June 9, 1999
DALLAS, TEXAS: Practice Day
MIKE PECA: You can't expect to get away with giving up 10 powerplays in one game. With
the team the Dallas Stars have, some of the calls were questionable, but there was also
some questionable ones against the Dallas Stars. It is something that happens. Certainly
it is a series where it is on and we are playing physical and doing our thing that way.
Certainly it could possibly turn into an advantage for us. Actually the ice held up really
well. It was real good for the first 15 minutes of each period. I think it was actually
better in the second and third than it was in the first. We felt at times on the 5 on 5 we
were starting to get our game going; then we would take another penalty, slow things down.
It's as though we are starting to stand up and now we get knocked down again. The third
period when we were able to stay out of the box, able to get our forechecking going and
get the guys involved that had to sit on the bench first two periods for large periods of
time because we were killing penalties. They were starting to do a great job forechecking
and scored a couple of goals and eventually the win in overtime. Part of it is being a
little smarter and maybe a couple of the referees will not call as many but maybe they
will call even more. So I think it's got to be a case where we have controlled aggression
Q. Personally the trade this season, it is well documented; nothing on the score sheet
for a long time. How did you kind of keep your confidence, keep the faith?
STU BARNES: You know what, obviously I was brought into score and didn't score right
away. That was disappointing. I thought I was doing other things on the ice really well. I
thought I was playing pretty good even though I wasn't showing up on the score sheets. I
just tried to stay positive, just keep working and probably could have got real caught up
with not scoring. Again I knew I was playing well everywhere else and I knew if I stuck
with it, I knew I would score.
Q. What was Coach Ruff's role throughout that?
STU BARNES: Just the same, just said I was playing well everywhere on the ice and I
wasn't scoring and keep working; don't get too caught up with it; keep playing and things
will work out.
Q. Now you found it. The scoring touch is back. What can you do to keep it?
STU BARNES: Well, I don't know. Again, I said before I scored and I thought I was
playing well anyway. It is nice to score now, but as I said, even before I scored, most
important thing was winning and if I don't score the rest of the way and we win, I will
probably be the happiest guy around.
Q. You must feel the stick in your hands, you are not squeezing it as tight, but they
are going in?
STU BARNES: Maybe. I wasn't that worried about it or caught up with it. I was playing
well and I knew that I could score and I knew it would come and it was just a matter of
CURTIS BROWN: I think you always want to take it shift by shift, period by period. You
don't ever want to get ahead of yourself. I think we showed that last night again. We not
only got down by 1, but then we continued I, don't know how many in a row, we had to kill
off the penalties. If you start looking too far down the road we could have had some bad
-- you don't want to ever have to kill penalties as we did last night. Continue to battle
out there; taking it step by step, I think that is important to do.
Q. Curtis, on the game winning goal did you have time to see Woolley coming down in the
slot or did you almost anticipate that he or somebody might -- how much was it instinct
and actually --
CURTIS BROWN: I think coming out of the corner when I picked the puck up my momentum
just spun me around in that direction so the first place that you were going to look would
be either the boardside defenseman or back into the slot. Yeah, I seen Jason slip, go
through there. He was wide open for a split second; just threw the puck to him and he made
a great shot. He did the hard work.
Q. Anything that Dallas did in the first two periods that surprised you a little bit
that you adjusted to in the third?
CURTIS BROWN: I think the biggest thing was penalty trouble we got into, continually
killing those penalties off definitely hurt us. We didn't get every one in the game and
the guys that killed penalties had a lot of ice time. Biggest thing, we just wanted to get
more disciplined. We did that in the third period. That is something we have to work on
for Game 2.
DIXON WARD: We don't really care about that. That is neither here nor there for us. I
don't think we need anymore motivation. I think we were a little over-motivated last
night. We may take 10 or 12 penalties in a row. I think we need something just to calm us
down a little bit and get us back to playing the way we should be playing.
Q. The key to your penalty killing....
DIXON WARD: I think the entire year we have done a real good job on our penalty
killing. I think we are 5 or 6 in the League. Mike Ramsey who is our penalty killing coach
does a real good job of watching and learning and making adjustments when they need to be
made and trying to make sure we are staying real patient, but aggressive in the right
times and I think that you start over-committing yourself on the penalty kill; that is
when you get into trouble, especially with the talent they have. They moved the puck so
quick that you got to be sure you don't get caught in no man's land and let somebody slip
by you or behind you. So I just think it is just being real patient; when you see an
opportunity to make a force and the four guys are going at once, everybody's on the same
page and just battling as hard as we can. Our defense has done a tremendous job down low.
I think that is one of the big reasons we were successful last night our "D" men
were real strong and making real smart outlet plays to get the puck down the ice.
Q. What are you guys worried about most on the powerplay?
DIXON WARD: Where do you start? Got one of the best point men in the League in Zubov
and another great one in Sydor. They got tremendous speed and strength in Modano and one
of the best shots of all-time in Hull and one of smartest players in Lehtinen and that is
what makes it so good. Just the guys they have on it. And they work extremely hard. I
never knew how hard Lehtinen worked until last night. He backchecked and caught me three
times in the slot when I thought I was going to have a good shot. It is things you learn
from over the course of a series because we haven't seen him very much of them this year
and you just got to be real smart against that group. They can throw Nieuwendyk and
Langenbrunner and whoever else out there in their second unit and they are just as
dangerous. I think the key to penalty killing tomorrow is just to stay out of the box.
ALEXEI ZHITNIK: I think the powerplay and special teams got to play big part of this
series and actually last 15 games they score powerplay goals in key situations; right
time, right place.
Q. How much of it also was the fact that you guys are younger and you did have eight
ALEXEI ZHITNIK: Sometimes I prefer to have a couple of days off; not eight days off. If
you practice it doesn't matter how hard you practice. You can't match game conditions. So
I think eight days, nine days is not good too much. Between three and five days, I think,
is a perfect break.
Q. Didn't eight days help you later in the game? Were you fresher later in the game
because of those eight days off?
ALEXEI ZHITNIK: Maybe. I can't say. Maybe you got a little bit forecheck going and we
have a couple of scoring chances and finally we capitalize our scoring chance. Sanderson
could have finished the game in break-a-way but, got tight, 50 seconds to go, so it was
pretty -- nobody wants to go in overtime. We played simple hockey and it was working for
JASON WOOLLEY: I saw something I haven't seen all game; was a little bit of a hole and
they did a great job of shutting everything down from the middle to not letting me jump in
and try and generate something in their end all game. So it was kind of a quiet game for
me, a little hole seemed like a big hole just because I wasn't familiar with it all game.
A little thing, but it is very important. It was the pass from Curtis Brown, it was right
up front which enabled me to one-time it. If he would have jammed it inside my skates or
just put it a little further back on my stick I would have had to stop it. I am sure I
would have gotten good position on it. I think Hatcher tried to throw it around the
boards; Curtis picked it off. It is purely an innocent play. It is something that you
probably do a thousand times. Curtis was just in the right spot. He is a great heads-up
player and he's got good speed so he was able to just jump up the boards and give himself
a little bit of room to make the play. And just made a great pass to me. Well, I think we
like to come out and play a little better from the start. If we are going to kill 10
penalties again I don't like our chances. It is too hard on our penalty killers and on
Dominik. We just got to come out; play a little more disciplined; stay out of the box and
we have been doing it all Playoffs. As long as we can stay close we still could -- we have
a chance. It is one of those things where it doesn't kick in until probably come
summertime. I am not really downplaying, I am serious, I don't really know what happened.
It happened so fast and all and all I got a win and I had a chance to watch the highlights
last night, and I don't even know where it went, to be honest with you. I am just glad it
went in. I don't know, I don't think we are really too worried about, you know, we are so
worried about how we are going to do and how we are going to play. Obviously you want to
represent the east properly but we are more concerned how we represent the Buffalo Sabres
to be honest with you. The ice was a little sticky in the pre-game skate, so I think a lot
of us expected that and it was one of those things where I didn't hear any complaining
during the game, so that is a real good sign. I think it takes a little bit of pressure
off. We are up 1. This game is going to be even tougher, we know that. What a real big
game it is for us a chance to go up 2-nothing and steal two from Dallas in their own
building. That would be something great for us. We had a lot of low points during the
season. I think three quarters of the way in the season we lost eight or nine in a row.
When you are losing like that you just never think you are going to win a game. But on the
same respect we had streaks during the season where we won 9 or 10 in a row and we never
thought we were going to lose. It is a roller coaster year
JOE JUNEAU: It is kind of like the same situation this year. When you have to get the
job done again you have to go there and do it. You have the confidence to do it. Like you
said there is a lot of guys that are capabale of getting it done.
Q. Unrestricted free agent July 1st. Have you decided what you want to do at this
JOE JUNEAU: No reason to be bothered with that now. There is too much on the line to --
it is obviously -- to be honest, it is fun to think of where you could be next year, what
can happen, it is only natural to think about it. I would be lying to say that it is not
in my head at all. It is, but it is not -- it is far from being No. 1.
Q. But it is something that once July 14th comes you are going to go out there and you
are going to test the market?
JOE JUNEAU: All I am going to do is just do my things this summer, probably go fishing
a lot and fly my plane a lot and just whenever there is a phone call, you know, that is
all it is going to be. I am not going to change my life because of that.
End of FastScripts