Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 05/07/08 at 11:19 PM ET
From some short Q&A time with the media on Wednesday, below are transcripts from interviews with these Dallas Stars players and management:
- Marty Turco
- Brad Richards
- Mike Modano
- Brett Hull
Q. Give us your thoughts about coming here?
MARTY TURCO: Yeah, I look forward to playing in the postseason. And in Joe Louis. I haven’t done it since my college days. Everything changes when you get to this time. You know, we have four teams left. It’s a win no matter where we are. And we’ve been able to do that. So we’ll take it to them.
Q. Is your confidence level high in the NHL right now?
MARTY TURCO: It kind of goes without saying when we were playing, winning games, winning in overtime certainly helps. I’ve had that kind of luck in my career, postseason career, anyway. Yeah, I certainly do feel good.
The last couple of years have been kind of around the same as they are now. You just want to give your team a chance to win with solid play and fo r me to do things that I’m capable of. I’m preparing to do so. And it’s coming a lot easier this year at this point. It’s fun. I just look forward to getting on the ice Thursday night.
Q. Is there too much emphasis on the regular season numbers?
MARTY TURCO: Well, we have gaps between games and nothing else to talk about, generally. It comes with the territory, you know. Anything that really gets said at this point it’s not a consequence of what’s going to happen on the ice. It all doesn’t matter. We know what we need to do. The game plan’s never changed through the series. We’ll do that in?house. And as far as what gets talked, you know, we’ll deal with it. Playing these guys is going to be tough.
Q. What impresses you about what Red Wings do offensively?
MARTY TURCO: They have some great players they like to get in the dirty areas. People talk about their creativity. But they get in front of the net, work the corners as hard as anybody. That’s part of what makes them successful. Probably their biggest asset to producing offense I think, watching them, is their commitment to defense. They’ve got to get the puck back and creating turnovers and turning it into transitions on the ice with their speed.
That’s something that has, I think, taken them to a level that they are this whole season. To the point they are now in the playoffs. So it’s going to be something we’re going to continue to battle. Play our game, and hopefully we think it will be enough and it’s going to be a challenge.
Q. On Johan Franzen
MARTY TURCO: I’m not watching one player in particular on the ice when the game’s going, and the players that are available and the options that are there for them. For me, it’s all about the puck and what’s going on and reacting to that style. He’s a big guy that takes up space. It’s hard to cover him. He has a great set of hands around the net, so you have to be in the right place at the right time. It’s always dangerous. That said, the recipe for success is scoring goals. It’s no secret. But it’s something he’s been doing. They’re all going to be looking to do that like we are. So we’re going to concentrate on it.
Q. Everybody talks about your skills. Is it something that you practice on a regular basis? Because last year when you played Vancouver?
MARTY TURCO: Yeah, I had a pregame ritual, it got curbed. Which is all right by me. But, of course, you don’t just practice what you’re not doing well. It’s important in practice to continue honing your strengths. The puck playing, yes, the first thing we do, we get on the ice. It’s been nice, we used to do it with Mike Smith every day. Just played pass and catch and put ourselves in game-type situations. We still do it. It’s all the way you react. It’s instinctive. The way we play in our defensive zone. Utilizing the puck; we’re going to continue to do that. It’s not a set game plan, but it’s something you’ve got to keep your hands on.
Q. Brad, first off, what do you think the series will be like?
BRAD RICHARDS: Oh, you know, everybody has their opinions, but it’s going to be a good series. Going to be fun. Two great teams, and when you get down to the Final Four teams in all the series, it’s usually pretty competitive, you know, it will probably be a long one. We’ll see what happens.
Q. How long did it take you to get used to these guys, getting comfortable and really getting in the groove where you felt like you could do good things?
BRAD RICHARDS: It took a while. We didn’t have a schedule on in March, so that was kind of unfortunate for my situation. Trying to get the guys and play and figure out where you’re going to fit in. But in the playoffs it helped a lot, getting thrown into the fire, it’s been a great month here or whatever it’s been, about a month with the guys. You’re together a lot more, so it’s made the process of getting to know everybody a lot easier.
Q. Can you describe, you’ve obviously never done it, what it’s like to have to recover from a four-overtime hockey game?
BRAD RICHARDS: It’s tough. I’ve been part of a quick three early in the third. But to go four is, when you look at some of the games that have gone longer, it’s, you know, we didn’t have much left in the tank. But it was fun, and a lot easier to say it’s fun when you win. But, you know, even when it’s a loss, it’s something you always remember.
Q. You don’t think they may have some more momentum, the Wings haven’t played in a week. How do you view all of that?
BRAD RICHARDS: Yeah, I don’t. I’ve been in series where we’ve had 11 days off and played and won the first game. So they’re going to be playing. We’re not looking at any of those things. Trying to figure out what they’re going to have in the tank. As far as us, we’ve tried to get some rest. Get a good night’s sleep tonight and we’re right back into it.
Q. How about the series Brenden just had. He really stepped up and took it. Dave said he put you guys on your shoulders?
BRAD RICHARDS: Yeah, he’s been an animal. He’s really done everything for the team. Scoring goals, hitting, blocking shots, I mean, I knew him, but I didn’t know him this good playing with him. He can play on any of my teams any day.
Q. Mike, you’ve been in these postseason battles with Detroit before. What does it mean for you to come back and face the team you grew up watching?
MIKE MODANO: You’re always excited. But it’s still a fun place to play in. Certainly at playoff time, so. It does bring back some fond memories of playing here, and in Dallas and Minnesota, for that matter playing against these guys. A lot of great series, and a lot of great players.
Q. Marty and his puck handling skills, what extra dimension does that give you guys in your break-up of that team?
MIKE MODANO: He really does neutralize a lot of teams froms fore?checking. He’s almost an extra guy back there to move the puck. And we’re able to fan out and get open for him. You know, he’s got great patience with it, too. He doesn’t just get it and throw it somewhere. He puts it in there anywhere.
The defensemen can handle it and move it. It causes a lot of problems for other teams. But certainly he does pass better than some of the guys in the league.
Q. Is he playing the most confidence maybe you’ve seen him play with in a while?
MIKE MODANO: He’s at a really high level right now. And, unfortunately, he needs to be for us to be successful. For anyone to be successful in the playoffs, the goalie has to be your best guy. I think he’s accepted the challenge over the last few years to kind of erase the critics of him. And certainly he did so last series and the one before that with Giguere. So I think it’s going to be tough with Osgood, but he’s a great player.
Q. On Brenden Morrow
MIKE MODANO: I think it’s become a situation where he’s become more comfortable with his personality and what kind of player he is, and what he brings to the team because he’s evolving into the player we all thought he would be when they drafted him and he’s becoming that guy.
He’s part of a younger nucleus that’s going to be here for an awful long time and years to come. So, but, yeah, we spent a lot of time in off-season together. I golfed with him. It hasn’t affected our relations at all. In our opinion it was just a different letter, so.
But he certainly has taken the reins and played with a guy who just really wants to win and will do anything for the team.
Q. Did you get a look at the tape of the last Red Wings game against Colorado, and what was your reaction when you saw it?
MIKE MODANO: We watched a little bit of it. Obviously, Colorado ran into some injury problems and missing their key guys. So it was really tough to get a beat on what, really, Colorado wanted to do in the last couple of games. It was really, obviously, quite tough for them.
But Detroit’s on a roll. They’re really playing well, the whole group of them. So they have a lot of dimensions to their game, and a lot of talented guys that are world class athletes and players that can cause anybody problems
Q. What did you learn, not just on the ice, but in Detroit?
BRETT HULL: Yeah, a lot. The respect and atmosphere that Kenny and the rest of the staff gave to the family, the players gave them or gave them all the benefits and ability. That’s how you have to treat the players. You treat them like men and adults and show them the respect they deserve. And they’ll go out and they’ll play for you.
Q. What’s impressed you about your team through these first two rounds?
BRETT HULL: There’s never been one ounce of quit in them. They’ve given it everything they’ve had from the opening whistle to the final buzzer. And that’s not always easy to do. Even, you know, when you know so much is on the line. The leadership from every guy, from Mike Modano right down to our goalie has been phenomenal.
Q. Can you talk about how Brenden’s game is growing since he became captain last year? What’s he meant to this team?
BRETT HULL: Well, I think it’s way before that when he first came in, in 2000. He’s steadily learned the game. I think when he got the captain thrust upon him last year, especially when he came from a good friend of his, Mike Modano, he knew that it was something special, and he was going to take it and go with it. He did that and I think it helped him become a more complete player.
He’s a great leader, he’s a dynamic player, and he’s a work horse out there like none I’ve seen.
Q. When you see a game like the one the other night, do you have memories of ‘99 watching that?
BRETT HULL: No, what I was watching, it’s just so nerve-racking, you know, from the chances you get to the chances they get. Until that one went in, it’s much easier to play than to watch, trust me.
Q. When the team decided to be in this hotel, the casino, [at the MGM Grand Detroit] were you scared at once maybe leaving the players by themselves here?
BRETT HULL: None whatsoever. These guys are ?? the game’s changed. Back when I played maybe a little bit you’d be nervous.
Q. That’s why I’m asking?
BRETT HULL: These guys are the ultimate professionals. Their commitment to the game, to the fitness, to everything is second to none. I’m very proud of them, and I wouldn’t have one bit of fear about these guys here.
Q. Have you been around here?
BRETT HULL: It’s a beautiful place, and I know I have a beautiful room, so I’m not displeased.
Q. What is the confidence level for Marty right now?
BRETT HULL: I don’t think it can get much higher. I hope it can, and I hope it does, but boy, he’s played fantastic. He’s proven that he’s an elite goalie, and the things he does to help our defense as far as moving the puck, you don’t really know how to put it into words the way it helps.
He’s made some great stops, and that 61-save performance in Dallas the other night, you know, really solidifies who he is.
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