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MALONEY REACTS TO PLAYOFF BERTH

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com spoke to Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney to get his reaction to the team clinching its first berth in the NHL playoffs since 2001-02: Below is an edited transcript of the interview:


Q: “Welcome to phoenixcoyotes.com. This is Dave Vest and I am joined today by very special guest General Manager Don Maloney, and Don here we are, it’s finally arrived, the Coyotes have clinched a playoff spot after a lot of hard work this season. (It’s the) first playoff spot for this team since 2001-2002. Just your thoughts on this accomplishment:”

Don Maloney
Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney
MALONEY: “Well Dave, I feel tremendously satisfied. We came into this season believing in this group, (and) believing we were a playoff team. To clinch the way we’ve done it and to be in a strong position to potentially have home ice to start the playoffs – we have a lot of work to do to get there – but it’s really satisfying and it rewards your belief in what you’re doing as an organization (and) the plan you have in place. And hats off to the coaches and players because in the end, they’re the ones that do all the work.”

Q: “I was going to ask you specifically to talk a little bit about Dave Tippett. Now I remember at the press conference when he was hired, just the confidence you seemed to have in him, and it certainly didn’t take him very long to come in and get this team headed in the right direction.”

MALONEY: “Well, Dave has done a remarkable job in, No. 1, eliminating the outside distractions - the ownership situation and the unrest of the franchise. No. 2, to grab a hold of this group. And not only Dave but his staff: Dave King and Ulf Samuelsson, Doug Sulliman, Sean Burke… Each night we’ve shown up. There are very few games this year that you can look at and say ‘Wow, we really didn’t have it on that night.’ (There are) maybe a handful at the most, but we’ve been in all the games. We’ve played hard. Sometimes people might say ‘Well, they’ve been lucky in certain situations,’ but when you work hard and pay attention to detail the luck usually follows… The preparation this group has put together game in, game out (and) day in, day out is second to none and that’s why we’re in the position we’re at. That’s why we’re in the playoffs, and now we have a chance to do something in the playoffs.”

Q: “It’s very interesting because the fans are very happy about this, some even giddy… But (if) you go into the dressing room you get the feeling that the players, while they are pleased with what they’ve done, they have that bigger-fish-to-fry mentality, (and) that this is only No. 1 on the list of things to do this season. Do you get that feeling in there and, if so, what’s your reaction to that?”

Coyotes G.M. Don Maloney and Head Coach Dave Tippett.
MALONEY: “Absolutely. We’re not satisfied just to pat ourselves on the back. I know we’ve had a good season to date and we’ve set some franchise records, and that’s great and wonderful and all that. But really it’s meaningless come early April when we wipe the slates clean. What I’m excited about is that we have goaltending – a goaltender that’s won in the playoffs (and) an experienced goaltender that’s had a fantastic year in Ilya Bryzgalov. We have a mature defense that’s played in the playoffs. We shouldn’t be intimidated by playing anyone. And I think some of the moves that we were able to pull together at the trade deadline have added secondary scoring to a team that really was offensively challenged through most of the year. So, I look at this group and I’m saying… ‘Why not us?’... Yeah, we’re happy to get to the playoffs but why can’t we win in the playoffs and win now. So it’s an exciting time of the year. It’s great for this franchise. We’re getting tremendous support out in the community now, but we have to do our jobs. We have to win.”

Q: “OK Don, thank you very much. I really appreciate it and I’m sure we’ll be talking (again) down the road.”

MALONEY: “My pleasure.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to listen to the interview with Don Maloney in its entirety.
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