Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 06/15/11 at 04:10 PM ET
On being excited for Game 7 despite being focused…
There is no doubt that everybody is excited about this opportunity. But like you said you got to stay the course. I think it’s served us well. Our group right now seems calm and focused and ready to do the job. Our team if it gets stressed out has never performed well so I don’t expect us or I don’t want us to go out there stressed out. I expect our team to go out there excited and determined to do the job. So far I haven’t seen anything different than that.
On what the most important thing is for the team to focus on tonight…
Lots of energy, energy so that we can focus on putting pucks in deep and forechecking and the physicality of our game, the fact that we need to get to the front of the net like we’ve done every time that we’ve had success. If we can do that again, offensively our game is going to be a lot better. I don’t have much complaints about our defensive game here in Vancouver but certainly our offensive game has got to be better today.
On the speculation that Nathan Horton will play tonight…
Let me cut your question short. Absolutely no. It’s ridiculous. So let’s put an end to that.
On his observations on the hockey cultures of Boston and Vancouver…
I’m a Canadian. I know what Canadian cities are all about. And this is an opportunity for Vancouver to win their first Stanley Cup so you can understand the excitement here but at the same time you got to understand that Boston is one of those championship cities that have won in regards to all the different sports. And when you get used to winning you want more. And the one thing you haven’t had is a Stanley Cup since 1972. So they want it just as bad as the Vancouver fans do. So sometimes when you look at it from the inside and you see how fans react and so on and so forth and you say is that acceptable? Well at the same time that’s what excitement creates and it works both ways. So as long as it doesn’t cross the line I think it’s a great thing for both cities.
On what this game means to Zdeno Chara…
Well he’s thinking the same thing as everybody else. There’s, I don’t think there’s a player in there that thinks any differently and everybody would like to see a Cup for different types of players, and that includes both teams. You’d like them to win for this and for that, and we’re no different from our end of it. And whether it’s Tim [Thomas],whether it’s the way Timmy’s played, whether it’s a lot of different things. Guys that have come in from, [Patrice] Bergeron from a serious concussion years back where we thought his career was done, that’s our side of it. And like I said there’ a lot of reasons to want to win this for different people and right now [Nathan] Horton’s the guy that we’re talking about. And at the end of the day like I said, the winning team is going to have a lot of reason to celebrate this series. And everybody knows it’ll have been a hard-fought series. And again, winner takes all tonight and we’re willing to live with that.
On this possibly being Mark Recchi’s last game…
Well I guess that’ll be his choice once it’s all said and done. And I know he’s expressed the fact that if we win the Stanley Cup, he’s done. Not because I want him to retire but I’d like to see him win another Stanley Cup. He’s been great for us. We can’t say enough. We’ve talked about him all year and maybe his speed isn’t where it might have been at some point, but his experience has certainly made up for that. He’s contributed in a lot of different ways and scored some big goals and obviously made some big plays at opportune times. He’s a guy that shows up every game no matter what the situation is.
On Terry Francona reaching out to him…
Well he certainly, he made that effort to reach out to me and called me and just wished me all the luck. He said he admired what our team had done this year, and you know he’s the first guy to say, ‘I’m not the most knowledgeable hockey guy’ and he enjoys what we’ve done so far. And certainly he’s on our bandwagon for sure. I know we’ve been on theirs. It just seems, we just seem to blend well, the Sox and the Bruins for sure. We are all cheering for all our local teams, but he’s been good. It was nice of him to reach out to me and I certainly appreciate that. We say Bill Belichick at the game. It’s not always about talk, it’s about action and he showed up and to me that showed me his support and Doc Rivers, the same thing. We’ve ran into each other in the hallway, so I like the way that the coaches in Boston really support each other and certainly I am one of those guys who is in that group.
On if he ever excepted the drama that has happened in this series…
I mean drama is working different ways and in different series. For us right now you can say what you want but the drama doesn’t matter right now when it’s a game seven. So it’s not about really putting a lot of thought into that more than it’s in the past and I think we need to sell the game as a great game seven today.
On how Johnny Boychuk is handling the backlash after Mason Raymond’s injury…
No, I’m not worried about Johnny Boychuk, but I do honestly worry about Mason Raymond. Those are, we talk about those kinds of injuries and they’re unfortunate, they really are. And whatever happens, whether it’s concussions, whether it’s other things, this is a job and when guys are making a living out of this the last thing you want to see is something that could jeopardize their career. And to me, I know he was in an unfortunate position, I didn’t see any extra, any extra reason to try and injure him more than he was in a bad position and it as unfortunate. I’m more worried about him, hoping he gets better. And Johnny is strong enough, he’s not going to, when you know as a player you didn’t mean to do it you don’t have to worry about the psyche. If it’s something that was done in a cheap manner then you would. But Johnny certainly didn’t intend on hurting him and right now we feel for Mason Raymond, honestly. And no matter what happens tonight, we hope he gets better quickly.
On playing a penalty free game in Game 7 against Tampa Bay…
I don’t know if it really matters because he’s been physical so far and it hasn’t affected our game. We can say right now in this series that the penalties cost us a game, so we just have to go out there and play, there are no guarantees that just because there were no penalties in the last game seven that it is going to be the same. To be honest with you, I doubt it, the way it’s been played. But nonetheless I think our focus has to remain the same. Good penalty killing and hopefully our power play does a good job tonight. And five-on-five we have to bring our best game.
On the changes in the game day routine after making the trip to Vancouver…
You know I don’t think it was all about that. We skated yesterday, we felt that after a long flight it might be a good thing. To me, the time that we have slotted for morning skate is a little too close to game time with the travel to the hotel and back and forth, it’s really more of a negative than it is a positive. So we chose to skate yesterday and our guys are still doing their stuff here today, and honestly, this isn’t the time to find excuses, this is a time to find answers. And our answers will lye in the way we play today and nothing else but that.
On what he will do during his summer vacation…
I probably won’t have one. Not at this time of year, I think by the time I decide to take a vacation, it will be time to get ready for next season.
On what sticks out in his mind from Games 1 through 6…
Yeah, it seems like every game has been different. And for us what we thought about, just our preparation and the process about what we need to and the little things, that’s I think, where we’ve come out our strongest. You know, both teams have done a good job feeding off their crowds and both teams have played better at home. I think going into a game seven, everything gets put aside and whichever team brings their best tonight will obviously come out on top. You know you’ve just got to, like I said, our focus right now is just worrying about our preparation and the process that it takes in order to winning one game here.
On the lifts the teams have gotten from teammates recovering from injury…
Well yeah there is a lot of great stories like that, that’s for sure. It obviously was lifting for them when Manny [Malhotra] came back. Regardless of whether he is your teammate or not, you never want to see a guy go down with an injury like that and its great that he is able to recover from that. But for us it was kind of like a spark almost, was lit underneath us when Nathan [Horton] took that hit. Like you said, we were able to ride that wave. I don’t know what to say going into this game. I mean, we have Nathan [Horton] here and they have Manny [Malhotra] in the line-up. And hopefully we can find that momentum that we found in Boston.
On his key to deliver at the proper moments throughout his career…
Just staying in the moment and not thinking too far ahead. Going out there and laying everything on the line. I said the other day, you know, have no regrets. That’s something that has always stuck with me and today is no different. You’ve got to go out there and leave it all out there. I know I could give you every cliché in the book but it is true you know, it comes down to one game here. And there is a long time to rest and to heal after a game like this. So there should be no reason why you cant leave everything on the ice and empty the tank.
On if he had trouble sleeping before playing Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final in his hometown…
Actually I didn’t [laughs]. You know regardless of where you’re playing this game it is a big game but like you said it’s at home so it kind of makes it extra special. But you know with all the travel and all of that, with it being such a long series, it has been pretty easy to get to bed early.
On the first thing that went through his head when he woke up…
You know, here we go. Another game seven. Another game seven for the Stanley Cup. It doesn’t get any better than this. We’ve been through this twice before, we’ve just got to do the same things we did the in the last two games.
On if he prepares the same way for this game as he has for other big games in his career…
Well I’m going to try. Try to approach it the same way we did game six. It’s do or die for both teams. And just make sure that you’re, like I said focusing on things we need to do to be successful.
On if there is anyone in particular he is thinking about while preparing for this game…
Well you know when it’s all said and there will definitely be a lot of people that I’ll be thinking about. Some will be here, some that aren’t here. There’s enough stuff to think about right now. And not have to worry about that stuff so try and put that stuff in the back of my mind for now and just worry about the game.
Q. Question about what the Bruins need bring to Game 7, playing in Vancouver.
TYLER SEGUIN: It’s going to take more than it did last time. We have to do things different than last time. We have to go out and finish strong.
Q. Luongo has been wildly inconsistent. Which Luongo shows up tonight?
TYLER SEGUIN: That’s up to him.
Q. With the home thing there, is there anything you guys try to envision being at home? Bring Rene Rancourt along?
TYLER SEGUIN: I think especially going into a game like this, you’ve got to zone out everything. Just worry about what’s going on on the ice.
If we hear boos, obviously we’re doing something right and that’s our focus.
Q. During this run, do you have time to think about where you were last year at this time, in your first year being in a run like this?
TYLER SEGUIN: It’s very cool. Definitely you it’s something you dream of and look forward to and now that it’s happening. I don’t want to sit back too much, or I might miss the opportunity.
Q. What do you think this will do for you going forward, playing in Game 7 Finals?
TYLER SEQUIN: Definitely helps your experience. It helped me out just being a young guy and definitely will help out my career going forward.
Q. Nervous at all?
TYLER SEGUIN: I don’t feel nervous right now, no. I think I know what I need to do. Our team knows what we need to do and we need to do it.
Q. How important is a good, early start putting pressure on Luongo?
TYLER SEGUIN: I think both teams will come out bangin’. Obviously we want to match their intensity, so that’s our mind-set going in and what we want to accomplish.
Q. Question about what Game 7 will be like tonight.
SHAWN THORNTON: It will be unbelievable. It has been all year. I expect nothing but the best from everybody on this team for Game 7.
Q. How do you feel?
SHAWN THORNTON: I just got out of bed 20 minutes ago, but so far I feel pretty good. Once I have breakfast and coffee, I will feel better.
Q. How many coffees will it take?
SHAWN THORNTON: We’ll see. As many as I can get into me, I’m sure.
Q. Question about Mark Recchi and the possibility of this being his last game.
SHAWN THORNTON: I had a glass of wine with him yesterday and probably one of the last glasses before the game, ever. Everyone appreciates Reccs and everything he’s done for us here. I’m a big supporter of his, so hopefully it will be great for him.
Q. Question about what the guys on the team who have won the Cup already will say to the team before Game 7.
SHAWN THORNTON: I’m sure some things will be said. I don’t know what yet, but words are words. Everyone has to show up to play. It’s action tonight. Say whatever one likes, but it’s playing that counts.
Q. With the defense being a bit banged up, how important is the forecheck?
SHAWN THORNTON: Not even just that, we’re a good team when we have pressure on us. So as always, it will need to be important.
Q. Are you sick of hearing about the home ice thing?
SHAWN THORNTON: Well, you’ve got to talk about it because of the way it’s went. But in order for us to win, we had to win one in this building anyhow, so it will have to be tonight if it’s going to happen.
Q. What’s it meant to have Nathan Horton around?
SHAWN THORNTON: He’s awesome. He really puts everyone in a better mood, always has a smile on his face. Anytime you can have a guy like that around, it’s great.
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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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