Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 06/03/11 at 08:32 PM ET
Q. Everyone is talking about creating more traffic in front of Luongo there. You seem to present the size. How much more help do you need of guys getting in his face?
ZDENO CHARA: I think it’s got to be a commitment from everybody, be willing to do that job, not just on power-plays. Obviously, five-on-five, whatever situation that is.
Q. Z, can you talk about on the power-play screening the goaltender, talk about the specific skills besides blocking the view of the goalie?
ZDENO CHARA: I think it’s a combination of being aware of where the puck is, obviously you have to be in the right position. Really, it’s just basically having the right instinct, where your feel the puck’s going to be, kind of predict a little bit, too.
Q. All these years of playing defense on a penalty kill, clearing other people out from in front of your net, are you able to use that to your advantage at the other end?
ZDENO CHARA: Like I said, again, it’s one of those things that it’s always a little battle for positioning, not to be too deep or too high in the crease.
Again, you have to read off how everybody else is reacting on the ice, on different puck positions, so…
It’s one of those things.
Q. Z, after each tough loss in the playoffs, you have bounced back. What has made you such a resilient team?
ZDENO CHARA: You know, like everybody else knows, in the playoffs a win is a win, a loss is a loss. You have to regroup after each game. Can’t be getting too high or too low. You lose a game, you have to move on, get ready for the next one.
You know, it’s just one of those things. You have to kind of park it and move on.
Q. Zdeno, these two teams have never met in the playoffs before. Game 1 was pretty chippy and rough and physical. Is that maybe to be expected because of where the two teams are, so close to what they eventually want to get?
ZDENO CHARA: It’s pretty natural. In the finals, you’re going to have a lot of emotions, a lot of energies after a few days off. I think it’s normal. Everybody competes harder. Everyone wants to win the battles and races. That’s just pretty natural I think for the playoffs in general. Obviously when you’re in the finals, it always picks up.
Q. Zdeno, you’ve been a defenseman your whole life. On the power-play, you’re in front of the net trying to tip pucks. Do you enjoy the role? Is it strange? Is it a hard time of year to learn the role?
ZDENO CHARA: It’s not that I’m learning it. I was in that role before. Obviously it’s a little bit different from being on the point. But I think the main purpose of the whole thing is the same: you have to be willing to do whatever it takes. All five guys have to do their jobs on the power-play to be successful.
You know, whatever position I’m on or in, I just try to do my best.
Q. Z, can you describe what it’s been like playing with Dennis in the Stanley Cup playoffs?
ZDENO CHARA: Very exciting. He’s a very steady defenseman. He really picked up his game, especially offensively, logging a lot of minutes, playing all the situations. We are both same, I would say, as far as off-ice workouts. We like to do always extra, being fit. He’s just one of those guys that’s been really fun to play with.
Q. Zdeno, all that talk about being on the power-play. When is the last time you have to take a faceoff?
ZDENO CHARA: Again, I used to take those, again, in Ottawa. It’s just one of those things that sometimes I was used for those faceoffs. I don’t know, it’s been a while obviously. But, you know, when there’s need, I don’t mind it.
Q. Milan, from a personal standpoint, production-wise, what do you think about the way things are going? What is your mindset?
MILAN LUCIC: Yeah, obviously I had a breakout year scoring as much as I did with 30 goals and leading the team in points. You know, coming into the playoffs, obviously you want production. You want to step up and get big goals and make big plays.
But also in my game, in my role, I bring a lot of other elements to our line and to the team. I think that’s what makes our line so productive, is that we’re just not all about scoring; we can go out there and maybe create momentum off hits and having a strong forecheck, doing other things like that.
Q. You’re a local guy. Are there distractions? What has that situation been like?
MILAN LUCIC: You know, obviously I’m from here, so people are definitely going to want to see you and want your time. But this is the most important time of year.
After this series, I’ll be back here in the summer, so they can see me as much as they want.
Q. Milan, just talk about the speed you notice from them going through the neutral zone, what you have to do to contain it.
MILAN LUCIC: They’re a fast team. I think they do create a lot by creating that speed through the neutral zone. For us, we just got to do whatever we can, be in the right positions.
We’ve faced fast teams throughout this playoff run so far with Montréal and Tampa. They were both teams that knew how to create scoring chances by creating speed through that neutral zone.
For us, we just got to kind of focus on just getting ourselves in the right position and having our sticks on the ice. Where there’s a chance, we got to take the body in and try to get them to go where we want them to go.
Q. Z, your thoughts on playing the Sedins the other night, what you felt you did good to defend against them?
ZDENO CHARA: You always have to be aware of them, where they are on the ice, like I said before. They’re very quick to move the puck. They’re finding each other real well. They’re moving for each other.
You just have to be always looking around, be in the right position.
Q. For both of you. Some players like the long layoff between games, others hate it. How do you feel? How have you spent your time?
MILAN LUCIC: Well, we didn’t practice yesterday. We got a practice today. When you wait five days, sometimes you want to get right back at it after such an emotional win in Game 7. It’s something we can’t control.
But when you have two days off between games, you have time to rest and get that little bit of extra rest. Like I talked about, there’s times from a player and coaching standpoint, we can go over video and have a little more extra time to adjust.
Q. After Game 1 in the media you talked about proving that the Bruins could play with this team and made a comment to proving to the media you can do that. Has there been an us-against-the-world mentality, the Bruins being the so-called underdog in the series?
MILAN LUCIC: Well, that’s not the way we feel. We have confidence in each other. Like I said, we feel like we deserve to be here and there’s a reason why we made it to the Stanley Cup finals.
There were times where we were the better team last game, and there were times obviously they were the better team last game.
You know, it’s clear that you guys aren’t giving us much of a chance. Just got to do whatever we can to prove people wrong.
Q. Against a lot of teams you play, you have a hate on kind of naturally. Do you have to try to manufacture one here or does that not have to be done because it’s the final? Can you discuss the way this team when it’s in trouble seems to rebound and play their best?
MILAN LUCIC: Yeah, it’s a playoff series. This is playing Vancouver, a team we don’t play too often. We play them one time a year. You definitely want to create that hate for them early. I think it was created. You saw the scrum at the end of that first period there.
Yeah, for our team response, you know, when we lose a game, we’ve always taken the next game as a challenge of getting ourselves back in it. I think that’s the maturity in the team that we’ve been able to create this year from the years past, is that we were able to, you know, deal well with that pressure and make plays under pressure, and step up to play in big games.
Tomorrow is definitely a big game for us. We want to do what we did in the last couple series.
Q. Zdeno, I just wanted to know what is your first memory of the Stanley Cup? What do you think it means to see players like yourself and Marian Hossa competing to people back home in Slovakia?
ZDENO CHARA: I think the coverage goes all the way back there. I think it’s exciting. I haven’t talked to anybody from the players. I just talk to my family. I know they are very excited for me.
It’s a big thing, especially if you consider how small Slovakia is. We are only really a small number of players in NHL now.
But it’s exciting to be in the finals. I’m enjoying it. Obviously wishing for a better result in Game 2. That’s about it.
Q. And your earliest memories of the Stanley Cup, do you have any idea what it was?
ZDENO CHARA: Well, the first finals I saw in ‘92, Pittsburgh playing Minnesota, I think. That was the first time I saw the Stanley Cup finals on TV.
Q. Having seen the hit on you by Hamhuis, how do you feel about that hit?
MILAN LUCIC: I didn’t get a chance to see the replay. It’s the first time I’ve ever actually been hit like that and gone all the way over. It’s obviously unfortunate for the Canucks that he got hurt. If it was late, it was late. But you can’t change anything from what happened in it.
Q. Milan, it wasn’t too long ago you were coming into this league as a rookie. Can you compare or give me some idea what it’s been like for Tyler, how he’s handled it?
MILAN LUCIC: He’s handled it I think real well. Obviously his situation is a lot different than mine, being a second overall pick compared to me, who surprised a lot of people by just making the team. He had a lot of expectations coming in, a lot of people around him. I think he’s dealt with it real well.
Our leadership group and our veteran players have helped him mature throughout the season. I think a sign of that was you see how he responded after sitting out the first two series of this playoffs. He was able to step in and play the way that he did.
He was professional about it. He wasn’t pouting that he wasn’t in the lineup. He wasn’t being a bad guy because he wasn’t in the lineup. He understood what was going on. It’s great to see him grow as a player and as a person, as an 18-year-old turning 19. Looking back how I dealt with it, it’s kind of the same way.
Q. Milan, Claude Julien talked about getting a better start after the first game. What do you have to do to get that better start in Game 2?
MILAN LUCIC: Well, I think the main thing is we got to get the puck right off the start and we have to get it in deep and play in the opposition’s zone, just like they did to us last game. They got the puck, went forward with it. They didn’t waste any time. They got it in deep and they went to work.
I think we have to do the same thing to have a good start. In order to do that, obviously winning that first faceoff is key. Like I said, we got to move forward and move up. Everyone’s got to be on their toes trying to push the play and not wait to see what they have.
Q. I just wondered if you could talk about what you need to do specifically as a group to get more quality chances on Roberto Luongo?
MILAN LUCIC: It’s been the same since the first series. I mean, you look at where most of our goals are scored. It’s in front of the net, getting in those dirty areas, getting those rebounds and fighting for pucks. Their defense does a really good job of battling with whoever’s in front of net.
Our guys go to the net. For us, we got to get there, create a screen. Like I said, we got to find those loose pucks, work hard, bear down once we get those opportunities.
Q. With how physical Game 1 was, do you think that’s something you can maintain throughout the series, and will that play to your advantage?
MILAN LUCIC: Well, it’s tough to say. Obviously we play well when we play that physical type of game. We need to play physical and have that presence when we’re out there.
But you look at Vancouver’s last series against San Jose, they also played a very physical game against them. They didn’t shy away from guys like Ryane Clowe and Douglas Murray and Joe Thornton, those type of guys. It was almost the other way, they went after them.
As a team, we expected them to be physical. Time will tell if it will play in our favor.
Q. Milan, you talked about the negativity around the team a little bit from the media. Game 2, how important it is, going back to Boston, how much are you looking forward to getting back out there in Game 2?
MILAN LUCIC: Yeah, as media goes, obviously we can’t control what you guys say. That’s why we try not to watch or read too much of what you guys say.
For us it’s definitely a big opportunity going into Game 2. We know we have to play better, we need to play better. We need to play the way we did prior coming into this series to give ourselves a chance to win.
They finished first in the league, in the standings, for a reason. They beat the three teams before us to get here for a reason. They’re a really good team. They beat us in Game 1 because they played better than us.
Like I said after the game, I felt like we worked hard, but also we need to work that much harder in order to get that win if we want it.
Be the first to comment.
Add a Comment
Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.
Most Recent Blog Posts
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com