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Ducks Press Conferences

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

Randy Carlyle spoke to the media on the morning of Game 5:

Q.  First off, here you are one game away from laying claim to the Cup.  What do you expect from the Sens?  They played some great hockey and they've played some not so great hockey.  Is there a sense if they played their best hockey for three periods that you would have to match their intensity?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Again, your expectations are that when you play in the Stanley Cup Final, your opposition is going to be desperate.  And we know that we're going to have to play our best game.
We respect the opposition.  They're an excellent hockey club.  We know that they're quite capable, and they've proven to us in this series, for stretches, that they can dominate us.
So it's important that we don't lose the focus and we have to even create more focus for our group.  We think that we have a certain style that we have to play to that we can be effective.  But we know that they're a hockey club that will play their best game in the series.
Q.  Have you seen much improvement with Kunitz over the past 24 hours, and what's his status?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  He's a game-time decision.  As far as seeing any improvement, that's what the player and the medical staff deal with.  They report to me on where he's at and if there's any remarkable improvement, I would say it would be more of a word that you're looking for in these situations, and with him, he'll take the warmup and we'll make a decision after the warmup.
Q.  Assuming Ottawa keeps its top line together, will you try to recreate the same matchups you had in Game 1 and Game 2?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I don't know.  We'll make that decision.  Obviously, we feel we have a checking unit in Pahlsson, Niedermayer, and Moen, and we'll utilize those players up against who we think is performing at the highest level for the opposition.  That's been no secret for us.
And I don't know if you'll be able to get the matchups you like all the time; obviously, the other coach will have some implication in that.  They change their rotation, change up certain combinations.  They can throw two out or one out and change on the fly.
So all those things come into it.  So it will be status quo for us.  We think that we can - if we can continue to get the right people out on the ice at the right time, it improves your chances.  That's all it does.  That's our game plan.
Q.  What about Pronger and Niedermayer together, would you hesitate there?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  As you obviously saw the games, we won't hesitate.  Do they start there, do they finish there, do they play there, we'll dictate that as the game goes on.
Q.  Coach, when you see things like at times, "the champagne's on ice," that kind of comment, do you try to incubate your players from a day like this to try to keep their focus?  It's gotta be difficult.  But what's your expectations of that?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Well, we've talked about it.  As I stated yesterday, we talk about it after the game.  We talked about it yesterday when we met here, and we'll talk about it again this morning after I leave you guys.  The distractions that come in to play, that's one of them we have to deal with.
Professional athletes have to deal with pressure.  There's an exclamation point when you're in the Stanley Cup Finals.  And we have to deal with it as we've dealt with everything else.
We have a focus, one goal in mind, and we have to be prepared to stay to the course, to not get thrown one side or the other.  We'd like the pendulum to stay in the middle for our group.
Q.  What are you personally feeling today that is different for you than any other day so far in the final?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Just nervous, like everybody.  There's always a nervous tension for coaches the day of the game.  I don't think it's any more today than it was the last game, you know.
I think at times, depending what you do, we stay in a routine, we're creatures of habit, do the same thing day in, day out, don't try to alter your schedule.  Sometimes people get very superstitious.  By the end of the year, you've got so many you forget, which one you're supposed to do, so I try to stay away from that.
Q.  Did you get a good night of sleep?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Slept like a baby.
Q.  Do you remember what the first examples this season have been when you realized how resilient this team was and how well they could handle pressure situations?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I don't know.  I think that it's one of those things that grows.  I don't think you can say that there's one game or one instance.  I think that resiliency is something that you have to prove on a day-to-day, game-to-game basis, and sometimes it's a shift to shift.  I think what happens is you're always confronted with adversity in sports and sometimes it's self-created.  Sometimes it's outside adversity.  Sometimes it's things that are out of your control.
The only thing we can control is how well we play and how much of an effort we can give.  And I would expect our group to come out and try to play the best game we've played of the year.
Q.  Does that include sticking to the game plan, Ottawa comes out in Game 4, 13 shots on goal, looked like they're in control, then completely different game come the second period.  Does it just remind the guys, hey, this is what we're not doing right and let's stick to the game plan we talked about going in?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Again, we always talk about it.  And we've made the statement a thousand times, it's easy to talk about, but it's much harder to live.  And we're playing against a great hockey club in the Ottawa team, and we have to be prepared to play the best game that we've possibly played this year.  And that's a statement for our group.  And that's a challenge that we gotta put to ourselves.  There's no easy ones.  This one will be the most difficult one.
And that's just the way it goes in the playoffs.  Every game becomes the next biggest one and that's the biggest game of the year.


Soon after the Ducks got back into Anaheim, Randy Carlyle spoke to the media.

Q.  Randy, with Scott Niedermayer being the only player on your team who has won a Cup, could you talk a little bit about the contributions he's made to this point with his leadership and experience, and also how much you would expect that to come into play tomorrow night to keep your team grounded and focused at the task at hand?
 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Again, when you have the experience that he has had in pressure situations, it's not just the Stanley Cup playoffs.  He's been in Olympic gold medal games, he's been in world championships gold medal games, and major junior title games.  It's his whole demeanor that's a calming effect.
 It's not necessarily one thing or another.  He's not a real vocal individual.  What you see is what you get is what you get with Scotty.  And I think he would rather not talk in most situations.  He's the kind of guy that likes to be private, but he leads by example.
 When he does talk, he has that calming effect.  He's not volatile in any way, shape or form.  He's more monotone and lays it on the line and says how he feels.  For our group, as I stated before, he has that ability of being not only the voice of calm, but his play has demonstrated that he can take pressure situations and diffuse them with his skating ability.  That's what he does, specifically, if you look at instances five-on-three, four-on-three killing penalties; when it's hairy out there, he has the ability to take the puck and move it to a place where most players would be sloppy in a way and try to dump it out.
 He has an uncanny hockey sense, ability to do that.  And his skating is as equal to that ability that he shows mentally.

 Q.  At this time of any series, those of us out here start to talk about who might be a candidate, the way it's going; I don't expect you to vote or anything, but is it a compliment to your team that no one player really seems to stand out as the for sure shoe-in guy; there's several candidates?
 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  We've talked about our team and we've talked about when you have success as a team, there's always certain individuals that get recognition than others, be it the goals or defensive aspect of it.
 But we've made a commitment and the players have made a commitment more to the understanding that everybody's contribution needs to be valued, needs to be raised.
 So I think an old saying all for one and one for all is kind of what we're trying to live.  And some days, it's not easy to live it.  We understand that, but I think with our group, we've been able to have some form of consistency with our work ethic and what we've been able to do as a team game is the most important thing.
 And we let other people make those decisions on who within that group is deserved of the most recognition.  We don't do that within our group.

 Q.  When your team has had a chance to close out a series, so far, for these playoffs you've done that.  What qualities does your team show that allows them to have that killer instinct, I suppose, for lack of a better term?
 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I think it's part of the player taking on the responsibility, as we talk about it, there's some areas on the ice where you cannot be soft.  And that's the two bluelines.
 When you're protecting leads, you gotta make sure that you don't turn that puck over either at the defensive blueline; it's got to get out and over the blueline.  At the offensive blueline, it's got to get in and get in and establish some form of a forecheck.
 We're a puck possession team.  And we're a team that has to play effectively in the offensive zone to have success.  And when we don't, we're very ordinary.

 Q.  Two questions.  I'll ask one at a time.  First is, George Parros has become a popular player here.  Is there any plan to try to get him into a game or to petition for his name to be on the Cup if you were to win?
               COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  We haven't openly discussed that amongst our group.  I've thought about some of those things, but I don't know at this point what direction I would go in.  And we would discuss it again with the coaching staff.  Those are tough ones.  Those are real tough.  I think that any member of our hockey club is deserved of having the opportunity to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Those are coaches' decisions.  Sometimes they're not popular.
             Sometimes you make decisions that affect people.  And at this time, I think it's premature to be discussing it.

 Q.  The other question is, do you have any particular feelings or do people that have talked to you, people in this area that have talked to you, do you sense their feeling what it would mean for a California team to win the Cup?
 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  We haven't really had that many discussions.  We're an organization as I've talked about before that has worked extremely hard at trying to become an elite hockey club and organization.  All those things are things that there's a huge group of people that have put forth a lot of hours and a lot of blood and sweat that went into it.
 And the players are at the forefront of that.  But there's a lot of people behind the scenes, and the players are in the line; then there's the scouts and the management and the marketing people that are putting the people in the seats.
 There's all this list of people that have worked extremely hard to try and put this organization at the forefront in our market.  And we think that, obviously, winning has a marketing success that usually goes with it.
 But as far as discussing it or whatnot, we're not into discussing any of those things.  We've got a hockey game to play.  That's the most important thing.  And we've got to play the best game we can possibly play.  And all this other stuff is stuff that we let other people discuss and let other people make those assumptions.

 Q.  How much did the Alfredsson shot to Niedermayer at the end of the second motivate your team?  It was really animated in the hallway before they came out for the third.  Also, are you surprised that the league didn't even consider any supplementary discipline?
 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I know that definitely it hit a cord with our hockey club, and I think - the thing that surprised me the most about it all was that Scott Niedermayer took it upon himself and told the team to just turn the page on it.  And that's a leadership statement.  And he sensed the situation was we could be putting ourselves in jeopardy of losing our focus on the task at hand.
 So that, again, is another leadership move by a very, very strong hockey player and captain of our group.  And he was the player that the puck was directed at.
 So those things are monumental in pressure situations.  And it's important that we never lose sight of that fact.

 Q.  Are you surprised the league didn't look at any possible follow-up on that situation?
 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I don't think that that's - I think those types of things are some things that are discussed.  Am I surprised?  The league has a mandate.  The league sets out the rules.  Whether they look at it or don't look at it, it really has no bearing on our focus and what we have to do.  All this other stuff is window dress and we have a game to play tomorrow night.
 As I stated numerous times, we have to play the best hockey game we've played this year.

 Q.  How close did Kunitz come to playing last night and what's his status going forward?
 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  We thought that Kunitz would react to the treatments that he received between Game 3 and be available to us for Game 4.  We made a decision, along with him, that it would be in the best interest for him not to play because he wasn't - would not be able to give us the 110% that was going to be required.
 As far as the status for tomorrow, we think he'll again be a game-time decision.

 Q.  This is something obviously you don't plan, but can you talk about the benefit of losing a player like Pronger for a game in two series and have your team down without them rallying and win and have him come back into the lineup in a frozen situation?
        A. I don't know if we describe it as losing it.  You don't want to ever lose any player.  A player the stature of Chris Pronger is again an elite player in the league and is an elite player and one of our leaders.  I don't think we'd ever want to say we want to lose him.  But as far as the other guys we talked about our group before, that it was the type of effort that was going to be required, was going to have to entail other people stepping to the forefront, other people accepting more of the responsibility.
             And I think that once we got through the first period last night, we were able to do that as a team.  The first period, I thought, our goalie was the guy that did it.

 Q.  Then you get him back?
 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Then we get him back, and we feel good about having him back, but again, he's one member of our hockey club.  All we want Chris Pronger to do is be Chris Pronger.  And that is it in a nutshell.  We don't want Chris Pronger to be anything other than give us his best possible game.

 Q.  Scott, obviously, has shown that three Cups aren't enough for him; he wants another one, but you've got a number of veterans that haven't tasted that.  And what about their influence, their focus on the season as far as keeping you guys going through the peaks and the pitfalls of a season when they haven't tasted it and know they have a talented team capable of doing it?
 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Again, it's about people accepting their roles, people understanding the situation, recognizing that the opportunity doesn't come every year.  It's all those things, because those players that you're talking about have played - some of them have played in the Semi-Finals or Conference Finals, have played in the Stanley Cup Finals and we have a couple of them that have played in '03 on this hockey club before we got here.
 So their memories are going to be vivid.  You've got players that have never had an opportunity to compete in the Finals and have played a lot of years.  But, again, it's the culmination of their work ethic and their commitment.  It's all about them understanding the situation and wanting it and building that confidence within one another.
 I think Teemu Selanne described it last night as every member of your team has the ability to elevate their game in certain situations.  And that's what we're asking them.  No matter if you play 30 minutes or you play two minutes; we need the best possible two minutes if that's what's been given to you for you to provide.  And that's critical.

 Q.  Carolina similarly came home last year with a chance to clinch Game 5 but they needed a couple extra games; they admitted they got over giddy, overexcited about the Cup being in the building thinking of all that stuff.  What will you tell your players to keep their eye on the prize?
 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  We've discussed that last night and discussed it today.  We'll discuss it again.  We have to let all the other outside distractions, and you are one of them (laughing), being the media, that's all part of it.  And that's part of the maturing process that takes place.
 We understand we have a responsibility to the media.  We understand we have a responsibility to your friends and family, but we have to be selfish.  We have to focus on the one task at hand and that's playing the best hockey game we can possibly play tomorrow.
 And whatever things that are outside of that have to be pushed to the side and remain there.  Sports is a business where it's never over till it's actually over, and you want to put yourself and give yourself the best possible chance to have success and you can't allow all those things that I just described to creep into it.
 And it's all about being a professional athlete and representing your hockey club and your organization and understanding what the task and how hard it will be.


Randy Carlyle spoke to the media following the Ducks' practice Monday.

Q.  Could you talk about the life without Chris Pronger tonight?  You did such a great job in Game 4 in Detroit without him.  What do you expect tonight?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  When you take a player like Chris Pronger out of your lineup, you don't expect one, two guys to be able to fill the void.  You have to expect the group to accept the responsibility of the minutes that are going to be distributed.
We'll have to have another player step up and play in the power play situations that we create; all those things.  It's a piece of adversity that we've talked about.  We've dealt with it historically, and we've had to deal with it at Christmas, and over I think a three-day period, we lost Pronger.  We lost Beauchemin.  And there was one other player.  Three key players out of our lineup for almost up to the All Star break.  And those are the things that your team learns in the regular season, but, obviously, in the playoffs, it's a little different.
Then we lost him for the suspension during the game against the Detroit hockey club.  We found a way to get it done.  That's when specialty teams will play a huge role in your success or failure in the game.

Q.  Would it surprise you that Dean McAmmond may play tonight?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Nothing would surprise me.  It's playoffs.  It's what happens.  People make huge strides in their recovery after suspensions.  It's amazing.

Q.  Have you decided who will take Pronger's spot in the lineup, and can you also talk a little bit about Ric Jackman, who stepped in last time and has played ever since, kind of taken over his spot on the D before?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Joe DiPenta will go in and play, and we'll try to distribute the minutes.  And, of course, Jackman will get more opportunity to play in tonight's hockey game from the standpoint of power play and offensive situations.  And what we'll try to do is spread the other three members being Beauchemin, Niedermayer and O'Donnell, and even Huskins to some degree will have to take up more minutes.
But we're accustomed to that, and the one thing about hockey players is that usually they'll say the more you play me, coach, the better I'm going to be, and the coach says if you play better, you play more.
But that's all we've got for tonight.  We've got our six guys, and I know that they'll put their best foot forward and do what's necessary to give us a chance for success.

Q.  We all know that there was a lot of calls against you guys during the last game.  I think it was four or five power plays in a row for Ottawa.  Are you saying to your players, guys, watch out, you need to be cautious, or are you telling them play as you are playing and we'll see what happens?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Well, again, we always talk about penalties and there's been lots of characteristics applied to our group about being undisciplined.
We think there are some, obviously, some calls that our hockey club is being called for that at times we question.  And I think every coach does.  That's not an unrealistic part of the coaching profession or being involved with any pro team.  There are penalties we talk about.  We talk about the undisciplined ones, the slash behind the leg or the cross-check or the use of the stick carelessly.
If you take a penalty to prevent a goal or prevent a scoring chance, most teams will kill those off.  And most teams will take those.  It's the reaching, the new rules, hockey, the free use of the hand.  Those are what we determine undisciplined.  And those are things that we'd like to cut down on and we think that we could play to a higher level, specifically than we played to the other night, and it's going to be required.  We're going to have to play the best game we possibly can tonight.

Q.  On the topic of recovery how is Chris Kunitz, and have you made a decision on whether he'll be able to go?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Chris Kunitz will be a game-time decision.  He received treatment yesterday or today.  We'll make the decision today after he finishes warmup.

Q.  In writing the stories about the defense and how they're going to handle the Pronger absence, and everything else, the big three, we always talk about minutes played, so and so played 30 minutes.  Do you even look at that?  And this late in the season, how much credence do you put into?  Can the guys just play - there's only just a couple of days left in the season - can guys just play forever in your opinion?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I liken it to the term you put all the bullets in a gun.  I don't think you can put any in the holster at this time.  You utilize people to get the job done.  Obviously, as you spoke to it, there's four games left in the series.  That's four games left in the season.  And you're going to utilize personnel that you see fit in all the situations.
Are you afraid of overusing somebody and worrying about the next one, the next game, we worry about tonight.  We'll use the people that we think gives us best chance for success, and we'll use them extensively. We've done it all playoffs.

Q.  Is Chris Kunitz at 80% worth going into the lineup because of what he means to that line that was exhibited in Game 3 in the first period?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I don't like to put the term, is he 80%, is he 70%.

Q.  Is it worth going with him in that regard?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I think coaches will - sometimes they'll look back and they'll say, would you use Mario Lemieux at 50% or would you use another individual at 100%.  And that's a determination that you have to do.  But you have to make sure never risk the player's health or well-being by putting him in a situation, because every player is going to tell you he's ready.
It's the Stanley Cup Final.  This is a dream for a lot of kids.  A lot of people have dreamt this and envisioned this, and this is an opportunity for them to participate and those are tough decisions.  As a coaching staff, as a medical staff, with your doctors, you have to make that sometimes the player doesn't agree with or you don't want to jeopardize his opportunity to come back in the series at a later date.



Randy Carlyle spoke to the media after the Ducks' morning skate about the availability of Chris Kunitz and other Game 3 matters. A transcript is below, as well as an audio clip of Teemu Selanne talking about Kunitz.

Selanne on Kunitz


Carlyle Transcript

Q.  Randy, any update on Chris Kunitz and his ability for tonight or beyond?


COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Earth-breaking news, gentlemen.  All of our players are available for tonight.  So read into it.  All our players are available for tonight (smiling).


Q.  To become more clear, then -

COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  All our players are available tonight.


Q.  Will Chris Kunitz be in the lineup this evening?

COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  We'll have to make a coach's decision on whether Chris Kunitz will play.  He's been cleared by the doctors.  All our players are available to play.


Q.  Just want to clear that up -

COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  All our players are available to play.


Q.  Talk a bit maybe about Sean O'Donnell, seems to be the defenseman that nobody talks about, they always talk about the big three, but how valuable has he been to your team?

COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Again, with O'D, big, strong, defensive defenseman.  A lot of the success and the strong play by our back end has been a tribute to the guys that play big minutes.  And he's one of them.
 He kind of goes under the radar when you have the likes of a Pronger and a Niedermayer and the emergence of Beauchemin, players like O'Donnell, the Huskins kid, DiPenta and Jackman, all fly under the radar when you have what people would surmise as our big three.  And he's been a complement to our team toughness.  Strong defensive play and a great teammate.


Q.  What can you say about the way Samuel Pahlsson has been contributing to the team during the playoff?

COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Well, I guess from our standpoint, Sammy has come and emerged as a force from the defensive side of it.  He's been a strong checking center for us.

He's played a lot of the tough minutes from the standpoint of penalty killing and strong defensive situations, five-on-threes, checking up against the top offensive players on the teams that we've faced.
 And, again, the playoffs are about people coming outside of the norm and Samuel Pahlsson, Moen, Niedermayer group has stepped out of that.

We felt that they were a very precious commodity right from the beginning of the year for our group.  And, again, so as we've stated before, the playoffs allow people to separate themselves, and at this point these players have been able to play to a higher level.
 The thing is that we're going to have to continue to play to a higher level, because as these games go forward, this one's the most important one.  We will have to play the best game that we've played so far this year to date.  We know that the Ottawa Senators are going to give us everything they've got, and we have to be prepared to respond.  They're a very good hockey club.  And they earned their opportunity to be here.


Q.  Having established that Chris Kunitz could play this evening, what hesitation would there be to putting him back in?  Is it one of conditioning or what?

COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  You have to make the assessment that the player has been out for a certain number of days.  How much time has he had to actually heal, which is what the doctor determines when they clear the individual.  And the last question we asked the doctor is that if this was your son, would you allow him to play?
 And the answer, obviously, was yes.  And the second part of it would be the conditioning aspect, but we felt that he's worked extremely hard off the ice.

But this is game conditions we're stepping into.  This is not the first game of the season.  This isn't mid-season.  This is the Stanley Cup Final.  The building will be very, very warm.  It will be a raucous type of atmosphere.  The body can get drained not only physically but mentally in a hurry, especially when you haven't had the opportunity to have a strong foundation of aerobic skates and hard practices and whatnot.  But he's worked extremely hard off the ice.
 It's a decision we'll have to make as a coaching staff if we feel that he is going to provide us the best option at that position.


Q.  If he does play, what does he bring to your club?  What does he add?

COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  He's been a top line left winger for our group with the Selanne/McDonald group, and he's played a lot of minutes on that group and he's played a lot of minutes with the power play.

He's the type of individual that has played more of the dirty work, as you would call it.  He's been first on the forecheck a lot times and he's a banger.  He will take the body.  He has an excellent shot.  I don't know how good the shot will be coming off a hand injury.  But those are all things that are his strengths and he's a character individual.  He plays hard for his teammates and they respect his work ethic.


Q.  If Chris goes in, does he automatically go on back with that top line or do you spot him?

COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Nothing is automatic in coaching.  We'll make a decision where he fits in, if we make that call that he's going to play.  It's always difficult when you're in the situation that you're going to put the individual in a position that he can't possibly have success in.  And that's a great concern for the coaching staff.


Chris Pronger and Ryan Getzlaf spoke to the media after Friday's practice at Scotiabank Place. Audio clips and a transcript are below.

Pronger on playing in Ottawa

Getzlaf on playing in Ottawa

Getzlaf on the play of Ray Emery

Getzlaf on Ottawa getting physical with Corey Perry

Q.  I was wondering, could you just talk a little about Corey Perry.  It seems to me a lot of teams when they play you they think they can physically intimidate him.  Ottawa it seemed try to do it a little more in Game 2 and seems to constantly bounce off after what's dished out to him?


COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Again, Corey Perry is a young player that's experienced a lot at the major junior level as far as success with the London Knights.  He's been in intense situations and he's delivered in those situations the Memorial Cup, Finals.

 I thought the opportunity for our young players, Corey was one of them, to participate last year in the playoffs and to play a round, actually two rounds in Canadian cities was huge, from a learning standpoint and a development standpoint, of how tough it really is to win in the playoffs, how not to get involved with the distractions that naturally happen when you're in the playoffs or Stanley Cup playoffs.  All those he seems to take in stride.  His on-ice persona has done the same thing.

 He's not the prettiest player, but he's very effective down low with the puck.  We call it greasy.  He's slippery.  He can get in and out on people.  And he's got a tremendous set of hands.


Q.  I noticed you had 29 guys on the ice today.  Is this a philosophy of yours - a lot of coaches like fewer guys on the ice so they can concentrate on things.  You obviously have more guys.  And also it seemed like a very physical practice today.  Was there a reason for that?


COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Well, I didn't deem it physical, personally.  We look at it and it was a bunch of regroups and a bunch of shooting drills and a couple of two-on-ones, and that's stuff that we would normally do.

 As far as the number of bodies, we felt at the beginning of the year that we were going to try and support our lineup as much as possible with quality players.

 And a lot of teams will carry the black aces, as they're called, and they get to skate on their own and do a lot of things on their own.  We think that separating those players from our group is not conducive to a strong team-building type of exercise and whatnot.

 And if those players are going to play for our hockey club, we'd like them to experience some of the things that happen outside of the game and the lifestyle and what's expected when you're in these pressure situations, and it's more of an education process for them.


Q.  Is Kunitz still a long shot or is he any closer after today?


COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I haven't talked to the doctors, but I think it's doubtful because of the situation with his hand.  I saw him in the training room trying to get some adjustment made and whatnot.

 So I would still say until we get clearance from a doctor, and that's first and foremost, then the decision has to be whether he's in game shape or his hand is this or that.

 But at this point we're nowhere near that.


Q.  So much is made of these games the first ten minutes and first goals.  Coming in here where you have a building that's going to be excited but also a little nervous about the status of their team, do you think you may be able to jump on them, get them out early because of that situation?


COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I'm sure it's every coach's dream to get out and have a good start.  And I think that's imperative.  It's a starting point and a building point for your group.  We're not any different.  I'm sure the Ottawa Senators want to have the best start they can possibly.  And their hockey club would like a good start also.  But one team is not going to.  Usually that's what happens.

 I thought the start that was displayed in the start of the second game was very rambunctious, there were some solid hits given and taken, and the pace of the game was very, very high for the first 10, 12 minutes.  And I would expect that tomorrow also.

Q.  Randy, Giguere was talking about after the game the other night that he hopes his teammates don't get caught up in being up 2-0, but also enjoying the experience, having been through it, that he hopes they enjoy it because they may never be back.  I wonder if it's possible to balance the two:  not being distracted and enjoying it at the same time.  And the second question, whether you were enjoying this experience in a way that you thought you might, especially after last year's run?


 COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Well, again, the players - we've tried to preach and we've not only preached this from the playoffs but from the start of the season, that we didn't expect our peaks for us to get too high and our valleys for us not to get too low.  That if we continued and stayed with that mindset, that when adversity comes and when success comes, that you would remain on an even keel.

 There's the outside distractions of having success can be great.  And it's one of the things that we've talked about and we'll continue to talk about.  You try to implement a structure and a game plan that will always allow your players never get too far ahead.  And as a coaching staff, as far as enjoying, coaches enjoy when you win.  But when the one's over, won one, the next one is the most important one.

 And our preparation, as I stated the other night, starts right after the game and we're allowed that ten minutes of enjoyment or ten minutes of sorrow and then move on, because we know that the next game is the most important one.

 We know that the Ottawa Senators will come after us.  We know their home crowd will have an influence on their energy level.  And we have to be as strong mentally as we've ever been to block that out and play our game.


Q.  Almost every team that wins a championship talks about somewhere along the line the killer instinct and taking advantage of the situation.  Here you're sitting 2-0, obviously tomorrow night being a huge game.  What do you know about your team and the killer instinct that maybe you didn't know before this playoff round?


COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  I know that our group is committed to playing our team game.  I know that.  I know that when adversity has been dealt our way we have found ways to overcome it.

 I know that we have a strong leadership group in our room.  I know that they're committed to our team game.  Other than that, I really couldn't put any other exclamation point on it.  That the things that we do and our players within that group, we do it for the good of the team.

 If there are sacrifices have to be made, players are willing to do that.  They've proven to our group all year and it's not something new that's just happened in the playoffs.


Q.  There's some players left from 2003 on this team, and that team went down 0-2 to force a Game 7.  Do you use that institutional memory at all to remind your guys that Ottawa is more than capable of doing the same thing?


COACH RANDY CARLYLE:  Well, we always remind our players that, again, it goes back to don't get too high or don't get too low.  And as far as the players that participated in '03, I think that they're the ones that are at the forefront of our leadership group in making the statement of you don't know when this can happen again.

 We're in a unique situation competing for the Stanley Cup.  There's some people in the room, coaching staff involved, that have been involved in the pro games for 30 years, and this is our opportunity.

 Teemu Selanne is a veteran player, has played 15 years.  This is the first opportunity.  So all those things are factors.  But in reality the things that we have to do and the things that we have to present haven't changed.

 We've got to work hard as a group, work for one another, stay committed, play our system and deal with the game as it unfolds and play the best game we possibly can play tomorrow night.



 Q.  Chris, I'm wondering, you were in the situation that Ottawa is in last year with Edmonton.  You were down 2-0.  You went back home, things didn't look great.  Can you just put me through the mindset of a team like that when they're down 2-0, and things don't look very good but you were able to get it back to a Game 7?


CHRIS PRONGER:  Why should I (laughter)?  You know, again, you're going back home.  I said it the other night.  We're supposed to win our home games much like they're supposed to.  It's up to the opposing team to try to steal a game in the other team's building.

 Our first step is tomorrow night in Game 3.


Q.  I'm wondering if it's the hardest thing you had to do in your career, because of the stakes that were in play?


CHRIS PRONGER:  No.  We had been in that position earlier in the playoffs against San Jose.  And we were down against Detroit as well.  So it was a situation we were familiar with and had come through in flying colors before.

 It's just a matter of guys in the locker room believing and understanding the situation you're in, and we had a real good group that had that strong belief.  And we were fortunate enough to win a couple games to get back into the series and unfortunately we lost in Game 7.


Q.  You go into tomorrow night with a real opportunity to sort of put a noose around the Senators.  Can you talk about the killer instinct you've shown throughout the playoffs and what that means going into tomorrow?


RYAN GETZLAF:  Well, I think that our mentality can't change at all.  We gotta go in Game 3 the same way we've been preparing for the last two.  I think our guys have done a great job throughout the playoffs in situations where we were going into opposing teams' buildings and able to put together a win.  And that's what we need to focus on for Game 3.


CHRIS PRONGER:  You can't get caught up.  It's only Game 3.

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