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Off-Day May 14 Quotes: John Stevens

NHL.com @NHL
Q.  Can you give us your thoughts on changing the line and what you're hoping to get out of that?

COACH STEVENS:  Which line?

Q.  Well, I meant to say lines.

   
COACH STEVENS:  Well, it's just something I wanted to look at in practice.  Richie and Danny have had an awful lot of success together this year.  Mind you, mostly on the power play, but they're two of the best offensive players on our team and in the league.  Two of the leaders on our hockey team for years to come, so we thought we'd give it a look and there's a good chance you'll see it tomorrow.

Vinny's natural position is center ice.  He played one of our best games of the year with him at center ice late in the year.  He's a great distributor of the hockey puck.  He's been very good on face offs.  Doesn't have to play the game from the standstill.  I like what I saw today.  Tomorrow, I'm not sure, but I'm leaning that way.

Q.  Adversity is nothing new to this team, what is the mindset looking ahead to Game 4?
   
COACH STEVENS:  First of all, the mood, I mean, I love the enthusiasm of the team.  It seems like the questions come around, and it's like, oh, no.  I mean, we're down 3 0.  It is what it is.  We've been outplayed by Pittsburgh in this series, and we need to play better.

I think the effort's been there, but the execution hasn't.  We gave up a lot of chances yesterday, but the chances you give up end up in your net.  We allowed them to get the lead and play from behind.  So that's three games in a row, that's part of the reason for the change.

You go three games in a row, two on the road, one at home.  Deal with the match ups, and you have the luxury of being at home, and you're still not creating enough.  So a little bit of change.  I love the enthusiasm today, and looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.

Q.  Have you discussed with them either on the ice or in meetings today a different strategy to get the puck deep on this team?  It's been suggested that it could be a simple one of getting it over their heads and into the zone.
   
COACH STEVENS:  An aerial attack (laughing).

Q.  Yeah.
   
COACH STEVENS:  Believe it or not, I went to a coaching clinic one time and one guy presented on the aerial attack.  So I'm going to have to go get my notes out from that one, but.
   
I do think there are some things we can do from our tactical approach.  I think there are some things we can do from an execution approach.  But there is no question we have to do a better job of getting pucks in, and doing a better job of protecting the puck and working the cycle.
   
We've done it at times.  We've created some chances.  If you look at the chances in the game there, they're almost even.  But if you look at the puck possession time, I think, it's tilted in their favor.
   
It's up to us to play a simple game, and play it on their side of the red line.  I think it will go a long way to helping us.  We've got to take some speed off their attack.  At times last night they came in with way too much speed.  They don't need many chances to score.
   
They're committed defensively right now.  So when they get the lead, they're as good at protecting the lead as any team we've seen right now.  It's important for us to get off to a good start and play even and try to get the lead.

Q.  Braydon was able to open his eye on his own today.  Any more optimism he will be able to go tomorrow?
   
COACH STEVENS:  Sure, it was great to see him out there skating.  It's obviously a step in the right direction.  I'm going to sit down with Jimmy.  I think it will be one of those things where we have to wait till tomorrow and see how he feels after being on the ice today and see how he progresses.  He's still up in the air right now.  Can't really make a commitment either way whether he's ready or not.

Q.  You saw the Rangers come back and make some adjustments for Game 5, and they did pretty well in Game 6.  Did you watch any of that?  Did you see what they did differently?
   
COACH STEVENS:  I think if you look at the Rangers series, it was kind of the same thing.  It was kind of a patient hockey game.  It wasn't like games were tight, 2 0.  They had the one game where they got the lead and held on to it.  The other game still was tight.  They caught a break and scored a goal, and it was kind of a broken play, so.
   
There's a lot of pull and tug going on in the series.  There wasn't a lot of offensive opportunity in there when I watched the series with the Rangers.  It was a tight defensive battle.  Rangers are a defensive team.  Pittsburgh is more of a defensive team than people realize and very opportunistic.
   
So you obviously want to try to eliminate the puck time that the guys in the middle have it.  I think we can do some different things on our forecheck that might help us there.  But, again, it's just better execution on our part.
   
You know, with the game plan if we were executed perfectly, I think you might look at really changing things that are trying to get done.  I just think we haven't played at the level individually or collectively that we had previously in the playoffs.  But I think we're playing a better opponent.  Pittsburgh's the best team we've seen yet.

Q.  This team's come a long way, obviously.  Will you remind them of that before tomorrow night?  Or do you not want them thinking about where they've been as opposed to where they want to go or is there something to draw on from where this team has come?
   
COACH STEVENS:  Well, to be honest with you, I'd rather not right now.  I don't want our guys feeling content with what's gone on this year.  I think that would be the wrong approach.  I don't think you can ever be satisfied whether individually or collectively that we got in the playoffs.  We won a couple rounds.  I mean, fact of the matter is we have an opportunity to keep playing here, and that's what we need to focus on.
   
It really doesn't matter right now what's happening this year.  It will moving forward, but right now it's kind of insignificant.  We want to keep playing, and we need to win one game.  That's our focus right now.  It's not the series.  It's the game.
   
We need to go in and try to win a hockey game.  We want to keep playing, and we've got to win a hockey game in order to do that.

Q.  Steve Downie said on Petr Sykora, was that warranted, clean?  What did you think of it?
   
COACH STEVENS:  Steve Downie?  You know, I didn't see it again, I'm not sure which one you're talking about.  Was that after they scored?

Q.  Yeah.
   
COACH STEVENS:  You know, I didn't see it again.  But let's not pick on Steve Downie.  There's lots of plays in the hockey game, and things happen.  And Malkin had an elbow on Danny there.  It's just part of the game.
   
It's a physical game, Steve's a physical player.  I don't think we need to single him out for anything that happened.  There are other things that have gone on in the hockey game that are have equally been a part of the game as Steve played the game.

Q.  What can you do from a disappointment standpoint, letting them know the disappointment of being down 3 0?  What can you do then to just worry about that one game and sort of forget what's happened before?
   
COACH STEVENS:  Well, just today before we practiced today we shaked some of the somber mood out of our system.  I thought we did that.  I thought guys were jumping today.  Good enthusiasm.  Execution was good.
   
You can't feel sorry for yourselves.  I mean, we've said it all year, we can't look outside the locker room.  There's nobody outside the locker room that is going to help us.  There's nobody outside the locker room to blame.  It's all of us inside the locker room that need to play better.
   
I think we're excited for the opportunity to get out and play again.  And we're excited for the opportunity to try to play our best game.  That's what we're going to need to beat Pittsburgh.  We're going to have to have our best game that we've played yet.  We're capable of it, we've just got to bring it tomorrow.



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