Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 05/29/08 at 12:28 AM ET
The transcript of the Q&A for Penguins coach Michel Therrien after game three.
Q. I’d like to start by just asking you, I saw you, at one point during the second period, you were having a chat with Sidney on the bench. How would you describe the game your captain played tonight?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: On a big challenge like tonight, we approached our team, that was a huge challenge for us. It wasn’t any different than Game 5 we played at home against the Rangers and Game 5 we played at home against the Flyers. We approach it like a challenge. And there’s no doubt that we’re looking for your best player to bring an A‑game.
And certainly Sid did that tonight.
Q. Could you talk about any kind of different preparations you did for this game, and what you did differently once the game started?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Well, we were focusing more before the game about our structure, how we’re supposed to play.
I think the intention was there. Our work ethic was there in Game 2, but our structure was not. And we approach it with the team, and with the result that we got. And the way that we played brought us to the Stanley Cup Finals. And we have to make sure we stay focused playing the right way, playing our system, and bring your work ethic, bring your character to the players we’ve got tonight. And we’re glad we finally got the first win.
Q. In the first couple of games, Holmstrom was allowed to do what he wanted in front of the night. Tonight that obviously stopped. Was that something you spoke to the team about, if he goes there, we have to make him pay the price?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: You want him to feel your presence, there’s no doubt. But at the same time, you don’t want to take a penalty. There’s a fine line. We took some penalties. And you’ve got to make sure that we still feel our presence. But in the meantime, we can’t take a penalty.
Q. When Crosby was asked this morning about his game in Games 1 and 2, he said he really wouldn’t change anything. He liked the way he was playing. Did you agree with that, or do you think he took it to another level tonight?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: I thought he played well. I thought he played well the first two games. Sometimes the results are not always there. You can’t judge players on goals and assists.
As coaches, we pay attention on different things. I thought that his work ethic was there. He stuck to the plan. That’s what you’re looking for from your captain, show an example. And good players, when the challenge is there, they like to play those type of games.
Q. Is it fair to say Evgeni Malkin was a little more inspired tonight?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: He played well. He got some chances, got some quality shots. He worked really well both sides of the ice, both sides of the puck. If Gino keeps playing like this, you know eventually he’s going to get rewarded.
Q. We know that Sidney Crosby is probably the best player on the ice tonight. But what about your 42‑year‑old veteran, Gary Roberts, seemed like he generated a lot of energy? He also played with Sid and Hossa tonight.
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Yeah, I like to spot Gary with different lines, because with the energy that he brings, he’s such a character player. He played for real, that guy. He’s a real hockey player.
And I’m glad. It’s fun to see that Adam Hall and Gary Roberts got reward for the winning goals. And I’m sure Adam Hall had his most important goal of his career. This guy has a checking role with our team, killing penalty. And getting reward, with Gary on the ice, and Gary got an assist. It’s fun to see.
Q. Can you comment on your team’s physical play overall?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Yeah, we’re physical. It’s not something that we’re afraid. When we ‑ when we’re in the position to play hard, we always play hard. That’s just something we did all year long. So even against a tough team, even against rivalry teams, like Brooks Orpik, that one shift, I think he got four huge hits. And gave a lot of momentum to the bench, and got the crowd so involved. So that was pretty unique to see.
Q. Getting what arguably is a must‑win here in Pittsburgh, where you’ve now won 17 straight, how does tonight’s game transpose into Saturday night’s game and carrying momentum forth?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: You know what, for a lot of those players, this is their first win at the Stanley Cup Final, and it’s huge for them. And it’s huge for the confidence, especially the way that we play at home, the way that the crowd supports our team.
And like we said yesterday, we were here, there was no panic with our club, because we like ‑ this has been three months we haven’t lost a game here. And I like the way we play.
So there’s no doubt that confidence‑wise that’s a huge lift for those young kids.
Q. It seemed your team wasn’t going anywhere, the first 14 minutes you were being outshot 9‑1. You put Malkin with Crosby and Hossa and it seemed to give your team life, and you got the goal a couple of minutes later. Did you just decide it was time to change things?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Well, the first 10 minutes, I’ll say we were a little bit on our heels. And we’re a young team. And it’s a process with those young guys. So it’s normal that they were a bit nervous.
Tried to change momentum. And tried to bring more speed. And certainly after the last 10 minutes of the first period, I think we really took over that period. And we were capable to bring that momentum to that second period and get the lead.
Q. What can you say about the goaltender, he kept his composure, especially in the third period?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Marc‑Andre, he’s one of the reasons why we’re here. And he’s one of the reasons why we won tonight. He makes some key saves. I like his composure. He makes fabulous saves tonight when the game was tied. So I’m really pleased for him.
He gave us a chance to win. This is what you’re looking for from your goalie. Give your team the chance to win, and certainly he did that tonight.
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