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Joel Quenneville Winter Classic Postgame

Thursday, 01.01.2009 / 6:45 PM / Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic 2009

By NHL Public Relations

Q.  We all know the last thing you wanted to do was come out of here with a loss.  But does the sting take   does it take a little out of the sting because of the event?

COACH QUENNEVILLE:  There's a lot of excitement surrounding the game.  It was a great experience for everybody.  You learn a lot.  You might never get this opportunity.  So things that you visit, you'd like to do over, you might not get that chance.  But it was great to be a part of it. The fans were great.  The building was excited.  It was a special place to be and play and certainly we are not happy with the way it ended up, but it was a privilege to be here today.

Q.  What did you see as the difference between first period and thereafter?  What did you see as the difference between your team the first period and thereafter?
   
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  I thought the second goal of the game was a tough goal.  Looked like we had the puck in the neutral zone.  The next thing you know it's in our net 3 2.  They got a lot of life off of that.  The play was more in our end.  I thought we did everything we wanted to do in the first period.  Had a lot of excitement with the building and ourselves the way we were playing.  They got some life off of that.  And it's 3 3.  Datsyuk makes a special play.  And now we're trailing.  And obviously the fifth goal was a big goal for them, and it's tough to play catch up when they got the puck a lot like they do and like they did.

Q.  Did it feel like a home game to you today?
   
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Absolutely.  It was thrilling, National Anthem right from the get go, walking out before the game started.  It was a special feeling.  Everything from the pregame to the game itself was a lot of fun. Certainly we didn't like to see some of the things we saw, but it will be a good memory.

Q.  Do you feel you've lost any momentum in these last two games?

COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Well, I think, compared against the best team, I think it's a good measuring stick knowing we have to improve as a team.  We accomplished a lot prior to these last two games, and I just think that looking at the top two teams in our conference, Detroit and San Jose, there's a level there that we need to make sure we're closing the gap.  We can't be satisfied with what we accomplished.  We should be looking to improve and knowing that that's the type of team game we need to play from start to finish, but I think that's the gap that we've got to look to close, because they're as good as there is.

Q.  I was wondering if you could comment on the elements.  The overcast sky, did that make a difference for the goalies, as well as the ice?
   
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  I think it helps goalies, when they   without the sun.  I thought the glare off the ice and with the sun itself, you can lose sight of things.  There's some funny bounces.  And I think with goalies, it's tough without getting your angles, without certain landmarks outside of the ice rink.  So it was challenging, and I think simpler around the net works, but they've got some guys that can do that and make nice plays too.  So that's the area that they made a nice couple plays that made the difference.

Q.  How much would you like to see this event continue to grow and how much do you think it makes the non traditional hockey fan take notice of this sport?
   
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  I think it should absolutely continue on.  I think it was a great experience for everybody.  It's a whole different game sometimes when you're out on the ice.  The players can sum it up best knowing that being in that different environment and being such an important game, I think that the setting and the stage was the right place to be.  And I think the guys that got an opportunity to play going forward I'm sure would say the same thing and appreciate the chance.

Q.  Mike talked about this was kind of like not like a Ground Hog Day.  Sometimes in the NHL, 82 games, it can be repetitive.  Was it like that for you, too?  Was it a different thing in the season it made, something to make it a little more exciting?
   
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  It was.  It was a special game for everybody.  And it wasn't just another game.  And I thought we brought that intensity knowing that we needed to play against   we had to bring our best game against them.  And they played some very important games last part of the last season, and they know what it's like to play big games, and this to me was a big game and a big experience, and they responded well.  And I just think that the way we came out was what we're looking for, but at the same time this wasn't just another game.