Canucks and Beyond

Friday Canucks Transcript: Malhotra, Kesler, Burrows and Luongo

06/03/2011 at 5:52pm EDT

Q. Manny, can you just give us your chances or odds of playing tomorrow.
MANNY MALHOTRA: I wish I could put it into a percentage for you. Again, it’s going to be day to day. I’ll see how I feel after our morning skate and we’ll make a decision at that point.

Q. What happened after the last three days?
MANNY MALHOTRA: As I said on Saturday, it’s a day-to-day situation. From one day to the next, things have changed. Didn’t feel proper to go on the ice. So I took a couple days off.

Q. Ryan, can you just describe what you saw on this game-winning goal. Seemed to happen so fast.
RYAN KESLER: Yeah, I saw the Krejci line changing. I saw an opening to go. I saw Boychuk trying to step up on me there. I just tried to chip it by him, stayed on sides. Saw Jannik. Jannik made a great play to Raffi to bury it.

Q. Ryan, I know we talk about the importance of every game. Do you see tomorrow night as a very pivotal game?

RYAN KESLER: That’s exactly what it is. You know, it’s even a bigger game than the other day. They probably came here to get a split, at least. That game tomorrow’s going to be huge.

Q. Manny, can you clarify for us, because Mike said you weren’t clear to play, Alain on Saturday said you were. Are you cleared to play by your doctors?

MANNY MALHOTRA: As of today, yes. I’m sorry, I don’t want to sound redundant. It’s going to be a day-to-day process.

Yeah, today I was cleared for contact, was able to participate in full practice.

Q. Manny, I know you’ve been in on PK meetings. How satisfying was it to go six for six? When you say ‘day to day,’ is it a matter of symptoms with your vision or how you feel on the whole?

MANNY MALHOTRA: Just how I feel as a whole. Obviously coming back after taking a long break, there’s going to be a little bit of a trial-and-error period, just as far as my comfort level on the ice, my conditioning. There’s a lot of things that go into that decision.

As far as the PK question, it’s very satisfying when you see the guys pitching 0’fers out there. More importantly, we talk about the small things that count in playoff games, how important special teams, are for the PK guys to step up and make sure they don’t gain momentum from their power-plays was huge also.

Q. I know that the team nor you expect to be in a position where you might play. Now that you’re however close you are, does it sort of make sense of what you’d be missing out if you don’t get a chance to play in the Stanley Cup final? How much of this kind of lack of information that we’ve had is due to you not wanting to be a distraction to your teammates?

MANNY MALHOTRA: Second part, number one, I obviously don’t want this to be a sideshow, as I said on Saturday. We always talk about in our dressing room that the whole is much greater than the individuals.

Again, we have a very strong focus in the room. It’s where it needs to be. I don’t want anything to sidetrack that.

From the other standpoint, it’s playoff hockey. That’s what we’re used to. You don’t get a whole lot of information on injuries in general. So we’re just kind of following suit in that sense.

Q. The feelings now that you’re this close of potentially not being able to participate in the Stanley Cup?

MANNY MALHOTRA: I guess it kind of weighs into it in a little bit. But at the same time I realize the severity of the injury. I realize the intensity of the moment. I realize the intensity of play has picked up since I last played.

This is not me wanting to have a sentimental shift out there, be a part of it all. It’s a fact that I feel I could contribute something to the team. But more importantly, we’re on the right track. We’re heading where we need to be. Anybody in that room, any of our aces, anybody sitting out feel they can contribute, and the coaches feel that, we know we can do so.

Q. Ryan, 13 shots from their first line in Game 1, no goals. Do you feel you did a good job of keeping them out of the danger areas, making them stay more to the perimeter?

RYAN KESLER: Yeah. That’s what we try to do with every big line. You try to keep their shots to the outside, you try to limit their second and third opportunities.

When you got a goalie like Roberto, he does an excellent job of stopping the first puck. Our job is to eliminate their rebounds. We did a good job of that last game.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Alex and Roberto.

Q. Alex, I know you’ve had the odd little controversy over the years now and then. With this last couple of days, what has it been like for you?

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: They’ve been great actually. It’s the Stanley Cup finals right now. I’ve been working all my life to be in this position. Obviously with the last incident, League’s made a decision. I’ve moved on. Now I’m focusing on a big game tomorrow night.

That’s what we’ve been doing all year: taking it one game at a time. Now we’re getting ready. I’m really excited about tomorrow night’s game.

Q. Alex, is it a little nerve-wracking when you do have to get on the phone with Mike Murphy and you wonder how he’s going to think about things?

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: Well, I’ve had a few calls with the league in the years. They’ve always been great. I really respect those people. They have a tough job. They have tough decisions to make.

At the end of the day, he did a good job. I respect his decision. He was great. That’s all I can say about it.

Q. Roberto, Chara is playing that low post, screen-the-goalie role on the power-play. You’ve been in the west for a while now, played against some of the best. Who is the best at it and what are the things they do that make them really good at that role?

ROBERTO LUONGO: Well, I don’t know if I should be giving away any secrets. We have a game tomorrow.

The toughest part is when you get a big line that is in your sight line as often as the puck is on the other team’s stick. Makes your job a lot harder to fight through screens, which wastes a lot of energy.

But, you know, obviously Big Z is really big. It’s a bit tougher for me to see around him than usual because of his size. Makes it a little bit harder. It was a bit of an adjustment after the first power-play in the first game. Hopefully that will just carry on the way we worked at it from there on out.

Q. Alex, has there been any clarification on the goaltender interference call against you since Game 1? Roberto, can you talk a bit about Schneider’s development this year, what you’ve seen out of the Lack?

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: I haven’t had any information so far. I will probably get it later today.

At the same time I got to be aware of where—around the net, I got to make sure I can’t bump the goalie. That’s his ice if he’s already there. At the same time I have to be smarter and make sure I don’t put my team down a man.

ROBERTO LUONGO: Schneids, been a few years in training camp together. Obviously called up a couple times due to injuries. You just see his development throughout the years.

This year you could tell right away that he was ready to make the step. He just gave me so much support every time I had a night off, he came in and did an unbelievable job for our team. Gave our team a chance to win every single night he was in there. You can’t ask anything more out of a guy like that.

Eddie, I haven’t seen him or practiced with him since he’s been up here. I did in training camp. I’ve heard nothing but good things about him all year. He played unbelievable for the Moose, gave them an unbelievable chance in the playoffs. I’m sure he’ll be up in the NHL pretty soon.

Q. Alex, you said the other day you used to watch some of the guys that played with Henrik and Daniel before you started playing with them. Anybody catch your eye and make you think: that’s the way you got to play with these guys to make it work?

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: There’s a few obviously. Everybody brought something different, I think. Nasy was very good at moving the puck with them, really good on the rush game. I like Anson Carter’s game, going to the net, net traffic, getting open in the right position. Obviously I think Trevor, too, is a big key when he played with them for a little bit. Just the way he was able to calm them down, have poise around the net by playing with those three guys. He was very good.

Q. Roberto, when have you played better in your career, at least in Vancouver, than this?

ROBERTO LUONGO: I don’t know. That’s a tough question to answer. I think, you know, given the fact right now that we’re in the Stanley Cup final, I mean, I think as a team this is the best we’ve played. I like to include myself in that as well.

I mean, I think you measure success in this league obviously by winning. Right now we’re three wins away from our ultimate goal. That’s all I really can say about that.

Q. I mean you personally.

ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah, I mean, I know. I can’t answer that. I’ve had some good streaks. I’ve played well. What can I tell you?

I’m in the final. I guess I’m playing pretty well (smiling).

Q. Could you each talk about how you’ve been spending the hours in between games, what that does to your focus and intensity?

ROBERTO LUONGO: Well, I mean, obviously before Game 1, we had a little bit over a week. The first few days were just to rest a little bit and recuperate, spend some time with your family. Once we got back into practice, just working on some things. Obviously started to focus on the next round. Once we found out it was the Bruins, it was more towards the preparation.

But I think the key is, when you’re at the rink, you’re working, putting in the hours. But once you go home, it’s important, especially during that stretch, that you get your mind away from the game and think about other things, not always about hockey 24/7.

Now that the series has started, it’s all hockey all the time.

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: Well, pretty much the same thing. Obviously, likes Roberto said, it’s nice to come to the rink and work and prepare yourself for the next game, the next opponent. Once you go home, I think it’s all about family. I’ve been managing my baseball fantasy team. I know Roberto’s team has been struggling. I’ve been putting in the works and hours, so I’m succeeding (smiling).

Q. Roberto, can you talk about the job your defense did with the first line?

ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah, it’s not only our defense. It’s the forwards as well. The way we play, we want to make sure we have a third guy high in the offensive zone so if they do get the puck, it’s not an odd-man rush.

It’s all about making sure we’re on the same page, good communication between the forwards and the D’s and myself. Just doing what we do all year: working our systems well, playing them hard, making sure we don’t give their team time and space to make plays.

Q. Roberto, there was a lot of talk since the lockout about maybe not spending money on a number one goaltender, teams winning without having to do that. Do you think this will end it with you and Tim being in the final? Were the goaltenders ever offended about that kind of talk?

ROBERTO LUONGO: I have to be honest to you. I don’t think there’s a specific recipe to a winning team. You can win it different ways obviously. Every team has their own strategy. In our group we have a good mix of everything. That’s why we’re we are right now.

I think whether you spend the money on a good goalie or not, you need to have your goalie play well to get to where you want to be. At the end of the day, it’s a team game. You need 20 guys on the ice to win.

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