Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/06/09 at 02:55 PM ET
Q. Can you compare what you sensed from your team in terms of what it’s thinking about right now, and the one you played for in Anaheim going into that Game 5?
COACH BYLSMA: I wasn’t ready for that one (laughing). You know, I think you know you have to win one on the road as the road team. In both the situations, you feel like you miss those opportunities in Game 1, you had to really fight back to get back to even. And this is a game where we think we’re going to have to play our best.
We think they’re going to come out really hard, and we think they’re going to play a very good game after having regrouped and coming home with their fans here. And this is going to be, in my estimation, probably the hardest fought game will be here tonight. To this point.
Q. Can you talk about the way that Brooks Orpik has played in this postseason for you guys after the year he had last year?
COACH BYLSMA: Well, Brooks Orpik is a guy that I think a lot of teams are looking for that element in their defensive corps - a guy who can skate well and punish the other team’s skill players in the offensive zone. And he does that repeatedly. He’s a physical presence every night. And guys know when he’s out there, and you know, I think as his game has improved last year and this year with his positioning and being patient, letting the game come to him and still getting those hits and being a factor that way, I think his game continues to improve.
So he adds that physical element with a guy who can skate with the best the opposition has to offer. That’s a huge asset for us. And something I think the other teams are aware of.
Q. First game the end boards gave you a lot of trouble and caused some weird bounces. Did you remind the players about the end boards today? Did you talk about that?
COACH BYLSMA: Always. Again, it’s not something new. There are other buildings that are like this one here, and it’s pretty standard for us to talk about the bounces and the situations you’ll see in a game or practice it in morning skate or talk about it in terms of pucks going wide on the power play and being ready for those situations.
So this is not the only rink. It’s not a new twist or turn that’s unique to this situation. But we certainly will talk about it more than once today.
Q. Have you noticed instances where your team’s familiarity with Marian Hossa’s game has helped contain him?
COACH BYLSMA: Well, I think certainly the guys, a lot of the guys on our squad do know him well and what his strengths are. But knowing how to play him I think comes from not just having played with him, but he’s a big body, he’s exceptional down low. And sometimes the more you go after him physically, the better he gets because he spins off, and he’s so quick to the net after that.
So, you know, I think it helps to have played with him. But I think it doesn’t take long to watch and see and scout him just a little bit to know that he’s exceptional down low. He spins off guys. He’s very good with his body positioning getting to the net. Then he’s very quick with his hands to be able to translate that into scoring opportunities.
So it does help that we’re aware of him. But if Mike Yeo was any good at coaching, he would have already made our players aware of that, which he is.
Q. Does the addition of Datsyuk on the power play change how you attack the penalty kill?
COACH BYLSMA: I don’t think it changes how we attack the penalty kill. It’s just that you’re aware of certain players’ skill set, and what they do and what they do well. So, again, if you have Dan Bylsma on the half wall or Pavel Datsyuk, you worry a lot more about 13. So you have to be aware of what his strengths are and what he can do. And we’ve been preparing for him like he was going to play for a couple of games now.
So if he’s out there tonight, we’ll be ready for what he brings. Hopefully we can keep him in check.
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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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