Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 05/25/11 at 03:59 AM ET
Q. Your team left nothing out there tonight, Todd. What do you say to them?
COACH McLELLAN: Well, again, we left them alone. They’re tired. They’re sore. They’re disappointed. All the feelings that go with losing a series and losing it that way.
We’ll talk when we get back. What will I tell them? Off the top of my head, I’ll tell them I’m proud of them. I thought they competed extremely hard. I’ll tell them I thought we were a better team than we were in the series.
We started to show it in the end of the series.
I’ll tell them we have a tough task ahead of us. First of all, we’re going to get healthy, we’re going to rest over the summer, we’re going to get our butts back to training camp where we’re going to work ourselves right back to this spot again, and we’ll make good on it next time.
Q. The goal itself that won the game, what was your take on that?
COACH McLELLAN: Well, the only guy that knew where the puck was was Kevin Bieksa. He actually bounced it into the net. It’s one of those things that you absolutely have no control over. We can talk about it all we want. It went off a stanchion. When you watch the replay, the officials didn’t know where it was, Niemo didn’t know where it was, Vancouver, San Jose, nobody knew where it was. It came right to Bieksa. One more bounce he probably whiffs on it we’re still playing. Nothing we can do about it.
Q. Joe confirmed he was playing with a separated shoulder. Talk about his courage.
COACH McLELLAN: Obviously, that’s a very courageous game for him to play. He did separate his shoulder last game. It was very painful. Our training staff and doctors did a tremendous job in preparing him to play.
Like I had mentioned to you before, when he comes and tells you he’s playing, he’s playing. I think there was a lot made out of it prior to the game. But we were real confident in that locker room he was going to give us what he had, and he did.
I think it’s a tremendous step for him as an individual and for us as an organization, have your captain show up and play that way.
Q. You said you had a large task ahead of you for this team. Is the window closing for this team in terms of contending for the Cup?
COACH McLELLAN: No. I think that’s ridiculous. We have some very talented players that are under contract. We have a real strong core. We’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. We’ve grown as a team. In my opinion, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t be an elite team again next year, as we were the last three, four, five years. We expect to be there. That’s the standard we live by.
I said earlier, our task ahead of us is to get our asses back here in the Conference Finals and make good on it.
Q. Talk about the play of the Sedin line tonight.
COACH McLELLAN: Well, they’re very good players. I thought tonight the impact they had on the game may have been the least out of the five games in the series. I thought we had the puck a lot. I thought we played in their end a lot, had a lot of shots on goal.
They were without a doubt their best line. They’re tremendous players. They’re so in sync, it’s almost uncanny how they read off of each other. Obviously, Alex Burrows does a very good job on that line to support it.
Q. There was a lot of attention before the game on how your team would respond to the situation.
COACH McLELLAN: Not in our locker room there wasn’t.
Q. Outside. Results aside, are you happy with what you got from your team in this situation?
COACH McLELLAN: From our team, I was. It’s hard to find passengers today. We felt as good as the game wore on. We were playing our fourth line. They were playing three. We felt we had some control of the game.
But we obviously didn’t get the win, and that’s what we came here before. The series itself, we lose a game possibly because of fatigue. We ran out of gas in Game 1. We lose our composure in Game 2. We get to Game 4 and it’s a matter of about four minutes’ worth of penalties. Tonight was bounces, in my opinion. We got better as the series went on.
Q. On the tying goal, did you feel like you got jobbed on the off-side?
COACH McLELLAN: It was an icing call that went off of, I believe, one of the Sedin’s shoulders. It happens real fast. May be hard to catch with the naked eye. Obviously an error. But there’s nothing we’re doing about it now.
Q. (Question regarding the call.)
COACH McLELLAN: We were yelling and screaming, but it wasn’t going to change. There’s been talk, throw the red flag or whatever it is. I guess in that case, we throw it pretty far if we could.
But I think you have to look at it, we played 1200 games. I think the league plays close to 1200 or 1000 games. That’s a lot of red flags thrown out on a nightly basis. I don’t think there’s a coach that would keep it in his pocket. You just use it because you think it might work to your advantage.
We already have timeouts, TV timeouts. Does it slow the game down? I don’t know.
Q. You got behind the eight ball the first two series. The inability to close out Detroit, do you think that impaired your ability here?
COACH McLELLAN: Perhaps. The L.A. series was a very physical series for us, hard-fought six games. Took its toll. We have a lot of guys bumped and bruised and injured. Ryane Clowe played injured the whole playoffs. He’ll need to be repaired.
But the Detroit series did take a lot out of us. When you look at Game 1, I thought fatigue was our biggest factor in this game. You can attribute that to the team in Detroit taking a little bit of our juice away from us, if you will.
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