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Preds Best Quotes of Stanley Cup Final Media Day

Preds Share Excitement, Eagerness for Start of Stanley Cup Final to Dozens of Media

by Thomas Willis @TomAWillis / Digital Manager & Producer

Dozens of questions were asked of the Nashville Predators, as every member of the team sat in the KeyBank Club at PPG Paints Arena to discuss the upcoming 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

Here's a selection of the top quotes from the Sunday afternoon Q&A:

Ryan Ellis:

On when the Preds realized they could win the West:

"The big moment for us was just beating Chicago - getting over that hump, and we knew that was, for us, the team to beat at that point was them. The way we did it kind of put that confidence in us and from there we've flourished."

On how leadership makes a team better:

"We have some great leaders in this room. You look at Mike [Fisher], terrific human, just a great person off the ice. What he brings to the locker room, he goes out and works hard every single night. We have other guys, like [Pekka Rinne]. If you watch him in practice he doesn't like letting goals in at practice and his work ethic is so [high]. When you have those guys leading the charge, it gets contagious to a point that you want to do everything you can, not only to be successful, but even in practice, just to win at practice, and not a lot of people do that."

Yannick Weber:

On the rarity of even reaching the Final:

"It's always been the dream. When you've played in the League for a while, you know how much it takes, how much you have to be in the right spot and with the right team. I've been on some good teams that maybe had a chance to make it far, and I've been on some teams where you know this probably isn't going to be the year you win. So being on that team this year, knowing we have the right pieces to make it far and then actually having a great playoff series - every player at the start of year, that's their goal - so it's nice to be one of the teams that actually made it."

On trying to comprehend the significance of playing for the Stanley Cup:

"Once we won the West, I think pretty quickly we were happy winning the West, but the biggest success was being in the Final. Once I went home after that game, I was happy about the win, but it was kind of like 'OK we're going to the Final' and that was just weird. I can't really believe it, because you think about it there's only two teams left. I've never made it this far, and I never kind of had that feeling about making it this far. The last couple days you try to downplay it and we had a couple nice practice days where it wasn't really talked about much. So I think being here it kicks in a little bit more that it's actually go time now. I think it kicked in pretty early after the win that we actually have a chance, we got ourselves a chance to win the Cup and that was definitely a little bit mind boggling. I didn't sleep much after that win, but it's nice to be here and now it's starting soon."

Filip Forsberg:

On realizing the Final starts tomorrow:

"I think it's just sinking in every day that [comes]. After [Game Six against Anaheim] that was a good feeling, after that it's just been refocusing, re-shifting your focus and your mindset to the Stanley Cup Final."

On stepping up after the loss of Ryan Johansen (to injury):

"I think everybody [feels like they need to step up]. I think we proved it in the last two games when we lost him and Mike [Fisher] for those two games. Guys stepped up, Colton played unbelievable with that hat trick and Freddie Gaudreau came in and played like he's always been in this League. I think it just goes for everyone, guys leaving the lineup and guys taking their spots."

Matt Irwin:

On the challenge presented by the Penguins:

"They've been successful over the course of many years, so they're deep; their depth is one thing, their speed and their ability to finish. So for us, it's a lot like we've done in all the series so far. I think we've had a taste of different kinds of styles of hockey through the First Round through the Third Round… we know what to expect and that's the great thing about our locker room and the guys that can go on every night and get the job done. We can play any style of game that's thrown at us."

On the "this is the Stanley Cup Final" moment:

"I think as soon as you land and you kind of get those jitters, that excitement, then when you bus through the [Fort Pitt] Tunnel and the city [of Pittsburgh] opens up, I think that's pretty cool. That's kind of like walking through the door of the Stanley Cup Final."

On his untraditional path to the Final:

"It's been a week since we knew we were going to be in the Final, and there's a lot of times where you just kind of reflect on what it took to get here and who's helped you along the way. There are so many people that had a helping hand in this achievement. It's not the ultimate goal quite yet, but just a chance to play for that prize, and for myself personally, with the ups and downs of my career, nothing's been easy. I'm sure, like a lot of guys in our locker room, nothing is really given to you, you have to earn it. Going back to last year with the struggles I had, it's an honor to be here and it's something I'm definitely not taking for granted."

Harry Zolnierczyk:

On the experience the playoffs have given to the Preds:

"You'd love to have experience, but I think the experience that I've received the first three rounds has been huge. For the rest of the players, we have older, veteran guys that have gone through the playoffs and things like that. I wouldn't say there's a lack of experience by any means for our team. We've been in tough games. Games that we want to close out in six and things like that. You find experience just in those games, as the pressure builds up, and stuff like that. I think our team has responded well to high-pressure games and where you'd expect experience to step through, I think our guys with experience have stepped through and younger guys are kind of taking it as we go."

Craig Smith:

On his "this is the Stanley Cup Final" moment:

"I think just driving by the rink today, and then you get new sweatshirts that say Stanley Cup Final on them and shirts and some new hats. But I think we had our jerseys downstairs, too, with some pictures and they have the Stanley Cup logo on it. I thought that was pretty neat, I took an extra look at it, not something I normally do, but it's pretty cool."

On the pressure building for Game One:

"I'm going to sleep just great. I'll be fine, I do a good job at canceling everything else out and focusing on what you need to focus on and you have to have fun and lay it all out there and see what happens."

Frederick Gaudreau:

On the pressure of the Final for a rookie:

"Excited, when I was stressed, it was more because of all those distractions and thinking it was big. That's why I kind of controlled that and blocked everything, and so for sure, I was excited because that's what it is."

Pekka Rinne:

On the value of experience in the playoffs:

"I feel like experience always helps, I think it calms everything down. But at the same time, with the postseason, when you go far, I feel like even the first-year guys, they experience so much that I don't feel like they get nervous anymore [before] the games. Especially with us, at the end of the Anaheim series, we had a couple guys that had to step up in a big, big way. Even some of the guys from Milwaukee, Freddie Gaudreau, stepped up and he's been playing really good hockey."

On the challenge of facing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin:

"Great challenge. [I] really can't wait to start it. They're some of the best players in the world. As a goalie, you have to be aware of when those guys are on the ice and also realize that they make their linemates better too."

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