What was the atmosphere like with the cotton flying around?
Right Wing - DET
Goals: 15 | Assists: 18 | Pts: 33
Shots: 125 | +/-: -2
“It was cool. It was much better weather than at the Big House. It wasn’t snowing this time, the sky was clear and a nice temperature to be playing out there, so it was a great feeling.”
Was the cotton a distraction?
“You mean the snow that was flying around? They stopped the play there when there was kind of a blizzard there for a while. Not too bad thought.”
Did the wind help you guys after switching sides in the final 10 minutes of the third?
“That’s why we did it just to have it fair for both sides but I thought the wind was kind of circling a little bit, changed directions a few times I thought. But it was the most fair to switch sides after a half.”
Does it makes this game extra special since you and Tatar, you’ve both been struggling, scored today?
“Yeah, it’s obviously fun to score a goal and win a game like this no question. We haven’t been putting the puck in the net as much as we should be doing, so for sure this felt good, and hopefully this can get both of us going here.”
Was scoring made special because your family was here for the game?
“Yeah for sure it’s nice with a lot of family I town, so it’s a special feeling to score a goal.”
DET-COL Stadium Series
When cotton started to fly did you know exactly what it was at first?
“Yeah, we figured since it was all around the bench. So we saw it come up from the ground and it was kind of swirl around like a blizzard. But nothing that affected us.”
Did you kind of chuckle when you began to see chunks of cotton swirling?
“Yeah, it was a little fun there when we had to hold up play for a little bit when it was the worst there. But it was fun. That’s a new one for sure but again it was a great experience and fun to be on the winning side this time.”
Can you describe your goal?
“It was just one of those I was lucky that it went in. I just tried to catch the goalie a little bit off-guard maybe, throw it in high, so it’s nice to see it go in.”
How good was it to score for first time in 12 games?
“For sure. Obviously, I haven’t been scoring as much as I wanted to lately, so it was nice to get one. Hopefully this can get me going here.”
Was it important to score early in the third to give momentum to the team?
“Nothing was really going on in the second, it was back and forth, a check-fest, but it’s nice to get one there early to get some energy and then we got the third one, too. They managed to come back but we got a big kill in the end and we scored two, one in an empty net, so it was nice win for sure.”
What was your perspective on Nyquist’s goal?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 17 | Assists: 18 | Pts: 35
Shots: 128 | +/-: -1
“I was battling on the boards and I just saw Gus got it in the middle and obviously I was trying to get to the net and I saw the puck go in the top shelf. It was an amazing shot. He’s a really skilled player and he deserves a goal like this for sure.”
Was the wind in the third period a problem?
“I was not trying to think about it too much but obviously you felt it especially with the foam flying around. It was a little weird but we just tried to stick with it and win this game. Fans were great and we’re really happy that they come support us all the way to here. I think it was a good game to watch.”
What was the overall atmosphere like?
“It was awesome. It’s something special to play a game like this. I’m really happy that I can be a part of this. I’m really happy that we won. The last Winter Classic we lost in a shootout and it didn’t feel the best but now … after we scored a goal I thought now we’re gonna wrap it (up) but then they scored. We just had to stick with it and we showed how strong we are and we won a game.”
How bothersome was the cotton that was landing on the ice?
“Not really, it was just kind of weird when you are looking up and foam is flying everywhere, so it was a little weird but you’re trying not to think about it too much. You’re just trying to focus on the game and keep playing.”
Was the wind an issue in the third period?
“For sure I started feeling it too. The first was pretty quiet and then the second and third was pretty strong. I was just trying to find a way for the wind to push me a little bit.”
Was the wind tough to skate against?
“Yeah, for sure, you’re feeling it a little bit but both teams had the same stuff so we switched the sides and it works pretty well and I’m happy we won the game.”
Were the winds swirling around the rink?
“I think it was not swirling, I think it was back on one way and that’s why they switched the sides. I felt it that’s for sure. I felt it hitting my face so yeah, I think that’s why they wanted to switch the sides.”
What was walking out of the dugout like for pre-game warmups?
“It’s special. These types of games are amazing and I’m really happy that the NHL started doing these. They’re special moments to play in a big stadium like this, see all the fans. It just has a special feeling and it’s great to be a part of it.”
What did you think of the swirling cotton?
Center - DET
Goals: 2 | Assists: 3 | Pts: 5
Shots: 21 | +/-: E
"I don't think it was too bad. The ice was a lot better than it was yesterday so we could move out there. It was just a lot of fun to experience something like that."
How were the ice conditions?
"It wasn't too bad at all. As the game went on and it got colder, it kind of hardened up and wasn't bad at all to skate on."
Was the wind an issue in the third period?
"It wasn't too bad. You don't really notice it when you're out there but when you're on the bench you feel it a little bit but that's it."
What did you think of Richards’ game-winning goal in his fifth outdoor game?
"When you play in so many, you're bound to score one of the game-winners there. It's a great way to score there at the end and it's a huge two points for us."
What did you think about Nyquist and Tatar ending scoring droughts?
"That's a great goal for him, get us going right off the bat. He played a great game today and it definitely helped us win."
What about the job that Mrazek tonight?
"Good. It's always so tough for a goalie in that situation but I think he handled it really well and he picked up a nice assist there at the end, which is cool."
What will you remember most about this game?
"Oh, man, it's a very unique experience to play in front of all those people in a baseball stadium. You don't get that very often. I appreciated it out there. I was just happy to have my mom and dad and two best friends out here.
"I think it was pretty cool walking out of the dugout. It wasn't too bad. It's part of the experience."
What did you think of the game?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.10 | Sv%: .927
“It was a great experience. A huge win for us on the road. We lost a couple of games on the road, so it’s good we could bounce back.”
What was it like when wind picked up?
“You could feel it just a little bit. Those boards and the glass is there so I just could feel it sometimes when I was just standing and the wind just pushed me a little bit.”
What was it like to see the cotton flying all over the place?
“Yeah I saw that. I was like, ‘how could it be snowing in the 50s?’ ”
Did you have any trouble picking up puck?
“A little bit. You could see it in the second period there. Someone chipped the puck from the red line, I lost it and it hit my glove and I think it just stuck in my pad, like on the side of my pad. I was trying to track the puck but sometimes it was hard to see.”
Was the MacKinnon goal a tracking issue for you?
“No it was just a good shot. I could probably have it. I was a little upset at myself that I would let in that goal.”
What made it tough to see puck?
“It’s half and half – the lighting and then the darkness of the stadium. It’s hard but it’s for both teams the same thing.”
What was that last minute like?
“Nice. Huge goal by Richie. They had only one good chance on the net and then we got the easy out of the zone.”
Overall what did you think of the experience?
“It was a great experience. I think everybody enjoyed it – the staff, the coaches, the players. It’s nice to have the win today.”
What was it like to lead the team out for warmups and see 50,000 people?
“A great moment, an incredible moment for everybody. You don’t see it every day, so it’s a live memory.”
Were you aware that they gave you as assisted on Helm’s empty-net goal?
“Well, I just threw it out of the zone. I saw Helmer flying there so I just put it in the free spot, and Helm picked it up. It was a nice goal by Helmer.”
Was it nice icing on the cake to get an assist in such a big game as this?
“Yeah, it’s nice to have a point but for the goalies it doesn’t matter for those points. Victories are more important.”
Did you allow yourself to stop for a moment during the game to soak in the atmosphere of the event?
“I just try to enjoy every minute, every second you’re out on the ice.”
Can you describe your goal that gave Wings a 3-2 lead?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 15 | Assists: 18 | Pts: 33
Shots: 125 | +/-: -5
“With his speed he got to the puck first. I had a feeling he was going to try to get it to the front there so I just tried to park myself there and get a stick on it for a redirection. I wouldn’t say it was fluky, I would say it’s more just what we’re trying to do – get pucks to the front of the net. Helmer made a good play, finding me, getting it to my stick there.”
How important was this comeback and the two big points?
“It was huge. I thought they came out to start, they were skating well, had a lot of chances there. I thought we got better as the game went on. I thought Nyquist’s goal was big for us. It kind of got us going again. From there on we played good.”
Seemed like there wasn’t a lot of room in the second, what changed in the third?
“I think as the third period went, with both teams kind of pressing. It’s a big game for both teams to try to get the two points. I thought maybe in the second period both teams were kind of sitting back a little bit and playing a little defense, but at the same time, as the period went on pucks were bouncing a bit so you had to make sure that pucks were getting deep. Maybe that’s part of the reason why the teams were playing more defensive.”
How were the ice and the elements? Was wind a distraction?
“I don’t think so. Both teams had to go into the wind there. The wind really picked up, which made it a little tough but at the same time both teams had to go through it. I thought the ice held up great. The guys did a great job for as warm as it was, as much as the sun was beating down. There were no complaints there.”
What did you think of Nyquist’s goal?
“That was . . . I think everyone was kind of scratching their heads at how that went in. Even the ref had a delayed reaction and didn’t realize it went in. Just a great heads-up play, great shot, fooled Varlamov there, a backhander that went top shelf.”
How much did it occur to you that you were playing outside?
“It was a little warm compared to my last experience at the Big House so that made it a little different and obviously playing at altitude is a little different. Guys were coughing a bit and grasping for air at times. It was fun. At times, all the guys were trying to take in the moment, look around, enjoy the scenery. These things don’t happen a lot and they’re special for us and for the fans, too.”
Is a win in this game a little different?
“It’s two points. That’s how we look at it. I think it’s no more important than the two points we’ll be playing for on Monday. They all count the same. I think more than anything guys enjoyed the experience and having fun.”
A few guys like yourself, Tatar, Nyquist, how important was it to break scoring droughts?
“It’s always important. Whenever pucks aren’t finding ways in it’s always important to score and get that confidence back. Nyquie and Tats are both really skilled players. They’ve been getting chances; pucks just haven’t been going in for whatever reason. But usually when you get that first one off your back after not scoring for a while that can really help.”
What was your view of Richards’ goal?
“It was a shot that Richards was going to the net and just got a piece of it there and beat kind of a sprawling Varlamov. It was kind of hard to see from the bench.”
Must be all that outdoor game experience that Richards has, right?
“Yeah, he’s used to it.”
How frustrating has the power play been lately?
“I think it’s tough being outside. Guys were catching edges here and there. Even with the elements it’s not easy. They do a good job of fronting shots and blocking shots. We’ve just got to find ways of getting more pucks on net.”
What did you think of the fake blizzard?
“Pretty interesting. I know the fans enjoyed it. It would have been nice if it would have stayed off the ice. The guys did a good job of cleaning up the ice. It didn’t really affect the game.”
Was the atmosphere something you’ll remember?
“For sure. This is a special time to bring us all back to our roots of hockey, playing outdoors. I know a lot of guys had family and friends here, so to share the experience with them is really special, too.”
Was cotton landing on the ice at times?
“It was, so there were a few times during whistle timeouts they had guys come out and get the cotton. I don’t know if it would have really affected it too much unless a bunch blew on the ice. I think there was one time where a good amount blew on the ice but for the most part they did a good job of cleaning up.”
Was the wind affecting the third period?
“No, it got windy there. The second half of the game I’d say it really started blowing. It was important for both teams to change sides halfway through because it was a lot different going into the wind.”
Is that why they changed ends midway through the third period?
You’re had to go past regulation last three games, how wild was that last minute?
“Oh man. It’s crazy. We score and then they come down and score that next shift. It was entertaining hockey. For us to find a way to win, Richie to get that goal, was big for us. Just find a way to win in regulation and get those two points.”
|Jeff Blashill argues his point with referee Brad Watson after Tyson Barrie's goal gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead in the first. The Wings' coach argued that the Avs interfered with goalie Petr Mrazek. (Photo by Getty Images) |
What did you see on Richards' goal?
“I saw, after that, he found a way to get obviously just the puck up and over there. It was a weird game. I think it was my same experience when I was in an outdoor game, the American League. I think it's a little bit of a hard game for the goalies. Not that either or -- both of them were good. But it was the puck seemed to bounce a little bit more. We just tried to keep getting pucks to the net, and find ways to get in from the side and things like that. So in the end it went in. So we were very happy.”
Goals from Tatar and Nyquist, how big could that be going forward if they were able to get going a little bit?
“I have Richards for that as well. I think Tatar and Nyquie, I know they're going to get going. I don't think they're going to get going; I know they're going to get going. It's just a matter of when. Obviously for us sooner than later is better. They're two good players and proven scorers in the league. I've had both of them for a long time. I know to make sure to give them enough time, and they've got to continue to play at a high level. If they compete at a high level, they're going to score. If they're both competing I think real hard, they'll score.”
Just your view of Richards' goal there, how the play unfolded?
“Richards, we thought, just again, it was -- we thought he was trying to follow the puck to that area and he found a way to get it up and over a little bit. I haven't seen it a second time yet, so I don't have an unreal feel for it. But certainly happy when he found the back of the net.”
The third period, the winds swirling, the cotton swirling, did that have an effect, or did that have an effect on this play at all?
“We thought developing before the game, when you play events like this, a lot of things happen. You have to be prepared for weird stuff to happen. And you have to stay poised. I don't think it really had an effect. There was just a few moments where that happened. But what a great event. I thought it was awesome. I thought the crowd was awesome. I thought it was a great setting. I was real thankful to be a part of it.”
Throughout the season, you guys -- coaches always look for wins that they think might help their team take off. With a minute left, it's one of these types -- could this be one of those wins for your team?
“I think the points are, as you know, unbelievably critical right now. I think to find a way to get two points that is critical. Every night right now. I think we have 20 games left. We have to compete and find ways to get points. I don't believe necessarily in big, huge steps, I believe in a bunch of small steps. Everything I said yesterday, I think the game, they take steps forward and get back as soon as you can end up being a real good team. There's certainly moments you can look back on as critical moments. But finding a way to get the two points was huge. Will it be a big moment? It will if we build off of it and have a great outing in Dallas and continue to move forward. I think as a team we did some good things and have to continue to do so to get better.”
Is Smith a personnel move or is he injured?
“He's not injured. I think we have good energy on our team. I had to make some hard decisions on plays. And I played the six that I thought was going to give us the best chance. We'll continue to evaluate it.”
This game is so intense. You're playing one of the biggest rivals you've ever had in the conference and in the NHL. With this going against Dallas, them having lost two games, do you see the success that keeps going?
“Also with the NHL now is, every single night is a play here and play there, that's what it is for me. There were some shots that were tough for our team, not just our team, but all teams.
We're going to go to Dallas, play great, have an opportunity to win. They're a great team, one of the best teams in the league. For us to have a chance to win, we have to play great.”
Brad, can you just take us through your goal?
Center - DET
Goals: 7 | Assists: 13| Pts: 20
Shots: 123 | +/-: 3
“I thought it would go back towards Kronwall and thought he was going to keep it in and got lucky that he put it on net.”
Brad, you've got a lot of outdoor game experience. You've been through good moments for and against. Where did this one rank for you in getting the goal, winning the game with a minute left?
“It was a special weekend. Before I was -- just growing up, anytime I wanted to watch hockey, I wanted to watch Colorado or Detroit. There's so many great players. So to be part of this history of that rivalry, being around, seeing some of the guys yesterday and knowing they played. And just being -- not just growing up, but it's a huge two points for our team and a great experience.”
Brad, how much did the wind and the vertical cotton affect you guys?
“The cotton thing, looked like it was going to affect it, but it ended up that it didn't. But I probably -- honest, I didn't get to ask the faster skaters how they felt the wind affected them. I had the same speed all night.”
Brad, you now have a couple of night-time outdoor games under your belt. Daytime ones as well. What's your preference?
“I don't know. Probably get in trouble for saying one or the other. But I seem to like the night ones, when we were in New York, there's a street below, here under the lights, just is a different feeling. But the ones in the afternoon, it's snowing and it felt pretty cool too. It's all good.
When nothing happens weather-wise, you just go out and play the game. That's what you're looking for. So I haven't been in ones where there are full blizzards. And tonight is very special.”
Henrik, how is the feeling playing in in front of 50,000 and beating the biggest rival?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 12 | Assists: 29 | Pts: 41
Shots: 149 | +/-: E
“Obviously it's a big weekend for our club. Yesterday (Alumni Game) with the game. It was a great show. It was fun to see all the old guys battling. And for us today we were excited to go out and play.”
How important was the first goal to get you guys going in the third period, and from the aesthetic point of view, his ability to score a goal like that?
“It was a big goal. It was a nice win. He's a special player. He doesn't need much to create chances and all that there and get it back in there.”
Henrik, you have a lot of fans who made it from Detroit to Colorado, and a lot of Colorado fans out there tonight. First question is: How do you feel that -- there's so much dedication. And you hear a lot of the Red Wings fans trying to keep up the chant, despite the massive number of Avalanche fans. And how does it feel (indiscernible) in the first outdoor game ever?
“I think, first of all, our fans are special. We have a goal there, they're there. Obviously this weekend it's a big weekend for our club. And we saw that with all the fans, starting yesterday or even the day before we got -- people were walking around. And that gets us excited. You see all them. But the history with these two clubs, and the game probably brought a lot of fans. And the excitement of winning this game was big. I think every point now is huge going into the season. I'm glad we got the two.”
Henrik, what did you think of Pavel Datsyuk getting a roughing penalty?
“I was changing, so I didn't see that. Pavel can throw a couple things around sometimes too. And obviously he's a strong guy, too. I don't know if he was the first one, but I think it was spread even.”
DetroitRedWings.com editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.