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SAY WHAT: COACHES EDITION

What Flames bench boss Geoff Ward and Jets skipper Paul Maurice said Friday

by TY PILSON @typilson / Calgaryflames.com

Geoff Ward on his goalie situation:

"I have made a decision but am not willing to divulge, mostly because I haven't told the guys yet. We have our practice coming up shortly. I'll be meeting with them after practice at some point and letting them know. But ya, we have made a decision."

 

 

Ward on importance of Lucic in playoffs:

"It's huge. I mean, the first thing right away when you look at our lineup is that we don't have a lot of guys with a lot of playoff experience so having a guy like Looch in our room is going to be really, really beneficial to us. I liken it a lot to when we were in Boston and we got Mark Recchi who had been through, you know, a lot of wars. He was a battle-tested, successful playoff guy, so he knew how to react in every situation ... Looch now has benefited from all that, not only with Rechs but with all the people on our team in Boston. And now he can bring all those lessons and be like a Mark Recchi or a Patrice Bergeron or a Zdeno Chara, and I can go and on and on with the guys in that room from Boston. Now he's the guy that can pass it onto our players that don't have a lot of experience. So, I know they've been leaning on him an awful lot to this point and I don't think it's gonna change. He's gonna be a real, real important guy for us as this series unfolds." 

 

Video: "It's exciting ... it's the best time of the year"

 

On his first playoff game as a head coach:

 "No, to be honest with you, I haven't thought about it at all." 

 

On how he's feeling on the eve of Game 1:

"To be honest with you, it's like riding a bike. I'm extremely calm. I'm right where I feel like I need to be emotionally, in terms of my preparation. It's just business as usual. I'm looking forward to the game tomorrow, I'm looking forward to practice today. I've been doing this for so many years - playoffs are playoffs. Stanley Cup playoffs are special. I mean, I've had, you know, the luck and the fortune to be involved in a lot of playoff games over my time in the league and I'm going to recall all of those experiences. But I'm calm, I'm ready and I feel like I'm exactly where I need to be and I'm looking forward to it."

 

Having meaningful hockey again:

"It's exciting. I mean, it's the best time of the year. We all want to be playing important games. We all want to be playing at playoff time. And certainly we are. So, it's exciting. Not only the fact it's the playoffs but also the fact we're finally getting going again after the pause. So everyone's really looking forward to it. I really like the focus of our people and where their mindset is right now. We can hardly wait till tomorrow."

 

Jets coach Paul Maurice on that anticipation:

"You know what, the general mood - and not just the Winnipeg Jets, just talking to all coaches - is there's an excitement here. To be back to work, to be back and everybody's healthy. You're not carrying 70 or 80 games on ya, so there's a real enthusiasm for the hockey. And it's pure hockey. There's nobody in the stands, we get that. It's certainly an unusual environment but the puck still drops and everything is the same after that. The game is the same. I would say everybody is enthusiastic. They got the training camp just right. It felt a little long at the end but everybody needed it. And now the part we all look forward to is going to happen. So I think you're gonna see just fantastic hockey. Based on where the exhibition games were at, they might be - I don't know if sloppy is the right word - they may not be as executed as well as people want but the fight will be there. The intensity will be there for sure."

 

Video: "These guys got a new coach so everything's changed"

 

Maurice on later start to Game 1:

"Ya, there's going to be a lot of coffee in the morning and a lot of waiting in the afternoon. We have some experience with eight o'clock games (Game 1 starts at 8:30 p.m.) we would have played in our last playoff series so we do know what it's like to have a longer day. I think sometimes when you have a single interruption in your normal routine, you really, really notice it and it affects you. But there really isn't a routine here. We practice here at 4:45 today. Everything is kind of out of sorts. I don't think it's going to affect it - I don't think it's going to affect the players on either team at all. They'll be ready to go. Everything is different and we've all got accustomed to this."

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