Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/14/07 at 01:44 PM ET
Bryan Murray and Daniel Alfredsson from this morning…
Q. Bryan, your goaltender, he’s always the second goaltender in every series. He started out the playoffs as, quote, unquote, the only weak link this team had perhaps. At what point does he finally become the guy they look to and the guy that gets the credit?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Probably next year. I would think when he comes to camp next year, we’ll he’ll be recognized as the No. 1 goaltender in Ottawa and a guy that is serious. I’m serious when I say that. He’s a young guy. He’s the guy that told me he really gets into, you know, the next stage of his development, I guess. He won’t be given a lot of credit, but I think that’s fine with Ray. Certainly fine with us.
Q. Do you have to talk about not being too comfortable with 2-0 lead going into the third game. It’s nice to get on the road, but you don’t want a letdown at all.
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Of course. We recognize how they started the last game and fired up and playing very well, and they could have had another goal probably in the early stages. We were fortunate in one respect - it was a great play, but we were fortunate that the Spezza, Heatley, Alfredsson line connected in the later part of the period to give us the incentive to play better in the 2nd and 3rd period. That was a real turning point in the game without a doubt.
Q. Bryan, I just wondering about your use - you’ve been using your fourth line a lot pretty regularly. Is it their play that has dictated that, or is it your philosophy that you want to keep going forward?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I like playing a lot of players. I think my whole career I’ve tried very hard to include everyone. There are times when you shut that down, mind you, in individual games, which I did a couple times this year, but I really think you play them, they’re ready if you do have an injury in the top three lines, number one.
Number two, I think if they skate like our fourth line does, they give you a level of hard work and puck pursuit that over the course of a game wears the other team down. I think that’s beneficial.
Q. In the first line, this was asked in Buffalo the other day, how you feel with the first line, when they’re on the ice. Through three playoff series now, they’ve been unstoppable, not to flatter them too much.
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: They played well. They’ve been one of the good lines in the playoffs. When producing the way they have, they have the puck a lot, they work real hard. Other than a couple shifts at the start of the game in Buffalo the other night, they haven’t really given up much. It’s a comfortable level of play at and in turn stand behind the bench and watch them play because they have done some real, real wonderful things really with the puck.
Q. The playoffs, there’s so much pressure every day all the time. Does the 2-0 lead represent any chance at all for your team to not take your foot off the gas but to maybe a little less stress, little pressure, or do you keep the pedal on all the way?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think they want to do that. I think they had the other situation around here where the team hasn’t been as good over a playoff series as they might have been. So I think it’s quite encouraging that our players right now - our veteran players in particular are really, you know, I think real good at focusing. In our meeting yesterday coming back from Buffalo and having a meeting, getting them up and getting them in here at 11:00 in the morning or before that, it was a real good focus.
I thought they took our criticism real well. We didn’t play the ideal game in Game 2, I didn’t think, and our guys, the veterans, as I say, is more supportive than they probably have been, and I think they understand the importance.
Q. Bryan, you talked about leaders just a bit. Have you seen different guys step up and seen them better? It always seemed to be a knock earlier of not having leadership.
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I’m not sure if leadership is vocal or performance, but very definitely we have a group of guys performing real well and in particular guys that have been here for a number of years. You know, you can go down the list of people, but I think more and more people, whether they bought in, if that’s the right word, or they’re just stepping up and playing and bringing people along with them by the conversations and by their play.
I think that’s probably the biggest part of it. But Alfredsson without a doubt has shown me characteristics that we’ve seen all along, but he’s now getting a chance to perform in front of a fair group of people.
Q. What about in the room?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: In the room. Not a noisy room, but it’s a very - a good room in that some of the veterans have really done a nice job speaking at the right time.
Q. Bryan, how much confidence does your team take in winning the first two on the road?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think that - I think there’s always a question mark when you start a series. You know, you go into the other team’s building, Buffalo is a real good hockey team. They finished ahead of us in the regular year, and we go in and win Game 1. I think we felt pretty good about ourselves, and then to win Game 2 in the manner that we did after giving up that late goal and all the rest of it and to have the poise in the room that I saw and talk about leadership, a couple guys stepping up at that time, I think they come away with a real level now that they just have to go play, and I think we’ll play one of our best games tonight.
Q. You mentioned the other day coaches complain and referees don’t give a damn. Lindy mentioned he really would like to see his team get five-on-three. Would you be surprised if the referees give a damn?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I just asked that question earlier, “What are we going to do about Lindy?” It seems that there’s a fair amount of, whatever the word may be, the Alfredsson hit. I’m sure every one of you watched it enough, it’s been commented on enough, hit Tallinder in the hip. It wasn’t from behind. It wasn’t from the side. My question was, was that a penalty or not? It was like this, it could have been maybe a two-minute minor, but we’re not sure. That’s the response I got from the National Hockey League.
I said, “What about the Chris Kelly pile-driver, got pile-drived from behind when they tied the game up? Was that a penalty or not?” Probably.
So we all complain, and we all play games and make excuses or whatever it may be, but the bottom line is, we have to let the officials, whether we like them or not - they had seven power plays, I think we had four, five. I think there was opportunity there for the referees to make calls within the game, and they were made. And we just have to leave it, go to the next game, and look at who is officiating and say, “Well, that’s the way it is.”
So, we’ll complain. I’ll complain, too. You guys will call me a whiner, I’m sure at that point, in some article. That’s okay.
Q. Bryan, you mentioned before about what had happened around here in the years past, and it seems like this team is over that.
Do you feel that teams by nature, all teams not just this team or Buffalo’s team, when they get up that they try to maintain what they have rather than push forward and take it? In other words, keep your foot on the neck, so to speak? Rather than pull back either a defensive show or -
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: No.
Q. Rather than push forward, charge forward?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: I think there are cycles in every organization. I think you have to lose - not every team has done this, but you have to lose a little bit before you can win. But when you get a chance, there’s no question in my mind that this group, and I suspect quite a few teams when they get a team going and down they push, and I think as I said earlier, I think we’ll play a good game tonight. I think our fans will help that. I think the motivation of winning the other night will help that. We know that Buffalo is going to have to play a desperate game and they’re going to do what they have to do in every area, but I really think that we’re going to play hard to get the real, I guess, the noose tight as we can here.
Q. So follow-up on that. It’s an experience then, in other words, if you’ve been there before you know how to handle it. Obviously Ottawa has been there before more times than Buffalo.
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Well, I really think that’s a learning thing, curves. I think there’s cycles. You have to learn. You get - we got beat last year. We thought we had a real good team here and we weren’t good enough at playoff time. We just weren’t good enough. We hope that we learned from that and it does teach us things that will allow us to step forward.
Q. Daniel, I don’t know if you got a chance to look at your hit on Tallinder. Have you seen it, and were you surprised it wasn’t penalized?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: I haven’t seen it. I really have no opinion if it should be penalized or not. I saw him go down, but other than that, it didn’t feel like a hit from behind.
Q. Do you have to be reminded at all about you still have two games to win in the series, winning two on the road is really nice, and coming home to play the next two, but does anything have to be said to get your heads set for winning the third game?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: No. I don’t think so. I think we know the importance of tonight’s game. You know, it’s pretty simple. Buffalo is going to try to get back into the series, and we’re going to try to put them in even a deeper hole. I think we played well at home throughout the playoffs here. So we would like that to continue, and we’re going to go out there, give it our best and see what happens.
Q. Daniel, how much does having great teams and playing well but failing help you now in this situation that you’re in now?
You guys see far more camp than they do?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: Well, I think, you know, being an older guy now, you know, been in the playoffs a lot of times, different stages internationally as well, you know what to expect, what comes with it and, you know, I’m just enjoying this time right now. You got to make the most of it when you have a chance. I think we do realize we have a good team, but, at the same time, you got to enjoy it. I think we’re doing that.
Q. Daniel, to what do you attribute the fact that you guys have not played a bad game or back-to-back bad periods? Anytime there has been a letdown, it’s been immediately followed by something to sort of change the momentum?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: I think we respect our opponents very much. I think - all teams we’ve played throughout the playoffs here, we know they’re very dangerous if we don’t play our best. I think we’re kind of on our toes at all times. I think we know we can’t let up at all. If we do, we got to answer back right away. I don’t think it’s always going to work, but I think you got to have the mentality that you’ve got to always give it everything you have and, you know, make the other team beat you instead of anything else.
Q. Coach has said before you guys left for Buffalo, the best thing of starting on the road there was little distraction. How does that kind of shift into tonight with so many - not so much distraction, but it’s going to be exciting in the building not to get too fancy or overworked with the environment you’re going to be?
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: I think it’s going to be important to control the emotions tonight. I think the building will be loud. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions, there’s no question. I think we’ve done that enough times - you know, we’re deep in the playoffs now - that we should be able to handle it, but, you know, for us it’s try to go out there and as you said momentum. Try to get off to a good start.
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