Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 05/29/08 at 02:47 PM ET
Update 1:01pm ET: Interview with Ryan Whitney & Brooks Orpik now added below.
Q. What do you feel like you did better in Game 3 than you had done in the previous two games, and what do you feel like you have to do better still in Game 4?
ADAM HALL: Well, I think we were just able to do a better job limiting our turnovers and forechecking, and I think that was kind of a key to help creating more offense for us.
MAXIME TALBOT: Yeah, we made some little adjustments. And obviously I think that the desperation in and the crowd got us going. Yes, we had a little slow start, but I think after that yesterday it was a cliche but we talked about getting the first goal, and that was huge for us. And we got it, and it was a different game for us. Because it’s easier to play, when you play against the Detroit Red Wings and they have the lead, it’s kind of hard to come back because they’re so smart and experienced.
Q. Max, after you guys got the first goal, did you sense that the Red Wings were pressing a little bit. If so, were you surprised that a team like that would be pressing a little bit?
MAXIME TALBOT: Not at all. They need to press if they want a goal. And obviously they’re a great hockey team and they know what it takes to win. And they came really hard at us. We hold on and when we have the lead, too, I think we’re a hard team to play against. And I think it turns out very good.
Q. Could you guys kind of talk about, generally the feeling how much better it felt to get up today than it did, say, Tuesday or Sunday after the frustration of Games 1 and 2?
ADAM HALL: Yeah, any time you have success like that, it’s going to give everybody a huge boost mentally. And it just makes everything seem worth it. All the effort you put into it. So we feel like we put the same effort into the first two games. But sometimes it’s not just a matter of working hard, you’ve got to work smart as well.
So we feel like once we got back in our building, got our fans behind us, and able to execute a little bit better, it was just great for everybody looking around the room after the game to see everybody in great spirits, having success.
Q. Max, how much inspiration do you draw or does your team draw, do you think, when you see a shift like Orpik had late in the game, basically he’s on a mission?
MAXIME TALBOT: That was awesome. I mean, it was probably one of the loudest moments I’ve seen this crowd going. It was great. And for us, a guy like that brings a lot to the table. And that shift was just amazing. Just having the crowd on your side screaming and stuff. It was amazing.
And you’re on the bench, and it gives us a lot of energy. And you just want to go out there and do the same thing. But obviously you have to be a little smarter because when he finishes his check it’s not just to finish a check, there’s a purpose. And he’s doing really well.
Q. For both you guys, there’s been a lot of talk about systems and making adjustments and all that stuff, but it seems like last night’s game in a lot of ways came down to a bunch of battles for pucks deep in their end, and really, all over the ice. Can talk of systems be a little overrated?
ADAM HALL: Well, you know, it has its place, but obviously, it’s something we talk about, is winning battles. When everybody is confident, when everybody feels good and is playing well, they’re winning battles. They’re in the right position, and they’re using everything, using everybody on the ice to be in position to win those battles.
So when we’re getting to pucks first, using our speed, we’re playing physical, and we’re coming out of the corners with the pucks, that’s when we feel like we’re at our best.
MAXIME TALBOT: I mean, yes, the adjustments were, we made some adjustments. And it’s not just making them, you’ve got to apply them. And I think we talked about it before the game, but what we said is we’ve done it. Can’t really give it away. But it worked out. But obviously you can make any adjustment you want. But if you don’t work, and if you don’t - if you’re not desperate out there, it won’t work.
And I think it was a mix of everything that made us win.
Q. Max, you guys have done real well at home, but Marc-Andre Fleury has an even longer streak. What is it about Marc-Andre, especially here, that makes him such an outstanding goalie?
MAXIME TALBOT: Since Marc came back from his injury, he’s been one, if not the best goalie in the League. He’s awesome out there. He’s loose. He’s having fun. I mean at home, like you said, he’s awesome. But I think on the road, too. All through the playoffs and the season - and you look at the stats, too, yes, he’s got great stats. But you look at collective stats, look at the penalty killing, yes, we’ve been adding Hossa, Gil, Dupuis, that helped a lot. But the best killer is always the goalie, and he’s been awesome out there.
And we would never be here if it wasn’t for him. And I think he matured a lot and it’s awesome to see him out there kicking it and having fun like that.
Q. Max, after a win like last night, how difficult is it to wait two days to play the next game? I’m sure you would have liked to have played tonight.
MAXIME TALBOT: Yes, it would be fun, because obviously we have the momentum on our side. And that’s huge in the Stanley Cup Final. But I mean, sometimes it’s good to just relax a little bit. You look back at what you’ve done, and you have a little bit more time to rest and to think about next game.
So obviously we are really excited. We want to get it back out there. But it’s not bad to have a little rest like that.
Q. How do you classify Crosby as a captain, rah-rah guy, leader by example type of guy, which one?
ADAM HALL: Probably a leader by example. He’s a pretty quiet guy, generally, when it comes to - he’s not a cheerleader on the bench or in the locker room really. He doesn’t say much. He just goes out there, and I think we’ve all said it before. It’s great to see one of your captains be one of your hardest workers out there.
And when he says something in the locker room, he doesn’t speak up often, but when he does, it carries a lot of weight.
MAXIME TALBOT: What impressed me the most about Sid, you look at him, it’s obviously every morning he’s going to bring skills. He’s probably one of the most talented guys in the League. But when you come to practice or just optional skate and you look at him, you’re like, oh my God, that guy, he’s working and the respect for the game, the love for the game and the passion. And what he did last night was just a great example. You have no choice but to follow. I think that’s the reason why we came out like that.
Q. You guys both kill penalties. Are you concerned about the number of power plays the Wings have had, and is there anything you can do to reduce that?
ADAM HALL: Well, obviously, the more special teams you have, the better chance your team is going to have to win. But I think it’s just a matter of being disciplined. Obviously, it’s in our building here and throughout the entire series it’s a lot of emotion.
And it’s one of those things that it’s not always to keep in check. You’re playing for the Stanley Cup. And I think there’s so much at stake that guys are putting everything in the line, it’s not always easy to kind of make sure that you’re in complete control there. Because a lot of times you’re just playing on pure adrenalin. But it’s one of those things that we have to be aware of and try and control as much as we can.
Q. The Wings can throw a lot of weapons at you. And seemed like last night Franzen is one of them. Looked to be his old self. A guy with that size and skill, when he gets moving, what do you do to stop that?
MAXIME TALBOT: His goal was obviously a great goal. You don’t see Roberts get beat too often. It was obviously a great move and a great goal on that, too.
But yes, he played well. I think he played well in Game 2 as well, but you’ve got to take time and space away from these guys. Yes, there’s Franzen and there’s Zetterberg and Datsyuk out there and all these guys are playing really well. To be in their face, I think we did pretty good yesterday. It’s not like it’s about one guy.
We all had to play our system. That’s how you contain guys. We contained Jagr and Richards and Carter through the playoffs and it was a collective effort. And playing the system and playing hard on these guys, I think it can make a difference.
Q. What sort of contact is there between you guys as players and Mario Lemieux, or is he sort of a hands-off owner?
ADAM HALL: You know, he’s been around there to shake guys’ hands after certain games. He’s around every once in a while. But I think for the most part he just kind of lets the team be in the locker room, and that’s about it.
MAXIME TALBOT: I got invited to his golf tournament. It’s awesome. Great owner (smiling) He’s crazy. He’s around sometimes. You see him in the room. I don’t think he wants to be there too much. He just looks at it from the box. I had a chance to watch - when I was hurt on my foot, I had a chance to watch some games with him in the box and everything. You can see he’s still really passionate about the game.
Because you look at him and even after games, he comes in the dressing room. He’s all excited, and I think he’s living that through us. And it’s great.
Q. Adam, could you talk about your season as a whole, the journey you’ve come from missing all that time injured, to missing time healthy, and then going on and scoring a game winner in the Cup final?
ADAM HALL: It’s always tough when you get injured, especially for a long period like that, having surgery and rehabbing and coming back. It was a tough process at the time, trying to get it diagnosed, and then trying to make the right call. What kind of surgery? What exactly do we need to do?
Then looking at the timeframe, where the recovery time was going to be right towards the end of the season. Am I going to be back before the end of the season. And it’s just a credit to everybody, the trainers and the doctors and strength coach we have, and to get me back in time and give me a chance to work my way back into the lineup.
Q. Adam, you grow up thinking you’re going to score a Stanley Cup goal one day, and it’s going to be this great shot off the wing or something and the time finally comes, you’re banking it in off the goalie’s rear end. Can you take us back to how long you dreamed of that goal and what it finally turned into or was that how you dreamed of it?
ADAM HALL: You know, I think every little kid that grows up playing hockey dreams of scoring a goal in the playoffs or to win the Stanley Cup. And I don’t think that - there’s no one way you dream about scoring it, you just kind of dream about the celebration, your teammates rush in.
MAXIME TALBOT: Nice, huh?
ADAM HALL: It was, like I said, one of those situations where you never get to pick and choose what situation you end up in. You just do everything you can out there and just a great feeling.
Q. Max, you said that “we held on.” In the third period there I think they outshot you like 16 to 5. Did you get a feeling you were maybe holding on for dear life. Holding on a little -
MAXIME TALBOT: Not really. I think we had the third goal in and that was a huge goal, obviously, for us. Obviously after that, you know, they got in their speed and it’s normal. They want to come back, and they’re definitely pushing it. And they opened up a little bit the game. And they’re a great offense team, too. We talk about their defense and their system and their experience. But obviously they have a lot of skills.
And they put the pressure on us. And Fleury made some huge saves. But I think we played them pretty well at the end.
Q. Can you take us through the shift that led to Adam’s goal? Looked like it started with you dumping in the corner and Gary Roberts unloading on Lilja. And then also what Gary Roberts meant to you guys last night?
MAXIME TALBOT: Dirty Gary, huh? It’s awesome. I love when the crowd goes for Gary. I think he’s a legend in here. And it’s obviously nice to have him on our side. I wouldn’t want to play against this guy (smiling.) He’s throwing checks out there. He’s giving momentum. He’s always 110 percent. And he’s Gary.
You look at him after a goal or something, during the celebration, and you look in his eyes and you’re kind of scared, you know (smiling) like, oh my God, that guy’s intense. And it’s great. I took the puck and Gary threw a huge body check, and we had a little two-on-two battle and came out with the puck, and Adam was by himself or kind of by himself in front of the net. So I gave it to him and he missed, I don’t know why, (laughter) but he stayed with it, stayed patient and did a great play after that.
And it was awesome. Yesterday, you talked about dreaming about scoring the Stanley Cup Final and stuff, but just being on the ice for goals like that is a great feeling.
Ryan Whitney & Brooks Orpik
Q. Did you get a feeling in the third period yesterday that you were hanging on a little bit in the game and they were coming at you, you did a good job hanging on, but almost feeling like you were hanging on for dear life there?
RYAN WHITNEY: I don’t know. We had to kill off a few penalties. And it seems every playoff game a team is down by a goal or two. They’re going to make a push, especially a team with experience like that. By no means do I think we had a bad third period. They were shooting the puck a little more. They had some power play chances. We held them off. There was no panic when they made it 3-2 on our part. And that made a huge difference.
Q. Brooks, we write a lot about game-winning goals and game-changing saves. Do you as, a defenseman, think that you can win a game with the kind of sequence you had there in the third period?
BROOKS ORPIK: Definitely helps out. Got a lot of scorers, a lot of guys who do different things. Gary Roberts was huge for us last night, physically. And I thought Darryl Sydor, early on in the first period I remember looking up to the scoreboard, the shots were 9?1, which might have been misleading at the time. I thought we were playing fine. They shoot the puck from everywhere.
There was one rush, in particular, where he jumped up in the play, and I think it might have been Hossa found him late. We got about three or four good chances right after that and it kind of seemed to lift the energy on the bench and got the crowd into it a little bit.
That’s the one sequence that really stuck out to me in terms of getting our team turned around there in the first period.
Q. What did you do better in Game 3 than you’ve done in the previous two games, and what do you feel like you want to improve on for Game 4?
RYAN WHITNEY: I don’t know. I know that we really worked on clogging up the neutral zone a little bit better. They did it with us in Detroit. I think we were able to pressure their “D” a little more. And the physicality we brought last night did make a difference. So that’s the one thing we really got to kind of keep doing and along with shooting the puck more. We’d like to maybe outshoot them one game.
BROOKS ORPIK: I thought going, building on that, I think I heard someone today say that we played a near perfect game. And I can count numerous times where we gave up a lot of odd man rushes last night. We were definitely better than we were in the first couple of games. But it was nowhere near a perfect game.
I think the first couple of games their forwards have so much speed. If you turn the puck over and too aggressive on the forecheck, you give them too much space in the neutral zone. That’s where they hurt you. So I thought we did a better job last night neutralizing them in the neutral zone. But I think that’s a lot more room to be gained for us.
Q. Brooks, when you’re in a physical game like that, are the aches and pains the next day a little less severe if you’re more giving than receiving?
BROOKS ORPIK: Yeah, it’s pretty sore today. It always feels a little better when you come out on top. You’re not as ? seems like you’re not as sore. But even those first two games when we were down and the game was maybe a little out of reach there, maybe some people would say we were playing dirty. But I think we were just playing hard and anticipating it to be a long series.
Especially against a team like this, a lot of people say they’re experienced. They do have a lot of older guys on team. So I think the more you can pound on them, it definitely takes its toll during the end of the series.
Q. Brooks, on the shift you had last night that everyone is making reference to, some people are saying you had four hits. Some people said you had five hits. After you come back to the bench, do you even know how many you hit, or this morning when you think back to it, were you just all on adrenalin, do you even know who you ran over?
BROOKS ORPIK: (Smiling) It’s weird, against a team like this, you gotta be really patient. Like I said, their forwards have so much skill and speed. You don’t want to run out of position. Especially the system we play, it’s most of the hitting is defensemen in our zone. We don’t take a lot of chances in neutral zone. And most of those hits, kind of let it come to you. You don’t really go looking for it.
And you just kind of ? the opportunity was there, and when it’s there, this time of the year you really want to make them pay. But like I said, that’s kind of my role on the team. There’s a lot of other guys that do the same thing. It’s something we can just energize the team and crowd with.
Q. What’s the approach to defending Datsyuk and Zetterberg, and once you’ve seen them for a few games, does your game plan change? And I wouldn’t want to say it becomes easier, but do you know tendencies more three games in?
RYAN WHITNEY: I think it makes a difference playing against them a couple times, just because you get used to some of their tendencies. But at the same time, I think the best thing about those two guys is you think you have them, you think you have them out of the play. You think the puck’s off the stick. But seems like every time they kick it up to themselves or they’re able to hold you off.
And there are two guys, if you quit on, they’re going to get past you every time. They’ve shown that they’re tough to play against. Datsyuk is a lot more physical than I thought. It’s tough when you don’t ? we haven’t played Detroit in two years. So you don’t really realize what type of player each guy is. But he’s a physical player. He’s strong out there. I didn’t really know that.
But those two guys are going to get their chances. It’s about trying to limit them. Because you can’t stop two players like that from getting shots and getting opportunities.
Q. Brooks, I want to go back to that shift again. Ask you, as you’re going through it and the crowd’s really getting into it, do you feel that on the ice and did you hear them chanting your name after you came off?
BROOKS ORPIK: Yeah, you feel it when you’re out there. The crowd was a big part last night right from the start. Our home ice has been a huge advantage for us. I think any time you get the crowd into it, you can’t help but build off it.
And I think, like I said right from the start, it definitely energized us and got us going. It will be huge for us Saturday, too.
Q. Ryan, after Sid scored the first goal yesterday did you sense that the Red Wings were starting to press a little bit. And if so, did it surprise you they would start to press you a little bit?
RYAN WHITNEY: I don’t know about press. I can’t tell you how many times in the locker room we said before the game we want to see how they play from behind, because everyone gave it to us, they can’t get an offense going. When you have a lead, you are able to trap teams a little more and shut them down. We knew we could do that. We’ve done it to the Rangers who can play offensive, Philly and other teams.
I don’t know if they press, but you’ve got to open up and take more chances, when you need to score and you’re down. And obviously that was the case for them. So that first goal makes such a big difference. Seems like the whole playoffs and the Eastern Conference Final and the Western Conference Final, the first goal makes the game, seems like. So we wanted to try to get that and force them to go on offense a little bit.
And they’d have to open up, and they did.
Q. Brooks, what kind of reaction did you get last night on the bench after you came back after the shift?
BROOKS ORPIK: He was yelling. But he’s always yelling.
RYAN WHITNEY: (Smiling).
BROOKS ORPIK: Not too much. It’s such a crucial time in the game. Only about five minutes left in the game. Everyone was really focused on the task at hand. It was more so after the game. Yeah, I mean, it was really just one shift.
There are a lot of guys, you look at the hit Gary had right before Adam’s goal. And you look at the hit that Kennedy took to make that play and start that whole shift.
So that was just one shift. I thought from the start of the game until the end, I thought our team physically was a lot better than we were the first couple games. We were a lot more under control at the same time, too.
Q. What kind of reaction did you get after the game?
BROOKS ORPIK: (Smiling) I was hearing it left and right more from guys, more in a poking way I think than anything. But, yeah, it’s just something you can laugh about after a win.
But like I said, it was just one shift. There were a lot of good shifts put together by a lot of guys.
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