Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/06/07 at 03:07 PM ET
Q. Coach, do you have the Ducks right where you want them, back in Anaheim down 3-1?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: We have to win a game here if we have a chance in this series. At any rate, we have to win a game here. That’s the position we’ve put ourselves in after Game 1 and 2 and so tonight is an opportunity.
Q. What do you have to do tonight that’s different? Or just really play like you did in period one of -
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: That’s the key, play 60 minutes. I’m not sure what happened in second period. We had breakdowns, gave up odd-man opportunities, two of them, and they took advantage of it. And I think that’s the thing that we try to impress upon our players more than anything, is that play the way you’re supposed to play, play your position, and if they beat you, it will be because of good play rather than plays that we’ve allowed them to make.
And I think all the goals the other night were exactly that reasoning.
Q. We have McAmmond available tonight?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I don’t know. He’s been on the training table since I went in there. He’s doing a little off-ice workout right now, and we will have to wait until game time.
The one thing I want to be clear about here, this guy’s not going to play if there’s any possibility that he’s not going to be as close to 100% as he can be. I just don’t think in a career you do that to anybody.
And the doctors and the trainers are going to tell me that he can play, and then Dean’s going to tell me that he wants to play.
Q. Just to follow up on what you just said about how in the last game you felt you were beat because of mistakes you made, do you feel that’s the way the whole series - has this team beaten you or have you beaten yourselves?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: They’re a good hockey team. I maintain every time you play - and we went through different situations with New Jersey and Buffalo, in particular, where when they made a mistake, positioning, whatever, we were able to capitalize. And that’s what Anaheim have done to us.
We’ve chased the puck behind the net when there was no chance of forechecking. We’ve stood in with our defense on a couple of occasions and they got two-on-one break that we got caught flat-footed on the winning goal the other night on a change that was a bad change.
There was a reason for it. It was a bad change. But when a team takes advantage of it, you have to give them a fair amount of credit for that as well.
Q. These 5:00 games, you did not practice the last two times you’re here; would you like to have today just to change it up?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: We wanted to the last two times. I heard commentary that we made a mistake not doing it. They won’t give us the ice until 10:30 in the morning.
When I was a general manager, we had policy, I believe, and they tell me it’s not in existence, and I’m not sure why we do this, but when games started - I remember playing in Boston at 1:00 in the afternoon. And if you wanted to practice at 7:00 in the morning, you were allowed to. We asked them for ice time here. They said you can have 10:30.
And I said well, that’s fine. What time are you going on the ice? We’ll go on at 9:00 or 9:30. That’s good; we’ll go at 7:00. They wouldn’t let us go before them.
I thought the NHL would give that allowance to us, but that wasn’t the case. So yes, we wanted to practice this morning. As I said yesterday, we would even go out with the officials this morning and play shinny, and they wouldn’t let us do that.
Q. But they made them last week?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: The referees or the players? (Laughing).
Q. Can you talk about the momentum switch, the surge you guys would get to win tonight, and then to go back home with a chance to get really back in the series?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I don’t think it’s any different any game, I really don’t. I think you come to the building. You get yourself ready to play. You play a good game and then you have to do the same thing the next night.
And I don’t think in the playoff like this that there’s, because you win tonight, you’re going to be a lot better on Saturday night. I think you just play individual games as you are. You wait for good goaltending or good break or whatever it maybe may be. So I’d like to go back home; understatement. But beyond that, we’ll just have to worry about tonight. Play the game as well as we can and as hard as we can and hope that works out for us.
Q. Being down 3-1, is the psyche of the team a little fragile, do you remind them some things aren’t going to go our way out there but stay resilient, don’t let it snowball on you?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: You always have decisions in sport. You can come in, compete real hard for 60 minutes, or you can get discouraged and not compete all the way through.
And we’ve asked our guys - and I’ve been in both situations where I had a team down and we kicked them because they didn’t compete very hard in the game.
In reverse, there are other games where you get a team down, they battle you right to the very end. So we saw that with Buffalo and New Jersey. And the games were not easy at the end. We were winning 3-1 in the series, too.
I want our guys to play as hard as they can, as well as they ask. And win or lose, be proud of what they did in this hockey game.
Q. When you were down 0-2, I know you pointed out the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had been down 0-2 and came back to the Pistons, in this situation, is there any model you use for inspiration that you can pass onto your guys?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I would. Team Canada in ‘72 you would remember that watching the games, but I don’t think any of my players remember that. But I do. ‘72, they were losing 3-1. Everybody wrote them off they went to Moscow and won the series. That’s one. Many examples. Every one of us have any longevity in hockey. I’ve been down with a team 3-0 and come back and won four straight. I’ve been the head of St. Louis Blues my first year in Detroit, winning 3 to 1 and lost 4-3. We had them. Yzerman got hurt, and all of a sudden, things turned around.
So over time and over years there are examples, good and bad, of what happened. So all we have to worry about is winning the game tonight, playing well tonight, win the game tonight, and then we’ll worry about Saturday night at that point.
Q. What specifically did you see last game that you can really cling to as if this was a real positive that you can take into tonight?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think the first period. I think the intensity and the work ethic in the first period, I think we got real anxious in the second period. We stop doing things positionally that we have to do. But I’ve seen the team over the years, second half of the year in the playoffs in particular where there was a lot of adversity.
People had us all fired and out of here. We were making eight trades and doing all kinds of things, and the guys hung tough together, won games. In a couple of cases where it was a real difficult test for us and won the game. So this is a pretty good group of guys. They’re a competitive group. They’ve handled some good and bad this year.
But they’re good people, and I think they’ll show up and play accordingly.
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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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