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Michel Therrien: Postpractice Transcript

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
Are you concerned about the team's lack of scoring?

We need to keep it simple. I think right now, especially the last game, we tried fancy plays. We turned the puck over way too much. We put ourselves in trouble, a lot of times for no reason. Those types of games happen over the course of the season. One thing, I was not pleased with the way we played, like I mentioned after the game. We have to get back to the good habits. Our work ethic (has) got to be there. Concentration has got to be there. We’re going to make sure we always take the percentage play. When you’re a high-risk team, you put yourself in trouble. Like we did last game with the result that we had.

Will Petr Sykora play Tuesday night against Philadelphia?
I’m assuming he’s going to make a decision tomorrow. If he’s OK to play, he’ll play. We’ll see tomorrow.

Who tracked the turnovers posted on the chart in the locker room?
Yesterday they watched the game together. What we saw was the evaluation of the coaches.

Does a result like that take you by surprise?
(It) takes you always by surprise. I thought coming up from Europe, we wanted to make sure that their practice had really high tempo, a lot of speed, moving the puck a lot. (We) spent a lot of time teaching the defensive side of the game. The guys really worked hard that week. It’s not a matter (that) they don’t work hard during practice, they do. We started the game with good intentions. I thought we played a really solid first period. After, we started to lose our concentration and were unable to maintain the effort and concentration that we did in the first period.

What did the New Jersey Devils do to create problems for the team?
They played a solid game. This is a good hockey team, like we mentioned before. In the meantime we gave them a lot of opportunities. We (made) bad decisions with the puck. This is something we preach. You always have to make the percentage play. This game is a game of mistakes. The team that (does) less mistakes, eventually will have a chance to win. When we’re talking mistake, it could be mistakes by positioning, mistakes with the puck. Certainly, we did a lot of mistakes with the puck the last game. We created a lot of turnovers. Every time we got the puck we were back checking because we gave them away. We got the puck, we have to back check. That’s not the way a winning team plays. We’re going to have to get better and I know we will. I know we will.

How will playing a game every other day help the team get a rhythm?
When you’re on the road for a long period of time, guys that play the game will tell you and guys that have been around the game will get that knowledge, that first game at home always seems to be tough. Whatever you do, it’s a tough game to play. I had some concerns before a little bit. That’s why I tried that week to maintain a good tempo during practice to try to bring that to that game. Obviously, it worked for the first period. Like I said before, we lost our concentration. Getting into the rhythm of a game, certainly that’s going to help us.

Will you make any line changes?
We talked about it yesterday with the coaching staff. We’re gonna talk about it again today to make sure that we come up with the good combination that will help us win hockey games.

Why did you have the team work on getting loose pucks along the boards in practice?
Xs and Os is 50 percent of the game. That 50 percent of the game is important. The other 50 percent is heart and soul. There’s a loose puck, who wants to get to that loose puck? Do I want to pay the price to get to that loose puck? That’s the way it is. That’s work ethic. You’re playing with emotion. You’re playing with your heart and soul. All of those things are crucial to win hockey games. You can’t just rely on Xs and Os. That’s not the way it works. I believe we worked on that today, pucks along the boards, and because we figure that we lose a lot of battle on the boards. Those are the details of the game. It sends a message to the players, that’s unacceptable to lose too many battles like this. You’re not going to win all the battles. We’re in the NHL. We understand that we play against good hockey teams, experienced hockey teams but I’m expecting a better percentage of winning battles.

When Sidney Crosby is upset about how a game is going, do you talk to him or leave him alone?
I talk to him. He’s a proud athlete. He plays with a lot of pride. He wants to be the best. I’m sure that he’ll find a way to get there. He’ll find a way because he’s got a lot of pride.

What are your thoughts on Philadelphia?
They’re healthier. They got a lot better from one year to the other. (Simon) Gagne is back in their lineup this year. He’ll certainly help them. They remodeled their defense. Everytime we play the Flyers, and we had a chance to play those guys in the playoffs last year, it’s always a rivalry. We’re aware of it. They’re always exciting games to play.
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