Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 05/12/08 at 02:25 PM ET
An interview today with Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett.
Q. Talk about tonight, going into play and how do you guide your team not to play too desperate because your backs are against the wall?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: We have to come in, and our focus now is to come play the best game of the series. We thought our team struggled with energy the first game. The second game we thought we did stuff that’s more indicative of how we did in the playoffs so far.
Now you have to take that to a new level, and that’s what we talked about with our players. And we have to find a way to win a hockey game and get ourselves back in the series.
Q. Can you talk about Jere Lehtinen and give us an update on him for tonight?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: It will be questionable. He got some treatment. We’ll see if he can take warmup tonight. And if he gives us the go, he’s a go. If not, he’ll be on the sidelines. He’s close, but we’ll see.
Q. If he doesn’t, who will go in for him?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: We have a number of options, we have B.J. Crombeen or Chris Conner, one of those two will be the guy to go in for him.
Q. What do you like about Conner? It’s been a while since he played, but this is a team he grew up against, he’s got a lot of speed?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: Speed would be the big factor there. The pace of the game is pretty quick out there. He’s a guy that had a great training camp for us last year. But when we have called him up from the minors, in and out, he’s given us a real spark. And if he goes in, that’s exactly what we’ll be looking for from him tonight. He’s a guy that’s great on the forecheck, creates loose pucks. Not an overly physical guy, but a tenacious guy. I think this is the kind of series he would fit well in.
Q. Marty talked yesterday about coming back, this is the first time since you’ve been back here since Game 6. Isn’t that the kind of game that can change a season or build a team. Do you draw on those kind of memories?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: You hope so. Because you look at the fans have been unbelievable here. That’s an emotion that you can build on. And our guys right now, we’ve got to find a way to win a hockey game. And any help you can get from the 18,000 behind you, we welcome that help.
So our players, we played very well at home. The last game was a great hockey game at home. Hopefully they can take some of those memories into this game.
But we have to come out and, like I say, have the best game of the series so far for us and find a way to win.
Q. Everybody talks about them being a great puck possession team and they have the puck the whole night and all that. Other than faceoffs, what qualities allow them to do that and how do you try to combat that?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: Puck possession, part of it has been, our faceoffs haven’t been where we’d like them to see, obviously. The percentages that come out of those games, I think, are a little swayed on Detroit’s part and the stats that we take aren’t quite as drastic as the score sheet had them. But still that’s the way to start. You’ve got to start with the puck there. But the other thing it comes down to how well you check.
When you check, you get the puck back. And it’s a situation where when you get the puck, you gotta do good things with it. You gotta keep it.
When you don’t have it, you gotta go get it. I’ve told our players and some of the media around here, I told a Jack Evans story, my first coach in Hartford, I had gone about 20 games. And I was a checker. I had gone about 20 games without scoring.
Jack came over to me one day and said, “Tip, I love the way you’re checking. You’re checking great. Let me give you a bit of advice, when you check a guy you don’t have to give it back to him just so you can check him again. Right? So the work ethic and everything is fine but you gotta be able to do things with the puck. When you have it, do good things with it, execute well with it. When you don’t have it, you gotta check well to get it back.
That’s one of Detroit’s strengths. They’ve got people who can do good things with the puck but they have to work hard to get the puck back. Those are situations where I like some of our work ethic, I like some of our checking. Other times we can do better. But I’d like to see us do more quality things on the execution part with the puck.
Q. Do you feel like your team has gotten frustrated at times by them and what is frustrating about the way they play to a team?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: We haven’t been frustrated by them. We get frustrated by losing. Winning and losing is what we’re in this business about.
When you don’t win, you get frustrated, you’re trying to find ways to win. So it’s a byproduct of not so much, not so much a byproduct of Detroit but a byproduct of us not being able to do what we need to win.
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