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May 28, 2003

Pat Burns


Q. Coach, talking to the Ducks earlier, their first game experience in the Finals and the type of overwhelming experience for them and how they have to put that behind them. Based on your team's Game 1 experience, what have you learned, what do you apply tomorrow night, and how do you go forward?

COACH BURNS: I know we played a game that we wanted to play last night. Now it's going to be who is going to react to what. That's what it's going to be the rest of the way. I don't know what they're going to do different and I'm sure they don't know. That's why there is games. That's why we play these games. I'm sure, from listening to them talk last night, he wasn't too happy with the performance of his team. I imagine they're going to be better.

Q. Why does Rafalski work so well with Stevens? What does he do to complement him?

COACH BURNS: They have been together for a while, even before I arrived here. They knew each other very well. They know what each other are going to do before it happens. It's the type of defensive pairing where you have one guy that can go a little bit more with the puck and the other guy stays back. They complement each other well.

Q. Pat, last night some of your players were saying that Sergei Brylin was the type of player you can't win in the playoffs if you don't have somebody like him. Do you agree with that, and can you compare him to anybody else?

COACH BURNS: I don't like to compare players to other players. I stay away from comparisons of players. Sergei definitely is that type of player that you could definitely use. When he went down to Washington, we certainly did miss him. He can be put into any kind of position, whether it be offensive or defensive position. Last night he played at center and did a great job. He has that role and that experience also. He's been in the league for a while and he knows the benefits of playing well during the playoffs.

Q. Pat, how difficult is it for you to scratch a guy like Ken Daneyko?

COACH BURNS: It's always difficult, but somebody has to make these decisions, and it's not always pleasant. It's not always fun to advise somebody you're going to do it. We did it in the Boston series, the Tampa series. Whether Ken will come back or not, it all depends how it goes. Like I said, if I have to worry about emotions and things like that, I'm in the wrong business.

Q. We're doing a feature on Lou Lamoriello. Can you define him for us as best you can?

COACH BURNS: It's kind of easy when he's your boss. No, he's -- our relationship has been very good from Day 1. The first time Lou and I talked was back, around this time of year, actually, in New Hampshire, and we were talking together, and it's one thing he has is the commitment to win. You feel that when you speak to him. He wants to win, and he does anything possible to make this team better to win, and that's what I really liked about the situation here in New Jersey. It was that commitment that he wanted to win, and I think day in and day out he will remind you, too, what can we do to be better. He doesn't tell you how to coach. There is never overexcitement. He doesn't come down and yell and scream after a game. Everything is calm. It makes my job a lot easier.

Q. Was there any common factor in all the odd-man rushes you got last night, anything in particular you guys were doing well, and do you think your team's speed catches teams by surprise?

COACH BURNS: Most of the teams we did play in the playoffs found we were faster than what we looked when you get on ice level. I think it's because we play our positions well, and I think that's one of the reasons why you do -- there is a new system going around where everybody seems to want to go crunch up in front of the net and protect, they call it "the house." We still have that conservative style where we like to hold our position and let everyone do their own jobs. I think that way their defense got a little bit overactive at one point, and when you're in the right position you're going to get those if you're patient.

Q. Your team's carried on without missing a beat in Nieuwendyk's absence. That's obviously very pleasing for you. Are you surprised at all? Do you see any change in your status for Game 2?

COACH BURNS: Not only Nieuwendyk, but Turner, too. We miss his physical play. He had something to do a lot with the Boston and Tampa series. Missing those two veterans, those guys have been around. The guys who filled in, like Sergei or Bicek, who stepped in and played very, very well, the guys really stepped up. What happens sometimes, when you lose players, you have players playing in a role that maybe they're not used to, and it goes for a while. We certainly would like to have Joe and Turner. We would find a spot for them right away. We have to go through this situation right now and the changes -- I can't really make any changes now. This series goes on. If Joe would be ready, he would be back in the line, for sure, and the same for Turner, I doubt if Joe will be in tomorrow.

Q. Because he's out there with Stevens's and Madden's line a lot, do you think Rafalski's been overlooked on what he does for this team?

COACH BURNS: Definitely. I think there is always players that seem to get stuck in shadows a lot of times, and Rafalski definitely is one of those guys. Scottie gets a lot of the publicity and credit. I mentioned yesterday, there is goaltenders, but there is also five guys in front of him who are playing. Rafalski is not an overly big, big guy, but gets the job done, takes the hits, makes the right plays.

Q. Pat, away from the game for just a moment, if you could comment Patrick Roy's retirement and what it was like coaching, arguably, the best goalie ever playing the game?

COACH BURNS: I recall him back in junior hockey. I remember we beat him one night, he was 13-2. I said, "This guy is going to have a hard time playing in the NHL." That's how much I knew back then. He was a very, very competitive goaltender, proved his point along the way. He was will-liked by his teammates, and it was an honor to coach him, but there will be others. There will be others along the way. Whether he will be the greatest ever, those are all questions that we'll have to wait and see.

Q. Pat, if I read the numbers right, the last seven times the Devils have gone up 1-0 in the post-season series, they have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. Is there a significance for that?

COACH BURNS: No, I really don't think so. Funny things happen along the way. I don't really play anything into that.

Q. Pat, a moment ago you were just talking about players being stuck in the shadows. Do you think maybe the key to your team's success is that guys don't mind being stuck in shadows, it's "team first" as opposed to "me first"?

COACH BURNS: Well, I think any organization would certainly like that. If you want to be a "me" player, it's difficult in today's game to be that. I think it's important as a team, and I think this team is probably the best I've ever seen. To worry about, what about the team before we go to an individual, I think that's one of the reasons why this team has success. I think he really thinks that way, and answering the question to Lou, he really appreciates that. He really says the team must go first. I don't think his record proves him wrong.

Q. Pat, what did you learn about Marty this year that you didn't know before?

COACH BURNS: Well, you coach against him, you see so many things. You don't really know a player until you have to live with him day in and day out. I think you can have an impression on a player. You can see a player do things, but when you're in the locker room and you travel with them and practice with them, you see them play. You learn a lot about a player. I think I learned a lot about Marty. He's got to be one of the guys that loves the game the most I've ever seen. Him and Dave Andreychuk love the game so much. Marty is out there practicing. He tries to make every complete save possible he can. He's always ready to help his teammates. He doesn't put himself above anybody. That's why the players really like him in the dressing room. That's why they like him as a human being. Marty's like that, he's on an even keel all the time. He doesn't have 65,000 different superstitions. I find he's not an actor; he's a real person. When you do that, you see a lot of guys that put on a lot of show. This guy here, he's a real person.

Q. Back to Lou Lamoriello for a second, he's done something remarkable as an CEO, he's brought two teams into the Finals. We talk to people who say he may not be a great politician but he would be a great general. What is your impression of that?

COACH BURNS: I agree with that. I think if you went to war with Lou, you can be with other people, you probably want to shoot them, but you would probably win the war easier. He would be the guy you would want to be in the trenches with. He would be the first there, and find a way to get the edge my somehow. The performances of these two teams have been phenomenal around here. I think because of the Nets and the Devils, where they are right now, a lot of credit has to go to him for that. He was one of the people that if you look at the way those teams act, if you look at the Nets, you see the guys with their ties, and clean-shaven, and you look at us, and you look at the Yankees, you look at everybody, they act like professionals.

Q. Pat, last night you had so few shots, but Marty made no mistake. Is that a more difficult situation to be in, a big high-pressure game, and you don't get 30 shots to get into a rhythm?

COACH BURNS: I imagine he'll give you some better answers than I can give you there. He's been in that several times. It is a difficult game for him at that point because they came on a little more in the third period and he had to make those big saves. When you're getting -- at one point they only had eight or nine shots, and they started to turn it up a little bit, that goes to the concentration of that person, and his concentration in the game is always at the top at all times, and sometimes players will lose a concentration because they're not getting a whole bunch of work. He certainly keeps his concentration always during the game.

End of FastScripts...

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