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Off-Day May 29 Quotes: Ryan Whitney and Brooks Orpik

by NHL Public Relations

Q.  Did you get a feeling in the third period yesterday that you were hanging on a little bit in the game and they were coming at you, you did a good job hanging on, but almost feeling like you were hanging on for dear life there?

RYAN WHITNEY:  I don't know.  We had to kill off a few penalties.  And it seems every playoff game a team is down by a goal or two.  They're going to make a push, especially a team with experience like that.  By no means do I think we had a bad third period.  They were shooting the puck a little more.  They had some power play chances.  We held them off.  There was no panic when they made it 3?2 on our part.  And that made a huge difference.


Q.  Brooks, we write a lot about game?winning goals and game?changing saves.  Do you as, a defenseman, think that you can win a game with the kind of sequence you had there in the third period?

BROOKS ORPIK:  Definitely helps out.  Got a lot of scorers, a lot of guys who do different things.  Gary Roberts was huge for us last night, physically.  And I thought Darryl Sydor, early on in the first period I remember looking up to the scoreboard, the shots were 9?1, which might have been misleading at the time.  I thought we were playing fine.  They shoot the puck from everywhere.

There was one rush, in particular, where he jumped up in the play, and I think it might have been Hossa found him late.  We got about three or four good chances right after that and it kind of seemed to lift the energy on the bench and got the crowd into it a little bit.

That's the one sequence that really stuck out to me in terms of getting our team turned around there in the first period.


Q.  What did you do better in Game 3 than you've done in the previous two games, and what do you feel like you want to improve on for Game 4?

RYAN WHITNEY:  I don't know.  I know that we really worked on clogging up the neutral zone a little bit better.  They did it with us in Detroit.  I think we were able to pressure their "D" a little more.  And the physicality we brought last night did make a difference.  So that's the one thing we really got to kind of keep doing and along with shooting the puck more.  We'd like to maybe outshoot them one game.

BROOKS ORPIK:  I thought going, building on that, I think I heard someone today say that we played a near perfect game.  And I can count numerous times where we gave up a lot of odd man rushes last night.  We were definitely better than we were in the first couple of games.  But it was nowhere near a perfect game.

I think the first couple of games their forwards have so much speed.  If you turn the puck over and too aggressive on the forecheck, you give them too much space in the neutral zone.  That's where they hurt you.  So I thought we did a better job last night neutralizing them in the neutral zone.  But I think that's a lot more room to be gained for us.


Q.  Brooks, when you're in a physical game like that, are the aches and pains the next day a little less severe if you're more giving than receiving?

BROOKS ORPIK:  Yeah, it's pretty sore today.  It always feels a little better when you come out on top.  You're not as ? seems like you're not as sore.  But even those first two games when we were down and the game was maybe a little out of reach there, maybe some people would say we were playing dirty.  But I think we were just playing hard and anticipating it to be a long series.

Especially against a team like this, a lot of people say they're experienced.  They do have a lot of older guys on team.  So I think the more you can pound on them, it definitely takes its toll during the end of the series.


Q.  Brooks, on the shift you had last night that everyone is making reference to, some people are saying you had four hits.  Some people said you had five hits.  After you come back to the bench, do you even know how many you hit, or this morning when you think back to it, were you just all on adrenalin, do you even know who you ran over?

BROOKS ORPIK:  (Smiling)  It's weird, against a team like this, you gotta be really patient.  Like I said, their forwards have so much skill and speed.  You don't want to run out of position.  Especially the system we play, it's most of the hitting is defensemen in our zone.  We don't take a lot of chances in neutral zone.  And most of those hits, kind of let it come to you.  You don't really go looking for it.

And you just kind of ? the opportunity was there, and when it's there, this time of the year you really want to make them pay.  But like I said, that's kind of my role on the team.  There's a lot of other guys that do the same thing.  It's something we can just energize the team and crowd with.


Q.  What's the approach to defending Datsyuk and Zetterberg, and once you've seen them for a few games, does your game plan change?  And I wouldn't want to say it becomes easier, but do you know tendencies more three games in?

RYAN WHITNEY:  I think it makes a difference playing against them a couple times, just because you get used to some of their tendencies.  But at the same time, I think the best thing about those two guys is you think you have them, you think you have them out of the play.  You think the puck's off the stick.  But seems like every time they kick it up to themselves or they're able to hold you off.

And there are two guys, if you quit on, they're going to get past you every time.  They've shown that they're tough to play against.  Datsyuk is a lot more physical than I thought.  It's tough when you don't ? we haven't played Detroit in two years.  So you don't really realize what type of player each guy is.  But he's a physical player.  He's strong out there.  I didn't really know that.

But those two guys are going to get their chances.  It's about trying to limit them.  Because you can't stop two players like that from getting shots and getting opportunities.


Q.  Brooks, I want to go back to that shift again.  Ask you, as you're going through it and the crowd's really getting into it, do you feel that on the ice and did you hear them chanting your name after you came off?

BROOKS ORPIK:  Yeah, you feel it when you're out there.  The crowd was a big part last night right from the start.  Our home ice has been a huge advantage for us.  I think any time you get the crowd into it, you can't help but build off it.

And I think, like I said right from the start, it definitely energized us and got us going.  It will be huge for us Saturday, too.


Q.  Ryan, after Sid scored the first goal yesterday did you sense that the Red Wings were starting to press a little bit.  And if so, did it surprise you they would start to press you a little bit?

RYAN WHITNEY:  I don't know about press.  I can't tell you how many times in the locker room we said before the game we want to see how they play from behind, because everyone gave it to us, they can't get an offense going.  When you have a lead, you are able to trap teams a little more and shut them down.  We knew we could do that.  We've done it to the Rangers who can play offensive, Philly and other teams.

I don't know if they press, but you've got to open up and take more chances, when you need to score and you're down.  And obviously that was the case for them.  So that first goal makes such a big difference.  Seems like the whole playoffs and the Eastern Conference Final and the Western Conference Final, the first goal makes the game, seems like.  So we wanted to try to get that and force them to go on offense a little bit.

And they'd have to open up, and they did.


Q.  Brooks, what kind of reaction did you get last night on the bench after you came back after the shift?

BROOKS ORPIK:  He was yelling.  But he's always yelling.

RYAN WHITNEY:  (Smiling).

BROOKS ORPIK:  Not too much.  It's such a crucial time in the game.  Only about five minutes left in the game.  Everyone was really focused on the task at hand.  It was more so after the game.  Yeah, I mean, it was really just one shift.

There are a lot of guys, you look at the hit Gary had right before Adam's goal.  And you look at the hit that Kennedy took to make that play and start that whole shift.

So that was just one shift.  I thought from the start of the game until the end, I thought our team physically was a lot better than we were the first couple games.  We were a lot more under control at the same time, too.


Q.  What kind of reaction did you get after the game?

BROOKS ORPIK:  (Smiling) I was hearing it left and right more from guys, more in a poking way I think than anything.  But, yeah, it's just something you can laugh about after a win.

But like I said, it was just one shift.  There were a lot of good shifts put together by a lot of guys.

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