Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 06/01/08 at 03:39 PM ET
The transcript of a short interview with Marc-Andre Fleury today.
Update 2:58pm ET: Sidney Crosby transcript has been added below
Update 4:48pm ET: Marian Hossa and Jordan Staal have been added below.
Update 4:55pm ET: Darryl Sydor has been added.
Q. Do you expect any nerves? You guys haven’t been in a situation where the Cup is in the building?
MARC‑ANDRE FLEURY: Well, we’ll be pretty excited. It’s a good reason for us to not quit and keep playing hard and trying to have every chance for Pittsburgh.
Q. Are you still seeing that one pop over your shoulder from last night?
MARC‑ANDRE FLEURY: Yeah, I thought about it for a while.
It’s definitely lousy to lose a game.
Q. How confident is this team right now?
MARC‑ANDRE FLEURY: I think everybody is still very confident. When we can play with them, we’ll show them the best we can do.
Q. You now know you have to win two in Detroit. But the standard line seems to be only worrying about winning Game 5?
MARC‑ANDRE FLEURY: That’s what we want right now. Go out there, get the win, and come back to Pittsburgh.
Q. Is there anything more you can do given how well you’ve played these last two games?
MARC‑ANDRE FLEURY: If I can stop more pucks and we score more goals, we’ll be all right.
Q. Do you expect a little closer game now in Detroit than we saw, given what you’ve seen out there?
MARC‑ANDRE FLEURY: Definitely. I think the way we played the last two games, if we keep doing the same thing, we should be seeing a win again.
Q. Everyone talks about the start, you got a good start. But Detroit seems to be the most dominant in the third period. Doubled the shots, doubled the number of power plays, what is it about them that you guys haven’t been able to match?
MARC‑ANDRE FLEURY: Everything we said, those are big numbers and we’ve got to get more shots, more pucks. They have such good guys with the puck. If we can be disciplined in the third and try to get some more shots.
Q. Was it deflating for you when your teammates couldn’t convert on the five‑on‑three?
MARC‑ANDRE FLEURY: You know, it’s very hard. I know earlier all along they scored a lot of those, and it’s always difficult when you cannot put it in. But I know they tried hard. They try to do a job, and I just have to worry about mine.
SIDNEY CROSBY: I’m pretty confident when I go out there that usually when I’m playing well, I’m going to get out there and get opportunities.
So it’s never been an issue. It’s not an issue now. I think it’s always easy to analyze things when you lose. And that’s one of them. But I don’t think it’s really a question. I mean, you’d have all four lines rolling. That’s how you win games. So that doesn’t change.
Q. You guys have faced adversity before, but you haven’t faced elimination yet. What do you sense is the mood of the team heading back to Detroit?
SIDNEY CROSBY: We know what we have to do. We’ve got to win to stay alive. It’s pretty clear and simple. So that’s the way we’re looking at it. We’re going to be desperate here tomorrow night. And all we focus on is winning that game.
Q. After Games 1 and 2, things didn’t go as well as you wanted in those two games. Do you think the nerves will be gone and you’ll be able to be a different team in Detroit this time?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I think so. We’ve got to make sure that we play the same way. I thought we did a pretty good job last night. The game could have gone either way. But as long as we play the same way and we’re patient and play the way we’re supposed to, we give ourselves a chance.
Q. There were nerves in Games 1 and 2, you admitted. Could there possibly be nerves when the Cup is in the building, and there’s all that energy and excitement?
SIDNEY CROSBY: We’ve got to leave it out there. I don’t think there’s really anything to be nervous about, besides leaving it all out there and seeing what happens. Like I said, we have to make sure we empty the tank and play desperate and see where that takes us.
But I think we learned from Games 1 and 2 and realize that we play our game. And we’re going to create chances, and we’ll give ourselves a better chance to win.
Q. Has a night’s sleep tempered the frustration and discipline from last night to put it behind you?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Just like other games, nobody likes to lose. At the same time, you come here today and you regroup and get ready for the next one. That doesn’t change. So everyone talks about being disappointed, but I don’t think anyone ever likes to lose, whether it’s Game 4 or 1. It’s simple. And to make sure that we bounce back.
Q. Everyone talks about the start, but in the third period it seems where Detroit may have been at the best. They have outscored you 6‑1, doubled the shots, and more power plays. What can you guys do different in the third?
SIDNEY CROSBY: We’ve been a good third period team. I think discipline will be big. Make sure we stir the box, give ourselves some momentum, and make sure we’re consistent. In the third period you have to turn it up a notch, and we have to make sure we do that.
Q. Is confidence an issue or do you guys still believe that every shift you can go toe‑to‑toe?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Confidence is an issue. We know when we play our game, we’ll create things. And we’ve shown that. So I really believe if we play our game that we’ve got a great chance to win.
Q. How frustrating was not being able to convert on the five‑on‑three?
SIDNEY CROSBY: It’s tough. I mean, you get a chance like that, you want to take advantage of it. But that’s hockey. I mean, we still had time after that to score late in the game. So I mean, that’s part of hockey you want to take advantage of those chances, but sometimes you don’t. And you have to move on.
Q. Will playing desperate give you the edge you need?
SIDNEY CROSBY: We hope so. I mean, I think we’ve played hard throughout the series.
But when you’re facing that point, sometimes it brings out the best in you. So we’re going to go out there and leave it all out there and see what happens.
Q. You were asked about your ice time. Is there anything strategically or tactically you can do different?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I don’t think so. If you look at the last couple of games, they haven’t really got that much, as far as scoring chances. And we’ve done a pretty good job of really limiting them.
They’ve got a lot of shots, but especially last game, there wasn’t as many quality ones as maybe in the past three games. So we’ve done a pretty good job of limiting their chances. And we’ve created our own as well.
So it’s the nature of playoff hockey. It’s tight; and I’m sure if you talk with them, they don’t feel like they’re free‑wheeling out there either. It’s a tight game, and it came down to one goal last night, and we didn’t get it. We’ll get that opportunity again hopefully and change it around.
Q. You’ve been asked about it ad nauseam, about Geno’s production, but when anyone in this locker room talks about him and supports him, is that the mind‑set, the extent of your teammate, you know, the production is there?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Whether it’s him or anyone else, it’s a tough time of year. It’s the time where you have to fight through a lot of things. It’s not always easy. And that’s just part of the playoffs, and you have to battle through that. It’s a test mentally, too. So he believes in himself. We believe in him. And we’ve gotten this far as we start together, and that’s the way it’s going to start.
Q. Even after the five‑on‑three, you were down one. How much did you guys think you were going to get one in there?
SIDNEY CROSBY: You always think that. When you stop thinking that, there’s a problem, probably shouldn’t be out there. You get an opportunity to put in a goal, you’re down one, we have a lot of guys capable with the puck. And we were buzzing around a bit. And it didn’t go in. But that happens. And like I said, you move on.
Q. You were 2‑1 back there, but can you talk about the scenario it is right now, having to battle back from 3‑1?
SIDNEY CROSBY: The way you look at it, you’ve got to win one. That’s really the way to look at it. You can’t look at it as winning the next three. You have to look at it as winning one. And that’s our goal to get back here. So really you don’t have to really look beyond the next game. And we’ve been in these scenarios before, I think, at different parts in our careers. And you just have to make sure you dig deep and find a way.
Staal & Hossa
Q. Fellows, you obviously believe you can win the next game, but what makes you believe you can win the next game?
MARIAN HOSSA: Twenty-three guys in the room, us.
Q. What do you say to each other?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, everybody knows how important it’s going to be next game, and we don’t even have to talk about it. Everybody just knows it, and we know what it’s going to take to win the game. It’s going to be extra difficult, but we are prepared and willing to do everything in our power to win the next game, and do the next step.
Q. Jordan, a lot of the hockey experts are saying—it’s 3-1 Red Wings. A lot of them are conceding the Cup to the Wings. How do you feel about that?
JORDAN STAAL: We try not to think about it, really. Again, it’s one game at a time and you just try not to worry about all the other stuff around us. We know how to play hockey. We know how to win. We just have to go out and do it one step at a time.
Q. Jordan, you know Evgeni Malkin pretty well. What have these last few days been like, a lot of criticism and pressure, last night obviously upset about the game, his lack of production. Is there anything you can say to him? How do you feel about his treatment?
JORDAN STAAL: I don’t know. I think, obviously, he’s playing hard. It’s not his lack of effort. And obviously he’s a great hockey player. And at times it doesn’t seem to go his way. And a lot of players have gone through it. It’s just bad timing. But again, we all know what he can do in the dressing room, and we know he’ll step up when the time’s right.
Q. Where are you guys at? I guess mentally, in so many ways, that seemed to be a devastating loss having the lead on home ice and not being able to capitalize. Are you guys fragile emotionally? What’s it like in the room right now?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, obviously it was disappointing last night, especially in a great start. I think we played a pretty good game. But the other team scored two goals. We scored only one. We have to find a way to score. And that’s the main area we have to improve, especially on special teams on the power play. And that’s going to be our focus going into Game 5. And we just have to be better on the power play.
Q. Marian, speaking of the power play, their strategy seemed to be they amped up the pressure. What are you going to do? If they come at you guys, is there a way you can take advantage of that with open space?
MARIAN HOSSA: On the power play?
MARIAN HOSSA: I think we have to be more relaxed. Like everybody, we got so many young guys, and we sometimes try so many things really well and squeezing the sticks really hard. We just have to relax and play with more confidence on the power play and just I think we’ll be fine. We had great power plays. And right now I think we tried to do everything so quick. And obviously, they’re doing a good job. We have to give them credit. But we have to be clearly more patient and find a low risk option and maybe shoot the puck more with the traffic.
Q. The third period in this series has been tilted very much in their direction. It’s 6-1 score, 45-24 shots. Why do you think that is? And is it really just a matter of one bounce? Is that the case?
JORDAN STAAL: I think every game has been real tight. Obviously, you know, there have been a lot of one goal games. And we believe a lot of different things could have changed the game, and the opportunities that we got and the stuff we didn’t bury. And I think third period, it’s been our best period all year long and it feels sometimes we don’t have that extra, that extra bounce like you’re saying. If we can get it for the next three games.
Q. So they’ve been taking your third periods away, which was a bit of a trademark, and you scored a lot of goals in the playoffs. Goals were never a problem. Now they are. Is this just a case of them being that good a team, or does a lot of the fault or problem fall on your dressing room?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, I think we have to give them lots of credit. I mean, they’re an extremely good hockey club, and there is not much room up there. When there is, we’ve got—seems like difficulty to score the goals. And we’re creating chances, but they’re not clean chances like we had before, because they’re tracking back really hard. Obviously, have to work hard to get open space. It’s a little bit of both. You have to give them credit, too. They’re playing a great system, and it’s really tough to find space there.
Q. Jordan, how is the leg or lower body injury you may have had in Game 4, are you feeling okay?
JORDAN STAAL: Yeah, feels fine. Had a blocked shot on my foot and just bruised a little. When I took off my skate it started swelling up a bit. But it feels fine today.
Q. Do you feel, after four games of this series, you haven’t tested [Red Wings goaltender] Chris Osgood enough to be deserving of being anything but down 1-3?
MARIAN HOSSA: I think, like I said before, they’re doing an extremely great job in their zone. And I don’t think being tested—we had so much power in our offense. And we couldn’t get clean, clean chances like we did in the three previous rounds. And it is frustrating, because we know we could score more goals. But right now they’re doing an excellent job defensively. And just it’s really frustrating, because I believe we can score more goals.
Q. Is it possible that some of the players weren’t producing, are counting too much perhaps on Sidney [Crosby] to lead them? He’s only 20 years old, to lead this team?
JORDAN STAAL: I don’t think so. I think everyone on this team obviously wants to produce in their own way. And everyone really knows their role on the team. And we’re not counting on Sid to score three goals every night. Everyone wants to contribute in their own way. But obviously he’s a great player, and he’s led us obviously in one big game in Pittsburgh. And he’s been unbelievable throughout the whole playoffs. The way he works hard and the way the guys follow him, he’s been nothing but one of the best leaders I’ve ever been in front of.
Q. After the first couple of games of this series in this building, where fair to say I think, they carried the majority of the play, what is your confidence level coming back into this building with everything on the line?
DARRYL SYDOR: It’s obviously a good question. The first two games weren’t obviously what we wanted it to be. But I think those nerves are out of our system now. And the last two games we’ve played well, and we had opportunities last night. Obviously we didn’t capitalize when we needed to. But I think we’re focused right now. Obviously, the old cliche is just one day at a time. But I don’t see it being a problem coming into this building and playing well.
Q. You’ve been in this situation before, facing elimination in the Stanley Cup Final. What can you talk to the guys about? What can you impart to these guys about what it’s going to take, about what you have to do at this point?
DARRYL SYDOR: Yeah, I’ve been there with Tampa. We had to go into Calgary and win Game 6. And that was a pretty hostile environment there. And what happens is that fourth game is the toughest game to win for a team to try to close it out. But the team that wants to keep playing, plays with a lot of desperation and urgency, keeps it simple and just never says die. And that’s what we’re going to do tomorrow. We’re going to make it very tough.
Q. Is that a Stanley Cup ring on your finger?
DARRYL SYDOR: That’s the Dallas one.
Q. You wearing that with a purpose for yourself or your teammates?
DARRYL SYDOR: That’s what I’ve always done, I’ve always worn my rings in the playoffs. Just kind of reminds me of how hard it is to try and get these.
Q. You mentioned the desperation level. Do you think the team has lacked some desperation maybe in some of the losses earlier in the series?
DARRYL SYDOR: No, I don’t think we’ve lacked desperation. Breakdown of the games, Game 1 was kind of like we were in awe and gave a lot of respect instead of just going out and playing our game. And Game 2 we played better. And Game 3 we had a lot of puck control. And then in Game 4 we didn’t have that puck control. And they did. Although we had a lot of scoring, more scoring opportunities, we just need to capitalize. And we need to defend well. We can talk about scoring all we want, but we need to defend well, and we’ll get opportunities. That’s what we’ve done the whole second half of this season. And first three rounds, we defended well both offensively and defensively, and we’ve created opportunities, and we’ve had success from it.
Q. First three rounds you guys were pretty much owning the third period. Now they are. Why? Why do you think that is?
DARRYL SYDOR: I’m not sure. It just comes down to puck management. Right now they have it. And we need to just be confident and composed. And you look at their second goal was—it wasn’t the prettiest goal, but it was the winning goal. That’s what’s it’s going to be. The two teams are similar. They both want the winning goal. They both want the puck. They’re better with the puck. That’s one of our goals, we need better puck management.
Q. How deflating is it in the third period when you have an opportunity on a five on three and five on four to convert a goal and they shut you down?
DARRYL SYDOR: Obviously, it doesn’t give you a boost of confidence. But that’s the way the games are. There’s breaks here and there. I think our power play started off well, and then the second period we had another power play at the end of the period that we never really got anything going. But obviously had an opportunity on a five-on-three to score, and we didn’t. But that’s the cards that we were dealt with. So we had to move on and we had some more opportunities and just never worked out.
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