that has their back against the wall, like they do, will come out and play their best game. So we have to do that as well.

Q. How would you describe your increase in your desire to win it this time? Ten times? One hundred times more?

SCOTT STEVENS: I mean, I think -- as a player, I try to do my best every year. I don't see I am going to do more this year or have my best Playoffs this year. I try to have the best Playoff every year I could have. Obviously, my game is better, but I think we are better as a team, and our younger players are matured. That all comes into play. I think it is a team effort. It is not one player. Yes, I have had a good Playoff, but we have had a lot of players have good Playoffs. And you need that to get this far. It is not going to be one or two guys.

Q. Do you feel Brodeur hasn't gotten his fair share of credit over the years? Do you think he has been overlooked somewhat?

SCOTT STEVENS: No, I think if you think about the New Jersey Devils, Martin Brodeur will be the first guy. I think if you ask people who you know on that team, it would be Marty. So I think he -- he is known in the top 5 goalies in the League unquestionly, no question about that. I don't think that is the case. I think he is playing great, and he deserves it. I think he has been the top goalie for a long time, and I have heard that talk, and I don't think, I mean, obviously winning a Stanley Cup will be great for him, but he is playing great and I mean, the last two games he has been phenomenal. It's what we need. But I think he is recognized as a top goalie in the League by far. It is not like he is not known. He is a known player in this League.

Q. When you guys won in 1995 the whole Nashville thing was hanging over the franchise moving. You guys looked completely undistracted by that. Were you as oblivious as it seemed and do you think if you will win it this time it will be more celebrated by the fans here without that hanging over them and by the players?

SCOTT STEVENS: That is a good question. I think sometimes you have distractions in other areas it takes the pressure off a team. Someone asked me this question early when I I said look at the Flyer situation, they have had a lot of ups-and-downs a lot of distractions but they fought through it and become a better team and stronger. I think we as a team know the only thing we can control is what goes on on the ice. We can't control what goes on off the ice. Obviously if we win it will be great. Especially for Dr. McMullen, obviously if the team is sold, which it is, we can't look at that, but we want to do our best, no question, for him and for ourselves. We have waited a long time to get back to this spot and we want to focus on the next game and try to go out there and win that game.

Q. Kind of along those lines if you are able to do this, how will it make this team be viewed differently you think? You won the one Cup in 1995; then you have had so many highly publicized failures. Winning another Cup now, what would it do for the way the Devils are looked at?

SCOTT STEVENS: I don't know. We will have to find out hopefully because I am not sure what it will do. I mean, it is a good question. You talk about respect, I think the most important thing is respect each other in that dressing room and that is the bottom line as players, and whatever else happens, happens. We can't control that and that is something that it will fall in place and we will find out when that happens.

Q. Stay at home defensemen have traditionally been short changed at awards time, at All-Star time. Can you talk a bit about that?

SCOTT STEVENS: Yeah. I guess that is a fair assessment. I guess you go back to Langway, I was there when he was a defensive defenseman. He won it two years in a row. Since then you haven't seen much of that. It is not something I dwell about or worry about or, you know, individual awards, I think the Stanley Cup is far more up there than those, but you know, maybe some day they will have a different award whether it is for the best defensive defensemen, I am not sure, so be it, but, yeah, for the most part that type of defensemen doesn't get as much recognition. But I think the players in the League respect what they do on the ice and the teammates and every team has their guys that play well defensively and people know how important they are to the hockey club.

End of FastScripts….

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