Canucks and Beyond
by Alanah McGinley on 05/18/11 at 04:22 PM ET
Alain Vigneault and Todd McLellan answer questions this morning.
First, coach Vigneault:
Q. What does it say about Ryan to not take the bait at the opening faceoff in Game?@1? Would there have been a time in his career when he would have taken that bait?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Hockey is an emotional game. I’m not going to get into every little thing that happens on the ice.
It’s two players that want to win.
Q. How important do you think speed will be in determining the winner of this series?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, I think both teams have a tremendous amount of speed and like to play fast. Both teams have a good rush game where, you know, D joins the attack.
I think the one that’s going to be able to execute at the highest level is going to give themselves the best chance.
Q. You’re certainly looking for as much speed in the lineup as you can. Is that fair to say?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I think it’s an element of our game that when we have played north/south, gone up the ice real quickly, we’ve been real effective. It’s probably one of the things we’d like to do.
Q. Game?@1 maybe didn’t get the fourth line guys the minutes you might have expected to start the series. Is that a goal for you to get them into the action a little bit earlier on tonight?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Yeah, we had a lot of time in between for us, in between games, like we do now, in between games. Sometimes you play your top-end players a little bit more.
Obviously, you know, you’d like to be able to throw that fourth line and give them their seven, eight minutes because that enables us to have a better pace on the ice.
We’ll see what they do and figure it out after.
Q. Did you watch the game last night?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Yes.
Q. What is it like when an NHL coach watches a 6-5 fire wagon game?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I thought it was a pretty good game really. Maybe you saw some interesting moments from both teams. Boston giving up the goal in the first minute, the goal in the last minute. That’s always challenging. That’s momentum shifters, obviously.
Then they come out and they score great goals in the second period, get a 6-3 lead, then give them two goals.
It’s momentum. It’s playoff hockey. You could feel the tension on the ice. Great game for the fans.
Q. Would you be pleased to see a game like that in here tonight?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I just want to win. Doesn’t matter how. We want to win. That’s the bottom line.
Q. Alain, do you expect Samuelsson to go on the road with you this series?
COACH VIGNEAULT: No.
Q. Do you have an update?
COACH VIGNEAULT: No, not yet.
Q. They’ve talked about being much more physical in Game 2, especially on your D with their forecheck. What can your forwards do to help?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Come back quick. Get available so that we can get out of our end as quick as we can. That was one of the key ingredients for us in both our first series. It’s obviously going to be a huge one in this series.
San Jose is a team that comes at you real hard. The quicker we’re back, the quicker we’re out of our end, spending our energy in their end.
COACH TODD MCLELLAN
Q. When you come off of a loss, most coaches say I want to see something specific in the first 10 minutes.
COACH McLELLAN: I don’t think it’s going to be the first 10 minutes. I think it’s going to be the full 60.
I didn’t mind the first 10 minutes of last game. It was the back end of the last game that concerned me.
I want to see our overall game, see where it needs to be, where it was in the Detroit series. I’d like to see us skate better, be stronger on the forecheck.
At the end of the night, we were shorthanded for eight minutes, only had a minute of power-play. If we’re working and skating well, we’d like to swing that in our favor a little bit.
It’s our overall game. I can’t pinpoint just one thing for you.
Q. Physically is it a matter of being stronger on the forecheck?
COACH McLELLAN: Puck placement. This is the fourth time we’ve met since we played. My story really hasn’t changed. Mentally we weren’t very strong. We didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to forecheck. They’re a very mobile group on the back end. They have the ability to break out. You certainly make it a lot easier on them when the retrievals are in spots where they can get to them efficiently, get their eyes up and get going.
In turn, that makes it tough on us because we expend a lot of energy for nothing.
Q. To what do you attribute Dany Heatley’s decline in goal totals?
COACH McLELLAN: Over the season we’re talking?
Q. Yes. Is there maybe a comfort level that’s lacking in the playoffs thus far?
COACH McLELLAN: I don’t think there’s a comfort level that’s lacking for Dany in the playoffs at all. I think flat out it’s harder to score goals in the National Hockey League right now.
A lot of players, league wide, had declines in their production. Some were able to keep it up there. We use him in a situation that he’s on the second power-play unit or gets second power-play minutes. We like Setoguchi, Marleau and Thornton together. That takes him away from an opportunity where a lot of guys do a lot of offensive damage.
Other than that, we’ve asked him to do some other things in a team concept: skating, checking, penalty killing, being more physical. That may take a toll on him as well and in turn see his goal totals fall a little bit.
Q. Did you watch the game last night?
COACH McLELLAN: Absolutely. What a game.
Q. What were your thoughts on it? Would you like to see that kind of game played out tonight?
COACH McLELLAN: Well, if we’re Boston, I would be happy to see that type of game, obviously (laughter).
I thought the game was exciting. There was a point where you were going to turn it off and move on to your next task, and all of a sudden Tampa was right back in it.
I think that’s the way it is, that’s the way it will be. I think that’s great for hockey. Nobody’s ever out of it.
We talk about giving up some leads in the third period. I counter with saying, We came back from 3-0, 4-0 deficits. That can happen right now. Ton of energy, a lot of passion. There were a lot of fans not sitting in their seats, but standing in them. That’s great for our league. At this time of the year, that’s what you like to see.
Q. Patrick in the past has shown when he scores in the playoffs, he seems to score in bunches. Do you get the sense from watching him in Game 7, that winning goal, getting that deflection power-play goal, that’s the spark he needs personally to get it going?
COACH McLELLAN: That is a trend in his game. That happens throughout the regular season, as well. Maybe we’re on the good end of the trend. Back to back games with goals. I thought he played in Game 7 against Detroit maybe his best game of the series. He followed through with a pretty good Game?@1. He was one guy that had some legs, was skating, was involved in the play.
I’m not overall concerned about Patty’s game right now. I think it will continue to go the way it has.
Q. You talked about Heatley. It is safe to say that if you are going to get to where you want to go, he’s going to have to be more of a threat than he was in Game 1?
COACH McLELLAN: Yes. That line, Heatley, Couture and Clowe all have to be better.
Q. (Question regarding Huskins.)
COACH McLELLAN: We’ll see how the morning turns out here. Obviously, the team is getting on the ice to skate right now. I haven’t had many updates from our training staff yet. They’re doing their things. We’ll make some decisions as the day goes on.
Q. To start the game, you were firing pucks from every angle. As the game progressed, you got away from that. Is the key to go back to that, create some scrambles?
COACH McLELLAN: The plan wasn’t to get away from it. Kind of goes with your forecheck question earlier. We didn’t get in and get after their D. If the puck is not on your tape, you can’t shoot it. We feel at this time of the year, you look at the game last night, pucks going to the net from everywhere. It’s very hard to defend a shot. If it comes off a goaltender, nobody knows where it’s going.
It’s easier to be on the offensive than the defensive. The more it gets there, the more opportunities you have to play in the opposition’s end.
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Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
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Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]