Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 05/15/08 at 01:42 PM ET
Some questions this morning for Philadelphia coach John Stevens.
Q. What is the status of Braydon Coburn?
COACH STEVENS: Coby’s out today. We were hopeful yesterday. He got on the ice a little bit, but still not ready to play. I think he’s getting closer, but definitely not playing tonight.
Q. So are you going to keep Ryan Parent?
COACH STEVENS: Ryan, absolutely, yes. I was very happy with the way he played. Thought he came in and played very well for, one, being out that long, but a young kid in that situation. So I was actually very impressed with his play, and I would expect him only to get better.
Q. John changed the lines in practice yesterday, he said that was probably something you were going to stick with today. Little skate around today, is that something you are going to stick with?
COACH STEVENS: Yeah, we just thought it was better suited for that aerial attack, so, yeah, we’re going to stick with it. I actually liked the way it looked. Put Vinny in the middle. Vinny’s a great distributor of the puck. He’s got speed down his wings.
And Danny and Richie have been great together all year when they’ve been on the ice together. So, and Hartnell, Danny’s playing with Hartnell, I think that line has an opportunity to have success the way it’s put together. And we’re going to go with it.
Q. Patrick Thoresen coming back in the lineup, what do you expect to get out of him going forward?
COACH STEVENS: Just all of what we’ve seen to this point. He’s a very smart hockey player. He’s very responsible about the puck. He brings a physical element. He’s more physical than people realize. This is a kid that does a lot of little things well, and gives you another penalty kill in your lineup. So he’s played very well this year, and he’s had some very good stretches in the playoffs. And that’s what we’ll see out of him tonight.
Q. What was your message to the players this morning? And did you bring up the Dallas game last night how they forced Game 5?
COACH STEVENS: No, actually, just more of the same from yesterday. We’re looking at one game here. We need to win a hockey game. It’s not a series. It’s not four in a row. It’s one game. As always, we looked at a couple of things I think we need to do better. Couple of adjustments we need to make. But we’re all just getting ready coming here tonight. Trying to get our best game. We always try to get better every game that we play. And we’re looking to have our best game of the playoffs tonight.
Q. How tough was that on Braydon to get that news that he wasn’t going to play, and was that his decision or a medical decision?
COACH STEVENS: Well, both. I mean, we’re not going to put anybody back in the lineup if we don’t feel they’re ready to play, and clearly that’s the case right now. He’s a young kid that wants to play. He’s really kind of distraught right now that he’s not able to play.
But we’re hopeful we’ll win this game today, and we have a couple of days before we play again, and hopefully we can get him back. Just like you talk to Kimmo and you talk to Gags (Gagne) for a long time and now Coby. If you’re a hockey player and you can’t play this time of the year when your team’s playing, it’s harder on them than anybody.
It’s hard on us not having these guys in here. Having been a player and as soon as you’re injured, you’re removed from going on in the competition with your teammates, it’s tough. But he’s got a great future, and he’s been a big part of our success this year. And as soon as he’s ready, we’ll get him back in, but not at the expense of his health.
Q. Just to clarify - was there a setback with Braydon yesterday or he’s just not ready to play?
COACH STEVENS: No setbacks. He got on the ice a little bit yesterday. He felt okay. The swelling has gone down on the eyes, he can see, and he just doesn’t feel quite ready to get back in and play it. I don’t think there are any setbacks. He kind of progressed to a point that he continued to progress where he felt 100% that we’d get him back in. But he’s not there yet. I’m hopeful he’s getting closer. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.
Q. Coach, I know you said it’s not that you’re blaming Downie, but with Thoresen does that mean he’s out and what did you say to him if he is indeed not playing?
COACH STEVENS: Steve is coming out. But it’s just one of those changes we made. Just like we took Patrick out and put Downie in. And I think Downie did some good things in the hockey game, and he brings a lot of fire and energy and gets in on the forecheck.
But, you know, we have Kapanen on the left side, we moved him back over to the right. Now I think he’s more comfortable on the right. And Patrick’s done some good things as well. So I think it was good to get Steve in. I think there’s an opportunity for him to create more offensively when he plays.
We’ll put Patty (Patrick Thoresen) back in there, and that’s just a learning experience. Any time a young player goes in, comes out and goes back in, they’re better prepared the next time. I’m actually going to meet with him again here today when he gets off the ice, and make sure it’s very clear the areas that he needs to get better at, and the things he needs to do to get back in.
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