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Playoffs Practice Quotes: April 25

by Colorado Avalanche / Colorado Avalanche

On injury status of the Avs’ players:

"For Dutchy, it's going well. He has been skating since last Monday in Minny (Minnesota), and we are very happy with where he is right now. Now will he play in this series? We're not sure yet. We'll see. He won't play tomorrow, same with [center John] Mitchell."

On if the team will show up in Game 5:
"You’re looking around the league right now, it's pretty impressive. I can't remember Western Conference teams going 1-15 on the road. Let's not forget that. I know that we love to say, 'We're Stanley Cup contenders,' (snaps finger) bingo, like this. Even you guys, our reporters, need to be positive. This is important. I know you love winning as much as I do, and you know I love winning, but we need to be patient with our group. I mean, this is a young team. This is a team—let's not forget—[that] finished 29th last year. These are huge steps, and this is a learning process. I would like to say to you in '96, that team learned how to win in the previous years. In Quebec they had a bumpy road. Remember in '93 they got beat by Montreal in six games? The following year they missed the playoffs. Then they came back against the Rangers, the famous goal by Joe [Sakic] on the call by [referee] Andy Van Hellemond. There is a process, and I think the road trip was good for us in some ways. We're not happy, and I think it is a little rude to say, 'Are we going to show up?,' because we have been showing up all year. I think we deserve more respect for what we have been doing than this. I'm proud of my team. I'm extremely proud, and I'm not going to throw them under the bus, because I'm their partner. I've been with them all along, and I trust our team. Now, we face adversity, like it happened in Anaheim, like it happened in St. Louis. There are a lot of teams in that position. Let's not forget, look at Anaheim, they go into Dallas, they lost one of their defenseman that plays over 20 minutes in [Stephane] Robidas, the next game they lost Getzlaf. We should be proud of our guys. We should be proud of our guys. What our guys have accomplished. It's outstanding. It's amazing. I understand that we want to fast track. I understand that we want to be Stanley Cup contenders, but it's a learning process. What the Montreal Canadiens did in '86 with eight rookies … I'm not going to tell you that it’s going to happen every year. Maybe it has changed. It's tough to win the Stanley Cup."

On if there is panic with the team:
"I'm positive. It's the way I've been all year, and I have a lot of respect for what you guys are doing but at the same time my glass is half full. I would rather think that way. There are things that we could do better. We're going to show our guys. We're going to take the time, and we're going to be patient with this group. We need to learn, and we are in that process. That's the beauty of our game. That's the beauty of the business of hockey. It would be too easy to go from 29th and win the Stanley Cup, isn't it? Unfortunately, it's a process and we're going to follow the process. Can we skip some level of it? I hope, but I'm very proud of what we have accomplished so far. Am I satisfied? The answer is no, but let's not forget, we're playing against a good team, a team that plays really well in their own building. Their fans were outstanding, and all they did to us is what we did to them. We beat them twice here. Our fans were there, they were on their feet. Now, we need our fans again to give that little push that our players need. I think that is going to help our team. Are fans going to be behind us? Are fans going to cheer for us? Are fans going to be a difference maker? Think about it, when Granlund blocked those four shots, with two of them with no stick, and every time he blocked one the building was going louder and louder. I think he would want to block six, seven, eight, nine, 10 more shots. Was that your question?”

On the 12 shots on goal last night:
"I'm not happy about that. Let's not kid ourselves. We know that we can do better, and we will. There is always adjustment. I have to say their defensemen are playing really well. One other thing, their goalie did a good thing of not giving too many rebounds. Plus, we missed the net too many times. We have been like this all year. I'm also guilty of things. All year we accept putting pucks on net with the purpose to score goals. Some times in the playoffs you need to put the puck on net with the purpose to get a rebound, and we just need to fine tune a few things here and there."

On making adjustments against the Wild:
"They haven't presented things that much differently. I would say one thing they did really well is their forecheck is more aggressive than it was in Denver. I thought yesterday we did a decent job breaking out and stuff like that. Where they made a good adjustment was in defensive-zone coverage. We could have done one little adjustment, and I think that would have helped us. That's what I'm going to show our guys today. Obviously, I'm not going to tell you what it is. I think we're right there with them. Now it’s our turn to [rise to the challenge].”

On the transition game helping getting more shots on net:
"Could our [defense] skate more with the puck? Yeah. That would help with the transition. Can we make better dumps to get the pucks? Yes. Will that help us get more shots on net? Yes. But I'm going to be very cautious in what I say, but it's not just shots on net we want. It's scoring chances. You can finish the game with 50 shots on net, but if you end up on the night with six scoring chances, are you better off? You're sometimes counting on bad goals to win a game. Hey, bad goals happen, but they don't happen every night. I don't disagree that we need to find a way to put more shots on the net, but what we're looking for more for us is generating scoring chances. Certainly we would like to have the puck more in their end. Yesterday, I think it was like 14-to-8 puck possession in the end. We spent 14 minutes in our end, we spent eight minutes in the other end. It is clear that is not enough. Normally, you're going 11 or 12 minutes on each side, it's pretty balanced. It's clear that they dominated us in that game. We're not going to kid ourselves, but at the same time there are some little things that we could do better: puck protection offensively, be better in our one-on-one battles. I'm not going to look like a genius to you today if I say we need to be better in our one-on-one battles. We lose most of them in Minny. When you're talking about [stepping up to the challenge] that's what you're talking about, winning your one-on-one battles. If you're better in those areas, obviously it helps yourself."

On power-play struggles vs. Minnesota
“I’d love to see our power play at 50 percent, but it’s not going to happen in the playoffs. We all know that. Look at every series. You’re grouping the top eight teams in our conference. They know how to play the game, and most of them have playoff experience and great coaching at the same time. Even for Minny it’s not that easy to score goals. I mean, yesterday they had a big bounce—hit the partition came back in front, score on a great play by [Wild forward Charlie] Coyle, like I said after the game. It’s not how pretty it’s going to be. It’s finding a way to put one in, and I think that’s going to bring a lot of confidence to our team.”

On goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s, inclusion in Vezina Trophy final three announcement:
“I’m so happy for him. He’s been outstanding all year and even if the playoffs. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves. If we had a chance to win in Minny it was because of him. The zero-zero game (Game 3) could have gone either way, you know, a lucky bounce. I’m proud of him. It’s great to see. These are not baby steps he made. When I met him in Montreal, when he went there with [Avalanche goaltending coach] Francois [Allaire] and [Avalanche goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere] Jiggy last summer, he wanted to be more consistent, and he wanted to be a difference maker on our team, and he’s been doing more than that. He’s been winning games for us. On [this week’s] trip, it’s too bad. It would have been great to steal a game. In the playoffs you’re looking at a lot of games, and there are a lot of games, on the road in our conference, anyway, where the goalie might have to steal those games on the road.”

On what Minnesota did well in Games 3 and 4:
"Minny played with a type of urgency that we haven’t seen all year—that’s A. B? we cannot look at them. We have to move our feet, we have to skate, and we have to be better. I’m sure [our players] realized the one-on-one battles are a little more [gritter] than it was in all the games we played against them. It’s our turn now to step up. They beat us twice in their building; we beat them twice in ours. We have to come with a lot of confidence.”

On the importance of home crowd in the playoffs:
“One of the key players for us will be our fans. Our fans, they’re going to be up on their feet, and they’re behind us, and they’re going to support us, and that’s going to be a big difference maker.”

On the message he’s giving the Avalanche players:
“When we put our plan for the playoffs, it was not to go 16-0. How many teams have been 16-0 in the history of the NHL? Is there one? No? I’m surprised to hear that. I thought there were 100 teams. (laughing) It’s tough in the playoffs. The 2-2 [series record] doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s how we’re going to bounce back that I want to see tomorrow. That’s all.”

On his team’s urgency level heading into Game 5:
“I’m not sure I have to talk about urgency, quite honestly. They know. Look at just the way they answered the questions after the game [Thursday]. They were not happy, and this is a good sign. This is a team that wants to do well. We wanted to please our fans at the start of the season, and these guys didn’t decide in Minny, going on the plane, ‘You know what? I think I did enough for these fans, and let’s lose those two games! We don’t have to win! It’s not that important!’ You think they thought that way? Nah. They went there, they had the same thinking. We were just not ready for it. And even myself, I have to admit, I was a little surprised at how well [the Wild] have played, and they deserve credit. Let’s give them the credit they deserve. Now, we’re going in front of our fans, and let’s play hard.”

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