Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/21/07 at 07:09 PM ET
Q. Coach, was there any question in your mind about when to pull Giguere at the end of the game?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I guess there’s always a question of when. We just felt that with the face-off and a power play and almost a full two minutes to utilize, it would be the best time to do it.
And as I stated last night, if it works it’s a good move. If it doesn’t work, then you’re open for criticism. But that holds true with a lot of decisions you make as a coach. And that’s just part of the job. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Last night it did.
Q. Given that Giguere has got a trophy on his resume, are you surprised coming into every one of these rounds he’s been in the shadow of the other goaltenders? The first round he didn’t start, and then second round with Hasek, does it surprise you at all?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: It surprises me that you put him there. It’s not us that puts him there. You’re the media; you’re the ones reporting it. That’s what surprises me.
Q. The word resiliency keeps coming from everyone. Where did your team develop that resiliency when you just come back against all odds, so to speak?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I don’t think it’s just something that develops overnight. It developed with our hockey club, I thought, from the last half of last year. Not this season, the season before, with the emergence of our young players, the addition of some of our veteran guys.
Obviously the acquisition of Pronger. It only solidifies those things. And our group started our building for this year at the end of the playoffs against Edmonton. Because we felt that we played some real solid hockey, but we didn’t win. And it’s been well documented that we didn’t get the job done. And what are the reasons for that? Was it because we played poorly? No, I don’t think it was because we played poorly. There were some factors that they outplayed us at, and that’s the way the series ended.
And then when we came back this year we made the decision with our group that we were not going to accept mediocrity and we were going to have to find ways to win games. And this group has been able to deliver on those points. And that’s a contribution from different people on different nights.
But those are the things that you always look for in a good hockey club. And it’s not a situation where we’re saying that this guy has to do it every night. It’s different people have to grab the rope and separate themselves, and that’s usually what happens in the playoffs.
Somebody steps up and has a little extra. And we’re fortunate enough that last night it went our way.
Q. Maybe an extension of that. The suggestion has been made that you’re fortunate to be up 3 games to 2 in this series. How do you respond to that?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, again, we leave that for other people to make those statements to categorize where we’re at. There’s been a lot made about how much they’ve dominated us.
I didn’t see quite the same amount of input in the press when we dominated them in the first game. It wasn’t like there was, you know, the sky was falling or anything at that point. But now it seems that there’s been a much huger exclamation point put on the last two games for them, yet we won both of them.
Q. When you have one of those games, Randy, is it more difficult to impress upon the players that there’s still a lot of things that they’re not doing very well?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I don’t think you really have to impress upon them anything more than what we stated. They know they didn’t play very well. They know our team game has areas to improve. They know that.
They know our discipline has to improve. We stress those things day in, day out. And they take responsibility for their actions. That’s the one thing that has been a staple of our group, and it’s part of our mission statement. If you read the placards in the dressing room, we accept responsibility for where we’re at and our actions.
We don’t point fingers. We’re a group that understands that there’s a higher level in which we have to play to. We understand that there are areas in which we have to continually improve on. And we stress and strive for that.
Q. One more question on that point, Coach. After the game yesterday on NBC Brett Hull and Ray Ferraro both said that Detroit should have no worries about coming in here, taking Game 6 and going back for Game 7 in their own building. Does that kind of talk affect you at all?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: None whatsoever.
Q. Can you talk a bit about Giguere’s space in the last two games. Can you win those two games without him?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think, again, we’ve always asked our goaltenders, and I don’t think we’re any different than any other group, to give you a chance. And some nights he’s required to be more of an outstanding individual than other nights.
And I think that the whole thing about this is that he hasn’t made too many mistakes. He’s played solid. We’ve given up some prime chances where he’s been in position. What we haven’t done is we haven’t given up that second or third chance. And those are the keys that we think that we have to eliminate, yes, A, the A quality scoring chances and not continue to give second and third chances off rebounds.
Q. Is there a certain amount of nervous anxiousness being just one step away from the Finals?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I don’t think that it’s nervousness, anxiousness. It’s all part of the process. And, again, we don’t focus on ifs; we focus on what’s next. And next is the most important game of the year.
And I know I’ve said it at every game, but that’s really the reality of it, if we focus on anything else, then we’re in trouble.
Our mandate is to focus at the task at hand, accept where we’re at, accept the responsibility and go out and play our best game of the year.
Q. Randy, can you tell when a goaltender gets in the other team’s head and is Giggy there with the Red Wings’ scorers?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I don’t know. I can’t tell if the guy is in anybody’s head. I think what it is - we look at it. We assess our goalie and the quality chances we give up, the positioning he’s in, how many rebounds he creates. How many unforced errors that are committed. All those things go into your evaluation of the individual’s performance as far as the other team and their heads.
I’ve got enough heads in my dressing room to worry about than to worry about theirs (laughing).
Q. Giguere has a rather remarkable record in overtime. Is that a mark of a special goaltender?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: It’s a mark that the individual has been able to rise to the occasion and raise the level of his game in intense situations. It gets not a lot of fun where you’re playing overtime and the one shot can beat you. He’s the last line of defense and it takes a lot of courage and a lot of resiliency and a lot of confidence in his style and the way he plays.
That’s a tribute to the individual. Certain players have aspects of their game that come to the forefront and you just have to accept the responsibility, yes, I’ve got to stop the puck. Yes, I don’t want to give up too many rebounds. Yes, I wasn’t to be in position. I don’t want to make any mistakes.
In reality it boils down to what team makes the less mistakes in the hockey game and that usually ends up being the winner.
Q. It seems as much as any other game your team has really needed you these last two games. Can you talk about your ability to raise your level of play in these two?
JEAN-SEBASTIEN GIGUERE: Well, after Game 4 here - which game did we lose? The 5-0 game, whatever, I got toilet-papered at home by Red Wings fans, so I gotta raise my level here. That’s not a lie. I did get toilet-papered. But joke apart, I think we work hard all year to be here, and you gotta put your chips on the table and believe in the cards you have been dealt.
And I think in this dressing room we have a great team. And if we believe in each other and believe in the system, I think we can do a lot of good things. And at this point in time it would be a shame not to go all out, go all in and see what - you gotta believe that your cards are better than the other guy’s cards.
Q. Is there a party now that kind of relishes getting to overtime, given your success in that situation?
JEAN-SEBASTIEN GIGUERE: No, I’d rather, you know, three periods. But like I say, overtime, I think a lot of it has to be a little about luck. You need your players to score that big goal. And it seems that more often than others, the guys in front of me, I’ve been able to score that big goal, and really not giving me that many shots to face.
Every overtime we’ve been in, you know, I haven’t been facing many shots. So I think you gotta give credit to the players. Everybody when we go to overtime raises their level one notch, and when we do that as a team we’re a tough team to beat.
Q. Away from the ice this year, and with the incident with your child being born, did that put things into perspective when you go to the arena, what’s important in life and what’s not as important? As important as going to a Stanley Cup can be, but still other things in life become a little more important?
JEAN-SEBASTIEN GIGUERE: For sure. I always felt that my family was more important than anything. But even having a kid that is only a few days old has already - it puts into perspective that losing a hockey game is not that big a deal after all. You definitely don’t lose sleep over it. Or you shouldn’t lose sleep over it. I lost sleep over my son but not - hockey is just not that important when you see that.
Q. The suggestion is that you guys are fortunate to be leading this series three games to two, and any goalie I’ve met in my life uses the “you gotta be good to be lucky.” Are you guys fortunate to be leading this thing?
JEAN-SEBASTIEN GIGUERE: I thought we played the first couple of games really good. I thought we played really well. And we won one of those. And I thought they played pretty well the last three. And maybe we didn’t play as good as we wanted to. But we’ve already won two of those. So playoff hockey is just about winning. Doesn’t matter how you get there. Just gotta find a way to get that win.
If you ask around the dressing room, everybody will tell you we’re not satisfied with the way we’ve been playing. The good thing is we haven’t been playing as good as we can. And we’re still up 3-2. So that’s a good thing.
And I think if we can just try to stay a little bit more disciplined and really play our game, you know, I really believe in the team.
So I don’t think we’re fortunate. We worked hard all year; we deserve to be where we’re at right now.
Q. Giggy, coming into this run there was a lot of talk about Dominik Hasek. Going into the last run there was a lot of talk about Roberto
Luongo. Did you feel overshadowed at all and were you surprised by it?
JEAN-SEBASTIEN GIGUERE: No, not at all. I’ve been here for seven years now, so I know how things work. I’m pretty happy with that. I don’t really care, to be honest. Dominik is 42 years old. I would talk about him too if I had to. It’s pretty impressive what he’s doing at his age. You gotta give a guy like that a lot of respect. And those guys are in big hockey market. It’s normal they’ll be talked about more. That’s fine by me.
Q. The impact over the course of the season and now in the pressure time that Chris Pronger has made for your team and for you?
JEAN-SEBASTIEN GIGUERE: He gave us a lot of stability at the blueline. You know, we were already a good team with Scotty and the rest of the guys there last year. But when you have - I believe the top three defensemen in the league are playing right now in the series. When you add one of those guys in your lineup, you are just going to be better. You’re going to be a better team and you’re going to be a better player.
Everybody is going to be better because he’s on the ice. He’ll make you look better. Make plays that makes everybody else looks better. Sure makes me look better. So we’re sure glad we have him.
In a big occasion like that, you see that. He raises his game another level to a superstar level and that’s what you need.
Q. Is there an update on the condition of your son and what happened there with his eye?
JEAN-SEBASTIEN GIGUERE: Yes. He’s doing great. How could I put it? It’s a condition he has. We’ve kind of figured that one out. And eventually he will need some surgery on it to see if we can - his eye right now is really small. So the surgery that they can do to try to make his eye bigger and to a normal size. And then from then they gotta go in, see if they can give him some kind of vision.
So the good thing is that his left eye is totally good. Everything is absolutely 100 percent normal. And that’s a big relief.
We’ve ruled out any kind of tumor or anything like that. So everything in that sense is - the baby, he’s as healthy as he can be. Except for his eye, which is it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge for him in his life. He should be able to have a normal life just like anybody else.
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