Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/04/09 at 02:54 PM ET
Q. Jordan was playing well versus Carolina, was everywhere on the ice. Now we don’t see him as much. Not as successful. What’s going on with his game?
COACH BYLSMA: I thought Game 3 was much improved over Game 1 and Game 2 from Jordan. Again, each team poses a different kind of obstacle down low in the offensive zone, which is where Jordan is really good. And some teams are physical, some teams are a little more passive?zone type of defensive zone coverage. For a guy like Jordan, who needs physical contact to be good down low, to protect the puck, it’s not there. And it’s just been a bit of an adjustment from the last series to this series.
Another area where the game is tough against Detroit is the neutral zone. They have guys back, four guys back a lot. So the speed through the neutral zone that he did get in other series, it’s tougher to come by right now. So those are areas that we all have to fight through.
He was better in Game 3, and he assured me he’d be better in Game 4 today in morning skate.
Q. I know you guys keep an eye on how many scoring chances, not necessarily a player has, but how many they’re involved in. What is your assessment of Sid last game, and the amount that he was part of generating? And also, can you just address how he leaves no stone unturned in trying to find ways to get better. He’s doing extra video sessions with his linemates this morning in practice. Working on little things that he thought, sort of the way he’s so aggressive about doing that.
COACH BYLSMA: Well, I think Sid has extraordinary skill. That’s not his best skill. The skill is wanting to get better. The drive to get better. Looking for ways to get better. You don’t have to be around very long to see him do that in one way or another. If you’re around a lot, you see him doing it pretty much every day. Whether it’s video or doing small little skill drills in practice or trying to recreate scenarios that he’s going to see, or does see occasionally on a power play.
That’s what he does. In order to have success and have confidence in having success, you have to believe it’s going to happen, but you also have to practice it and work at it. And have success in practice doing it, and he does that every day. Every day. It’s almost he’s better at it now than he used to be.
When he was younger, they had to tell him to stay away from the rink for a day when he needed a rest. Because he always wanted to come and do more and do more.
So he does that every day. That’s almost the beauty of what he brings to our team and the game is that he’s not stopping until he knows he’s gotten the best he can be, and that ain’t ever going to happen. It’s going to be a continual process for him.
Actually, the chances he had in the last game were fewer than the game before. He had a lot in Game 2 and didn’t get the result. But he was around the net again on the power play a couple of times. Got the power play assist. Again, his scoring chances weren’t as high as they were in the previous games. But at the same time his and Geno’s were the highest on the team.
Q. Are you expecting and/or game planning for Datsyuk?
COACH BYLSMA: Right now they’d be lying if he wasn’t in. They say he’s going to play. At least that’s what I’ve read. So we’re planning on him being in the lineup, and possibly more additions as well.
Q. Does that change anything for you?
COACH BYLSMA: Well, I don’t know in what capacity those guys coming in are going to play and how much they’re going to play. They played Zetterberg an awful lot last game. And if I’m assuming that if Datsyuk comes in, that would alleviate some of the pressure on his ice time. But still looking for those guys to be out against our skill players. So I expect the same kind of approach from their team if he’s in.
Q. Especially in the last round, and I’m sure in the other rounds as well, you had a match for Rob Scuderi and how last round it was Eric Staal. It hasn’t been as defined this round. Is it because of the make?up of the Red Wings? Is it something you see? Can you just talk a little bit about why you’ve gotten away from that top-end match?
COACH BYLSMA: Well, they’re, for the most part, they’re using their top line against our skill players. So on the road we had #2 and #4 were out against Zetterberg an awful lot.
At home they’re still using that match?up, but we usually use #2 and #4 away from Sidney’s line to give them #44 and #55 to get a little more puck?moving, offensive flair to that forward unit. That’s why you haven’t seen it as strictly here at home against the other team’s top line as you have normally seen from our team.
Q. You were talking a bit about Sidney and the scoring chances he has. But on that line, are you seeing what you’d like to see out of Chris Kunitz, or is there something missing there?
COACH BYLSMA: I don’t believe ?? I don’t know what the NHL stats were last game for his hits. I think they were 11. I think we had them at 13, the way we count them. That’s a lot of leaving a mark. That’s leaving your mark in a lot of different places. That’s what you count on from the guy. Leaving a mark, being a presence on the forecheck, going and driving to the net.
You know, the one thing that we are facing, we’re facing a very good team. They are diligent defensively. They’re diligent in the “D” zone and quick to get out of there. If you take a still photo of what it looks like in the neutral zone for our team as we execute through the neutral zone, you see four guys back a lot.
So while we’re trying to create offense, we also have to manage the puck well because they are diligent and having four backs.
If you try to go east?west, and make plays in the neutral zone with four back, you’re going to turn it over too much and give them exactly what they need to get back in the other end.
So they’re doing a good job. We need to keep at it. We need to keep at our game. Keep Chris Kunitz with 13, 14 hits and keep leaving his mark. It’s a seven?game series, and we’ve got to play it like we’re initiating and investing for seven games.
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