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Running Quotes For Bruins Vs. Lightning On 2/28

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS POSTGAME QUOTES

BOSTON BRUINS VS TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Sunday, February 28, 2016

BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE AT 9:30 PM

On how frustrating it is to make self-inflicted errors…
Well that’s part of the story I think tonight – the self-inflicted mistakes that we made, the amount of breakaways and those kind of things. And you know, special teams tonight – the penalty kill wasn’t good enough for us, and then the power play, although they did generate some chances, you know we didn’t produce. And there’s no doubt their goaltender was solid for them tonight. But you know at the end of the day it was a big game and we needed to be better than we were.

On whether Adam McQuaid falling and leading to a breakaway deflated the team at all…
Well it just makes the game 2-1 at that point. I think the second period was probably – they scored a power play goal you know to make it 3-1, and obviously the penalty shot, so I think that was more deflating than probably the second goal. So that was a little bit frustrating. But at the end of the day, they pushed us out of the game and their goaltender didn’t allow us to get back into it. We tried, and certainly he stood tall for them.

On whether he had a sense of what happened with the embellishment call…
I think you’re asking for a reason. I think that’s two embellishment calls we’ve had so far in the last probably week and a half. The one on [Ryan] Spooner where the guy’s got his stick between his legs and he falls, and that would have put us I think five-on-three, and they call embellishment. Then this one tonight. It’s honestly it’s a farce. You know we’re one of the teams that probably embellishes the least, in my mind anyway, we try not to. But there’s a lot way worse in this league than those ones. So it’s disappointing. You know I say it’s a farce because it’s disappointing to say the least.

On whether a frustrating loss like this makes him feel more inclined to make moves before the trade deadline…
Well that’s going to be up again to upper management and I’m sure we’ll have some discussions here, but you know we have to be better as a team. And if there are some moves made, then we’ll have to deal with that. And if there’s not, then we’ll have to deal with the group that’s here and make it happen. I mean we’re still in a playoff spot right now, so no reason why we can’t stay in it and be better down the road.

On whether he’s had any conversations with Loui Eriksson today…
I don’t have those conversations about that stuff. The only conversations I have are about the game itself.

On what he thought about the penalty call on Zac Rinaldo…
I think it was the right call. You know the shoulder hit the head. So you know that’s part of what you’ve got to do here in this league. We can criticize some of the calls tonight, but that one there I thought was right. There’s others that obviously – at the end there [Adam] McQuaid, it’s not when the guy with his own stick hits himself. And those are calls that you know you can criticize. But nonetheless, I think the one on [Zac] Rinaldo was certainly warranted.

On Zac Rinaldo being placed on waivers today and where he might have come up short in his role with the Bruins…
Well you know again, I’m not going to comment on the waivers and all that stuff, because that really isn’t my department. My department is about getting them to play hockey. I think in his case there, he’s a good forechecker, as you see he finishes his checks a lot, but there’s a reputation attached too that at times those big hits end up costing penalties and they’re not always warranted. But you know, this is something that I can’t really answer to you, because I don’t know at this stage here what’s going on above me.

On what he thought about the penalty call against Patrice Bergeron and that Tampa Bay power play leading to their first goal of the night…
You know guys, we as a team can have tough nights, and guaranteed referees have tough nights too. You know they’re not any better than we are, they’re not any worse than we are. So sometimes you’ve got to live with those kinds of things. And I prefer looking at my team tonight and seeing what we could have done better. And killing – you know maybe there were some bad calls, but we could have killed penalties. We’ve been good on the penalty kill. We weren’t good enough tonight. You know we had power plays, we didn’t score on them. So instead of pointing fingers at the referee, I’d rather look at our team here and see what we can do better.

BOSTON BRUINS GOALTENDER TUUKKA RASK
On what needs to happen in the next few weeks to put the team in a better playoff position…
Well, the same thing, I guess, we’ve been talking about all year – try to find our game, play it consistent and try to eliminate mistakes, costly mistakes, and play solid defense. I mean, just all the clichés we’ve been saying all year, has to happen, but, yeah that’s it.

On if the team’s play is a product of working in new, young players…
Yeah, I mean, I think people started talking about last year, us being in the process of going through some changes and those changes happened but doesn’t matter what personnel, what lineup you have, you have a certain game plan and you just have to focus on executing that game plan and a lot of times this year I think we haven’t done that. But yeah, that’s really all I can say.

On if it’s getting too late in the season for execution mistakes…
Yeah, for sure that’s going to happen, but that’s part of hockey and those mistakes happen. Obviously as a goalie you never want to see those mistakes happen, but they happen, and it’s really nobody’s fault but sometimes stuff bounces here and there on plays like that, but the truth is if you want to win more hockey games and you want to be successful, you have to try to eliminate those mistakes and that’s just the reality of it. But those things happen and I’m there trying to stop them

On how he felt his play was in tonight’s game…
Well it was a lot of fun. You know, whatever. Stopped some shots and let some shots in. I mean, 2-on-0, you don’t see that every night, penalty shot sometimes you save it sometimes you don’t, the one goal was probably borderline goalie interference – I don’t even know how that went in. But, you know, tough night.

On the special team’s play in tonight’s game…
Well that’s playoff hockey, your special teams have to be really good and I think the past couple games our penalty kill, we’ve been struggling a little bit or just letting in some goals – unnecessary goals – and today was a good example of that. But, you know, we’ll bounce back because that’s always been our strength and we want to be good as a penalty killing unit and kill those penalties and give us a chance, but today was a tough night for us.

BOSTON BRUINS FORWARD DAVID KREJCI
On the frustration of not putting forth a better effort tonight…
Yeah, kind of first period you come into the dressing room and you’re down, so it’s kind of hard to come back but I felt like we kind of gave them a couple goals. It didn’t have to happen, but it did and we weren’t good enough to come back tonight.

On preventing the mistakes in tonight’s game from compounding…
I mean one, we know what happened. Sometimes it happens, you know, but the other ones – yeah, we kind of have to pay attention to those details. I don’t think we did that, especially our special teams – PK, power play – it wasn’t very good tonight.

On if he was satisfied with the overall team effort…
No, because every time you lose, it’s no good. Even though we were maybe winning the last couple of games, but we still don’t play the way we want to play. You know, you want to go into playoffs feeling good about your team and I felt like we were heading in the right direction before this game – it was never perfect, but like I said, we were going in the right direction. But I felt like tonight was kind of a step back, so we have to work on some stuff, especially those little details. In this league, it’s a big thing – just little things, but goes a long way.

On his experience with the teams ups and downs…
Yeah, obviously it is frustrating, but nothing you can do – after a good or bad game, you’ve got to regroup and try to be better next game. We didn’t do it today.

On the team not generating a lot of shots…
Honestly, I’m not really sure, but we gave them way too many scoring chances in the first period. I felt like we didn’t have all four lines going, so that’s how it is sometimes, but you can still come out on top at the end of the game. But, as a team, we were not good enough tonight.

On if he is thinking about the upcoming trade deadline at all…
You know, I’ve learned in the past not to really kind of guess what’s going to happen because it’s never worked for me before. So kind of going to sit back and watch on TV, I guess, and see what’s going to happen.

On if he thinks the trade deadline is on the back of everyone’s mind right now…
I mean, you don’t want to think about it, but this is your life, right, so you kind of have to pay attention. You don’t know where – you could be somewhere else the next day and it’s not just you as a hockey player; your whole family goes with you. So, this is our life and obviously yeah, we do pay attention.

On his confidence level going into division matchups…
It is pretty tight, yeah, it was a big divisional game tonight but we just couldn’t get two points. But yeah, those games are fun. We have to get up for those games, we didn’t do it, so we have a big week in front of us playing some Western Conference teams so maybe we can get some wins next week.

On what the team is lacking compared to a team like Tampa Bay and how he sees a future matchup against them…
I don’t think we’re missing anything compared to those guys. Like I said before, I felt like we gave them a couple goals and the game could have been different, but we have to play as a team, we have to trust the system and we didn’t do it tonight.


BOSTON BRUINS DEFENSMAN ADAM MCQUAID
On losing to a team they were close with in the standings…
Yeah it’s disappointing but like you said, the points were important and we were excited coming into tonight but the record didn’t really show that.

On if it’s a helpless feeling when you trip on the ice…
Yeah pretty much. Just hoping that somehow you get bailed out there but it’s a pretty tough spot to have that happen. You put guys in a pretty tough spot when you do that.

On lacking execution tonight especially this late in the season…
Well that’s just it I mean it was…we had a lot of breakdowns. We hit a lot of posts and it would’ve been a different score, you know. And I think we’ve been giving up a lot of shots. And maybe not, you know, the breakaways and stuff like that. But we’ve been giving up a lot of shots in previous games and we haven’t really gotten burned on it and tonight we did and it’s an area we need to clean up.

On if he caught a rut in the ice…
I think, I mean my feet just came out from underneath me so. I know I’m not the fleetest of foot or the best skater but usually I’m able to stay on my feet for the most part in those situations. So yeah I’m not really sure exactly what happened there, but you live and learn and move on.

On being able to bounce back from things like that at this stage in his career…
Yeah I mean I definitely feel like I’ve gotten a lot better with those things and able to shake things off and even when things are going well, just kind of putting things aside and getting refocused each shift really. It’s kind of been a focus of mine; I’ve been trying to really focus on that this year so you know I try to park it and just move on. You can’t change the past so.

On how much the team thinks about the Trade Deadline…
Well I mean it’s probably one of those things where you’re always kind of watching what’s going to happen and you’re obviously aware of it and it’s something that’s out of our control; I’m sure everyone said the same thing. It’s nothing that we can control so you definitely pay attention to it and we’ll be aware of what’s going on and I’m sure when the deadline passes guys will- if they’re still here- they might breathe a sigh of relief and we get focused and get ready to have a good stretch here.

BOSTON BRUINS DEFENSEMAN ZDENO CHARA

On losing to a team that they’re close with in the standings…
Yeah but we were not playing our best hockey. That’s pretty obvious. They were better than us tonight.

On the embellishment call…
Yeah that’s not what I’ve been known for and certainly I wasn’t trying to embellish. I was trying to move it and I couldn’t, but the referees saw it differently and I don’t necessarily agree with it but that’s something I have to respect and that’s the call. 

On making defensive mistakes late in the season…
It happened I think because when you’re not having five guys working together on the ice there are going to have some breakdowns and we had too many of those tonight. And, for sure we need to bounce back and correct those mistakes we made and bounce back for next game.

On if he expects the executives to make any deals tomorrow…
I trust them. That’s not a question for me.

On it being a frustrating loss but would it be better for them to make a deal at the deadline…
That’s not something we can control.

On if there will be any relief once the deadline passes…
Again, the players have to understand it’s something you can’t control as a player. If you worry then you shouldn’t be because no matter what you can’t control it. If it happens then you have to move on, but if it doesn’t then you should always approach this time of the year like any other day. It’s just a part of the business. 

On if he can control it because of his contract…
I’m not making comments on my contract.

BOSTON BRUINS FORWARD PATRICE BERGERON
On if there’s anything specific that needs to turn around quickly…
Well I mean it’s obvious, I think it just kind of speaks for itself. I think just playing our game plans, playing our system, and we do that on the road. We’ve got to bring that here.

On if Tampa Bay made it difficult for the Bruins to establish the forecheck…
I mean they played a solid game, but a lot of it was from us not executing and not making the right passes, and the easy passes I guess, and we were chasing the puck most of the night.

On what happened on the Bruins power play…
We had a few good looks I thought, but, bottom line, we’ve got to bear down with too many chances to get the team back in the game. I don’t know exactly how many we got tonight, but we got a lot, and yeah, we’ve got to bear down.

On if he expects the team to make a move before tomorrow’s trade deadline…
Obviously we’ll see what happens. I can’t control that and worry about it. I think it’s in the hands of management right now, and we have a job to do as players, and it’s to bounce back from tonight’s game.

On if he hopes the team will make a trade…
I’m confident in the team we have, and it’s their decision to make.

On the game not picking up until the Bruins were down 3-1…
I mean, we started with the lead here, and I thought that start wasn’t bad at all. But obviously after that, it was all them, and they capitalized on their power play, which we didn’t, and too many missed passes, and miscues, and stuff like that, and they controlled the rest of the game basically, and bottom line is, we didn’t play our game.

On if it’s disappointing to have a poor game against a potential playoff opponent…
Yeah, it was disappointing. They played well, but we’ve got to be what we can be, and we’ve got to be a lot better.

On if tonight was an off night or a poor effort…
It was an off night if you look at all the passes we missed, but obviously we’ve got to be a lot better. So that’s all I can really say.

On his confidence in the group at this point of the season…
It’s good. I’m confident in the group we have. I think we have a good mix of veterans and young guys that want to prove themselves and earn their spot, and we’ve definitely got to work on our home record, it’s not good enough, but that being said, I am confident in the group that we have, and I think moving forward, we can definitely be better and keep improving, but yeah, that’s it.

On if it’s too late in the season for some of the mistakes from tonight to happen…
Definitely. It has to be better. Yeah, too many times we don’t execute a system, and that’s when the breakdowns happen. So we’ve got to be a lot smarter.

On if he was surprised at the goalie interference penalty he took…
I mean, I know you can’t run into the goalie, but at the same time, I felt like I got pushed into him. I was trying to get out of the way. But it is a fast game for everyone, and for the refs as well, so we can’t blame them. I mean, we’ve had so many chances to score on the power play. It’s not like we didn’t have our chances. That’s the bottom line.

On Tampa Bay being capable of taking advantage of mistakes…
I mean it’s, you don’t want to get called in the offensive zone, you always say that. So, I mean, especially against a good power play, but like I said, on that play I thought I got pushed into him. But I’ve got to, I guess, do a better job of getting out of the way.

BOSTON BRUINS FORWARD LANDON FERRARO
On how disappointing the result is…
It’s not the effort we needed. They’re a team that plays with a lot of speed and a lot of skill and we didn’t take any speed away, especially through the neutral zone. If you give them that much time they’re going to make you pay for it and we showed it tonight. For whatever reason we just didn’t slow them down and we didn’t get on top of their D like we needed to.

On special teams…
It’s hard enough to win a game when one of the two aren’t going, but when you give up a couple and then you don’t score on any of them...I mean we had plenty of opportunities. It makes it tough, especially this time of year. Special teams are such a big part- that’s where you’re going to win games and try and separate. And throughout the game and tonight it just didn’t happen.

On the mistakes that are self-inflicted and how you avoid getting frustrated by them…
That’s the trick; I mean it’s hard because you have to put it behind you quick. You know it’s hard you can’t let it get to you- it’s just going to make it worse. It doesn’t matter one or two, when something happens you have to be able to come back from it. That’s where good teams separate themselves from the rest of the league. And we didn’t jump back on top of it tonight when we had a couple things go against us, and we have to find a way to be able to do that.

On the disparity between the home and the road in regards to the penalty kill…
I mean it’s not an excuse. We can’t make excuses about it; we need to be able to come out and play the same way. You know I think for whatever reason we get on the forecheck a bit better on the road and you have to be able to do that at home. You know especially coming down the stretch, you know we have half and half left so I mean if we’re not going to win at home it’s going to make it pretty hard to get into the playoffs let alone get a good spot. So we need to be able to figure this out here; we’ve been battling it for a while. We take a step and we take another step back. So we need to be able to figure that our here pretty quick.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING HEAD COACH JON COOPER
On if he feels confident on where his team is at…
Yeah it’s... when you string a few together and guys are feeling good about themselves. They are playing the right way though, that’s the big thing. They’re on the right side of pucks, you can see a lot of goals were scored, we battled up front, we got net front. You know our big key tonight was our power play and that’s been a little bit blind here, especially on the road, and they were attacking here tonight and it was great to see, you know, get two quick ones. I thought that was a big difference, kind of sucked a bit of wind out of them a little bit.

On how versatile his forward group is… 
Well, they’ve been there before. [Ryan] Callahan is one of those kids that can play up and down your lineup if you ask him, you can give him a role and he excels at it. He is playing with a lot of confidence right now, all three of those kids, you know [Steven] Stamkos and [Alex] Killorn, they’re really playing a man’s game and it’s a lot of fun to watch to see them commanding the puck and they’re being rewarded for it. It’s just all the way through our lineup, all four lines are contributing and when that’s happening, usually good things happen for a team, so it’s been fun to watch those guys.

On how Steven Stamkos is playing with more confidence and leading the team…
Yeah well he’s our captain and he’s used to scoring and he’s had a couple stretches where… you know he’s gone without a goal and obviously guys that are used to putting the puck in the net can get frustrated when they don’t score, but it works the other way as well. When they are scoring, you watch out, because everything they touch seems to be going in the net. You know, Steven [Stamkos] has been a consistent scorer in this league, throughout his career and you are going to look at the end of the year and he’s going to be in that, you know forty maybe fifty range. It doesn’t really matter how he gets there, he’s eventually going to get there, that’s what scorers do. But he’s helping us win in so many other areas. He’s been really great on the penalty kill, when your leader is playing that way, and playing the right way, it’s hard for guys not to follow so it’s been a lot of fun to watch.

On how Tyler Johnson is doing after getting injured…
Obviously he’s cut so, hopefully he’s going to be okay, I’m not… he was getting stitched up, you know when we came off the ice, we’ll see in a little bit. He seemed, I talked to him briefly when he left the ice, and he was… you knew he was cut but he wasn’t dazed or anything like that so you know I think this is going to be one where the visor will probably help out a lot.

On if the visor broke…
I don’t know. You guys probably had the better vantage point, I was far from it so I couldn’t tell.
On if he changed anything on their power play…
Well if you noticed, we were, we were shooting right away. So it wasn’t like we were waiting, waiting, it was get the puck up there, get to the net and shoot. Usually when we are doing that we get that attack mentality, we can retrieve pucks, we get it back and we can make some plays. I thought our net front was great and we’re shooting the puck and getting them through and they just happen to find the back of the net.

On their penalty kill against Boston …
Yeah we were, we had to kill off six of them that was big for us because they were close. They had a couple there that you know we tip one at the very last second and then Bish [Ben Bishop] was there to make the big save. You know if you’re going to give Boston six power plays, keep them off the board, you have got to get them out and we did.

On their key to the success of winning five straight games…
We talk about it all the time and it’s eighty two games, and you’re not going to play the perfect game every single game. But if you’re consistently playing well, things start to work out for you, and that’s what we started to do of late. But the big thing is, you’ve got to keep the puck out of the net and when the big boy is playing the way he is back there, and our guys are playing solid defense in front of them, it gives us a good chance to win.

On what Alex Killorn is bringing to the team…
Well, the one thing is I think... as I look back now our fist sixty games, or our first sixty plus games, we were all, everyone was inconsistent, including Alex. He’s a power forward, and when he’s gotten back to that game, he can be a dominant player and I sit here and look at our last five/six/seven games here and Alex [Killorn] has been dominant, and he’s commanding the puck and he’s shooting the puck. You’ve seen the goal tonight that was on and off his stick and in the back of the net. When he’s playing like that, which we saw him play in the playoffs last year and much of last year, he’s a big time player for us. If we are going to go anywhere, we are going to need him to play the way he is playing now and good things will happen for us.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING FORWARD RYAN CALLAHAN

On how it feels to go on a winning streak and string some wins together…
Yeah it’s good. It got away from us a little bit, like you said, I thought we went on a pretty good run there where we’re playing good, defensive hockey. We were putting some wins together and it got away from us, but it seems down this stretch here we’ve kind of gotten back to that. It just shows that when we’re worrying about our side of the puck, you know we’re a tough team to beat, and it seems like we’re playing our best hockey when we’re doing that.

On why being put on a line with Steven Stamkos has been working so well…
I don’t know, I mean it’s tough to point to one thing. You know I think we’re comfortable playing together, we played a chunk of the year last year together, you know if not most of it. So when we got put back together, there was no feeling out period we kind of were used to each other and without over analyzing it. I think we just kind of mesh right now and things are going well. So as a group we’re playing good hockey and as a line we’ve got to continue to produce and play well.

On how important it is to get a shot on net in a two-on-zero situation…
It’s pretty important (laughs). Yeah I mean, I handed it over to Killer [Alex Killorn], and tried to make a move a little bit, and obviously Killer makes a great play there and sells the shot pretty well. You don’t practice those too often, but you know it was good to bury on it.

On his confidence since scoring more lately…
Yeah confidence is coming together, getting a bounce here or there and I think off of that you gain that confidence. So like you said, I haven’t changed the way I’m playing. You know, earlier in the year, I wasn’t putting the points up that I needed to and that weighs on you, but I tried to keep going out there keep working, and I was getting chances and getting opportunities they weren’t going in for me. So it’s nice to get rewarded. But at the same time, it’s nice when the team is winning too.

On what was working well with their powerplay tonight…
No I mean, we wanted to try and get the puck in the net more tonight on the powerplay. Our powerplay has been struggling, there’s no question about that. So we wanted to make sure we got shots on the net. On Killer’s [Alex Killorn] goal it’s kind of just off the rush and he makes a great shot. You know, on mine Stam [Steven Stamkos] was shooting it and I went in front of the net. So there’s no big recipe there for why we had success. It’s just getting pucks there and trying to score on our opportunities. It’s good to get those two goals on the powerplay though, because it has been struggling, and especially on the road.

On what it’s like to watch Steven Stamkos play so well lately…
Yeah he’s playing great hockey, and when you’re playing with him and he’s playing like that it’s a lot of fun. You can see he’s got a lot of jump in his step. He’s so quick out there making decisions, and obviously his shot is world class. So it’s good to see such a big part of this team. And when he goes, we go.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING FORWARD STEVEN STAMKOS

On this being a big win considering the current standings…
Yeah it was a huge win against a team that’s right with us. So I think we realized the point to this game, we came out and played the way that we know we can. And just keep reiterating the fact that we just want to keep getting better. And that’s a good team that we beat that’s right battling us and as desperate as we are, and that was a big win for us.

On having so many scoring chances…
Yeah I mean it’s fun to play when that’s going on. But I really am a big believer that we’re earning everything we get. Obviously a fortuitous I guess heel pick if you want to call it that gets us going early, and then you know we just feel the chemistry and the confidence. But we’re playing well defensively and that’s the thing that’s generating that offensive play. We’re having the puck a lot more than not, we’re controlling it, playing smart. I mean especially when you come into a game like this, you’re going against [Patrice] Bergeron, you’re going against [Zdeno] Chara every shift, you know maybe you’re not going to get as many quality chances as another game, because of how well they defend. So you’ve got to defend well yourself. And I think when you have that mentality heading into a game, you want to play the right way from the puck drop, and we did that as a line. 

On the effort on both ends of the ice, particularly by Alex Killorn…
Yeah I mean, if you ask any guy, they’re willing to do whatever it takes. That’s the mindset that we’ve established on this team, and it just goes to show just how unselfish the guys are. But when you’re given an opportunity, you want to obviously make the best of it, and we’re doing that as a line right now, and we’d like to continue that.

On whether this the most confident that he’s felt all season…
Yeah probably, for sure. I mean it’s been a – it’s a lot easier to feel even better when the team’s having success as well. I mean six in a row, that’s a great feed for us at this time in the year. So it obviously just icing on the cake to be producing in those wins, and our line is feeling really good about our game right now.

On the penalty shot…
Yeah I mean you know again, confidence. When you score in the last shootout and kind of come down the same way and have a couple options. So it was nice to see that one go in. You know it’s just a different mindset when you’re coming in – felt confident, knew what I wanted to do, and executed.

TAMPA BAY FORWARD ALEX KILLORN

On what he think has changed this year for the team…
I don’t know what it is. I think, um, just the way we have been playing lately has been great. I think certain lines are gaining chemistry, building momentum of off previous games. We wanted to be a harder team to play on the road this year and I think we’ve done a good job of that lately.

On how versatile Tampa has been lately…
Yeah, I think that’s just the ups and flows of the season, um, I think once we started to get going, uh, now it’s every game we’re confident, we’re playing with the puck and I think our line in general has been doing really well lately.

On his game individually…
Yeah, I think when you play with [Ryan] Callahan and [Steven Stamkos] Stammer and Callahan is great at getting the pucks. I mean a lot of times you’ve just got to find Stammer and he scores a ton of goals. So we’ve played together in the past and there has been a chemistry there and that chemistry is there right now for sure.

On anything in particular that feels good when playing with Steven Stamkos…
Not really, I think we’re just comfortable with the puck, I mean, we’re making a lot more plays than we were at the beginning of the season. And I think it’s showing by, you know, the way we’re producing point wise, I think.

On scoring quickly during the power play and if there was anything that had changed there…
Yeah, I mean we – the last game I think we had good possession but we weren’t getting enough shots. Um, I think when you look at the best power plays they have, you know, the most shots per power play and I think that’s something we focused on. You look at the two goals, especially [Ryan] Callahan’s shot at the net and a tip, so we want to score more like that.
 
On any thought of shooting on the 2 and 0…
On the 2 and 0, no. I knew pretty much right when I got it I was going to give it back to [Ryan Callahan] Cally.

On what it is like watching Steven Stamkos playing right now…
Yeah, no it’s great. I mean, it’s great to play with him when he’s playing like this. I mean, he’s skating so well and he’s playing with so much speed and so much pace; it’s so tough for the opposing team, even with matchups, to keep up with him.

On if this stretch is the best that they have played this year…
Yeah, I think so. I mean, we had a little bit – I think it was three or four games in between, but before that to now I think it has been going great. I think it’s definitely our best spirt the whole season.

On Tampa and the Panthers being top in the division and what that says about hockey growing in Florida…
No, I think it has been growing. I mean, I don’t think people would have said that a couple years ago, but you know it’s great for Florida, hockey wise.

On being two points away from the division lead and if that’s the focus right now…
Yeah, I mean it’s so close between the bottom of the pack and the top of the pack, but it’s starting to shape out a little bit more now. Um, but to know you’re that close to being in the division lead is exciting, so every game is so important.

On how important it is to be play well right at the deadline…
I mean you always want to play well. I think you just want to play your best hockey going into the playoffs. I don’t know if, you know, a trade deadline or whatever, um, I think we have what twenty games left, so to play well and to keep playing well in the playoffs is going to be important thing.

GENERAL MANAGER DON SWEENEY PRESS CONFERENCE AT 5:00 PM
On if there’s anything new about contract talks with Loui Eriksson…
No, I mean, as I said earlier, yesterday, that we made offers to Loui, and haven’t been able to find a deal at this point in time. So it’s sort of status quo on that front.

On if he’s received counter-offers during those contract talks…
There have been ongoing discussions. Certainly, they have their position and we have ours. I’d like to find a deal, but it hasn’t happened to this point, and you guys know me well enough now that I’m not one to be disclosing where those parameters lie.

On if the team’s preference has moved from signing Loui Eriksson to trading him…
It’s always going to be about, Loui’s a good player. He’s having a great season. He’s very important for our success up to date, and we treat it as such. If another team, and I’ve had several discussions with other teams, felt that was equal on that side of it, the deal was a right fit, then that’s something we’d explore. But my preference has been all along to try and sign him, and go from there.

On if trying to land a top-four defenseman is a motivating factor…
Well I think anybody that has an opportunity to improve their club, be it as you described, a top-four potential, top-four defenseman, I think they’d be excited to do that. What the cost of that is, is what we’re all balancing. During the last several weeks, I’ve had a lot of discussions with 29 other general managers, to see where they’re trying to improve their clubs, and the overwhelming thought is that we’ve stockpiled a number of players and I think that it has set this organization up going forward very well and we’ve done a very good job this year. Our team has grown along as we’ve said. I think our players have done a good job and I think our coaches have also done a good job. As we stand right now, we’re in a playoff position. I’d like to try and help and support the group, and that’s what it’s really all about.

On how the team’s young defensemen have progressed…
Well there have been ebbs and flows, certainly, and as you expect that with younger players. Even with some of our established players. Dennis [Seidenberg] started the year injured, certainly didn’t help in that regard as well. But if we have a chance to bring in a player that you described that would help our hockey club we would certainly do it.

On if Loui Eriksson will play tonight or sit out because of trade discussions…
No, Loui is absolutely playing tonight.

On what the trade market has been like and the team’s needs he would like to fill…
Well I think the overall depth of the hockey club is something we want to continue to identify and try and improve. Most of the talks have centered around draft picks, and a lot of prospects have not changed hands, here and there. I think this is the time where teams zero in on not giving up much on their own club, when that they feel they’re in position, and other teams are feeling like they may take a step back and restock come June, so they’re trying to accumulate those. That’s sort of where the balance of the talks have been.

On what identity the team has formed and where he wants to see the team go…
Well I think that we have an area to improve upon, is to tighten up a little bit. In the last little while, I think that whatever you want to describe as shot suppression hasn’t been as consistent as we would like it. We found a way. We talked about it earlier on, I think the coaches and players have all done a great job of finding a way to be a little more aggressive in some areas and the goal production has certainly been very positive. People questioned whether or not we were going to be able to score enough goals and now if we can dial in being able to be a little stingier at times, I think we’re a hard team to play against. And I think we’ve found a balance, a little bit of being a little more aggressive on the forecheck and being able to pinch when we’re appropriately supposed to. Tuukka [Rask] has played very well. Gus [Jonas Gustavsson] has, for the most part, played very well throughout the year as well, and I think we’ve balanced the goaltending situation pretty well, and I don’t know if our players have gotten enough credit to date, to tell you the truth, and I think our coaches have been in lockstep with that.

On if he’s comfortable to stick with the current roster composition…
I don’t know if anybody’s ever comfortable. Maybe Washington, because they’re out in front, but they’re even trying to tinker. I think everybody’s trying to improve their hockey club and we’ve said that from day one. Again, it’s never a disparaging comment regarding the players you currently have, it’s just an opportunity to continue to canvass right up until the deadline, to allow you to see if you can improve. And if that means we’re giving up draft picks to do that, then that’s what we’re going to continue to explore to do.

On how trading Loui Eriksson would impact the roster…
Well I think it would be a significant impact. You realize what Loui’s [Eriksson] impact on our hockey club is night after night and it’s significant. So we’d have to look to make sure, whether internally we have some guys that can help, but more than likely you have to bring in a player that, whether it’s in one move or subsequent moves that would be able to fill that gap. To me it would be a big loss for our hockey club for sure.

On how much the uncertainty of the cap in the future has to do with Loui Eriksson’s fate…
Well it’s a big factor, there’s no question. Other players are coming along and we have to be cognizant of as to when their deals are up that we would like to keep as part of group, and you have to manage that. There’s no question that that is a factor.

On if he’s been offered a first round pick for Loui Eriksson by another team…
I’m never going to discuss what other teams are offering and I would hope that they would respect the same if they were sitting in my seat.

On the other Eastern Conference teams that have made moves in the last 24 hours and if that influences his thinking at all…
Well it certainly gets your attention. Again, I think that if we have the assets to acquire certain players that will give us a boost that’s what we’d like to do. But I don’t think you can be held hostage with that regard as well. If things line up then you’re able to make a deal. If they don’t then you have to grab ahold of your bootstraps and tighten them up.

On if any trade talks have gotten to the point where he’s had to ask players to waive their no-trades…
No, no we haven’t. There are several players that have limited no-trade as part of their contracts and we’ll respect that. And if it approaches something that needs to go differently then we’ll have to move in that direction, but I wouldn’t do it in front of that.

On if he would keep Loui Eriksson for the rest of the season for a playoff hunt…
Absolutely. Loui [Eriksson] is a valuable player and other teams are probably seeing him accordingly as such. To me, as the question was asked earlier, he’s an impactful player in our hockey club. I would have continuing negotiations with him as such. You know we value him; we’ve offered him a significant contract. There’s a gap there that exists at times with players and we’ll see where it goes. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop between now and then as to whether or not something will materialize…bottom line you have to do what’s best for the organization and move forward.

On Max Talbot and Zac Rinaldo going on waivers and where the roster is at right now and if he’s making space to create flexibility for tomorrow…
Yeah, there’s certain times a year when you have an opportunity before deadlines to create flexibility and I think both of those represent that. Again, I’ve had talks with both players. Zac [Rinaldo] is playing tonight. There are plenty of players that have gone on waivers and nothing has happened. And in both counts that might be the case. But you know, as I said, we have certain deadlines that we have to adhere to and in order to create flexibility with some of the discussions that we’ve had then that was something that we had to do. As difficult as the conversations are to have you have to have them, and again do what’s best for the hockey club.

On Zac Rinaldo and what he thinks of him as a player now…
I still believe that Zac [Rinaldo] is the type of player that we needed. Did I know that Tyler Randell would be able to come in and fill a gap that Landon Ferraro necessarily could come in and fill another gap? No. Those are things you don’t necessarily have a great feel for before the season starts. And I felt that our team lacked energy at times last year and I think Zac [Rinaldo] has done a really good job in that regard. Has he produced at the level that he’s capable when you watch him in practice and such every day? No- he’d probably be the first to tell you that. But I think his game has certainly come a long way, where he’s put himself in questionable situations. I mean even the penalties he takes now…most of them are borderline calls for a lot of occasions. And I think he infuses a lot of energy, you know. He’s been used on the penalty kill a little bit, again probably something that he can continue to grow at because of the way he skates and the courage that he has. And I think he’s infectious for our club. He’s fit in well. We’ll see whether or not somebody else thinks that; we might lose that asset and we’ll go from there. But again, it allowed us this deadline for flexibility sake.

HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE AT 10:10 AM
On having an even matchup tonight because of what the standings are…
Yeah I think that these are fun games to play, personally. I like these games that both teams are going to be motivated to play and it should turn out to be an exciting game. So I like those, you know, we all know that every win is important and we kind of put our emphasis on that, but this one here is a little bit more special because of the implications of what’s going to end up here at the end of this night. And I think we’re excited to play those types of games and we need to be ready to play here at 6:30.

On the number of shots against recently…
You know Steve, we gauge the scoring chances versus shots, you know? You have teams that are going to shoot it from everywhere because they want to create rebounds, they want to create scoring chances and their philosophy is to shoot from everywhere. I’m not saying that, you know, we can’t be better than that – I think we can. And last game I talked about, defensively, our forecheck wasn’t very good and teams are breaking out with very little pressure. They came up the ice with some speed and when you get in that kind of situation, the result is some shots against and stuff like that. So we can be better there, but at the same time we’re really looking at the chances against versus the amount of shots.

On the effects of being able to give Tuukka Rask more rest than last season…
Well I think right now we’re already ahead of schedule with the number of games he’s played and I think we’re right on track. You know Gus [Jonas Gustavsson] has been a good goaltender for us this year. He’s got a great winning record so we’re able to continue to manage it the same way we have all year. I think at this time last year, Amalie, we really had to push with him because of the situation we were in. We were really battling there to get into the playoffs so we had to push the envelope a little bit there. But you know right now I think we’re in a better position.

On how involved he is with the trade deadline and if he views it as a distraction…
That’s upper management; they don’t not consult me and ask questions and run things by you. That’s natural on any team. So my main focus is to coach and that’s more or less their job. Am I involved in the discussions after a while? Absolutely. But I’m not the one saying yay or nay and all that stuff. I’m just put into the loop and give my opinion, that’s all.

On if the mindset is different going into this trade deadline…
I don’t see anything different in our group, you know, right now from what it’s been all year as far as the mindset or guys worried. And in the past I can honestly say there were guys wondering if they were going to be here at the trade deadline. Right now I think we have a pretty good focus on just playing the game and so it’s been good that way. So as far as a distraction, I’m not sure it is right now and if it is it’s not showing.

On if he’s confident with the group that he has for the final 20 games of the season…
Well I don’t believe in “ifs,” so I just kind of live in the moment.

On if he looks at the other trade activity in the league…
Sure, you’re reading and looking at all that stuff. But it doesn’t change anything about your outlook about your club and what you need to do and so on and so forth. I think the West has been very active as you can see, and it’s created a lot of teams to react to that. And you’ve seen that from watching Chicago and now you have other teams in the West really being active on that. So that’s not to say it’s not going to happen in the East – maybe we’re a little late to the party but maybe we’ll catch up there by trade deadline, who knows?

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