Canucks and Beyond
by Alanah McGinley on 05/15/11 at 04:35 PM ET
From today’s media Q&A with Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, Mason Raymond, Alex Burrows and Alex Edler.
Q. Mason, when you look at the games, highly entertaining in the regular season. Is that the type of hockey you’re expecting?
MASON RAYMOND: I think so. Regular season is regular season. Playoffs is a whole ‘nother level now. They’re going to be obviously heated battle games. We’ve had some good rivals with these guys. As a group, we’re looking forward to starting off Game 1.
Q. Alex, just a couple of emotional rollercoaster rides. How easy is that for you to put that behind you?
ALEX BURROWS: I think we’re a pretty mature group in that locker room. We’ve approached games the same way all year long, that’s one game at a time. Obviously I know it’s cliché, but that’s exactly how we approached things all year. I don’t think that’s going to change. Chicago series was great, Nashville, too. That’s behind us now.
Now we have to focus our focus to San Jose. Tough matchup. A lot of good players. We have to focus on what we have to do to be successful, we’ll be all right.
Q. Alex, how much do you look forward to this series? The style of play, hopefully up-tempo, battles in front of the crease seems to suit your style. How much are you looking forward to that kind of series?
ALEX EDLER: It should be a great series. Obviously they’re a really good team, but at the same time always played well against these guys. Done a lot of good things defensively against them. For me personally, as long as I keep working hard, working the walls, going in front of the net, there’s going to be loose pucks. If I have to find those rebounds and loose pucks, if I have a chance to bury them, that’s a plus for our team. That’s what I’m looking forward to do.
Q. Alex, can you talk about their depth offensively, how there’s really no line you can take a shift off against.
ALEX EDLER: No, they have three really good scoring lines there. That’s something we’ve been talking about, really got to prepare for that. We really have to put our A game out there. I mean, we have good length too, good D. Whoever is out there, we have to make sure we stay sharp.
Q. Getting that goal late in the series with Nashville took a ton of pressure off you personally. Would you have liked to have been able to get back in the game mode to get that going earlier?
MASON RAYMOND: I guess it’s nice to contribute. I know it sounds cliché, too, but a win is a win, especially this time of year.
Yeah, the break was nice. We were able to recharge the batteries, get some good sleeps in, good meals, that sort of thing.
But it is what it is. Here we are Game Day. As I said, I think we’re all looking forward to it. We do the things that make us successful, I think we got a good chance.
Q. What are you guys most impressed about what you’ve accomplished this year, the fact you led in the most goals scored or the fact you gave up the fewest amount of goals?
ALEX BURROWS: I think those are nice as stats to have on our teams. Our biggest stat that we’re most proud of is the number of wins we got so far, which is eight wins. We’re looking for eight more. Like I said, we have to take it one day at the same time. We’re looking tonight for that first win and go up 1?0.
Q. If you look at the goals scored on Niemi, backhand up high, how much of a strength is that because the goalie can’t get a read on it?
ALEX BURROWS: Obviously, the last two goals against Niemi were Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Those are high?skill players that are able to put them under the bar. Obviously, it’s stuff for goalies to get a good read where the backhand is going. But I’m sure he stopped a fair share of backhands before. Those two goals were really highlight, real goals.
Q. Mason, all three of you guys and most of your teammates have never been deep in the playoffs. They have a lot of guys that have been in this situation one year ago. Does the experience factor mean anything when you start off a series tonight?
MASON RAYMOND: We got a few guys in the room. Manny has been there, Mikael has been there, Max has been there. We picked their brains a little bit. There’s a huge core of us that have been deep in the playoffs, a couple rounds now, have learned from those experiences.
But maybe so, I don’t know. If we have questions to ask, we’re all leaning on one another, especially those guys that have gone this far.
Q. Alain, what about Manny, did you get advice?
COACH VIGNEAULT: We got good advice from Manny and Christian, both who played with San Jose, and this coaching staff. They shared with us obviously their tendency and what they like to do, come up with a plan, see how it works out.
Q. You played some fairly entertaining, up-tempo games with these guys all season, especially that one in March. Is that the type of series we can expect?
COACH VIGNEAULT: The game in March, I’m hoping to stay away from that one a little bit, where we gave up a little bit more than 40 shots there.
Obviously they’re offensively gifted. They’ve got size and skill. I think in that game we gave them quite a few power plays where they were able to test our penalty killing and test our goaltender on quite a few occasions.
I think this game will be hard-fought. There will be some offensive chances on both sides. It should be very entertaining for our fans. I think everybody is excited. We’re looking forward to starting this. I’m sure they’re looking forward to starting this series. Should be a lot of fun.
Q. They’ve had more power-plays than any team in the playoffs, but their percentage of success is nowhere near most of the other teams in the post-season. Is that a sleeping giant that you would rather just stay sleeping?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, I mean, they’ve got a lot of skill up front. They got Boyle on D, who is one of the best power?play defensemen in the league. It’s obviously not something I’d like to do, give them a lot of power?plays.
We’re going to play hard, I know they’re going to play hard, we’ll see what happens.
Q. How do they stack up as a team once they get below the hash marks?
COACH VIGNEAULT: They’re a great puck?protection team. Each line, they’ve got either the size, the speed or that power forward that can make it real hard on the opposition. They try and grind you out. So obviously in our coverage, in our zone here, we’re going to have to be real strong one?on?one. I’m confident that we will be.
I think we can match up well against them. Should be hard?fought.
Q. They’ve got seven 20-goal-scorers in their lineup. How challenging is that depth of offense?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Their top three lines, I think we’ve talked about this quite a few times, about the balance they have up front on those top three lines, where they can all score. They all have good hockey sense. So it’s going to be a real challenge for our forwards and our D. We’re going to have to work as a five-man pack, five?man unit, both offensively and defensively. I’m confident that we can do it.
Q. Will you need more depth in your scoring? 14 goals against Nashville in a six-game series.
COACH VIGNEAULT: I think we’re going to need contributions from different sources. I don’t think any team at this time of year that wins doesn’t win without that, whether it be getting the contribution from our top players or our defensemen or maybe your third and fourth lines that come in and helps out offensively. That’s how teams move forward. You need to get those contributions.
Q. Their depth dictates that your fourth line is going to have to play more in this series?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Most fourth lines, if you look through, they play from five to nine minutes depending on the game, depending on the tempo, the rhythm of that game.
I’ve been always open to give our fourth line around eight to ten minutes a game. Some games I have been, some games I haven’t. But when we have used them, I think we’re a better team when they do have those four lines. We have a better pace, a better tempo. Hopefully we can do that tonight.
Q. (Question regarding Nashville.)
COACH VIGNEAULT: I mean, obviously we moved on from Nashville. I’ll give Nashville more credit than you do. I think they had some real good talent that played real hard. It was a real tough series. We were happy we won.
Now we’re going to focus on San Jose.
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About Canucks and Beyond
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]