Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/30/07 at 02:27 PM ET
Q. Randy, with the salary cap, are we going to see a lot of parity, lot of different teams in the Stanley Cup Finals, like the Super Bowl, you have different teams every year?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I think that the distribution of the talent was very evident in the regular season this year for sure. If you look at the number of teams that were able to achieve 100 points, you look at the competitiveness to make the playoffs, teams 1 through 8, both divisions, were very, very tightly grouped.
And I think that’s closer to the norm. And part of that reason is the salary cap, and people are somewhat on a level playing field by the structure of it.
Q. I know this isn’t on the forefront now, but what do you make of any possibility of Kunitz being able to play at some point in the series?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: That’s not even a question for us at this point. That whole issue would be very, very doubtful from our standpoint until the doctors basically give the player, any player, the green light to play. It would be, I guess, pretty early to make any statement with a player that’s got pins in his hands.
Q. Are there any pros and cons for skating the morning when you have an early start and Monday’s result?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Is there pros and cons to skating? It’s an optional. Some players like to skate in the morning. Some players don’t. When we played regular season games throughout, we never skated on the 5:00. But what we did is we practiced later in the day the day before. That’s really what we did yesterday.
But with the playoffs, there’s somewhat of a new routine where we make sure that the players check into the hotel the day of the game, then there’s a meal set at this building and then some of the players prefer to go out and eat on their own, they’ve been eating at one certain restaurant, 10 or 12 guys, all year. So why break the routine. But they all come back and check into the hotel for their pre-game nap and that we think is something that helps them focus, get prepared as a group.
Q. Randy, you hesitated in being very critical of players whose play you haven’t been happy with, whether publicly or privately. How important is it when you do that you’re consistent and everybody gets treated the same way regardless of their role?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think you guys are making it out like I was jumping all over Getzlaf. I just stated I wasn’t happy with some things. I don’t think I was really that critical of the individual. The statement was that he did some things in the hockey game in the end that won the hockey game for us. Parts of his game. I guess you would say with every player you’re never 100 percent happy with. Criticism of Getzlaf in my mind was very, very minor.
I just didn’t like some of the things that were happening, but he knows how I deal with those situations. I talked to him on the ice and no big deal.
Q. I know it’s happened with Teemu in the past -
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: That’s not criticism. I don’t criticize the players publicly. I don’t criticize the players openly to the point where I’m making a statement in the media. That’s incorrect.
Q. Coach, I was just wondering, your big three on the blueline get a lion’s share of the attention for what they do because they play the lion’s share. Can you talk a little bit about what Sean O’Donnell has brought to the team this year?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: He’s a big-bodied defenseman. We acquired him last year at the trade deadline. He made a huge contribution on our blueline with the two series that we were able to win last year, first against Calgary in seven games and then in Colorado. He was under contract. We knew when we acquired him. And we liked his size. We liked his ability to keep the front of the net clear.
He’s a good teammate. Those are all assets that have allowed this player to play the number of years and to be as effective as he has.
Q. Coach, as you look at the makeup of your fourth line, what good stuff they did in that Game 1, is this the most confidence perhaps you’ve had in the fourth line in a while and feel free to use them as much as possible?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think it’s the most - health; health has been the reason that we’ve limited the fourth line. And I think it would be unfair to throw two young kids, specifically in the Carter and Motzko, in a playoff series that you’re going to go with them consistently.
I think you have to share the minutes. You have to space their minutes out. I think you have to - obviously when you have last change and you’re at home, it makes a big difference. And we think that those players are capable. But I don’t want to put them in situations that they can’t have success.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what the difference has been between this year and last year and why you guys have been able to kind of pick up where you left off last year and go further?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I think we’ve said it and we made a statement and said it a thousand times that after we lost to Edmonton in the conference final last year, we made a statement that growth that we had shown and the steps we had taken forward, we were not going to accept mediocrity, and our group understood that. And then the exclamation point was put on that with the acquisition of Chris Pronger.
We were serious about taking the next step and moving forward and trying to become an elite hockey team. And we had a great start to the season. We didn’t have a tremendous amount of turnover. We only had a couple of additions. I think there was three or four players that were not back with us, and our group was pretty much put together early in the summer. And their consistency of knowing one another and familiarity was huge.
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