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Running Quotes for Bruins vs. Penguins on 11/16

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS POSTGAME QUOTES

BOSTON BRUINS VS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Wednesday, December 16 2015

BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE AT 10:50 P.M.
On how much easier it makes things to have the consistent presence of Tuukka Rask in goal…
I think any team will tell you the same thing; there’s a lot of those guys around the league that teams rely on and have success because of that. Tuukka, we’ve been fortunate here in my time here that we’ve had some great goaltenders come through. Again, he’s a guy that when he’s on his game he’s one of the best. He’s feeling it in the last little while or whatever, last month, maybe even more. But he’s been the goalie that we all know he can be. And that’s how we felt about him at the beginning even though he struggled, we knew he’d find his game and he has.

On how much more comfortable he is now in Tuukka Rask and the defensive system when the other team has extended pressure…
Well, if you’re talking about the second period that’s where we spent most of the time, in our end. But he was making saves, he was hanging on to the puck and ending the play there; starting off with a faceoff again which is a lot better than having two or three whacks at the puck and the other team building momentum off that. But he was solid for us. Even there’s times when he had to find that puck, he was screened, did a good job.

On how good it was to see Jimmy Hayes play a big man’s game…
Jimmy’s going to have success by going to the net like he did tonight. He’s really good at either tipping pucks or finding loose pucks. Like you said, he’s a big man, he has to play that game. We don’t expect him to be carrying the puck up and down the ice, but in those tight areas he can be a good player. Tonight, that’s what he tried to do and had some success doing it.

On if this has been the best stretch for Max Talbot this season…
Well, yeah, I don’t think he had that much of a chance there from training camp, being put on waivers, up and down for a game or two. But he’s been with us now for a bit of a stretch and he’s been playing and obviously playing well like you mentioned. I think he’s a gritty player, probably tonight he struggled a little bit in the faceoff circle. But other than that he’s competing hard and nice again to see guys like that score some goals because they work so hard and you like to see different guys score on your team once in a while and give your team a boost. That’s what he did, led us with that first goal, and thought played a pretty strong game from start to finish, on penalty kill, five-on-five, really reliable.

On what has influenced his decision not to ride Tuukka Rask too hard at this time of year…
Well, I think because we feel that we have two goaltenders – you have to look at Jonas’s [Gustavsson], he’s been pretty good. I know he’s lost the last couple of games, certainly gave us a chance against Nashville in here when we looked like a tired team and didn’t play very well. Certainly can’t blame him for that. He’s been good and I think there’s a good confidence in both goaltenders. As long as you’ve got confidence in both goaltenders you’re able to give Tuukka a rest when he needs it and try and put him in the games that you really want to see him play in.

On how important it is to get offensive contributions from the third and fourth lines…
Well, that’s what you want to see. You don’t expect them to score at the that the top two lines are, but you certainly like to see them chip in every once in a while and tonight, like I said, allowed us to win this game. Those first two goals came from the third and fourth line. I even mentioned before the game that you don’t want guys playing in other guys’ shadows, you want them to be able to be confident enough to play in this league and contribute. That’s what two of those guys did for us tonight.

On if he expects a veteran like Max Talbot to be able to handle being in and out of the lineup better than a younger player…
Well, you have to look at the individual. Everybody handles it differently, but Max from the first day he went down to Providence, all I hear was what a great attitude he had, that he was smiling, having fun with the guys, and playing as hard – he was one of the best players there. That just shows his character and what he’s all about. What’s happening to him right now, I think he deserves because of just the way he’s handled himself through the situation that started at the beginning of the year.

On how big it is to win the first game of the home-and-home with Pittsburgh…
You always want to get off to a good start when you’re playing those back-to-backs. You hope that you can build some momentum and now you gotta go back there understanding that they’re gonna be hungry and that they’re gonna be ready for us. Again, as you often here coaches say, ‘Let’s park this one and let’s move on to the next.’ Well, that’s what we gotta do right now.

BOSTON BRUINS FORWARD JIMMY HAYES
On where the puck hit him…
I just went to the net, you know, and just…got a good bounce for me there. I think right in the shaft going to the net there.

On whether it was a sense of relief to get that goal…
Yeah, it’s been a while so it’s nice to, you know, figured it would be one like that.

On how important it was to get two points in their own building…
Yeah it’s big for our club, you know, especially the momentum. You know, you want to kind of keep it going and make sure that we’re going in the right direction and go to their building and play well like we’ve been doing on the road.

On frustration about not moving in the standings and how much this win means…
Yeah, you know, it’s going to be a tight race all year here so, you know, we can continue to get points wherever we can and continue to stay at the top of the standings and put ourselves in a good spot.

On getting to 500 at home being a big deal…
Yeah it sure is. We want to make this a tough place to play, especially for a lot of those other teams coming in here making sure they know they’re going to be playing against the Bruins here tonight and it’s not going to be an easy game.

On his goal being reviewed after finally scoring…
I figured it’s something like that. I don’t know. I heard them say it was goalie interference. I was like pretty sure I didn’t get anything near him so.

On the relief he feels from scoring…
Yeah, sure. You know, it’s been a while. It’s been… struggling to find the back of the net and, you know, you’ve got to make sure you just keep plugging.

On whether he’s losing sleep over a long scoring drought or whether he took it in stride…
You know, I mean it’s happened to me before but you kind of want to find a way out of it and, you know, that’s what you’ve got to do. You have to go to the net and get a greasy one and make sure you can keep going and just find a way out of it, you know. You don’t want to lose sleep, you know. Like I said, you’ve got to be professional and find a way.

On what causes that streak to happen…
We’re showing up and we’re playing a full game. There’s times when teams are going to be all over us but we’re getting great goaltending and keeping the puck out of our net and finding a way to win games.

On whether he feels he’s getting back to that “big man’s game” he wanted to get back to…
Yeah and that’s how I’m going to be effective. You know, you’ve got to make sure I’m big, I’m moving my feet and, you know, just being hard to play against.

BOSTON BRUINS DEFENSEMAN ADAM MCQUAID
On the play he was injured on…
I didn’t really see it [the puck] coming, but no, I’m fine.

On if the puck hit him in the eye…
No, no [points to stitches on his chin]. Luckily I got a beard [laughs], it keeps it well hidden.

On how many stitches he received …
I don’t know, 10 or 12 - it’s not a bad spot I guess.

On whether his teeth are in tact…
Yeah, luckily. I wear a mouth guard. Thanks for asking [laughs].

On the strategy against the Penguins…
It probably goes without saying, look at their lineup - they’re dangerous, they’re deep. They carried the play there in the second period and we got a little away from our game a little bit and they kind of played to their strength and like I said, you got to be on your toes defensively against that group.

On whether he saw the puck coming…
No I didn’t see it at all. It kind of – there was a guy kind of coming to the net and I was trying to keep him from getting to the net so I’m not even sure where it came from, if it was redirected or straight in.

On how encouraging it is that the Bruins won a game where they made some defensive mistakes…
They had a couple crossbars there in the second period - this could have been a different game going into the third, 2-2 versus 2-0 you know? There is areas certainly to clear up. It’s great for Tuukka, he’s been really solid for us and when we’ve had our breakdowns he’s been there to bail us out and he’s helped us a lot of nights get points that otherwise we might not have gotten.

On whether any bad blood was brewing between him and Patric Hornqvist…
Nothing out of the ordinary, just battles.

On the team’s second period struggles…
I don’t know, I mean we had a solid second period against Edmonton last game. I don’t know if going to opposite direction on the ice makes a difference [laughs] I don’t know but it shouldn’t. I guess at times we get away from our game you know? It really makes a difference when we get pucks all the way in and guys can get in and we have guys that are strong on the forecheck and they can cause turnovers and stuff when we can get it in there, but when we don’t and other teams are countering coming back at us all the time. It’s a long change and sometimes guys get stuck out there a little longer than they should be and more breakdowns can happen.

On whether the team is playing their best defensive hockey of the year…
I think it’s been better. Its probably been more where we want it to be. There is probably still some room for improvement, we still have breakdowns at times. I guess things are going to happen, there’s really no perfect game but I think we’re getting closer to where we want to be, but there is still a little work to be done.

On whether Tuukka seems fresher this year due to more days off…
I don’t know, you’d have to ask him. He looks sharp right now and he’s playing really well. He’s giving us a chance to get points on some nights that we haven’t deserved necessarily that, it could’ve went the other way. It’s good to see him playing well.

BOSTON BRUINS FORWARD MAX TALBOT
On if felt like it had been a while since he scored…
Yeah, but at the same time I scored like almost a week ago, but in Providence. I mean, I think you saw by my celebration, I think you could see a lot where I was obviously happiness but relief also. It’s been a rough start in a way, but at the same time it’s good to do something good and to contribute.

On picking up his contributions lately…
Yeah, well, it’s nice. The last three games I was doing well in faceoffs, tonight not so much. But it’s nice to be out there in different situations and, you know, I think Claude [Julien] gave me a little confidence out there, putting me out there. It feel good. I’m trying to do what I can. Obviously, I think for the team it’s nice when the fourth and the third line gets some goals, it gets a little bit of relief for our first and second line which usually score most of the goals. Definitely feels good.

On what the team wants to build off of after this game…
Well, I don’t think we can be extra satisfied with this effort from our team. Obviously Tuukka [Rask] was amazing tonight. In the second period we’re definitely not satisfied, we played a little bit better in the third. But at the same time, I don’t think we had our skating legs tonight. They controlled most of the game so we definitely need a better effort on Friday for us to win a game on the road.

On his goal…
Quaider [Adam McQuaid] did a nice play at the neutral zone and I got a chance to have a two-on-one. I just put it in the upper right corner. It felt pretty good when it hit the twine. It’s nice, like I said, for the fourth and third line to contribute for a team. Most of the time it’s the first and second line that gets the goal, or the power play. I think it’s a little bit of a relief for our first two lines tonight, so hopefully we can repeat that.

On getting the monkey off his back…
Yeah, a lot, a lot. Like I said, I scored maybe 10 days ago but it was in Providence. NHL-wise I don’t remember the date, February something. I know it’s my first as a Bruin also, so I’m pretty proud of that. Hopefully I can be a little light on my feet and keep doing some good things out there.

On getting his first goal of the season being back in Boston and Mike Sullivan also being back in Boston…
Yeah, well, I was not thinking about that when I played or scored. But it definitely feels great for me right now.

On if he feels that his line is finding an identity…
Yeah, it’s what I’ve been doing most of my career, playing third or fourth line centerman and trying to hold onto the puck, have some defensive zone presence, good on the forecheck. I feel the last three or four games I’ve had the opportunity to do that and we’ve been doing that as a line. Yeah, definitely feeling more and more comfortable after a little bit of a tougher start to the season. For me, it’s one day at a time, it’s one game at a time. Hopefully I can keep playing some good hockey and help this team to win some games.

On if this year has been a challenge for him…
Surprisingly not. I’ve been pretty even-keeled in a situation where, I can’t it wasn’t challenging at some points but I’m the type of guy to take the glass always half full. I’ve kept a good attitude. When I was with the younger guys in Providence I worked on my offensive game and when I get called back up I’m doing what I can to help the team. That’s been my role here. I’ll keep on doing that the best I can.

BOSTON BRUINS GOALTENDER TUUKKA RASK
On reaching 30 career shutouts and his consistency…
Just when we play our system it’s very helpful for goalies and today they had a lot of shots again, but for the most part they kept them outside, so when we do that it’s just nice to win and keep the goals against low.

On nothing looking terribly hard for him tonight and the team’s play in the second period…
Yeah, well that just goes to say that everybody’s doing their job defensively I think and just being patient and protecting the house and trying to keep them on the outside letting me see the puck, so that’s one thing, but yeah I don’t know. I thought we just turned the puck over a little bit too much and kind of played in their hands a little bit in the second period, but we managed to come out from that period with a two nothing lead and that was huge and obviously the second periods have been challenging for us at times and I think today that was the case again.

On the last month being the best the team has played defensively…
Yeah absolutely. I mean, we’re not trying to win 4-3 or 5-4. We’re just kind of being patient and getting our chances and capitalizing on those, but defensively we’re getting so much better. We take pride in that and we finally understood that that’s what our bread and butter is and has given us success a lot.

On whether realizing that is just a learning process…
Yeah I don’t know I mean it’s… probably. It’s just, it’s so much more coordinating in our own zone I feel like and guys are not running around. We’re just playing, keeping it tight, you know, because they’re going to get shots but it’s just a matter of what kind of shots they’re going to get and lately it’s been on the outside and guys have been taking care of the rebounds, so that takes a lot of goals away.

On winning 7 of the last 8 against Pittsburgh and whether the success is because he feels more confident against them…
No, no, I mean, I don’t know. It’s just one of those mysteries that I’ve been able to win a lot of games against them. I don’t know, I feel good. I try to feel good every game, but a lot of times I think I see the puck a lot and that helps, you know. They’re a skilled group who like to get clear shots and not that much traffic so that’s probably easier for a goalie.

On being able to see the puck as a goalie…
Yeah well that’s, if you want to score in this league you have to create traffic and second opportunities, and we’ve been on the other side too. Now we’re trying to fix it and get screens and traffic and second opportunities because it’s tough to score.

On whether he feels that the young wingers are playing the best they have as a group within the Bruins system…
Yeah, you know it probably takes a little while for new guys to get used to it, especially the game without the puck and really understanding and taking pride. When everybody’s doing their job it looks like that, but when one guy’s not everything falls apart for us and we finally understood that I think.

BOSTON BRUINS FORWARD RYAN SPOONER
On if he tried to do anything particular when he assisted the second goal…
I tried to pass it. I didn’t really have much there. The defenseman was back and saw him going for the net, he called for it, I tried to make a pass and I think their defenseman kind of got in between and it, hit someone in front- so that’s good.

On the pass…
Yeah I saw him coming there and I thought he was going to get on the inside of the defenseman actually but I don’t think he saw him there and the defenseman kind of went down and again, it just hit off someone so that was good.

On what the cohesion is during this successful stretch of games…
I think as a team we’re playing better in our own end. I guess we’re keeping teams to the outside a little bit more. I think before we were getting into trouble at their blueline; we were making some turnovers and stuff like that, which doesn’t work well in this league. So I think for the most part when our team’s playing well we’re getting some pucks in deep, we’re smart and that’s what we’ve been doing so it’s good.

On playing better when having a lead…
Yeah I think the second periods this year for us haven’t been great. I mean if you’re up by a goal or two it’s definitely a period that’s important and you know it’s a period that’s hard to I guess sustain what you did in the first period. So that’s been a bit of an issue for us. But I think in the past we’ve been a little bit I guess better with that.

On how much they had the puck tonight like in the second period…
Yeah they have tons of skill up front. I think the problem in that period was again we made some turnovers at the blueline against a team that it’s not going to work well for you. So I think when our team I guess gets into trouble is when we make plays like that. And again, I think the game against the [Nashville] Predators was the same thing. I think they had sixteen shots and I think we had one. So that was in the second period as well. So I think for us as a team we just need to address that maybe after the first period when we have a good period we need to maybe say to each other we need to I guess try to play the same way so.

BOSTON BRUINS DEFENSEMAN DENNIS SEIDENBERG
On the team’s recent defensive improvement…
I think overall we’ve played better team defense. We play as a unit of one - take care of the middle first and that’s why you see a little better results at the end.

On how much the defense’s early season struggles impacted the perception of Tuukka Rask’s game…
It goes hand-in-hand. If we play well it makes life easy on him and if it’s the other way around, it’s tough for him to make every stop and it just doesn’t work out that’s why it’s a team sport and right now it’s a little better. Tonight we were a little leaky after giving up a few turnovers and a couple breakaways but overall I thought we played okay.

On how encouraging it is that their mistakes didn’t lead to Pittsburgh goals…
We did get lucky with a couple of crossbars. Overall like you said we did have a few giveaways and turnovers and it played into their hands. Especially in the second period where we didn’t move the puck well but Tuukka kept us in there and a couple lucky bounces here and there and we scored when we needed to and that’s why we won.

On whether he approaches playing Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel differently when they’re struggling…
Obviously you hear about it but guys like that and players of that caliber you can’t really rely on what happened the last few games. You have to play strong and be very aware when they are on the ice because they are the some of the best players in the world.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS HEAD COACH MIKE SULLIVAN
On if he sees anything that might explain why this team is struggling…
Well, I think we are getting some chances, we are generating some chances, for me what I see is we have to do a better job playing smarter.  I think we are playing hard.  I think we are playing hard.  I think our energy is there.  I think our effort is there.  I think sometimes we don’t play as smart as we can and we turn pucks over in the wrong areas of the rink and it makes for a hard game because you end up on the wrong side of the puck.  You end up chasing the game a little bit.  For me, one of the things I am going to try to do here over the next little while is just to try to focus on the details of what it means to try to play the right way.  When we are in the offensive zone, we have got to get people above the puck, not only for defensive reasons but offensive reasons.  It helps us sustain the zone, maybe we have ice to skate on or ice to skate into if we win a puck battle along the wall.  We can’t just be a kind of one and done team, we have to stay engaged, we have got to become a next play team, constantly reengaging the battle.  So for me those are the things that I have seen in the short time that I have been here and we have just got to focus on those details.

On how difficult it will be to instill the qualities that he wants on the team…Well we will just go to work and I think we’ll use every means we can to try to define it.  I think we’ll show them some film tomorrow, we’ll practice it, we’ll got to work.  For me that’s the only way to do it.  It’s a process and we’ve got to go through a little bit of the process.  For me I think we have to do a better job controlling our own destiny out there by those types of details.. 
On him not being happy about the second goal…Well I don’t know how many coaches are happy when the puck ends up in the back of your net so that is certainly part of it but those are areas of our game that we are going to try and get better.  I think we can get better at both ends in front of the nets.  I think we are generating shot totals, we’ve got to make it harder for opponents goalies by getting to the front of the net, making the sight lines difficult.  If we do that, those are the types of circumstances where the goalie can’t control a rebound and maybe we got a chance to bang in the rebound.  In my experience when teams go through struggles, part of the solution is always to simplify.  So we are trying to simplify the process, we are trying to shoot the puck, get the puck to the net, get people to the net and see if we can’t work our way out of this.

On if there is something that he brings to the game that he can instill upon this team…Well I think I have said it from day one.  I think the most important thing is the mindset, it’s the mindset that we are in that we have got to become a resilient group.  We’ve got to find solutions, we can’t look for any sort of excuses.  The answers are in the room, we’ve got to find them and we have to work together to work our way out of this.  So that’s the message that I am going to bring to our team.  We are in this thing together and we are going to figure this out.

On Conor Sheary earning his way up to the line with Malkin & Kessel…I thought he was terrific.  I thought he was on the puck, he was quick, he forced turnovers, he was skating.  I thought he brought us some juice.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS FORWARD EVGENI MALKIN
On what he thought of the change on the power play where he was at center point...
It feels, again, a little bit new for me but yeah I like it. I mean we didn’t score but we had a couple chances. But with [Kris] Letang not playing it’s been a little bit tough because you know he’s an important guy in power play, but he not play right now but we will change and I try to be a little bit better. This was not good game, but it feels game to me, next game I will do better.

On how they need to translate their shots into goals...
Of course if you are not shooting, you’re not scoring. We need to go to net you know it’s only three bounce sometimes we need to score. Maybe not pretty goals, but just score a couple goals and come back luck you know and start win, start goals score, you know?

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS FORWARD SIDNEY CROSBY
On the struggles of the team to score goals right now…
Yeah I mean every game is different obviously.  Tonight, I mean maybe things end up differently if one of those go in.  Phil [Kessel] hit the crossbar early, Kuny [Chris Kunitz] hits one to get us back in the game there on the power play.  Those things happen but we got to find a way to score some ugly ones.  Once we get one or two hopefully the flood gates open up for us but we can’t let it bother us, at the same time we can’t accept it.  I mean yeah we hit a couple crossbars but teams hit crossbars and they score different ways too.  That’s totally on us to find ways to score goals and it might have to be ugly ones until we start to get some bounces.

On if there is a confidence issue with the team …I mean if you’re scoring four or five a game, obviously you have that in the back of your mind that you can do that at will.  We haven’t done that consistently so until we find a way to be more consistent and producing more then I think we’ll start to build that.  That’s something that a team builds over the course of the year and we have got to find a way to get that.
On the team having to start getting points soon…We need points.  Every single point is important and the league is so tight obviously, any points you can get.  This is a position that is probably new to us and we are going to see how we react.  I think it’s a good challenge for us, hopefully it’s going to keep us really sharp and force us to have that desperation that you need to compete every night.

On how close he thinks the team is to getting to that point…I mean you look at our last few games, we have 40+ shots a couple times, tonight we had posts and crossbars and they are a team that is really confident when playing with the lead so you know all of the sudden we get that first one and maybe things open up a little bit more for us, maybe we gain a little bit more confidence and maybe it’s different.  We have to find a way to kind of change our fate in games and get an ugly one or not allow those posts or bad bounces to hurt us.

On how the team will respond to a new coach a third of the way through the season…I think everyone has to prove themselves and you have to earn your ice time, earn your roles and your responsibilities and at the same time you got to learn on the fly.  You know there are some different things that he may ask and we got to be ready to accept that do whatever you got to do to help contribute.

On something that coach Mike Sullivan has asked for that the team maybe isn’t used to…
Little tactical things, X and O type of things, I think system we there are little adjustments there but I think the main thing is the last few days is probably just breaking out with some control and making sure that we are making smart plays at our blue and their blue.  He has really harped on that and that’s something that we can still definitely get better in.

On if the power play is going to take some time to get better…
I don’ think so.  I think that when you throw some guys in new positions, it’s normal to kind of overthink it a little bit.  You know sometimes it’s just a matter of simplifying it and doing the same thing that you would do in any other position.  You know new coach, new role, it’s easy for guys to really want to overthink it and maybe try do something that’s really not there.  So I think we’ll get a little more relaxed once we get a few more reps but we got to do that quickly, power play is a big part of the game in helping us win games. 

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS FORWARD CONOR SHEARY
On if he is excited to be back in his home state for his NHL debut...
Yeah, it’s been a bit of kind of exciting past couple of days, yesterday coming into Boston and knowing I was going to play tonight it was pretty special and to get the first game under my belt in my own city was pretty cool.

On what his emotions were like in the first couple of shifts...
Yeah I definitely had to get into the game early, I thought my first shift was… a little bit nervous but after that I kind of felt comfortable up there and my linemen's really helped me push forward and play well.

On if he felt effective with his speed...
Yeah it is a huge part of my game is my speed and tenacity I like to use out there. I am just trying to use it at this level as well, and I tried that tonight.

On getting promoted and working with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel...
Yeah I think we weren’t scoring so I think coach just wanted to mix up the lines a bit, and I obviously got the opportunity to play with those guys which is pretty cool and they make a lot of plays and it’s fun to play with those guys.

On if they were vocal on the bench...
Yeah a little bit of both. They’ll help me out, and say ‘hey did you see me there?’ Or whatever it was on the bench, but for the most part it’s just go play hockey and make plays.

On what his overall assessment was on the game...
It’s tough to say, I think we had a few chances. We could have used a little of puck luck, but I mean at the end of the day they played hard and they scored the goals so, we ended up on the bottom side of this. But we are going to keep going.

On when he found out he was going to play today...
I had practice in Wilkes-Barre and yesterday morning and right after practice coach pulled me into the office and told me I was coming up so.

On how that felt...
It was really exciting. I didn’t even know what to say, I lost my words when I was in the meeting but right after that I was just excited and obviously a little nervous but, the whole day yesterday was just pure excitement.

On what he feels like he wants to work on, going forward...
Yeah, now that I am a little bit more comfortable with one game under my belt I think I just have to focus on my game. That’s what the mind set I had for tonight but obviously, a little bit of nerves kicked in, so I’m thinking second game I think I might be a little bit more comfortable out there and just play my game. That’s what I want to stick to.

On what his thoughts are on playing Frank Vatrano...
Yeah we had a couple smiles at warmups, it’s pretty cool to see a guy you played with in college and to see him at this level. He played well tonight, so.

On if he ever lived with him...
Yeah he lived in the bottom floor of my house so I had to baby him for a year.

On how he feels like college hockey helped him transition to NHL...
I mean the stuff from high school to college is huge, and the step from college to pro is huge so  I think it’s just part of the process. There’s very little guys that can go right from junior or high school right to the pros so. I think college is one of the bigger guys and the faster pace kind of helped me mold my game and mold it for this level.

On if he felt a difference in his game from what he had been doing in Wilkes-Barre...
Umm a little bit, they obviously have some big D-men back there, so it’s hard to get around them sometimes but for the most part I felt my speed was good and I thought I created a few plays from that. I was pretty happy with that.

HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE AT 10:45 AM
On what the situation with Zac Rinaldo is…
Circumstances changed during the day. So he was maintenance until later on in the day. And I guess they put him on IR.

On what he’s liked from Alexander Khokhlachev…
Again, a player that’s playing well in Providence. I don’t get to see him much so it’s hard for me to, again, start elaborating on a player that I don’t see much. But he’s you know, the few games that he played here I thought he competed hard, worked hard. And so according to the people that have been keeping an eye on him he certainly deserving of being here. And so we needed a call-up so he’s the guy.

On if Alexander Khokhlachev will play tonight…
I have 23 healthy guys right now, Matt. And in case circumstances change I’ll dress 20 of them.

On if there’s another injury other than Zac Rinaldo…
As we speak right now we don’t.

On if he has a sense of David Pastrnak’s timeline…
No.

On if it’s a good time to play Pittsburgh because some of their key players are injured…
There’s no good times to catch teams, you know. It always looks great I guess on paper but I’ve seen a lot of teams with a bunch of injuries come and play their hearts out and that really doesn’t matter. So you know it’s a dangerous thing to even think that way in my mind. And so we need to kind of battle back here after a tough loss against Edmonton [Oilers] and get ourselves back in the winning column. So really need to focus on our game and not so much what they have or don’t have, and you know a new coach and different situations. I think our focus has to really be on us and how well we want to play.

On if he takes any different approach to playing a team back-to-back…
It’s always good to win the first one obviously you get that momentum. But you know when the first one is at home you don’t want the other team to come in here and steal one and then you have to go in their building. But I like back-to-backs because there’s a little bit of I guess a competition that builds up throughout the game and a lot of times carries into the next one.

On if he can pinpoint the moments in the season when the team has improved…
Well just the understanding, the guys understanding, I guess the fine points of the game. As I always say everybody has talent to play in this league. But what you have to have is a team that’s cohesive, that plays for one another but also understands what one another is doing on the ice. And I think we’ve gotten better at that. You know our compete level has been better as of late, but those are things you see throughout the season- there’s ebbs and flows in that regard. So right now I think our team has been competing pretty hard but also feeling more comfortable with each other and understanding the kind of game we’re trying to play.

On why the power play has been successful and if he pays attention to the other teams penalty killing…
It’s not so much about what penalty killers do. I mean we always do, just like other teams will do with our penalty kill, we just… I think right now we have a good group of guys that are moving the puck well, they’re confident, we’re making good decisions on the ice, you know. And all the little details, whether it’s a good net-front presence, whether it’s shooting from the right areas, whether it’s moving the puck quick there’s a lot of things right now that are going well for us. So we haven’t had a ton of chances lately, you know. Our power plays have been very few I guess in the last few games so we just have to make the most of the ones we have. And right now I think it’s just a confident group.
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