Canucks and Beyond

Transcripts, Canucks Practice Day: Bieksa, Luongo, Kesler, Coach Vigneault

05/21/2011 at 8:42pm EDT

KEVIN BIEKSA: Definitely have to be more disciplined. I’m not saying we were undisciplined in the sense that we were punching guys in the face. But when you put your stick somewhere it doesn’t belong, it’s a 50/50 call. The referees want to call it tight, that’s what going to happen. It’s up to us that that doesn’t happen.

Q. Are you convinced if it’s a five-on-five series, you’re the better team?
KEVIN BIEKSA: We’re happy with our five-on-five play. We feel like we’re a little bit deeper team. Playing four lines and six D’s is our strength. We’d like to keep it there as much as possible.

Q. You’re going to have two guys coming in a little bit cold.
KEVIN BIEKSA: Let’s not kid ourselves, we’ve been in this situation a lot, especially this season. It’s nothing new for us. Finishing a game with five or four defensemen is nothing new.
Everybody on the back end has done it at some point. Whoever is coming in, maybe two guys that played a lot of hockey for us this year, nothing’s really going to change.

Q. How difficult is it to have to go through that much penalty kill time and find energy flow?
KEVIN BIEKSA: It just takes away momentum, takes away the rhythm. Guys are sitting on the bench for a little longer than they should be. You go out there, you’re a little cold, another penalty, you’re sitting on the bench. It affects our guys. That’s why you want to stay out of the box.

Q. Surprise no suspension or fine for McGinn with the hit?
KEVIN BIEKSA: I don’t know. Obviously my opinion doesn’t matter a whole lot. You just look at the injury that happened from the play, and obviously Aaron was pretty banged up after that hit.
The league did what they felt they had to do, I guess. There’s your boring answer.


Q. Do you think they did anything different on you to focus on you? Have they taken any space away in the neutral zone?
RYAN KESLER: No. They’re a really good team. I don’t think so.

Q. Talk about the power-play.

RYAN KESLER: Just got to be better. We were better as the game went on. We just have to be better.

Q. Anything in particular that these guys are doing?
RYAN KESLER: Have to do better, team?wise and me. We all have to be better. We’re going to be tomorrow.

Q. You still did a good job against the center you’re matched up against. Happy with that side of your game right now?
RYAN KESLER: Yeah. I was saying that five?on?five, penalty kill, power?play, you know, team?wise and myself, we all have to be better.

Q. You played six minutes of penalty kill time alone. How much does that wear you down?
RYAN KESLER: I’m used to it. Well?conditioned athlete (laughter).

Q. You’ve done a good job of having series leads. Talk about that.
RYAN KESLER: We’re going to go one game at a time.

ROBERTO LUONGO: We played from the back end all year. That’s why we have so much depth back there. The guys are going to be stepping in, they’ve played regularly for us all year. We’re not worried about it. We know these guys can do a great job for us.

Q. 10 penalties going the other way. How difficult was it to go through?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah, I mean, you don’t want to put those guys on the power?play that often, for sure.
We found ways to kill off some penalties there. In this series we want to keep it five?on?five as much as we can, and we like our chances if we do.

Q. What does a noon start do to your preparation?

ROBERTO LUONGO: You know what, I don’t mind them at all anymore. I think it’s a different preparation. But, you know, it’s kind of nice. Doesn’t give you time to think. You go out there and play.
It’s going to be nice to get an early start tomorrow.

Q. The start wasn’t great, but you finished well.

ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah, we battled. I think maybe the first half of the game they had most of the chances. Once we got that five?on?three, even though we didn’t score on it, we generated a little momentum off of it, got a little bit of a rally in the third. Unfortunately fell a little bit short.

But we liked the way we finished it off and can use it as a buildup for tomorrow.

Q. Different defensemen tomorrow, how important is the communication tomorrow?

ROBERTO LUONGO: Communication is always important. Also it’s going to be important for them to make sure they look at the video and see what they like to do when they have the puck behind the net, the plays they like to make. We have to make sure we’re on the same page of what we’re giving up and what I’m expecting.

Like I said, we’ll be ready to go.


Q. I’m going to ask anyway. Ballard and Alberts, will they both be in tomorrow?
COACH VIGNEAULT: We’ll see tomorrow.

Q. I know you don’t like to fully disclose injuries, but in light of the hit on Aaron Rome, how is he doing today? Any prognosis?

COACH VIGNEAULT: You guys know we don’t discuss injuries, so…

Not going there.

Q. Can you talk about the impact. You can lose two players through the course of an entire playoffs, but to lose two this far in one game in a series, that’s a little bit different.

COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, it’s something that we have to deal with. I do believe that as a group we’ve dealt with a lot of injuries this year. We’ve been able to handle it real well.

Right now I’m confident that we’re going to do the same thing. One of the things that we have given ourselves is more depth on defense. We’ve really worked at making sure that the guys that weren’t in the lineup were staying ready and they knew that at one point or another we might need them down the road. Whoever we use tomorrow, I’m confident they’re going to do real well for us.

Q. How much faith do you have in Keith Ballard right now?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I have a lot of faith in Keith. He has played some good hockey for us. Obviously I think that he’d probably like to have maybe a little bit bigger role on our team. I mean, nobody hides that. He’s been used to more minutes in the past with the prior teams he’s played with.

But on this team, we feel that there are some guys right now that are playing better than him, and that’s why he’s getting those minutes or dressing or not dressing.

He’s got an opportunity probably tomorrow to step in and show us what he can do. We’re confident that he’ll have a good game if we need him.

Q. If he steps in tomorrow, is the key for him not to make the mistake or he’s a guy that likes to jump up and create?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Like any other player on our team, he’s got to play to his strengths, you know, let the game come to him and he’ll be fine.

Q. Now that you’ve covered Ballard, can you touch on Alberts and Chris as well, the merits about those guys?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Both Andrew Alberts, obviously a bigger body, physical defenseman. And Chris Tanev, for a young man coming in, showed a lot of poise, a lot of confidence with the puck, played over 20 games with us. He was really effective during the regular season. I guess he had some really good playoffs also with Manitoba.

Q. How much last night did you want to let Roberto battle? Did you think at all about putting Cory in?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Never at all thought about taking him out. It was 3-0. I thought we came along at the end of that first period, had some good scoring chances. I felt we were in the game. We know that in the third period they’ve been struggling. They’ve been letting in a lot of goals. We felt if we could get one in the second that we’d make a game of it.

Unfortunately we had that five?on?three where we had grade A scoring chances and met a hot goaltender. It’s going to happen sometimes. But we kept pushing, plugging, came up a few minutes short.

Q. Ryan set the bar real high in the last series. Can you assess his play through three games here?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I mean, he’s working real hard. Sometimes he’s matched up Joe, sometimes he’s matched up against Couture. They’re working hard, generating chances. That’s what I want from them. I want them to compete at both ends of the rink and I’m confident things are going to work out.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH VIGNEAULT: Five-on-five, they scored their first goal of the series. So I think five-on-five we’ve been doing what we’ve talked about in our dressing room. We know how we need to play in that situation. Our specialty teams need to be better, both power-play and penalty killing. We’re aware of that. We’ve talked about that. We’ve got a couple of options here that we’re looking at, confident we’ll be better tomorrow.

Q. On Kelser….
COACH VIGNEAULT: I think he said one time he’s an elite athlete. There’s the answer. He can take it (laughter).

Q. Why Kesler didn’t skate…
COACH VIGNEAULT: Today was players’ option. I don’t know why he decided not to go. That’s his call.

Q. Why did you feel it necessary to bring Chris down from Vancouver?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, at this time we’ve got six guys that can play, so…
Always have to have a backup, I guess.

Q. Would you bring him down here and not play him?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Brought him down here so we’d have seven healthy defensemen. I mean, that’s pretty reasonable. Pretty logical, sorry.

Q. Alain, it’s been reported that McGinn did not get a suspension. A, do you feel they’ve dodged two bullets? B, do you think justices is miss-served?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I’m not going to comment on how the league interprets certain hits. Going to leave that up to them. That’s all I want to say there.

Thanks, guys. See you tomorrow.

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