Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 06/03/08 at 05:06 PM ET
Q. Sidney, how is everyone feeling today with a little sleep, I guess, but probably a lot of adrenalin?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Feel pretty good. I mean, we’re happy to still be playing. It was definitely a tough one last night. But we’re just happy to really still be playing here.
Q. You said earlier in the season that Gonchar might be one of the least‑recognized stars in the League. Can you just talk about, in your mind, what he brings to this team, not on the ice, but in the way he helps you guys in the room and with your maturity and the way you handle things?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I think his personality, he’s calm. When you have a calm guy like that, as experienced as he is, I think it’s just contagious. Everyone sees that, and they feel the same way.
So when you have a leader such as him who is able to have that quiet sense of confidence, I think it just rubs off on everyone and allows you to feel the same way.
Q. Max, with about two minutes to go in regulation you got into a pretty intense conversation on the bench with Gary Roberts. Can you talk about what he said and just the general leadership he has in your locker room?
MAXIME TALBOT: Obviously when you see a guy like Gary, it was not just at me he was talking, it was more at the bench.
And he was just giving us last words, let’s just give it all, leave it on the ice, and do what we can to come back. And it’s always a great motivation to have him as a leader beside you, just screaming for you to do something.
He’s a true warrior out there. You look at the way he came back, and he’s playing right now. He’s a great motivation for us.
Q. Can you both touch on this, when you guys win a hockey game like that, you’ve got guys hurt, it goes on and on and on forever, there’s lead changes back and forth. It was one of those gutsy ones. How does that maybe just affect your overall confidence the next time you’re in a situation like that against this team?
MAXIME TALBOT: I mean, we’ve been through that. Not even three overtimes, but I think we’ve been through a lot all together, the guys, through the season and through the last couple of years.
And you look at ourselves in between periods and stuff, I think everyone was composed. We were having fun out there. It was a fun experience for us. You look at if it’s going to happen again, we won this game, so the guys can build off confidence off of it.
SIDNEY CROSBY: I think any time you go through something like that, come out with a win, to see the way everyone kept battling and didn’t give up, but it certainly means a lot to everyone.
And having gone through that, I think we’re better for it.
Q. When you came to the rink this morning, how did you feel physically?
MAXIME TALBOT: Great. (Smiling.) Yeah, I haven’t woke up too long ago. But yes, you go to bed late and you play a lot of hockey, but there’s some more hockey to be left, to be played.
So obviously mentally you feel good. And you know that you have to focus on Game 6. And physically you just try to do what’s going to make you feel better. But I think physically, it’s more mentally than anything, if you can understand what I’m saying. (Laughter.) Because I can’t. (Laughter).
I just mean even with long games like that, many times I think your body can take way more than you think. I think it’s a mind game. If you’re strong mentally, your body’s going to follow.
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I mean, a longer game, obviously. It feels pretty typical like it would the day after a game. You get here a little later. Everything’s a little pushed back. But besides that, just like I said, we’re happy to be going on here still.
MAXIME TALBOT: That’s what I was trying to say. (Laughter).
Q. A lot of people that aren’t familiar with hockey saw Malone and Gonchar take those injuries, and they were probably stunned to see them back on the bench in the third period. What’s the creed among hockey players about coming back with significant injuries like that? What’s it do for you guys, does it lift you?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I think we all know what’s on the line. And if you can move, and if you can help your team, you’re going to do whatever it takes to go out there and do it.
So for sure those are some serious things. But at the same time, the amount of work and effort that you’ve put in to get to this point, you don’t want to let it go. And guys are willing to do whatever it takes.
So it’s definitely a boost to see guys come back. You never like to see them go down like that. When they come back, you see they’re all right, it definitely lifts everyone, I think.
Q. Can you appreciate sort of the magnitude of the series and the higher‑than‑expected ratings, and it’s sort of viewed as a classic? When you’re playing this can you appreciate that? Is there too much about the competition for you guys?
MAXIME TALBOT: I don’t think as a player you think about it too much right now. You try to focus on the prize, and you try to focus on playing hockey.
Yes, I think they’re exciting games. It’s an exciting series. But I think we’re going to realize a little bit more when we all look back at it. Right now we’re just focusing on what we have to do and try to think about Game 6. Yes, it’s fun, but one game at a time. And I think I’m going to enjoy it way more this summer after everything’s done.
Q. Max, how did Sykora go about making his big prediction, and what was the reaction in the locker room when he did it?
MAXIME TALBOT: It’s exciting when you see it really happens. But in between periods when you hear guys saying that, you know Petr scored a couple of big goals in his career in Anaheim and stuff.
When a guy like that steps out and says: I think I got one guys. You look at him, and you hope he’s saying the truth.
When it happens, you can’t believe it. You’re like: Oh, my God, he called for it (smiling) and it was great. It’s a great story to tell.
Q. Can you both talk about your goalie? If it wasn’t for him, this series might be over last night?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, he was just making save after save. And obviously you’re happy to see him make those saves. But you don’t want to force him into that position all the time either.
So he really was the savior for us last night. They were pressing really hard, especially the third and the first overtime. And time after time he was answering the call there.
So it was great to see. And no doubt, without him, we’d be in a different scenario here today.
Q. Would you say that’s the greatest goaltending performance you guys have ever seen, ever been involved with?
MAXIME TALBOT: I can say that. For me, it was one of the greatest games. I’ve known Mark very well, and that’s the greatest game he ever played. It was probably one of the greatest saves I’ve seen in the second period against Samuelsson. The toe saves.
You look at him, and he’s having fun in that. But he was so good last night. So it was inspiring for us.
Q. Max, could you describe Marc‑Andre as a person so hockey fans might understand what he’s like?
MAXIME TALBOT: He’s a fun guy, obviously. He always has a smile on his face. Sometimes you look at goalies that are just going to be so focused and won’t talk to anyone or anything.
Mark is not like that. He has fun before games, after games. He’s always upbeat. Always have something funny to say. And he’s having a smile on his face. That’s when he’s the best. When he’s loose, and when he’s having fun. And this year, the way he came back from his injury, has been really unbelievable. And he’s been confident. And for us, I think it’s the reason we’re here.
But as a person, he’s just a great friend and a good guy.
Q. Can you imagine what it would feel like and try to recover from losing a game when you were 34 seconds away from winning the Stanley Cup?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I try not to think about that scenario, to be honest. I don’t think we’re really thinking about if we were them. We’re more focused on us. And we’re in the same position we were going into last game. So our focus is on just playing desperate, and that’s it.
Q. Max, they actually took the Cup out of that container last night with a few minutes left, which they always do when a team gets close. Was there a sense that was happening or are you just too focused on trying to stay alive at that point?
MAXIME TALBOT: You’re too focused. You hear the crowd a little bit, we won the Cup, stuff like that. But you don’t think about the Cup’s in the hallway and everything.
You just think about, you know, getting the job done. And we still had work to do. And we got on the ice, and we did it; we came back.
But it’s nice to talk about the game and everything. But it won’t mean anything if we don’t win Game 6. So yes, you think about this, but on the other hand there’s still a lot of work to do.
Q. You talked about, Sidney and Max, how good Marc‑Andre was yesterday and how he was the savior; was there a sense that the team needs to pay him back, and he played the greatest game of his career last night, perhaps you guys have to pay him back with the same, because obviously the Red Wings are pressing?
SIDNEY CROSBY: We have to be better. We did a good job, I thought, especially in the first two periods of playing the way we wanted to, and we got away with it. We got away from it for one period, and everything changed in a hurry.
So it’s a wake‑up call, so to speak. We’re still here, still battling, and we still have an opportunity here. So we have to learn from that quickly and make sure that we don’t put him in a position like that.
And obviously, he’s got a job to do. But we’d like to make it a little easier on him if we could.
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