Canucks and Beyond

Vancouver Canucks - Media Day Transcripts

05/31/2011 at 10:42pm EDT

The Canucks media day in Vancouver featured a number of interviews. Transcripts are below of conversations with Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault, plus players: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Roberto Luongo, Alexandre Burrows, Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler and Dan Hamhuis.


COACH VIGNEAULT & GM GILLIS

Q. Mike, when you were assembling this team, did you want to have the balance where you could either play offense or defense because you can dominate the way either way? Alain, coaching that style, is it a matter of guys buying into the mentality of that?

MIKE GILLIS: Well, we got focused on defense initially. I spent three years trying to get the best defense we could assemble so we could play any style of game. We wanted puck-moving defensemen who could join the rush.

That was the style of game we decided upon. We went about trying to find those players that could complement it. Have to give Alain and his staff credit because they implemented a system that utilizes that type of player. That’s what we went about doing.

COACH VIGNEAULT: I don’t think in today’s NHL anybody dominates. I think you have to work real hard to win every game. That’s what we’ve tried to do.

We’ve tried to play the right way all year long, which is having a good balance between good team defense and good team offense when it’s time to go on the attack, when it’s appropriate.

It’s a very competitive league. 30 good teams. It’s real hard to win.


Q. Mike, do you have an update on Manny missing practice, whether there’s a setback here at all?

MIKE GILLIS: Manny is doing as well as we could have possibly hoped based on the injury that he had and the procedures he’s gone through.

This has been a day-to-day thing all along. He hasn’t been cleared to play yet. He was cleared for some contact. He gets monitored every day. Today was a day where they felt it would be best if he stayed away
for today. He’ll be back around the team again tomorrow, we anticipate.

We have to be really patient with this. We have to rein him in a little bit because he’s very enthusiastic, as you know. It’s up to us to try to be as responsible as we possibly can be with his best interests in mind.

When he’s cleared to play, play in the NHL, you’ll see him with the team. Until that point, we’ll take it day to day and monitor it day to day.

It’s part of the ongoing plan that he’s had from the date of the injury.


Q. Mike, in last year’s Stanley Cup final we saw two teams get there with not exactly marquee goaltenders. In the off-season it seemed like some teams decided they could get by with a goaltending tandem. What did you see in the off-season with goaltenders, and your philosophy in signing Roberto to the contract you did?

MIKE GILLIS: I still feel Roberto, no disrespect to Tim because he’s a great goaltender, but we felt that Roberto was the best goaltender in the league. There were some things that we needed to change.

We made a commitment to him as our number one goaltender for long-term because we felt that way. We watch him practice every day. We watch his work ethic. We watch his dedication to the game. We felt at the time and continue to feel that he’s the best goaltender in the league.

I know how it started, but I don’t know how you win in this league without great goaltending. I don’t know how you get in the playoffs without great goaltending and I don’t know how you win.

We feel very fortunate to have he and Cory. We think Cory is a terrific young goaltender who is learning from Roberto.

I’m not sure how others feel about it, but in our situation, we were compelled and eager to get him signed because we felt he was the best opportunity for us to win.

Q. Mike, you had some pieces in place here when you took over. Can you talk about the challenge or the job of integrating what was here when you came and what you complemented it with, how that process went?

MIKE GILLIS: We could be here all day talking about that.

You know, we felt that Daniel and Henrik were key components to the plan we had. If we didn’t get them signed, we had to go in a completely different direction. We were fortunate enough to have them buy into a plan that allowed us to surround them with other good players. If they weren’t prepared to do that, we would have had to go in a completely different direction and probably wouldn’t be sitting here today.

But once they agreed to work with us under those terms, we then went and got Roberto signed, Ryan Kesler signed. We had to sign every player who is on this team currently, either trade, sign or bring them in as free agents, except for two, Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa.

We’ve had to make decisions all the way along. Some decisions weren’t made that well and others were made very well. We’ve managed to sign every player we wanted to sign and keep every player we wanted to keep.

If it didn’t start with Daniel and Henrik, we’d be in a very different place today.

Q. Mike, your farm team in Winnipeg is now an NHL city. What do you plan to do with your farm team?

MIKE GILLIS: We’ve been looking at a number of options over the last couple of months when this became a serious probability, I guess, that there was something that was going to happen in Manitoba. It initiated with Phoenix and that situation, moved to Atlanta.

So we’ve had lots of opportunity to think about options. We have a number of them that are available to us. We’re going to explore them all over the next few weeks, time permitting. We anticipate having a relationship with a minor league affiliate whether it’s us owning a team, whether it’s us doing what we’ve done in the past with Manitoba.

We don’t see a big hurdle in this. There’s lots of opportunity for us. The exact location is unknown at this point. In all likelihood, we’ll have it wrapped up in the next few weeks.

Q. Alain, can you talk about your relationship with Claude, the time you spent together playing wasn’t all that long. What is your relationship like, whether it’s strange to be facing each other on this stage?

COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, it’s definitely not strange. I’m very happy for him. I’m sure he’s very happy for me.

I think we both came into this season pretty much under the same situation. He was in his four-year window, I was in my four-year window. We both knew we had good teams. We both knew we had to win.

So from that standpoint, I’m real happy for him. Now we’re going to get an opportunity, both of us, to compete for the Cup.

But I’ve known him a long time and we both know what coaches go through on a daily basis and a yearly basis. So he can relate to me and I can relate to him.

I got a tremendous amount of respect for what he does and what he’s done with his team this year.

Q. Coach, after a long wait, is it good to finally get this series going?

COACH VIGNEAULT: What do you think my answer’s going to be there (laughter)?

Obviously, myself and the players are real anxious to get this going. We’re looking forward to a real tough series against a real good opponent.

Q. Alain, can you talk about Roberto and his performance since Game 7 against Chicago, not starting in the game before this great run? Do you think that’s a factor in the way he responded when you started Cory?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I think Roberto’s been real consistent for us all year long. He’s always been the guy. What happened in Game 6, obviously we had lost momentum, and Chicago had a tremendous amount of momentum going their way. Between coaches and management, we talked about making maybe a change there.

Finally I decided, my gut was telling me, that Schneids could go in and give us one good game. He went in and played well. Didn’t finish. We were able to put Roberto back in. I think that changed the momentum of that series.

We should have won that game. We outplayed Chicago. I think the whole organization, players and coaches and management, were confident that in Game 7 we’d get the job done.

We were a minute away. We made it a little bit more interesting, but we got it done anyway.

Q. You’ve always been about getting character and integrity guys on this team. Talking today, they’re saying it’s not only the players, they’ve become fathers, their wives are good friends. How important do you think that is to what you see?

MIKE GILLIS: I place a lot of value on it. We have a really tight-knit group of players. The players that we introduced this summer have fit in seamlessly. Max and Chris who we got at the trade deadline fit in seamlessly because these guys allow that to happen. There’s a lot of teams that don’t allow that to happen, players who are protecting their own turf.

What we found with this group, if you’re totally committed to winning, you don’t behave that way. You take people as they come. You bring them into your group. You get them to contribute as best you can.

I think it’s great that our players are really close. I think it’s great their wives are close. Their kids play together. It’s pretty special to be part of it. To watch it occur, it’s something you hope for, but you don’t know if it will happen. We are very fortunate we have strong enough leadership to create an environment like that and allow it to occur.

Q. Just a comment about how long Canada has been waiting for a Stanley Cup. Vancouver was the next team to have a chance to win it in ‘94. You’re the next one again to win it for the country and for Vancouver.

COACH VIGNEAULT: Go ahead (smiling).

MIKE GILLIS: What does that mean ‘the next one to win it’?

Q. Since ‘94, the country has been waiting for someone.

MIKE GILLIS: Calgary and Ottawa were in there, too.

Q. To win it.

MIKE GILLIS: Oh, to win it.

That debate has come about the last couple of weeks. This is intertwined with that a little bit. You know the debate I’m talking about, of course.

But I think we’re our team. I’ve never thought about it in those terms, and I haven’t thought about getting into the middle of that debate because I just don’t think of it like that.

I don’t know, Alain, maybe you feel differently.

COACH VIGNEAULT: I don’t know what you’re talking about (laughter).

MIKE GILLIS: Anyway, there you go.

Q. You just came off a series where the officials were pretty quick with the whistle till Game 5. Boston is coming off a game where not a single penalty was called. What is your expectation of the officiating? How much uncertainty is there about what constitutes a penalty?

MIKE GILLIS: I think the officiating is going to be good. I think you get the best of the best in the finals, just like the teams. These guys have worked hard for it. I think the games will be called fairly and well. I don’t anticipate it being an issue.


DANIEL SEDIN


DANIEL SEDIN: It’s been great. This is what you play your whole life for. It’s a nice feeling. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but right now we’re enjoying the moment.

Q. How much are you looking forward to putting the video away and playing?

DANIEL SEDIN: It’s been a long break. If you want to go a long way in the playoffs, you need some good days off and good practice days. We’ve been getting that. We’re ready to go now.

Q. Power-play, why has it been so good in the playoffs?

DANIEL SEDIN: It was good in the regular season, too. We’ve been scoring some timely goals. Have two really good groups going out there. If we don’t score, we have a second group that’s equally as good. I think that’s the key to having a good power-play.

Q. Do you feel like you’ve built momentum?

DANIEL SEDIN: Yeah, I think in the playoffs it can go either way. If you don’t have success early, you can get down on yourself, lose some confidence. But we’ve been good throughout the regular season. And even in the playoffs starting out, I think we built some confidence there, too.

Q. Boston is going to want to keep this a five-on-five series.

DANIEL SEDIN: We’ll see what the referees are going to call. I think five-on-five, it’s going to be a tight series, low scoring. Both teams are very good defensively. It will be a tight matchup.

Q. (No microphone.)

DANIEL SEDIN: Well, I mean, we had some good practice days, a few days off. I think it’s been good overall.

We had a good scrimmage yesterday. Other than that, we try to work on our game and get better. That’s the main focus.

Q. (No microphone.)

DANIEL SEDIN: We don’t see them that much. It’s tough to say when you play them once or twice a year. We’ll get a good look at them tomorrow and see what happens.

For our team, I think it’s how we play. If our line doesn’t score, it’s going to be other lines stepping up. That’s how it’s been throughout these playoffs.

Q. Talk about that telepathic link with your brother. Do you buy that?

DANIEL SEDIN: I don’t buy it at all. It’s because we play together a long time. We played on the same line since we were 12 years old. It has nothing to do with telepathic.

Q. Do you strategize on the bench at all?

DANIEL SEDIN: No. As a line, we try to play the same way every game. I mean, Burr is a very smart player. He fits in really well, reads the play extremely good.

As a line, we’re not very good at a lot of things, but we do a lot of things good enough, if you put it that way.

Q. Do you have a different link with Burrows than your brother?

DANIEL SEDIN: What do you mean? He’s like a third brother. I mean, when he came on our line, like two and a half years ago, I think you could feel right away, like I said, he understands how we play. I think we support each other on the ice really well. He’s a hard-working guy, fits in really well. He’s a heck of a player.

ALEXANDRE BURROWS

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: Obviously I think it’s great for Winnipeg. A Canadian market. When I played there, six, seven years ago, passionate fans for the game. We used to have really good crowds there. I’m sure the fans are going to support the new NHL team. Obviously, the organization there is very strong for an NHL team with Mr. Chipman. Great for the organization. Going to do a tremendous job with the NHL team.

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: Obviously, my first few games were at the old Winnipeg Arena just before they shut it down. I remember the last game there against San Antonio. It was a white-out really. I remember the fans chanting, We want the Jets. I think that was my first week. Obviously, it was great. The fans were great. Obviously, once we moved to the MTS Centre, having 15,000 fans in the crowd for Game 1, it was a lot of fun.

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: Obviously, I thought the fans were unbelievable there. They were really passionate. They knew what it was all about to support an AHL team, and I’m sure an NHL team will have no support getting
fans. Especially with that organization, like I said, starting with Mr. Chipman, they’ll be in good shape.

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: For sure. It was a nice arena. I remember it seated 15,000. I know it’s smaller. Obviously, I would rather play in a rink that holds 15,000 and feels like there’s 20,000 than being in a building like Atlanta where there’s 20,000 seats, but there’s barely 5,000 fans.

I think is a great move for the league and I’m looking forward to playing there.

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: Obviously it took me a few months, I would say, when I first started to know them. Now it’s pretty easy. Danny has a thinner face. Hank is bigger face, bigger forehead. Now I know them by
the way they speak.

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: Not much, I think. Obviously maybe Henrik likes to crack maybe more jokes, will speak up a little bit more than Daniel. Not a whole lot. I think it’s been like that all their life for them.
Henrik has always been the captain, the one that spoke a little bit more.

That’s probably the difference.

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: Yeah, I’ll do my fair share of homework.

Normally when we play against goalies, I know most goalies in this league, the way they play, the way they like to approach a shooter.

With a guy like Thomas, you have to have a good match of getting shots through, try to beat him, at the same time look back door.

Can’t always go back door on him because sometimes the defense is going to be there. You have to match and choose your spots at the right time, when you have to shoot pucks, hope for a rebound, or go back door and try to get a tap-in goal.

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDRE BURROWS: Yes and no. Obviously, there’s good goaltenders that are big, going to take a lot of space in the net, that are more butterfly, come out of their crease or play in the blue. But his style, if there’s a corner, you got to take a chance at it, try to go for it. At the same time he’s such a good goalie, he’s going to make some saves.
Sometimes you have to give him some credit.

HENRIK SEDIN


Q. Talk a bit about the power-play, why it’s so efficient right now.

HENRIK SEDIN: Well, I think it’s been good all year. We don’t have a setup where we know where everyone is going to be, and the other team doesn’t know for sure where the guys are on ice. A lot of puck movement, players moving around. That’s key to success. We’re tough to read.

Q. Are you just refining what you’re already doing?

HENRIK SEDIN: When you have a power-play like this, you don’t really need any new looks. It’s new looks every time we’re on the ice. That’s what makes it tough to defend.

Q. Manny not on the ice today. Any concerns?

HENRIK SEDIN: No, he’s always been day to day. Nothing has changed so far. Like I said, we’re happy to see him back. Hopefully he can get back in action here.

Q. Can you describe what this journey has been like for you.

HENRIK SEDIN: I think our 10 years here has been like the playoffs this year. It’s been ups and downs, a lot of downs, a little bit of up.

Now we’re here.

It’s a lot of fun right now. We’re extremely excited to be here. Like I said, it’s been like our 10 years here in Vancouver.

Q. (Question regarding downs earlier in career.)

HENRIK SEDIN: Yes, it prepared us a lot. After those first years, we have never really listened to what the media says. We don’t care. We don’t listen to them. We’re very good at analyzing our own game. When we’re not good enough, we know that. We don’t need to read it in the papers or watch TV to see that.

That’s what takes you through those times.

Q. Talk about facing Chara, what a challenge he’s going to be.

HENRIK SEDIN: It’s going to be tough for sure. He’s a big guy. We haven’t played against him that much. Couple games in the Olympics, then back in Sweden during the lockout a few games. Spent a lot of time in the Eastern Conference, so we haven’t seen him a whole lot.

Q. What it’s like to finally start playing after the long layoff?

HENRIK SEDIN: It’s been too long. Four, five days would have been good. To sit and wait for this this long, you can only practice that much. It’s exciting to get going tomorrow.

Q. Do you have a sense what’s going on in the city?

HENRIK SEDIN: Yeah, you get a little bit of sense. I don’t spend that much time outside right now. I don’t know what’s going on downtown or anything.

Just driving down to the rink, you see everyone with their flags and everything, it’s going to be amazing.

Q. What is it like when a city reacts like this? What does that feel like?

HENRIK SEDIN: Well, I think it’s great. I could have played in a U.S. market where no one cared. You come down to the rink, you’re walking outside, no one talks hockey, no one cares how the team is doing. Some guys enjoy that.

Personally, I love it here. I think a lot of times, the times that are tough I think is maybe the most not fun times, but that’s the times when you see the people care. That’s when you have to show that you’re strong and you’ve grown as persons. When you get through those, it’s easier to enjoy the good times.

Q. How important was it for you to win the series against San Jose, but the way you won that series?

HENRIK SEDIN: Again, I think we knew we could play better. I think also we weren’t as bad as everyone thought. But I thought we stepped up in the San Jose series and played a lot better than we had in the previous two series. I think that was big for us.

We knew San Jose was a great team. You’re not going to beat a team like that without your top players playing well. So that was fun.

Q. What is the biggest challenge of Chara?

HENRIK SEDIN: His size. He’s got great reach out there. Never really gets out of position because he can use his stick to get pucks. I mean, it’s tough to go around one-on-one, it’s tough to be in the corner. I think his size is to his advantage.


CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF

Q. (No microphone.)

CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: I think a combination of both. You know, the way we are coached, we can adapt to any situation we face, like we had to do in the Nashville series, which was a total different game than we want to play or we used to play. But our personnel definitely gives us all the options.

We have great goaltenders that will stop the puck if we need to push a little more offense. And all our D’s can make plays, and all our forwards can make plays, do a great job for us offensively.

Q. Teams usually have one or the other. Why do you think this team has been successful with offense and defense?

CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: Like I said, we have guys that can adapt to everything, that are comfortable playing different roles or different systems. That definitely has helped us to reach this point.

Q. (Question regarding matchups.)

CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: No, not really. That’s something that is very positive for us. We don’t really have to worry about that. We like to roll the way we want to roll, and other teams have to adapt to that.

We can be comfortable with our fourth line being out against the other team’s top line.

Q. I know you’ve been battling injuries lately. Are you ready to go for the final?

CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: Yes, I’m ready to go.

Q. You’ve had injuries all year. You never seem to dissipate defensively.

CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: It’s been huge for us. The last couple years, we’ve always been plagued with injuries on the back end. That’s something that brings in a lot of guys. We have 10, 11 guys that all can play in the
top six. So when a guy is missing a game due to injury, we don’t miss a beat. We fill that spot right in.

We’ve done that all year. That’s, yeah, definitely one of our great things that we have.

Q. Will you be able to carry your normal workload?

CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: No, I’m ready to go. Whatever the coaches need me to do, I’m ready to go.

Q. Obviously, the Bruins have struggled on the power-play. Do you see that as an area where you can exploit them?

CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: Yeah, we definitely want to keep going on our special teams. We’ve done a great job so far. We definitely need more of that.

Q. (Question regarding the power-play.)

CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: I don’t know. I think we just keep doing and having doing what we did all season long. You know, a couple games it doesn’t work that well, but we stick to the process. We keep doing what we do out there, try to take advantage of what the other team’s giving us.

That has made us successful all season long.

Q. Do you watch film regarding the other team’s power-play?

CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: You still prepare and try to see what their tendencies are. You definitely get prepared for that.

But, yeah, they might throw a curve ball at you and you got to adjust to that quickly.

KEVIN BIEKSA

Q. Can you talk about the atmosphere here? Is this all sinking in now?

KEVIN BIEKSA: Yeah, I think so. Obviously, after Game 5, it was a little surreal we were going to the Stanley Cup final. Had a couple days to let it all sink in. Now we’re getting ready for a big series with all the preparation. This is the final stage before we get on the ice and play.

Q. (No microphone.)

KEVIN BIEKSA: Not worried about it. Obviously this is what it means to play in the Stanley Cup final. There’s a lot of excitement around it, being a Canadian team probably magnified a little bit. We’re enjoying it as much as possible. We’re focused on a big series.

Q. (No microphone.)

KEVIN BIEKSA: Obviously, there’s similarities with the media day and all that. Again, its being in a Canadian market, it’s magnified. I don’t think we’d trade it for anything.

Q. (Question regarding both team styles.)

KEVIN BIEKSA: Yeah, we like to call ourselves a complete team. I think we can adapt to any style. Obviously in the first series with Chicago, it was a little bit more offensive. We can play that game.

Nashville, everybody saw that series, very offensive, not a lot of room out there, you have to be patient. We did well in that series. San Jose was a little bit more like the first one.

We can play any style. The style that suits us best is playing our own style.

Q. (No microphone.)

KEVIN BIEKSA: Well, that’s just the way we play. We’ve been doing it all year long. One of our main things is to play the same way every night, not change our game. Whether we’re on the road, at home, on a three-game winning streak, whether we’re going to be eliminated from the playoffs, we’ve been playing the same way. It’s worked well for us.

Q. Can you talk about the Winnipeg franchise going to the NHL.

KEVIN BIEKSA: Very excited for the city and for the ownership. Mark Chipman I think is going to be a very good owner, very passionate about the game. Seems like he’s going to do everything it takes to make that franchise succeed. Fans were passionate about getting a team back seven years ago when I was there and will do a good job of supporting it.

Q. (No microphone.)

KEVIN BIEKSA: Look, I think they’ll like it. There’s tradeoffs.

You’re going from Atlanta, nice weather, one of the southern states where it’s probably a little bit nicer to live. The tradeoff is going to be the passion from the city and the fans. They’re going to like playing in the
Canadian market a lot. They’re going to be a big deal in the city.

Everyone is going to cater to them. They’re going to enjoy it.

Q. (No microphone.)

KEVIN BIEKSA: You want to play in the biggest market possible where the fans really understand the game and every Canadian city gives you that. Even for a lot of the role players, guys like that, there’s no better place to be appreciated than the Canadian market where the fans understand the details of the game.

Q. (Question regarding Chara.)

KEVIN BIEKSA: He’s a big guy. There’s going to be a lot of effort to try to move him. He’s going to try to let him stay there, control his stick, do the best we can. Hopefully all those pucks are hitting him because he’s so big. Most of his body is going to be over the crossbar anyway. He’ll definitely be a challenge for us. We’ve handled big guys before in front of the net. I think we know how to play him.

Q. A lot about the styles between the two goalies. With Louie particularly, as teammates, do you take it personally when Louie doesn’t get the money he should get?

KEVIN BIEKSA: I don’t think anybody takes it personally. In our room, Louie is a big part of this team, he won this country a gold medal this year. He’s done everything asked of him. He’s a big-time goalie. He shows up for the big games, the big series, and we have full confidence in him.

Q. (No microphone.)

KEVIN BIEKSA: Yeah, excited, anxious. It’s been a long break, but a good break though. It’s allowed us to get rested, refocused and everything. We’re going to take care of today and get ready to play a game tomorrow, which is exciting. Feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve been in a game-type atmosphere. We’re anxious.

Q. (No microphone.)

KEVIN BIEKSA: Absolutely. It’s a blast. I love answering these
questions over and over again. If I get to the Stanley Cup every year, you can ask me these questions a hundred times over. Obviously, I would take that any day.

ROBERTO LUONGO

Q. (No microphone.)

ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah, it’s two polar opposites. There wasn’t a lot of pressure there as far as expectations, stuff like that. You could walk around the city, nobody really knew who you were. The good thing about here, it’s fun to play in the city when you’re winning. Everybody knows who you are and very supportive, especially at this stage of the season when your team has a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

Q. (No microphone.)

ROBERTO LUONGO: Well, I mean, it’s a hockey market. Obviously when things are not going well, sometimes you want to make sure that you try to stay away as much of that stuff as possible. You don’t want to be focusing too much on all the negative stuff around you. You got to learn to deal with those things.

Obviously there’s good and bad in every place you play. At the end of the day, it’s so much more fun to win in a city like this.

Q. Talk about some of the preparation that’s been going on the last eight days.

ROBERTO LUONGO: Obviously, we had a couple days off after the series was over against San Jose to relax a little bit, heal up the body. We had a couple of good days of practice afterwards just to work on a few things.
After, we had another day off Sunday. The last couple days we really ramped up the intensity to make sure we wanted to be at the level that is expected of us once the puck drops tomorrow night.

Q. (Question regarding Tim Thomas.)

ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah, obviously we have different styles. Tim has had an unbelievable season, probably the best in the league. He’s given his team a chance to win every night.

It’s a good challenge for me, a good battle. There’s different battles. I focus more on their opposition players and what I have to do to be ready against them, but at the same time you want to look at the guy on the other side and try to go save for save.

Q. (Question regarding contract.)

ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah, I mean, not only for me, but when you sign the core group to long-term deals, that’s first and foremost. What’s important to me is this is an organization, not only Mike, but the ownership group, they want to win. They’re willing to do whatever it takes. They signed the twins, make sure they stay here for a long time. That really showed me this organization is willing to do whatever it takes to win a Stanley Cup.
That was important for me.

Obviously, I was very happy and flattered when they approached me with that term.

Q. Since the beginning of the Chicago series, have you felt better and better as the series have gone on?

ROBERTO LUONGO: You know what, I felt good even in the Chicago series. Obviously I had a couple games where things didn’t go that well. I think as a group we didn’t play our best hockey those two games, myself included in that.

First three games I felt great. I think the first game we got a shutout, third game in Chicago I made a lot of key saves. Game 7, we obviously all saw what happened.

I’ve been feeling really good the whole playoffs except those two games.

Q. (No microphone.)

ROBERTO LUONGO: Everybody is comfortable with different styles.

Obviously he’s a battler. He’ll never give up on a play. He’ll do whatever it takes to make a save, use any part of his body. You got to have a lot of respect for a guy like that. Sometimes you have no choice.

Even myself, included. There’s certain things where there’s broken plays or the puck takes a weird bounce where you have no choice but to throw whatever piece of body you can in front of it.

I think I used to do a lot more of that earlier on in my career. As we move along and I get more experience, I think I’ve gotten to the point where I try not to be in those situations, but when they do, you have no choice.

Q. (No microphone.)

ROBERTO LUONGO: He’s been a key piece of the puzzle the whole
season. He’s been crucial on our power-play, the success we’ve had there.
He’s got a great shot, obviously. He can also be nifty with the puck and find guys that are open to make plays. He’s generated a lot of offense for our team.

RYAN KESLER

Q. (No microphone.)

RYAN KESLER: It’s good for the city. I played there a couple years. Had a couple really fun years there. Just like here, their fans treated me well when I was there. I’m happy they’re getting an NHL team again.

Q. (No microphone.)

RYAN KESLER: You guys aren’t that bad. Sometimes you guys are a little too much. I like the way they’re doing it. It’s good to do it this way, have one day, kind of get it all out of the way.

Q. You have very good statistics in defensive zone faceoffs. Why especially in the defensive zone? Have you had some help with that?

RYAN KESLER: Defensively, not that you bear down in the defensive zone, but there’s way more at risk if you lose a defensive zone faceoff than if you lose an offensive zone faceoff.

I think for me, we try to do different things in the offensive zone, win draws differently. That might be the reason.

Guys that really taught me along the way would be Trevor Linden. My first couple years, he taught me a couple things. Me and Manny have an open book about these things, we learn from each other. I think we’re both pretty good at the draws.

Q. How about when you’re going against Bergeron, the top guys?

RYAN KESLER: You know what, for me, I just focus on what I do well, make them adjust. I have a couple things that work. I’m going to try ‘em and see what works against ‘em.

Q. There’s a lot of people that think that the Bruins have the size and strength advantage. Do you reject that notion?

RYAN KESLER: Obviously they got a couple really big guys. I don’t think we got a guy that’s 6’7” on our team. They might have the size thing, but I think we hold the spot for most hits. We’re definitely a very physical team that likes to get on the forecheck. I think we’re at our best when we’re playing a fast game, we have puck-moving D back there that can jump up in the rush. All our four lines can skate. I think when we’re playing like that, you know, we’re playing pretty well.

Q. Talk about the faceoff situation, how important is that part of the game?

RYAN KESLER: It’s important. When you start with the puck, any team, the other team is going to have to chase. For us, it’s going to be important. We’re going to have to focus on that. That’s one of many things we’re going to have to focus on in the coming games.

Q. (Question regarding Manny.)

RYAN KESLER: Manny is going to be huge. It helps when you have two righties and two lefties. If he’s going, then it’s going to be good for us.

Q. Nice article yesterday about how you and Bieksa came up as friends, Burrows. What does it mean to go this with guys like that?

RYAN KESLER: Yeah, it’s amazing going through this process alone, but to do it with guys that I basically played my whole professional career with, we’ve had a core group of guys here that’s been here for five, six years, it makes it even more special and more motivating.

Q. Was there a time you can remember that you allowed them in, so to speak? You’re hard to get to know.

RYAN KESLER: Yeah, it wasn’t a specific time. Juice tries to be tough all the time. It took a little extra time to get to know me, I guess.

Q. What is the family situation for you coming in for tickets? Are you handling that? Your wife?

RYAN KESLER: I got that all out of the way early. My family, they know what games they’re going to. For us, I told them I needed to know by yesterday so I could just focus.

They’re all going to be in town and enjoy this experience.

Q. (No microphone.)

RYAN KESLER: Shots, like Bieksa said. Shots, shots, shots. I think we got to shoot, drive the net. He’s a goalie that makes unbelievable
saves. If he’s down and out and you think you got a tap-in, you have to
bear down and bury it. He’ll try to stop pucks with any limb possible. I played with him in the Olympics, I practiced with him. He’s a very good goaltender.

We have a very good goaltender, as well. I think it’s shots in traffic that will be key.

DAN HAMHUIS

Q. (No microphone.)

DAN HAMHUIS: Yeah, we expected there to be a lot of extra stuff going on, different things pulling at our time. But that’s part of being here. It’s exciting to be a part of this. But it’s just important that when we are on the ice, at the rink, to focus on hockey and put the distractions aside.

Q. (Question regarding pressure.)

DAN HAMHUIS: I mean, even though their power-play hasn’t produced a lot, they have some real dangerous players up front on the point. They got so much potential to be very dangerous.

We play it similar to the way we’ve played other teams, that’s with a lot of respect, try to take away their time.

Q. (No microphone.)

DAN HAMHUIS: I prefer to maybe be in the box for a 10-minute misconduct and not worry about him. He’s a threat no matter where he is on the ice.

Q. They’ve been using him up front the last couple games.

DAN HAMHUIS: Yeah, I mean, it will be tough to deal with him there. Probably not going to move him out of there. Just try to get to pucks before he can and not allow him to tip them as much as we can.

Q. (No microphone.)

DAN HAMHUIS: Well, it depends on the play. Every play is different. Some plays they try to, other plays they take the puck.

Q. (Question regarding lines.)

DAN HAMHUIS: Yeah, if that’s the matchup we’re going to play, it will be challenging. They’re three very good players, all big guys, physical. Lucic probably is the most physical, pure power forward. Then you have Krejci who is a great play-maker and Horton who is a great shooter. They have great balance and chemistry. It’s going to be tough to play for them.

Q. What is it like for a BC boy to be part of the Cup final?

DAN HAMHUIS: It’s been a lot of fun. I know how much it means to everyone in this province growing up here. Was a huge fan. ‘94 run they had. Now going back into small towns throughout the north, I know how much it means. It’s really exciting to be a part of that.

Q. Would there be some form of a parade up there and how many people would there be if there were a parade?

DAN HAMHUIS: I think there’s always been a lot of parades up there after every win so far in the playoffs. People driving through the streets, waving flags, honking horns. They’re well-practiced. I’m sure there would be a big one at the end.

Q. You grew up a Canuck fan. Is that one of the reasons you signed here or is that too dramatic?

DAN HAMHUIS: There’s a lot of things we looked at at free agency.

That was one of them. Obviously, quality of life in the city. City we’re familiar with being here in the summer a bit. Knew we liked it here. It’s one of many things we considered and certainly was a plus to coming here.

Q. (No microphone.)

DAN HAMHUIS: It’s been very exciting all week just preparing for this. A little anxiety waiting for it to start. It’s been a long break. Now that it’s starting, we’re excited to get it going.

Q. What do you do tonight to prepare?

DAN HAMHUIS: Yeah, it’s a huge game, there’s going to be probably some extra nerves out there. Just kind of think about the game, do my usual preparations. But knowing that it’s on a bigger stage, there’s going to be more emotion, more excitement. I think as long as you’re aware of that, know what can happen, prepare the best you can.

Q. Do you expect to get a full night’s sleep?

DAN HAMHUIS: I hope so. We’ll see how it goes. There’s a few games this year in the playoffs, the Game 7 in Chicago, one of those games makes it tough to sleep the night before. With this series, the travel, rest is going to be important.

Q. (No microphone.)

DAN HAMHUIS: No, I haven’t heard if they were watching the games together. I’m sure the local sports pubs will be full. There’s huge support for the Canucks. I know this year it’s probably over the top.

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