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December 31, 2013

Jonathan Bernier

Randy Carlyle


Q.  Want to tell us who your starting goaltender is tomorrow?
RANDY CARLYLE:  Yeah, you're an old guy from Winnipeg.  He actually was a back‑up goaltender in the Moose days, if you can believe that.  He tried to get on the ice.  Thought he could get on the ice.  He thought I could resurrect a career for him, and look where he is now (laughing).

Q.  You're not going to tell us?
RANDY CARLYLE:  No, you have a better chance of seeing the big guy.  I told you that numerous times.

Q.  If it does snow and starts to be something like 4 to 6 inches of snow from midnight tonight to game time, how does that change the way you approach the game?
RANDY CARLYLE:  Well, I don't think it's going to change that much as far as the people that are in place have done this before.  They'll make sure the ice surface is cleaned effectively.  There is probably a contingency plan in place that if it does snow, at the 10‑minute mark they might scrape.  I think those are the things that the league takes care of as far as a coach.  The only thing I have to adjust is if there's a snowstorm, do we have to have a bus earlier or later?  That is the type of thing that I've got to worry about, and I have to make sure these players are prepared to play when the puck drops.

Q.  (No microphone).
RANDY CARLYLE:  Well, let's not lose sight of the fact that we're in a dog fight.  I'm sure both teams or both coaches have the same perspective on what their season has been like.  There have been challenges that have been what we're up against both from our standpoint with the player availability, suspensions, we had injury.  Red Wings are doing the same thing.  Wanting their group playing to a higher level than what they've played to so far with the inconsistencies of the teams in their performances.

Q.  We were at the south end zone and there is a pretty good breeze where we were.  What was it like on the ice?
RANDY CARLYLE:  I don't know which was the south end, but the wind was definitely affecting going one way.  I thought it was basically coming out of the west, but that was my perception.  I didn't have the compass out there, but it was definitely about a 15 mile‑an‑hour wind, and it definitely made a difference going one way or another.
There again there is a contingency plan in place.  If the wind is a factor, then the league will make a decision whether we switch ends for half of the third period.  They've already stated that there is a plan in place if they feel there is an unfair advantage going one way or the other that they'll switch ends.

Q.  What is the key for the Kadri line (No microphone).
RANDY CARLYLE:  I talked about Kadri and Lupul and Mason Raymond yesterday.  I just think that the group, the sum of the group should equal more than what I'm getting right now.  And I think our hockey club needs that from them.  That statement doesn't change today.  I think there are three talented players that all have the ability to provide offense.  I think it's more stop‑and‑go hockey, more simplification.  I think Lupul, again, we saw him when he plays at his best.  He becomes more of a power forward with his skating and going to the net.
I think Kadri is the kind of guy that has to create space in the offensive zone with his trickiness to stop up, and Mason Raymond is a guy that we know has speed.  When he's on the top of his games, he's driving the puck wide, he stops up when he hits late people.  He has the ability to lose people down in the corners or cutting back against the grain and put pucks up high and get back to the net and simplify.

Q.  Now that Dion has signed his contract extension, even in the time that you've been here, how has he grown?
RANDY CARLYLE:  I think the one thing that before we got here and we've tried to state that Dion was put in a situation at a very young age to be the captain of an Original Six team in a very intense market.  I think Dion has softened his approach not only the way he brings himself to the rink day‑in and day‑out, but I think to his teammates and everybody around him he's become much more accommodating.  I think it's a sign of maturity.  He was put in a situation that is not really where you could describe you'd be ready for as a young player.  I think you have to go through a few wars and through a few situations.
We all know the Captain C for an NHL team is a letter that you wear proudly.  But when your team's not having success, it becomes a pretty big item on your chest.  And people look to you as being the leader and positively or negatively, depending on if it goes well or not going well, you can get ripped apart for it or you can get accolades for it.  Those are the things that take place.  I think as a young player it takes some maturing, not only from a hockey player standpoint, but from the expectations that are put on you.  Some of them are unrealistic in some situations.

Q.  (No microphone).
RANDY CARLYLE:  Well, what we tried to do is talk to Dion.  We talked to all our players.  We're expecting our leadership group to grow.  You cannot expect one person to be the exclamation point night‑in and night‑out.  We want more people to step up and be part of that leadership group.  We've asked our players and tried to create more of a leadership group to surround them.  That group is as high as ten players.  So we feel that some people are natural born leaders and they lead in their own way.  Not every player is vocal.  But we'd like more people to lead by example, and I think that's the ultimate goal for any coaching staff is to have a large group of those people doing that.

Q.  As a coach, do you worry about the magnitude of the moment taking over?  If so, how do you council your players to maybe not let that happen?
RANDY CARLYLE:  Again, we talked about and we've talked base with the event.  We all understand it's a great event and a great showcase for the league.  It's our responsibility to participate.  To tell you the truth, as I said lots of times, it wasn't high on our list because we have lots of things going on.  With it comes a lot of distractions.  But, again, the most important thing to us is that we're going to go out and compete and give ourselves the best chance to win.
With this event it's probably more for your family and friends.  If you see the number of people that are here, it's more for the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  I'm willing to bet tomorrow you're going to see a lot more blue and white in the stands than you see red and white in this market because the Toronto hockey base has been moving to Michigan for tomorrow.  Anybody that drove here that came along the 401 and stopped at an on‑route saw the passion and commitment that this fan base brings with it.  They're selling jerseys, they're selling mitts.  You can't get away from it.
Went to downtown Detroit and went to Hudson Cafe, and it was full of Leaf fans this morning.  Not to say there weren't Red Wing fans there, but I would say it was 10‑1 the people that were there this morning.
In the hotel that we're in, obviously, it's pro Leafs because you can see the logos on the elevators and it's the headquarters for our hockey club.  It's full of Leaf fans.  Again, that is the magnitude that this organization has behind it and the fan base enjoys these things.  So it's our responsibility to participate.

Q.  Randy won't say it, Jonathan, but you're standing up here so the natural question is are you starting tomorrow?
JONATHAN BERNIER:  We'll wait until he leaves.  Yeah, I found out before practice.  Obviously, it's great.  It's great that he gave me the nod and being part of this whole history is pretty amazing.

Q.  Yesterday you went ahead and said, listen, 100,000 people isn't going to be that big of a deal.  But this is a pretty special place in college sports in particularly.  When you're going down and now you know you're going to be starting, when you go down that tunnel, do you already start to think of the energy and the occasion and what it's all going to mean?
JONATHAN BERNIER:  Yeah, it's definitely going to be‑‑ we'll know what those football guys go through in having 100,000 people in the stands and feeling that energy.  But it feels like the stands are so far away from the rink so I'm actually really anxious to see how noisy it's going to be on the ice compared to a regular rink.

Q.  How were the ice conditions?
JONATHAN BERNIER:  It was great, actually, sometimes better than the ACC.  No, it's actually good.  The only thing was probably the wind sometimes when it was blowing, especially most of the practice it was blowing in my face.  It was pretty cold, but other than that, it felt good.

Q.  If it snows tomorrow will it affect your vision or anything?
JONATHAN BERNIER:  I bet it would.  I think probably the biggest thing is it would be sunny, really sunny.  I think that's probably going to be an issue especially where I'm starting the first period, that's where the sun will be, so we'll see.  It's all new for most of us, and probably it's only JVR that plays in three of those.  It's a new experience for most of the guys and we'll enjoy it.

Q.  (No microphone).  Can you tell me how important it is when you're a goaltender to feel that you are the No. 1 goaltender on a team since you haven't really had that experience?
JONATHAN BERNIER:  Well, I never had that experience at the NHL level, but pretty much my whole career I was playing a lot.  Just to get back in that groove for me.  I haven't been playing much in the last three years, and I just want to feel good about myself and feel good with my health and mentally be fresh.  That is probably the biggest adjustment for me.  When you don't play a lot, you don't really need to take care of your body as much.  And lately I felt that groove that I need to do my routine and feel ready for every game.

Q.  As a goaltender when you're not skating around like your teammates, can you just talk a little bit about the particular challenges of playing in these elements, because it's going to be really cold?
JONATHAN BERNIER:  Yeah, I think they might have actually the biggest disadvantage.  I tried to skate a little bit, and I felt like I was not moving out there.  But for me definitely the wind blowing in my face, but like I said, I think it's going to be fair for both goalies.  I think if the wind is too much, they'll split the third period.  Both goalies will play in both ends.
But it's going to be a fun moment.  At the end of the day you've just got to enjoy that it's probably never going to happen again.

Q.  (No microphone).
JONATHAN BERNIER:  Yeah, definitely.

Q.  Are you going to wear eyeglasses?
JONATHAN BERNIER:  Yeah, probably.  I tried it in practice today, and I didn't really notice it was on my face, so I felt why not use it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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