Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 06/03/08 at 02:24 AM ET
Transcripts for both coaches are below.
First, Pittsburgh Penguins coach Michel Therrien, then Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.
Q. Talk to us about what your team showed us and you tonight?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: They didn’t have to show me. I know my team. I know the character of those guys. And we’re well prepared. We had a really good start.
We’re following our structure. Obviously they really picked up a notch in the third period and ended up scoring the goal when we pulled the goalie. And after that both teams left everything on the ice. And we scored a power play goal.
But you see guys like Ryan Malone receive a shot in the face and come back. And it’s pretty amazing, the price and the sacrifice that a lot of those guys have to pay.
Q. This is a game that was televised across the United States, when people tuned into the local news at 11:00, they were watching this game. Instead of watching Jay Leno, they were watching this game. How much does a game like this help market the game of hockey in the United States?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: (Smiling). That was probably one of the best games for a long time. And it’s fun. Besides the two first games, I think we saw some quality hockey from both teams.
And both teams played really hard and we got a big win here. I think for a young team, we have to be excited about that. But in the meantime, we know that there’s still a lot of hockey to be played.
Q. Couldn’t help noticing that for the first time in this series, and maybe for one of the very few times in the playoffs, you ended up with a five‑man unit: Sykora, Malkin, Malone, Gonchar and Whitney, on the power play. Also, if you could comment on that and also the fact that Gonchar seemed to be taking his first shift, if we’re not mistaken, of the overtime?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: He was not ready to play. They worked on it during the third period and the overtime and they came up to us that he was not 100 percent. But we asked if he was okay to play for the power play, and certainly make a big difference. We decided to go because the power play was not clicking really well, we decided to go with two units. Things that we’ve been working all season long with so many players during the course of the season.
With four minutes, he can’t think only about 30 seconds or one minute, I think, it was the decision that we took behind the bench to go for two units. Even if we were not scoring our first unit, we still could be dangerous out there.
Q. How did you decide on Talbot to be the extra attack when you pulled Marc‑Andre?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: It’s a feeling. Coaches got feelings sometimes. It’s rare ‑ it doesn’t work all the time, but I love Talbot’s game. He was on the puck. He’s got a lot of energy. And one thing you know, you want to put the puck at the net, and he was always around the net.
And honestly it was more of a feeling than anything.
Q. There have been so many people who questioned Marc‑Andre Fleury and his ability to win a game. That’s been addressed?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: That’s going to be huge for him. He was outstanding tonight. He was outstanding in overtime, and both goalies obviously played really well. But no doubt Fleury, probably his most important win in his career.
Q. I think people certainly watching in the stands and at home and looking at the shots on goal, territorial advantage, and say: How did you not win this game? What’s your sense of that?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I mean, I thought we ‑ we had every opportunity to win the game, obviously. And saying that, though, we started slow.
I thought we were really nervous. We never made a play in the first period, for whatever reason. And whether that’s focusing on outcome rather than just process and doing what you always do. You know, we really battled our way back, we had every opportunity. And we had it twice, one at the red line and one on the half wall. And we didn’t get it deep, and we never got it out.
In the end, they scored, and we never scored on our chances in overtime. So that’s the game.
Q. A lot has been said about experience and age in this series, and given the fact that this went into six periods, what does age have an effect in a game like this?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don’t know. I guess ‑ I think what you’re getting at is it should help the young people, is I think what you’re getting at, right? I think a lot of our players are pretty young as well and pretty fit.
I think the hardest thing in a game like this is the mental part. It’s not the physical part. The mind drives the body. Your body can keep going. It’s the mental part.
You were that close, and then, oh, tough. And I think it’s natural to feel bad for us for a bit, and feel bad for yourself. But it’s the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be a battle, and obviously we’re in one.
Q. I guess the mood was on to where do you go from here, how do you get this team now ready to play Game 6 after that many overtimes and travel, in a game you probably thought you weren’t going to have to play with a minute left in this one?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don’t know what you do about that, though. I mean, it happened. We got a game. That’s all there is to it. We’ll have an optional tomorrow. The guys can go right to the flight. And just have to ask ourselves how bad we want to win, and how determined we are. I think the resolve of the group is real good. I think the determination is real good.
It’s not like we didn’t have every opportunity. I believe when you do good things, good things happen. Just do good things again.
Q. Is it fair to say that Marc‑Andre Fleury stole that game, would that be a good way to put it?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I thought he had some help. They got down to five “D”. Their “D” battled real hard. They got off to a good start tonight. They had two goals early. And I hate to see Petr Sykora get that puck late. You just know it’s going in. He’s that kind of guy. He won a game for me like that in Dallas in five overtimes.
So Petr has that ability to score. And Fleury was good, and we didn’t beat them.
Q. Can you talk about the feeling on the bench after that game‑time goal with 34 left?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I didn’t feel like that. I mean, sure you’re disappointed. But we had such a great third period. We outshot them 14‑4. We went into the third period, and we were down. We came out with an opportunity to win the game in overtime.
And so I guess it’s all on how you look at it. Would we have liked to have got the puck out? Sure. Would we have liked to get it out deep when it bounced over Z’s stick over the red line; it didn’t happen that way. I thought ultimately we showed good resolve and played hard. We had lots of opportunities. It doesn’t go in.
Q. Can you give an idea what it’s like to go into a room after that, where you’ve had it so close and you play so long, almost another game, and lose that way, what as a coach do you say or can you say anything to them?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don’t talk after we win, and I don’t talk after we lose. So I don’t have to think of something to say. I’ll deal with that tomorrow.
When I walked in and talked to Lidstrom, basically, and talked to the guys about our plan for tomorrow, basically just said: Hey, it’s not easy. Keep your head up, let’s get going.
But they’re big boys. They understand this.
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