Is it disappointment or frustration after a game like tonight?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 12 | Assists: 29 | Pts: 41
Shots: 169 | +/-: -3
“Probably a little bit of both. I thought they were a lot faster, stronger in the first, even thought we had some chances, it was pretty tight. But then they got some power-play goals, got it going. They got some timely goals at the start of the period, and that hurt.”
Were you bracing yourself for a more difficult second period after they outshot you 16-4 in the first because they were badly beat in their previous game?
“I don’t think anyone knew that in here what they did before. I know we were focusing on what we do. I don’t think that was that bad at 16-4. I thought we had some chances but they were playing tight in front of their goalie and they were shooting a lot of pucks and I think Howie made some nice saves.”
Is it tough to match the desperation level of a team like Columbus who is playing for fun?
“Well, they played well last year too at this time of year. But we have to be playing with more urgency. We all know what’s at stake here and it’s getting closer and closer. We’ve got some games left. We know what we’ve got to do and we just got to do it.”
The power-play goal almost led to something special, didn’t it?
“Yeah, we gave it a good push in the end. Unfortunately a little bit too late. I thought we had some good power plays in the first two (periods), but we couldn’t really connect there. It would have been a different story if we did.”
Physically, did you think Columbus took it to you guys and how did you think the team responded?
“I thought we played physical. Obviously, they probably have more physical style than we do but I thought we stand up well. It was nice to see Double A throwing the mitts and got us going there.”
Is it disappointing that team isn’t responding to the urgency?
“Yeah, I think we’ve just got to play with more urgency. I think we have to be a little more careful with the puck. Who has the puck after we have it? Is it us or is it (them)? We’ve just gotta, you know, get together here and we know what to do, we know we’re a good team when we playing the way we want, and we have a lot of games left here to turn this around. Obviously, three (losses) in a row is not good. But we have time.”
Why didn’t things go well for your team tonight, especially in the second period?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 18 | Assists: 20 | Pts: 38
Shots: 134 | +/-: 1
“Well, they score obviously on the 5 on, right, like it’s a big advantage. They played it well, they scored a goal, and they scored another one on 5 on 3. I mean, we can’t go to the box. It’s a really dangerous situation to play and it’s not easy to defend and I think that’s what decided the game.”
Were you surprised that they were taking the game to you guys in the first period?
“Yeah, they started a little hard, I think it’s always a little trouble to play in this building but we stayed home and we hold, and it was a good push for the second period. I feel like we were better in the second period, they were just scoring goals, which is unfortunate. We just have to be better. We know that, and it’s gonna fun with 16 games (left). We’re always in this spot and that’s the fun to play hockey and we’re really excited and looking forward to it.”
With three straight losses, what is your level of frustration right now?
“We have enough experience in this locker room to look back on it, refocus and regroup. We have a good stretch ahead of us. We’re in the playoffs right now. We just have to play better to hold the spot.”
How important is it to play a full 60 minutes and not just show the desperation that you guys did in the final five minutes?
“I feel like it’s all about a goal, you know. When we score a goal we start feeling better, the whole team is playing better. It would be nice to score first in a game so we can feel a little more confident and maybe get two goals. We just have to find more often the net and it would be nice if we could start it right off the get go.”
How concerned are you that the teams chasing you continue to win?
“You know, we knew it was going to be tough. It’s never easy in the NHL to be a playoff team, and right now we are there and we have to play better. We know what we have to do. We’re doing it every year, so like I said, we have lots of experience, we just have to do it.”
This was pretty close to a must win game. How do you explain the start?
rIGHT WING - DET
Goals: 8 | Assists: 13 | Pts: 21
Shots: 131 | +/-: 2
"Well, not everything is explainable. It's sports. They're trying too. It's over with now. You learn from it. You put it in the back seat. Tomorrow's a new day. There's still lots of hockey left and we still very much in this."
Another bad night for special teams?
"You can't give up five-on-threes. To have two in one game is tough. They scored two. We've got to be more aware of that. Whether it's sometimes the calls don't go your way and sometimes you look back and it probably was a penalty. To give up two five-on-three goals and to essentially lose by one is tough. We can talk about power plays and all that stuff. This time of year I think this team has been doing it the past few years where March is basically their playoffs. The details of playoff hockey have to come to the forefront here and that wasn't evident over all the 60 minutes of the last few games. It's all different parts of the game that are not complete enough because we're not winning."
Did you think Howard kept you in it in the first period?
"If someone knew we probably would have talked about it before the start. You don't go into games thinking we're going to start in the second. They came out hard and whether it surprised us or we weren't ready for it, I'm not sure. But it seemed like we were in quicksand a little bit and they kept coming. Tomorrow's a new day. Nothing's done or over. We can learn from it."
Is it disappointing? Overall today it was just too late?
"It was still 0-0 after the first so I don't know what too late is. When you're taking penalties and you're behind and you're chasing the game, things kind of go that way. I'm in the mindset that you can say we had four or five good minutes at the end to make it whatever. It really doesn't matter how much you played or how much you didn't play or what it was. We've go to put together a full 60. You can win games by not playing a full 60 but this time of the year with the urgency, we've got to put the odds in our favor."
How do you size up your night tonight?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.82 | Sv%: .907
“I’m done talking about myself. We can talk about the team, all right?”
Did it seem that your team didn’t play with the same degree of urgency as the Blue Jackets?
“I think out of the gate the urgency wasn’t there but we battled right there to the end and just came up short. It just goes to show you can’t take anyone lightly in the league and you’ve got to show up and go or you’re going to get beat.”
Did you get a sense early on that this wasn’t going to go well?
“I think that just comes from focus right off the get go. Paying attention to detail, it’s not turning pucks over in dangerous areas and just work getting in on them and forechecking and putting the body on them and wearing them out. They’re a big team, they can skate, they can throw the body around and they can score goals. They always play us tough and we knew it was going to be a battle out there and it was.”
How do you explain that there wasn’t a better start to the game tonight?
“They’ve been important here for a while, let’s not kid ourselves. We should be in playoff mode here for a while. Points are at a premium. We’ve got teams coming up our rear end. The urgency should have been there but it wasn’t at the get go. We’ve got to find a way inside this dressing room – the 23 guys that are here – to get the job done.”
Was this one of worst games from your team that you’ve seen as far as puck management and defensive play?
“I don’t know if we can go that far. They capitalized on the power play, the 5 on 3, twice. When they do that it kind of puts you in the hole.”
|Andreas Athanasiou scored his fifth goal of the season and had his first NHL fight on Tuesday when he dropped the gloves with Jackets' Matt Calvert in the third period. (Photo by Getty Images) |
How do you sum up tonight’s game?
“Not good enough, it’s disappointing, it’s frustrating; there’s no way that effort is good enough, especially in the first period. So we got to look at our ownselves, each individual, and we got to play much better that we did, certainly in the first. I thought we played better in the second. We need 60 minutes of that type of effort to have any chance of success. I just think by a man we got to be a lot better.”
How surprised were you at the lack of urgency at the start of the game?
“I was surprised, certainly surprised, because I know we have winners in our room. Generally our guys recognize the urgency of the moment. We didn’t recognize the urgency of the moment. I’m not sure how they had more urgency than us but they did. So we better pick it up here right away.”
How frustrating was it to allow two 5-on-3 goals to the Blue Jackets?
“It’s hard to go down 5 on 3; you want to be able to kill them but it certainly puts you in a tough spot. We went through a stretch where we killed some of them but the first 5 on 3, to me, was all because we didn’t clear the puck. We had ample opportunity to clear the puck and we didn’t execute. I just think from top to bottom we had too many guys that weren’t good enough tonight.”
What are your thoughts after the power play struggled again tonight?
“Certainly the last three games our special teams have been outplayed. I thought before that our penalty kill was great. Our power play hasn’t been good enough. You score with the extra guy (6 on 4), but that’s not a factor. Our power play was as bad as it’s looked in a while. I thought the first game against Chicago it was good, just didn’t score. Tonight wasn’t even close to good enough, so urgency on that better pick up as well.”
After tying the score 1-1, how much do you blame the problem on poor defensive coverage?
“They didn’t get much in the second (period). The one they got, on a rush, they made us pay. I thought we were pretty good in the second, did lots of good stuff. The (third) goal was crazy, there was no reason for it. It should have been no problem at all and it wasn’t. I look at things all the time. As a coach, what do we need to work on? What do we need to be better at? Have you done a good enough job? I’ll be honest with you, in situations like that individual players got to play better. That’s an absolute fact, so we got to pick our game up come Thursday.”
What did you think of the job Howard did?
“I thought Jimmy played good. I thought he did a good job.”
Is confidence an issue with the team, maybe psyche fragile?
“I’m not sure on that, but I know we have winners in the room. They’ve proven that time after time after time. Those winners in the room, both in terms of in game and maybe in terms of message, we need to step up and play much better. We just need to play much better on a consistent basis. I didn’t think we were good enough against Chicago the first game, I thought we were good the second game, this game we were not very good at all. We got to step up and play at a much higher level.”
How much of an issue was the Blue Jackets’ physical play?
“I can’t believe it can be an issue. I can’t believe we’re going to let somebody intimidate us. I can’t believe we’re going to let somebody outwork us or out-battle us. There’s no way I can believe the guys in my room are going to let that be an issue. Double-A sticking up for our team. We need guys to do some soul searching here and say, ‘Are we going to take it or are we going to be way harder to play (against)?’ ”
Where do you go from here, what makes you think urgency will be better?
“I have a ton of faith in the room, in the guys we have on the team. I think we have great leadership and a great character, character room. But certainly every guy needs to take a look in the mirror and say, ‘I need to be way better.’ That’s the only way you can get better, by looking at ourselves and saying, ‘How can I be better individually and how can we be better as a team?’ It’s as simple as that. There’s no easy answer, there’s no magic pill. You look in the mirror and say, ‘I got to get way better’ and you come out on Thursday and from the drop of the puck you play your very best. It doesn’t guarantee victory but it gives yourself the best chance of victory. That’s all you can do.”
DetroitRedWings.com managing editor Bill Roose contributed to this report.