Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/20/07 at 08:18 PM ET
Q. Mike, 47 seconds left and they tie it up. When you go into the locker room there, how do you keep - especially with some of the younger guys, how do you keep the ball from falling on them, you were that close, and try to get them up? Did you feel you played as strongly as you could have in the overtime or was some of that nagging -
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don’t buy any of that. The playoffs are about adversity. Things go your way, sometimes they don’t. Their power play goals, the six-on-four goal that goes off our stick. It’s unfortunate. We had the chance to Cleary before Zetterberg missed the net. We didn’t get it out the second time. It’s in the back of your net.
But I don’t think - number one, we got a good veteran group in there. I don’t think anyone is dwelling on that. You’re just trying to find a way to get the next one. No one told us this was going to be easy.
We thought we played a pretty good hockey game here tonight. We felt we had our opportunities. They got one on the power play even though it was six-on-four. We didn’t get one on the power play in the end. That’s the game.
Q. Mike, are you worried about this team’s inability to close out the Ducks having played them with large margins of the last three games and still down 3-2?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don’t see it that way. I think it’s the opposite, glass half empty, half full, however you look at it. My belief in this group is we keep coming. It didn’t go the way we wanted here tonight on the score board. But it’s not like we’ve come out and laid two eggs in a row here. I thought we played pretty well. You keep doing good things and it turns. Dom’s ability in the net, we go in there and relax and play. I think that’s the big key for us.
Q. Mike, doesn’t that make it even more difficult, the fact that you basically, from my vantage point, dominated the last two games and you have no ways to show for it?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: My mind doesn’t work like that. I don’t see how it makes it more difficult. If you think the rink’s tilted and the other team is outplaying you, I think - like you got no hope. I think if you believe you do good things and good things happen in life, that you feel pretty good about your situation. Let’s keep playing.
Q. Talking about Lilja today. I think it was the first goal in the playoffs ever and then that last play there?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: It was tough for him. Great shot for Lilja and Lilja has played outstanding for us with his minutes. Gone way up, just with the injuries on the back.
But it’s unfortunate. I mean, maybe Lilja could have gone right out of there, goes back to him. Just mishandles the puck, ends up in our net. If you go over the turnovers in the game, both teams had their fair share. Sometimes it just goes in.
Q. Can you talk about the unpredictability of the shot, for example, Nik sticks his stick out, hits the shaft. That’s the only thing possibly from the angle it happened. After you outplayed them, just the way it is and why it is?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: That’s hockey. But when that break goes our way, we don’t overanalyze that. We just take the break.
When it goes against you, I don’t think you want to spend a whole lot of time analyzing that. I think what we gotta do, we gotta say how can our power play be more dangerous? It hasn’t been dangerous enough in the last two games. Let’s get that part fixed and let’s keep doing the good things we’re doing.
But to me, every team that wins every year in the end has to fight through some adversity. And here’s our opportunity right here.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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