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Chicago's Perspective

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings


Q. Did Shaw skate this morning?


Q. Is there a possibility that he'll be back sooner or later?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: Sooner, but he's not playing tomorrow.

Q. Joel, did you watch the game last night?


Q. When you watch that Kopitar-Gaborik-Williams line, what is the challenge in trying to neutralize them and how different do they make this team?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: It's a top line for them all year. You’ve got one of the top two-way centermen in the league. They're dangerous offensively. They're responsible defensively. They play big minutes. They've been productive in the playoffs, which not too many top lines have been scoring regularly offensively.

It's definitely a line we’ve got to be concerned with. They're dangerous off the rush. They're dangerous in zone, as well. They play big minutes. It's something we've got to be aware of, but let's make sure when they're out there hopefully we can make them spend some time in their end.

Q. Can you draw from any past experiences against them?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: Last year was a very competitive series. Regular-season games against them are always hard games. They find ways to be successful. Getting to the Conference Finals three years in a row is a heck of a compliment. They know how to win. They know what it takes.

I think their experience is healthy for them. I think our experience is healthy for what we've gone through, as well. Should be a great matchup in that regard. I think there's mutually a lot of respect both ways. We know it's going to be a challenging series.

Q. With your role players, bottom six, are you getting what you want consistently out of that group or would you want a little more?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think it's progressing. All year long, I thought that group, whether it was Kruger's line, Shaw's line, it was a pretty consistent production out of that group.

I think later in the year, we changed a little bit in the roles and the ice time. I think it's progressing now where the last couple games had a better four-line rotation.

But the games are tight. I think the best way to measure, I wouldn't measure it by production, but effectiveness where we're comfortable with the momentum that all four lines are bringing and consistency.

Q. You've already played a couple of physical defensive teams like that. How do the Kings differ from the first two teams you played? And can you talk about Jonathan Quick and how tough he is.

COACH QUENNEVILLE: There are a lot of similarities. We got three teams in a row that are probably the most responsible teams in the league defensively, a lot of structure to their games. This team has a lot of weaponry, striking on what you give them. They're dangerous in a lot of ways because they can play both ways, both sides.

A lot of respect there going through a series where you’ve got to make sure you manage the puck well because that's what they look to exploit, they don't give you a lot of room and space.

It was healthy going through two teams that were tough in that regard.

Jonathan Quick, what can I say about the guy. He's pretty amazing. Looking at what he's done this year in the playoffs, being out of position as many times as he's been out, and finding a way to beat him or his team is quite a compliment. He's a special goalie. We need bodies and shots and frequency of doing that and try to get to it.

Q. We talk about how you give the guys a lot of rest. How have you kept them mentally sharp and fresh and hungry? Were there stretches where you thought the games were catching up to them a little bit?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: I thought our concern this year was the frequency of the games, going into the Olympic situation there, I thought we were fine. I thought we managed it well.

Coming out of break, I don't want to say we were a little bit tired, but I still thought we were pretty consistent in giving them at least a day off a week and recognizing when they needed to be away from the rink.

In the playoffs, we take it to another level, more days off, less practice days. But it's always the case, the guys would much rather play games, they would much rather come to the rink and put on the jersey and play the game instead of the practice jersey.

As far as getting them prepared or ready, that's the nature of hockey players and the intensity of the playoff games. They'd much rather leave it out there, though I did like today's practice. We had a really good pace out there today.

Q. Michal Rozsival, what more do you need from him?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: Yeah, he could play. I think Rozy is one of those guys experience-wise you like him in your lineup. Defensively sound. Offensively got real good patience and play recognition. So he gives you a real good intangible that you like to see.

Q. You're about 25 hours from puck drop. Do you feel like you're hitting on all cylinders, any concerns at all?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: I like the way we practiced. I like the way we won some big games later in both series, going through two real good tests for our team. We should feel good about winning those series and getting some momentum out of it.

We know we have a tough opponent. But we’ve got home ice, too. There are some positive things going into tomorrow's game. Let's be excited in that regard and place an emphasis on getting off to a great start.

Q. The Kings feel they are healthier than they were a year ago. They've added Gaborik. Are the Hawks better than they were a year ago in general?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: Better, that's tough. I'll let you guys assess that one. We like our team. We have balance. We have the four-line rotation that's solid. Our ‘D’ is the exact same ‘D’ we had last year. We have the same goalie we had last year. The comparisons, we'll let you guys dissect that.

I think we're at the same level we were at last year. So that's where we're at. But we like the momentum we have. We like the challenge that's ahead of us.

But L.A. is going to be a tough opponent. I know we talked about underestimating Minnesota going into that series. There's no way we'd think of underestimating them.

Q. How is L.A. different from the team you faced last year in terms of health and personnel?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think they've got huge momentum the way they won their two series, tough division, getting through those two rounds the way they did. Got to make them feel pretty good about themselves.

They probably are healthier. You add Gaborik to the mix, they’ve got guys that can make plays, quick strikers offensively off of what you give them, they can make you play. That's something we've got to be aware of.



Q. Facing this team for the second straight Western Conference final, any parallels you can draw or has too much changed?

BRENT SEABROOK: I think it's tough to compare year to year, even regular season to playoffs. They're playing really well right now, so we’ve got to be focused on what they've been doing the last couple of series and the way they're playing. Seems like they're never out of a game or out of a series.

If we're down, we got to work like hell to get back. At the end of the day we have to focus on our game and focus on what we've been doing, get better at that and be the team that we can be.

Q. What is the advantage of you having another period of rest after the St. Louis series versus them playing Friday night, flying today?

PATRICK SHARP: I can't really speak to what they're going through. For us, it's a similar situation to the first round, had a couple days off, got a chance to watch our opponent play.

I think the days off helps every team this time of year, get some rest, allows you to prepare for your opponent.

At the end of the day, once that puck drops tomorrow, I think both teams are going to be ready to play.

Q. Brent, if you watch the Gaborik-Kopitar-Williams line, gives them something different in terms of dynamic. What makes them dangerous and what's the challenge for you to try and neutralize them?

BRENT SEABROOK: Yeah, it's going to be a tough task, absolutely. The way they've been playing, I think they've got speed down the wing. They’ve got a guy in the middle of the ice that controls the play, is able to do things that not a lot of centermen are able to do with his size and his speed, the way he can see the game and set his linemates on.

Gaborik, the way he skates, definitely poses a threat and a problem.

Then you have Williams, who is a great finisher. He's got a lot of experience. He knows how to step up and play big in big games. I think they got a little bit of everything on that line. We're going to have to be ready to play them tight, hard, physical, play our game against them.

Q. You have played a ridiculous amount of hockey in the last year and a half, maybe more than any team ever has. Do you feel the effects of that? Is it harder mentally or physically?

PATRICK SHARP: I think at this point you just continue playing, business as usual. We kind of like the fact that the break wasn't too long. Had a couple of good practices in between, staying in the hockey mind set.

We played a lot of hockey in a short period of time last year with the lockout, short summer. A bunch of us played in the Olympics. It's been a long grind, but we couldn't be more excited to be where we are right now.

Four teams remaining, we're glad to be one of them yet again and can't wait to get started tomorrow.

Q. Patrick, when that fourth line has been in place, what benefit does it have?

PATRICK SHARP: They were very good for us all season. They provided a spark at different points in the regular season. On a game-to-game basis, a team that can roll four lines, keep your shifts shorter, do the things that our coaching staff wants us to do.

You look across the ice at the Kings, they're a good four-line team, as well. Play very similar hockey. I think you always hear the term 'every shift is important' and with our four lines, it's true.

Q. How tough is Jonathan Quick?

PATRICK SHARP: He's good. Last year, a lot of questions were about Quick. Top goaltender in the NHL, one of them. Got a lot of experience in the playoffs, the Olympics. He's good at everything back there: moving the puck, making saves. You have to do your best to out-work him as a forward, get the second and third opportunities in front of the net deflections, rebounds, where he doesn't see it.

I'm sure they're saying the same thing about Corey. It's a tough time of the year to score goals, especially when you're playing against a goalie like Quick.

Q. Not to denigrate the Blues or the Wild, but the Kings are a championship team. Does that heighten your focus, your resolve, whatever it is that you need in a series?

BRENT SEABROOK: I mean, I think I touched a bit on that earlier about they've played the first two rounds, they were all but out in the first round, they found a way to scratch back and win. I think that's what you're talking about with being there before, being in situations like that, never giving up.

They're a great team over there. They've shown it over the last three, four years that they can play with anybody and win a Stanley Cup.

Our focus is to go out there and play our game and worry about us. We're a confident group. We like our team. That's how we're going to go about it.

Q. If you could compare last year's Kings team to the one you're facing now.

PATRICK SHARP: It's tough to compare. Not really sure how to speak on their behalf. Just playing against them, very similar teams. Great coaching staff. They're a pretty physical team in all areas. They're disciplined. They got guys at all lines really that can score goals and provide offense, and their power plays have been playing really good.

Compare them last year to this year, who knows. They're a tough team every game we play them. I'm sure it will be a heck of a series again.

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