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March 1, 2014

Joel Quenneville


Q.  Joel, the snow is starting to fly outside, so how many layers and how much are you getting ready for this one tonight now?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  I've got one extra layer, and we'll see how it plays out, but we anticipate a lot of heat by the bench.  Hopefully that works out all right.  What a great setting to see the snow fall.  I think it adds more excitement to the game, for sure.

Q.  How do you expect that to play out in the ice conditions and getting guys in line?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  Yeah, I think just basically, let's simplify.  Keep it simple, moving the puck ahead, put it at the net.  Unpredictability, probably, the likelihood it bounces off the boards a little bit different here.  We anticipate the conditions might not be great, but I think putting pucks at the net, you never know, you get some favorable bounces and find a way to get there as well.

Q.  Having this right after the Olympic break, what is your sense of the players enthusiasm and energy coming into this?  Is it a good thing having it right away or the guys coming back or is it almost a burden for them?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  It's definitely not a burden.  It's an exciting day, a great opportunity, and a privilege to play in these games.  The memories afterwards will be one game you'll never forget.  It has a great set‑up and great match‑up and a couple really good teams and some great players as well.  So I think it's been targeted since the start of the year and let's go.

Q.  How does (No microphone).
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  We'll see.  No, I think Handzus is going to play.

Q.  You talked about the last game, you guys haven't been scoring a lot, but haven't been giving up much either.  Kris Versteeg said he felt a lot better coming out of the break.  Where do you keep him the last couple days in practice, and where is he coming along?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  I thought he skated the best he has in a long time.  I thought that last trip there, he had a couple of really good games.  Had a good game there in New York.  Didn't have the production to prove it, but certainly get him going offensively, and he can really add dimension to our team.  I think he's been fine for us to date.
But I think he's got some ability to make high‑end plays and complement some of our players around here.  Just add him to the offensive group we have it can really ignite our offense, and right now, coming off two light games production‑wise, we could use some offense and hopefully he can add it.

Q.  Are you interested in seeing how the guys handle Crosby defensively?  They haven't had that opportunity in all the head‑to‑head games in the past.
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  We'll see, I know when you're playing against top players, all the guys on the ice have to be aware of where he's at and what he's capable of and try to make them play in their own end as best you can.  Deny them a lot of pace.  They're a rush team.  One‑on‑one he's one of the best in the game, so let's try to get a tight gap on him and try to eliminate him from getting the puck.  But I think minimizing the quality or quantity of these chances are something you try to do, not just with one guy, but everybody on the ice.

Q.  Joel, does the fact that you're playing such a strong opponent help take the focus away from the spectacle of the event and on to the fact that it's a hockey game?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  I think that's a good point knowing that we haven't seen Pittsburgh all year.  You look at the standings and look at the importance of the game and how you measure up against one of the better teams in the league, and you get to see how some of the top players fare against one another as well.
So there is a lot to look at the game.  We're in the winning business, so I think that's what it's all about going into today's game.  There is a lot of other things you can measure, but at the end of it, I think everybody wants the two points badly, and I think that's what adds a little bit to tonight's game.

Q.  If it keeps snowing the way it is right now, how much do you anticipate that affecting the play of the game and maybe how simple do you have to be when it's covered in snow?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  Tough to forecast that.  I think that when you're out there playing, whether it slows the game up or adds a little bit more unpredictability, I think more unpredictability in the game creates some excitement.  It could create more scoring chances depending on how teams play it out.  But advancing of the puck at the net is probably going to be the best way to talk about simplification.

Q.  Were you surprised by Keith's energy level the other night coming out of the Olympics?  Or are you past being surprised by what he can do in terms of energy?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  No, I thought he had a really good game, had the puck a lot.  Made some nice moves and defended really well.  Was involved in our attack, and, you know, that was his first day on the ice with us, that morning skate.  But I thought he came back really strong and he's had a real strong season to date as well.
So, like you said, nothing really surprises you much about Duncan.  But I like the way he came back focused and didn't play it like just another game.
I like this game.  I didn't mind it.  Offensively, nice to see him score.  I think he's going to add dimension to our team down the middle with some depth, and I think he's got patience and play recognition as well, and I think defensively he's a reliable guy.  So nice to see him go on and get more time with our team and get more familiar with him as well.

Q.  Is it Crawford tonight?

Q.  Other than the obvious that there are high‑end world class players, their power play is No. 1 in the league, what makes their power play so good?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  Well, the personnel on it really complements success knowing that their play recognition, patience with the puck, movements, a lot of different looks and a lot of different set‑ups, entries, in zone, not afraid to shoot it as well, but I just think that staying out of the box is something that we're going to overemphasize either this morning or going into the game or after every period.  But they've got some of the best personnel on the ice, and they play the majority of the penalty, so let's make sure that it's going to be a good penalty.

Q.  Getting back to Regin really quick.  What is it about this team and the system that you have that allows guys to come off lesser roles on lesser teams and step into a big role on this team?  It's happened in the past:  Why do guys seem to be able to step up on this team into bigger roles?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  I think overtime you get a good assessment of exactly the right fit.  We don't mind trying things initially.  You get a better indication of where the opportunity is and see how he does in that slot or that slot.  So hopefully things can work out with time.  But I think a lot of people have played in that role or that position over the last few years, and I think that whether it's a moving target or not, I still think that we've still got a lot at that position, whether it's Kris, Shaw, Handzus, Regin, Perry, I think everybody's done a nice job and they've got a chance to play with Kaner, and that really enhances the upside offensively of that line.

Q.  (No microphone).
JOEL QUENNEVILLE:  I think he's all set.

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