Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 05/26/08 at 01:56 PM ET
The transcript of Coach Michel Therrien’s remarks today.
Q. What’s your power play need to do to change its luck tonight?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: You have to look at the big picture about our power play. And I thought we got some quality shots last game. We didn’t get the bounce we were looking for. We got some traffic.
Our power play, we’re second in the playoffs. The only teams that is ahead of us is Calgary. They played one round. So there is no sense to panic with our power play. Special teams are crucial, we all know, and could make a big difference in games.
But I’m looking more, like, the big picture. And we’ve been pretty successful so far.
Q. What is it you’re looking for from Talbot and moving him to the Malkin line?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Maxime, he’s a guy that brings energy. He’s bringing a lot of intensity to his team and with his linemates. And that can be contagious at times.
They played together through the regular season for a few games. So this is not new for them. And they did really well. And sometimes players like Malkin and Sykora could need that spark plug from a guy like Talbot.
Q. Staal had 29 goals last year and only 12 this year, but was still a major impact player for you guys. Can you comment on his development into maybe a complete player that could be coming in the future with the 30 goals on the defense?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: With Jordan, it’s a process. And last year, he was only 18 years old. We didn’t want to give him the responsibility to be a centerman, really demanding the way we try to play for a centerman. And we feel comfortable right now with Crosby, Malkin, and Staal.
But last year he was more like a left winger. We wanted to make sure that he knows the League. I thought this year he was ready for the challenge. I’ll tell you something, he’s really dependable.
I don’t think too much about numbers. Last year, yes, that was nice he scored 29 goals. But that was kind of a surprise for everyone. The year before in Peterborough is when he scored 26 goals. And that was a surprise. We want him to be, eventually, good both ways, play both really well, both ways of the ice, both ways of the puck.
He scored some big goals for us in the playoffs. But I will tell you something, for a kid who is 19 years old, always ‑ most of the time when we got the last change, it was playing against the top player in the League, and he did a fabulous job. He’s doing a good job in the penalty killing. He’s there for a second unit of power play. But that’s a process with him. He’s still in the development program, because he could have played Junior this year.
Q. Franzen is going to be in tonight. What challenges does he bring to your team, even though he didn’t skate for two weeks, and he’s only practiced for a few days?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Well, obviously, he’s a good player. He’s got a lot of success this year in the playoffs. And the one thing, he’s going to have to be ready to play playoff hockey. And that means with all the intensity, with all the contact, and it’s demanding.
Those types of games are demanding. But we’re aware he’s a good player. But in the meantime, for us, we’re going to play hard. We’re not going to give any free pass. So it’s a plus for them. But in the meantime, we saw players coming in against Ottawa, and Alfredsson came back after an injury. We saw Timonen came back for the Flyers for Game 5. It’s tough for players to miss certain time of games and practices and jump into a game. The timing is not always there.
But he’s a good player, one of their best players right now. But he’s not going to have any free pass.
Q. You said yesterday that you talked before practice about playing better. What specific challenges have you made to your guys heading into Game 2 tonight?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Lots of things. But I thought we got a good start in the first period with the puck. And we’re capable to generate scoring chances with our speed, and we’re capable to draw a penalty because we’re quick on the puck.
I didn’t like the way we played in the second and third. They picked up their game; we didn’t respond very well when they picked up their game. And we need better effort from everyone tonight. And we did that in the past. It was not a good game for us. It happened.
But we always bounce back. So I’m expecting our team is going to bounce back tonight.
Q. I know they’re different players, but what you just said about Franzen, what does that mean for you and Gary Roberts tonight?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Well, he brings intensity. We want to have Gary back, like I said, in our lineup. We just need to take the right timing.
You bring experience. He brings intensity. He’s a tough guy to play against. And for him it means a lot to be back in our lineup. We understand that. And he’s going to give everything he has for his teammates, I’m convinced of that.
Q. I know you addressed this before. If you could just talk about Evgeni Malkin and some of the struggles he’s had lately, and just today he told us at times he feels uncomfortable on the point on the power play. Are you worried at all about his performance the last couple of games, just a young player?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: As I mentioned, our power play has been pretty effective. I’m going to repeat myself. We’re second in the League right now in the playoffs. And one of the reasons why we’re in the finals is because of the power play.
So I don’t see any problem with our power play. He knows he needs to be better. We addressed it with him. He knows. We want him to be a leader, like I said yesterday. Just the same message today. We want him to be a leader, and he’s got to respond as a leader.
And when we lost Sid through the course of the season, I wanted him to be a leader, and he responded really well. And we need him to be a leader for us every game.
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