What did you think of this one?
CENTER - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | Pts: 1
Shots: 13 | +/-: 3
"It could have been after that Game 3 our best game so far. I thought we did a lot of good things except getting the puck behind Bishop. Five-on-five I thought we played well. They won the special teams battle. Their best players outplayed our best players. We gotta produce more, including me. I’m probably one of the guys that, with the ice I have, had to do more. Couldn’t really do that this playoff and that’s hard."
How disappointing since you outplayed them but couldn’t solve Bishop?
"Yeah, we didn’t today. I thought we played a good game. Seeing their goal there in the end obviously that was tough. I thought we deserved better tonight."
Was this an opportunity missed given their injuries?
"Yeah, but we didn’t. Opportunity lost or not, second year in a row now, probably will say we were close or were in the series but we didn’t find a way to win. We don’t. That’s something we have to address."
What about the lack of success on the power play?
"As I said, they won the specialty battles and we have to do better than we did there and it’s on us. It’s on us players, the guys who play that situation, to do better. We didn’t come up close to a good enough standard and that’s on us."
How much does it hurt that chances are slipping away year after year?
"Absolutely. It gets tougher and tougher to go all the way. The first step is making the playoffs. We keep doing that but there’s nothing more. That gets frustrating."
Did you think that it could be your last game with Datsyuk?
Are you going to try to talk him into staying?
"Let’s take that later, a couple days later here."
How frustrating considering you had so many chances in the second and third?
"Yeah, it is. We played well. We did a lot of good things but you have to score goals in this game, in this sport, and we’re not doing that."
Is that a heartbreaking end with 1:43 to go?
"Yes, it is. But that’s one game. I thought if we take care of business the way we should we should be up at least one goal when that happens."
Have you ever seen three breakaways like you had in the second?
"I don’t know. I’ve probably seen that before but right now, it is frustrating that we couldn’t get a puck or two in."
What happened on the goal?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 1.36 | Sv%: .945
"I hear somebody screaming, 'Play the puck,' I just bump it to Big E there and he skate more to the corner, I thought he was going to skate by the net so I just tried dumping it and Callahan took it, played it in front of the net and scored."
How disheartening to lose it that way?
"It's always hard to lose a game like that, you've got a minute and a half left in the game and this kind of goal, it's kind of frustrating. We had lots of chances today to finish it earlier, we just couldn't score."
As the game went on, did you sense it was going to be a one-goal game?
"Well, those games are one-goal games, you could say last year Game 7 was a one-goal game as well. Those kind of games are played like that and we were ready for that."
What did Zetterberg say to you after the goal?
"He just told me that when we will have the puck, just try skate to the bench and we're going to play with six guys."
Was there a miscommunication on the goal?
"I just heard Big E screaming at me, I just tried bumping it to him on the far post and he skate a little bit farther than I thought."
What has it been like for you to be around Datsyuk?
"It's an honor to see in practice and play with these guys, especially Pav for the Red Wings. I hope it's not the last game we saw him today."
What do you think this team is missing?
"Well, we had so many chances today, Bishop played well, he stopped everything. We had good chances on the power play, hit post twice. We had bad luck, I think we played really well tonight."
Is it especially crushing to play well for the entire game and have one mistake hurt you?
"We play good 60 minutes, not 59, so this happens in hockey. If there were no mistakes, there wouldn't be goals so that's how it is."
Their best players were better than your best players?
rIGHT WING - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | Pts: 1
Shots: 12 | +/-: -4
"I think five on five we made a couple mistakes in the first two games that they buried. Our top guys weren’t able to bury five on five. The rest of the series, I liked how we played five on five. If you would have told us that’s how we were going to play five on five – I think we lost it when their power play outplayed our power play."
There were lots of offensive opportunities lost during this series?
"Tonight we had a lot of great looks and didn’t score. The three losses we had prior to tonight, we were tied in every third period in the series that we lost. It’s right there for us. We didn’t capitalize; they did. That’s just the way it was. You can’t draw it up any different. When it’s tied in the third period all series, you’d think you’d be on the good side of some of that and we weren’t."
Just a little miscue by Mrazek on the game-winning goal?
"That’s hockey. That’s sports. Petr played good all game. It’s a tough play at the end of a period. Like I said, when you get into elimination games where you have to win, sometimes you test fate a little bit and the bounce wasn’t there for us tonight."
Does this game magnify the problems with the power play?
"Obviously, I don’t have to tell you that their power play outplayed our power play in the series. That’s probably why we’re here, especially the one game where they scored three and we scored zero. Five on five we had a real good series. Tonight it’s a wash again. You’d obviously like to bury one in the first. That’s on us. Their power play had a big game to put them up 3-1 and all of a sudden we’re in a game where we have no room for error and Bishop steals one. I think that’s what it came down to if you overlook this series."
If this is Datsyuk’s last game, what did you see from him in your year as a Wing?
"Obviously, I always admired his career. I played against him. I think I came in I think a year or two before him but ever since he got into the league he was a player you watched. As players, you’re still fans of the game."
What are your emotions right now?
Center - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 0 | Pts: 0
Shots: 18 | +/-: 2
"Really still in the game. Still can’t believe we lost. It’s really emotional now."
You guys played well enough to win. How disheartening is it to lose that way?
"We play much better than last game. We have many chances but you never win game if you not score any goals. So we need to score, we need to find a way, I needed to find a way to score any goals. Probably more go to the net and make dirty plays."
What’s next for you?
"You have good questions. I’m not thinking about two days or how many days. I need a little bit cool down and emotion got out and then I start thinking about it more."
What was going through your mind when the game was over?
"In the end I was thinking we still needed more time, maybe another period. But then I start to recognize that it’s game over and we lost the series."
Can you believe this is it for you if you decide to go back?
"Don’t put me in a scary question. I put this question out many times and I don’t start thinking this way. It’s not happy thinking about these questions."
What’s it meant to you to be a Red Wing?
"I’m happy, I’m honored, I’m proud to play every time with 20,000 people around. Every city we play we have our fans. It’s something special. Real emotional."
How tough has this year been?
"It’s definitely changed. It’s hard to score now. But it’s teams that score more than three goals, they win a few games more. What we did, out early, it’s kind of a bouncy season for me. Started slowly, then picked up and kind of went back again."
Was there one chance you had that you kick yourself over?
"Yeah, I have chances but not really. Maybe a little bit confidence. I not really shoot in any area. When I have chances, it not go through. Bishop he had a good series against us. He played well."
Have you spent more time with the team the last few days in case it is your last year?
"No, we just more focused on the game. Especially when we come home, more focused on Game 3 and Game 4. Same routine. Just be prepared to play the game. We played well today but it’s not going our way."
Is your health a factor in your decision?
"I’m pretty healthy, thanks my God. Everything’s fine. Only if my hands can score."
What are your thoughts on the game?
Defense - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 1 | Pts: 1
Shots: 9 | +/-: 3
“It’s a tough one obviously, yeah.”
Is there anything you could have done better tonight?
“We had our chances tonight, there’s no doubt about that. Any way you look at it, we found a way to lose tonight.”
How disappointing is this especially since you played that well 5-on-5 over the last three games and lose series based on the struggles of the power play?
“It’s as simple as it is. Specialty teams we knew going in special teams was going to be a huge part and we weren’t good enough. I thought tonight we had our chances for the first time maybe in a while. We had some real good looks and some pucks dangling around their net, just weren’t able to find one.”
Is this emotional knowing that Datsyuk possibly played his last game?
“Let’s hope it’s not. I just hope it’s not. Right now it’s a completely empty feeling. Let’s just hope for everyone’s sake, for the hockey fan and for us and for Detroit, that it’s not.”
Will you and Zetterberg try to talk him into staying?
“I think everybody is going to try to do whatever they can. Obviously we’ve got a chance to play with him for a long time and we’d love for that to continue.”
This is the third time in four years haven’t gotten out of first round; what is lacking?
“It’s a good question. This year, if you look at it, this first round was all about special teams, or most of it anyway I think. They were able to take advantage of some of their power plays and we didn’t. Our PK wasn’t good enough. Tonight, I don’t know how many breakaways we had in the second, we just weren’t able to put the puck in the net.”
Is it frustrating for veterans knowing that the clock is ticking on your careers?
“There’s no question that losing in the first round now quite a few years, it’s getting old. There’s no doubt about that.”
Facing a battered Lightning’s team; why couldn’t you capitalize on that?
“Again that’s a great question. I think that’s one of the most disappointing things is that I don’t think all of us came up to where we need to be. Again, specialty teams we should have been able to get more goals, to prevent them from scoring as many as they did on the power play. I thought five-on-five we did a lot of good things but we ended up in the box too many times.”
|Was this Pavel Datsyuk's final exit? The Red Wings' center and longtime teammate Henrik Zetterberg leave the ice following their 1-0 loss in Game 5 to the Lightning. (Photo by Getty Images) |
What are your thoughts about the game?
“Extremely frustrating. I thought our guys played really well. I thought we played a real good hockey game, couldn’t find a way to find the back of the net obviously. I said at the beginning of the year it spoke highly to the character of the group that we have and I think you find out a lot about your character when you’re in situations like this down 3-1 on the road. I just thought we kept coming and coming and coming and coming, and just speaks to the character of not only the leadership but the whole room. I thought we certainly played good enough to win. We didn’t.”
What area did you just not get on track in this series?
“Well, if there was one area it would be the power play, other than that you know I thought we were on track in a lot of ways. You can say whatever you want. It’s tied … all four losses were tied in the third period, obviously we’ve got to make another play then them at those points, and the power play wasn’t good. Lost one game on specialty teams. But I thought we put ourselves in positions to win hockey games. You’ve got to find a way to win them.”
Hard to miss out on the 5 on 3 in the first period?
“That was a big moment obviously. You get a two-man advantage and you don’t score. That’s a tough one. They scored on their two-man advantage and in the end that was probably the difference in that game. We didn’t score on ours so you’ve got to find a way to score on it.”
What about the job Ben Bishop did tonight?
“Bishop was great in this series. That’s what he’s been all year. He’s a big part of their team. I thought Petr was really good tonight too, so I don’t want to take anything away from him at all. But obviously Ben was great in the series. I think he had a .957 save percentage or something like that. That’s pretty good.”
Kronwall said not enough guys played to their potential in the series, do you agree?
“One thing Nik is he’s a tremendous competitor, extremely hard on himself and extremely probably hard … Could we have been better? Yup. But again I thought we were in position to win hockey games. We didn’t win.”
Was there some miscommunication on the goal?
“Not miscommunication. It’s a play we do all the time and I think Pete’s one of the better puck-handling goalies in the league. One thing, when you have a great puck-handling goalie sometimes you’re going to have … it was extraordinarily unfortunate that it was at that time.”
How much will you try to convince Datsyuk to stay?
“I think you know Pavel well enough to know that Pavel will do what Pavel wants to do. I’ll sit down and talk with Pav at the end of the year and obviously he’ll meet with Kenny and we’ll see what he decides.”
What it was it like coaching him this season?
“Pavel is one of the best competitors what will ever be in this league and he was amazing to coach this year, so I hope I get a chance to coach him again next year. His work ethic is unreal. He was coming back from injury, if you saw the effort that he put in it’s not secret why he’s been one of the best players in the league. Obviously I hope I get a chance to coach him again.”
Did the leadership help you be a better coach this season?
“There’s no question the core leadership on this team helps any coach be a better coach, including myself. You never have to wrestle with your best players to show up and work. When you have leadership like that the rest of the team follows. It started a long time ago with obviously Steve Yzerman and it’s continued on. It’s a great culture in the locker room.”
What do you say to the team after a game like this?
“There’s not much to say. We’re obviously frustrated. I told them I thought they were great tonight and I thanked them for their efforts.”
Are you looking ahead now and does the team need more experience?
“I’ll leave that for later on. I’m just thinking about tonight’s game and the loss and frustration.”
DetroitRedWings.com editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.