Q. Did you realize your team had that in it tonight, the start it came out with?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: We thought we were going to be good. We didn't play bad last game. But our start got us behind the eight ball. We were nervous early. We've got a professional team, a good team. We just talked about doing what we do, just getting started on time, doing it harder, doing it for longer. We thought we'd have success.
I thought we drove the net hard early and were rewarded.
Q. It's early, but have you given any thoughts to the next series, being in the finals?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I mean, I've watched them on TV. We played them in exhibition. Malkin wasn't in the game. I was very impressed with their team then. They got high skill level, big forwards. The back end moves the puck. Their goaltender is playing well.
You start out with 30. I believe in our league now, everybody's good. For two to be remaining, they must be very good. Their transition is fantastic. They have a bunch of kids that can really skate. It's going to be a huge challenge for us. But we're excited about the opportunity.
To me that's the big thing. The other thing is, it will be good, the media will be talking about them and we'll be just going right through, won't be a problem, so it will be good.
Q. What does it mean for your team when you get guys like Drake and Draper out there tonight?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: That's the key. You need everybody to contribute for you to be successful. I thought we really got that tonight. I thought Draper's goal was a great example for everyone. Driving the net, knocking your teeth out, score off your lips. To me, those are team things. I thought we got a good contribution.
We made up our mind before the game, we were going to play all four lines, roll them out the gate. We were comfortable with the matchups. I thought that was a real positive thing for us.
Q. What can you say about the Dallas team that you just finished off and what did your team do differently this game?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I think the first thing is Dallas has done a great job. I've got a lot of respect for Dave Tippett. I think he's a fantastic coach. I think he's one of the best coaches in the league. Every year their team plays hard and is organized. It's great to see them have playoff success because sometimes, you know, I'm pulling for coaches all the time, and I like to see good guys get rewarded. He's done an excellent job. Happy for that.
Brenden Morrow to me is what you want leading your team. I like their back end. Good young kids there. Good goaltending. I think they've really improved their team as far as youthfulness. They've got good depth. They're here for the long run. With the kind of job that Tippett does, they're going to be competitive every year. We feel good about beating them.
The second part of your question, what did we do different? We got started on time. I said prior to today's game, we didn't think we were bad last game. Like I said, we directed so many chances at the net. We didn't hit the net. We didn't drive the net as good as we did tonight. But tonight we were rewarded.
I think sometimes it's important to struggle, too. I think you feel best in your life about yourself, about your kids, when you see them overcome a little adversity. So that was a positive thing for our team.
Q. Dallas Drake, could you talk about his performance, going to the finals for the first time, having the game he did.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I just thought he was awesome. Obviously I was very excited. I'm excited for him. To me, he's an exceptional human being. For us to be fortunate enough to have him come to our team this year, for him to play the way he's played in the playoffs, it's fantastic.
But I think to see good people who work hard to be rewarded. You know, that's what the kids on our team have got to understand, is you can play in this league for a long time and never get this opportunity. He's been in a long time. He's been a real good player, played hard, done good things.
I couldn't be more thrilled for him.
Q. Can you talk about Nicklas Lidstrom, captain, being up 3 0, then they get a couple. Can you talk about him leading this team as captain.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Yeah, I talked to Nick the other day, talk to him all the time, but when I talked to him after we lost the second game, I said, What are you thinking? He said, Everything's good. Let's just be positive. We got a good team. We're playing well. We're going to find a way to do it.
I think the big thing about Nick is he's calm. He doesn't do a lot of talking. He just leads by example. He's the best defenseman in the game. I think our group rallies around him. He's been there obviously and he's won three Cups. He's won Olympics and World Championships, all those things.
I still think it's a little bit different this time around, having this opportunity when you're the captain, and no European player has ever been able to do it. Should be exciting. Should be a lot of fun.
Q. Any chance Franzen might be back soon? Has he been free of headaches?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: The doctor is the most important person in the organization right now.
Q. What do you think?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Doesn't matter what I think really. I don't know the answer to this question. We believe that if we could win this round without the Mule, he'd be back for the next round. He played 10 days with this, you know, so you'd like him to be back.
Mule is a young man. I think it's very important you make the best decisions. That's why we have doctors and experts. He'll be checked out. If he can go, he'll play. We'd sure love to have him obviously. He's a huge part of our team. If he can't go, he can't go.
Q. You were a rookie coach when you took Anaheim to the finals. Can you look back on that, from that experience, help you as you move to the finals here?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I said to Rafalski, we lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. We were tied in New Jersey, it was 0 0 after one. I remember thinking to myself at that time, We're going to win for sure. We got through the first, everything is good. We didn't. We ended up losing.
At that time Pat Burns was the coach of the other team. I remember looking over at him and thinking, He deserves it more than me anyway. He's been here longer, done more good things.
I believe the trophy is so special, I think it should come on an as earned basis. I'm real fortunate. This is my third time to the Conference Finals and second time in five years of coaching to the Stanley Cup finals. That means you coach really good players and have good people around you.
I can't tell you how thrilled you are to be here. I think experience is a great thing. When you don't have it, you think it's overrated. When you have it, it's great. I mean, I think it makes you better. It makes you more poised. You understand what's going to take place.
People that haven't been in it don't understand that the Stanley Cup playoffs are totally different than the finals, in my opinion. The finals, there's so much more excitement and energy. You're living your dream. That's for all the players. Sometimes it's hard holding your stick. You're trying to put your hands over your head all the time, trying to hold that thing. You just got to stay focused.
Q. Can you give initial thoughts on Pittsburgh from what you've seen?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I just addressed that. Obviously a very talented team. Young guys that can really play, active back end, good goaltending, big body in the net. Crosby and Malkin are names everyone talks about. To me, you know, they've added Hossa, who's a great two way player that can score. Malone's a huge body. Can really play. Staal scored 23 goals or something the first year in the league. Shorthanded threat, big body. To me they're very talented, very deep. It's going to be a lot of fun.
The other thing about them is they have great transition offense. They can turn it over and get going in a hurry. They've played well defensively. I mean, they're 12 2 in the playoffs. I think we're 12 4, aren't we? So, I mean, they've been better than us.
Q. Obviously the organization has had success for a long time. Talk about what it means to get to the finals in this cap world.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I think it's fantastic. We won the Presidents' Trophy the first year after the cap, and we were done in six games. It was very disappointing bitter, to say the least. We weren't able to get it done. Since that time we've got younger, faster, bigger, harder. I thought we had a great run last year. I thought we had a great team. It was unfortunate we lost a couple defensemen and weren't able to get it done. Here we have another opportunity.
I'm not sure our team isn't better next year and maybe the year after. But with our young kids, the people we're going to add on the blueline, we're going to be a real good team for the next few years. But in sport, next year never comes. You get these opportunities, you better make good on it because you never know who is going to get hurt, what is going to go wrong. You got to be very fortunate to get to this spot. Dallas Drake, as I said, has been in the league forever, and he's never been here. That must mean it's very difficult.
Q. Dallas, can you talk about your thoughts about getting there and also your contribution tonight?
DALLAS DRAKE: Well, it's a huge thrill for me to get a chance to play in the Stanley Cup. I've played 16 years now. I've never even gotten close to having an opportunity.
Just real grateful. Play for a great team, great organization. Couldn't be more thankful right now than I am.
Q. And the goal?
DALLAS DRAKE: My goal, went to the net. Brett made a great play. Real good skater. Threw it in Marty's hands a little bit. He struggled with it. I was in the right spot. Bagged it in.
We tried to get a lot more pressure and go to the net a lot more tonight against Marty because he's a great goalie.
Q. You said you hadn't been to the finals before. Where did this game come from, the game, the assist?
DALLAS DRAKE: I sat closer to Zetterberg tonight. I made the trainers put me a couple seats down, hoped it would rub off (smiling).
Persevere a little bit. A lot of things you always do, like go to the net, crash and bang. It's gratifying to contribute when you can.
Q. Nick, can you talk about leading this team. You're the first captain to take this to a final other than Steve Yzerman in a decade.
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Well, first of all, it's a great feeling to be back in the finals again. As far as me being a captain, a leader, I think it helps my job as a captain a lot to have guys like Dallas, Chris Chelios, Kris Draper, Maltby, guys that have been on the team for a while, in the league for a while.
Everything doesn't rest on my shoulders. If I say a few things in the locker room, they'll say a couple of things as well. I don't feel it's on my shoulders to kind of carry the team and do everything.
I think it really helps me, you know, takes a burden off my shoulders having the great teammates that I have.
As far as winning three rounds, I think the first couple rounds, we just got better as we got deeper into the playoffs. Then being up 3 0 against Dallas, we knew they were going to be a desperate team, coming after us hard.
I thought the fourth game, they were a little bit better than us. Game 5, I think it could have gone either way. We had some great chances. Marty played real well for them, came up with some big saves, timely goals on their part.
I thought it was a bit of a test for us, losing two games in a row. They had the momentum going into their building. Their fans were really into it early on in the game. I thought we took it out of them right away, right off the bat with the first few shifts, where we were coming after them hard, going to the net hard, getting the puck to the net. That's something we talked about all playoffs. I thought we got away from that a little bit in Game 4 and 5.
In tonight's game, we were back doing the little things right that paid off for us at the end.
Q. Nick, you've gone to a few finals. Is this team you're taking to the finals, does it have a lot of those qualities those championship teams had?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: I think we do. We're a tough team to play against. By that I mean we keep teams on the outside. We don't give them a whole lot of chances in the slot, trade chances with the team. I thought we played well through the neutral zone, in our own end. That's something we worked on since training camp, having a middle drive hard to their net, but when they're coming back hard, pushing them to the outside, eliminating their shots. You know, we've been able to do that pretty much throughout the whole playoffs here.
Q. Nick, can you talk about 10 years ago, Chris Osgood, Game 6, 2 0 shutout, get you to the finals. Talk about Chris Osgood's play for you tonight.
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: I thought he played excellent. He had a lot of power plays. He was in the right spot at the right time.
Going back to that game, I remember playing against Dallas a long time ago. We lost in overtime here in Dallas. You know, it was a devastating loss. But coming back home for, I believe, Game 6, he shut the door. He played so well. That's one of his mental strengths, too. He's able to put that game behind him and come back with a strong effort. I believe in that game they scored from the redline in overtime. It's devastating for him to let in a puck like that.
Responding like he did back then, that's the way he's been playing for us now, too. He's mentally strong where he can just put things behind him, forget about a bad rebound, bad goal. He keeps on going for us. That's huge for the guys, to see the way he's responding to all the challenges.
Q. Dallas, can you say if this thing had somehow gone bad, would this have been your last season?
DALLAS DRAKE: I mean, I try to tell the young guys how hard it is to get there. It's been 16 years, this is the farthest I've been, the closest I've been to even having a chance to play for the Stanley Cup.
You try to reiterate how hard it is. These guys have been very fortunate to play as long as they have, to be to a few Stanley Cups. It's very difficult.
Have I considered retirement after the year? I'm not going to lie you. It's ran through my mind. You want to think about keep playing every single day. All you can do is lace them up and play the next game. If you lose the last game, you're usually done.
That's the approach I have always had. Just lace them up and try as hard as you can, have as much fun as you possibly can and go out there and play. Whatever happens, you know, sometimes it's a little bit out of your control. But you play hard most nights, as this team does, you give yourself a chance to win.
Q. When you signed back with the Wings, did you think this was possible?
DALLAS DRAKE: Well, Detroit was obviously a team I wanted to play for. I made it very clear to my agent to have them call Detroit because I thought they were a team, a handful of teams, that had the best chance to win the Stanley Cup. I wouldn't have played again just for the sake of playing. By no means was I interested in that. I wanted to play for a team that had a chance to win a Stanley Cup.
In my opinion, from watching the playoffs last year, the guys they had coming back, they were the team that had the best chance or as good a chance as anybody.
Q. Nick, back in the championship years, back in the day, one of the trademarks of the Wings were rolling four lines, getting production from the third and fourth lines. We saw that tonight. What does that mean to the team when you're seeing Dallas Drake score, Kris Draper score?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Well, it really helps our team. It doesn't put pressure on one line to perform every time. They don't have to come out and get the goal or get the team going. That's one of the great things with our team, we have the depth, the balanced scoring you need to get as far as we have.
It gives the whole team a boost, too. When you see how hard those guys are working, they're usually a checking line, but they're still going hard to the net, getting the puck to the net, making the right plays, too. The whole team is seeing how hard they work. I think it gives the whole team a boost, too.
Q. Chris, obviously you've been on the ice for great moments, great wins. Was this a little bit different for you because of the journey?
CHRIS OSGOOD: Yeah, because it's 10 years later since I last won, and played in '98. It's special that way.
It was a special night. But mainly that we got our team back to the Stanley Cup finals, that's the most important thing.
Q. The satisfaction 10 years ago, after the goal in overtime that got it to a Game 6, then you were able to shut out the Stars. Any thoughts when you were out there?
CHRIS OSGOOD: No. I don't really think about the past, whether it's a week ago, two days ago, years ago. I'll have time for that when I'm retired, sitting around, not doing much.
I just play in the now. I try to keep my head clear when I'm playing, not think about anything else, just try to stop the puck. That was 10 years ago. With Dallas, I've always enjoyed playing in this building, had fun playing here. It's a great place to play.
Q. Chris, some goalies say it's almost harder to play when you're not facing many shots, then all of a sudden they come. Is that something that as you get older it's easier to deal with?
CHRIS OSGOOD: I think so. I've never been a guy that needs 40 shots to feel good. I think I can play well in any situation, whether it's 15 shots or 30 or whatever. I don't think about stuff like that. I just play the games as they come, try to win them regardless what the score is. That's the way I've always approached things, is just to win the game, try to win as many as I can.
Q. Looking ahead to Pittsburgh, your thoughts on them.
CHRIS OSGOOD: Great forwards, obviously. I think their secondary players are underrated, they're real good. They're deeper than people give them credit for. Their D is real good, too. Obviously, Fleury is playing at the top of his game right now. They'll definitely be a handful. Have to be at our best, sharp in our own zone, make sure we play well in the neutral zone, our zone, not give them odd man rushes, not let them freewheel around, just being smart at both bluelines.
Q. Is it especially gratifying to see guys like Drake and Draper pitching in?
CHRIS OSGOOD: Yeah. I mean, Dallas played great. Dallas does so many great things for us, blocking shots, big hits. Tonight he chipped in with a goal. He's one of the guys, I don't think he goes unnoticed because he's such a hard worker, does the little things so good. He's an in the trench guy that throws huge checks and also blocks a lot of shots. Like tonight, it was 4 1, and he is still blocking shots with five minutes left in the game, giving his body up.
He's one of those guys we enjoy playing with. We play hard for him because he's never won. He's one of those guys, we want to go out and do it for him.
Q. Talk about playing against Pittsburgh.
CHRIS OSGOOD: We've played some pretty good teams in the playoffs. Colorado had a lot of scoring. They got some injuries. We did a good job against them. We stress team defense. We don't rely on one particular player. It's everybody as one. That's what we play. We're going to have to be at our top team defensively against Pittsburgh, for sure. That's without question.