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An Interview With Thornton And Boyle

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton (19) Patrick Marleau, back left, and Dan Boyle, right, celebrate Marleau's goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference final playoff series, Sunday, May 15, 2011, in Vancouver, Canada. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
Q. Dan, how big were turnovers a factor in Game 1?


DAN BOYLE: Yeah, they weren't necessarily turnovers deep in their end or so much in our end. I think the neutral zone, we saw a lot of video. We had full control of the puck and we'd find a way to, like I said before, do nothing with it, just kind of give up possession, and they were back in our zone.

We're going to be better there, that's for sure. We obviously live and die by the way the forwards can cycle in the offensive zone.

Turnovers were a big factor in Game 1.

Q. What does Ryane bring as far as leadership in the room?


JOE THORNTON: He's a fierce competitor, demands a lot out of his teammates. He's an all-around great leader and great guy in the clubhouse. He just competes so hard. Every shift he competes.
He uses his body, fights. The modern day power forward, I think.

Q. Dan, you alluded to the offensive side of the game, being better. Is that how you win this series?

DAN BOYLE: You always can improve defensively. As an offensive guy, I think defense wins the championships. It all starts in the D zone. We definitely can be better there. I think we need to eliminate the time we spend there. I think we spent too much time in our D zone. You spent 30, 35 minutes in the other end, you don't have juice to go the other way.

San Jose Sharks' Patrick Marleau (12) celebrates his second period goal against the Vancouver Canucks with teammates Joe Thornton, left to right, Devin Setoguchi and Dan Boyle in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference final playoff series, Sunday, May 15, 2011, in Vancouver, Canada. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
Obviously, yeah, it starts in the D zone, but I think we need to be better in the offensive zone, as well.

Q. Joe?

JOE THORNTON: I believe we're comfortable playing 1-0, 2-1. That's how we're going to win this series. It's not who is going to score more goals. I think it's who defends better. Defensively, the team that plays better is going to win this series.

Q. Joe, Todd says he's only had you three years but has seen you come a long way and are a world-class player. Do you feel yourself you have improved as kind of a playoff player the last three years?


JOE THORNTON: I just think my overall game has improved. Once Todd came onboard, he opened my eyes on how to play. Every year I think, Yeah, my game just evolved. Just feel more comfortable every shift. Yeah, just feel good out there.

Q. Were you channeling Dave Schultz in the opening faceoff?

JOE THORNTON: No, I'm not that tough (laughter).

Q. Are you enjoying the challenge of playing against Kesler?

JOE THORNTON: It's fun playing against him. It's fun playing against world-class players. It makes you compete harder.

Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler (17) fights for control of the puck with San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference final playoff series, Sunday, May 15, 2011, in Vancouver, Canada. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
Q. You seem to have a good rivalry with him over the years. Do you feel that's a rivalry that gets the best out of the two guys whenever they go head-to-head?

JOE THORNTON: Gee, that's a tough question. Yeah, I don't know if it was a rivalry really. I don't really recall playing against him in the past, to be honest with you. I think just this year.

He's competitive. I like playing against competitive guys. Yeah, it makes you elevate your game. You want to win every inch out there. It's a great battle all series long.

Q. Todd talked about being stronger in many different areas in Game 2. How do you take that? More physical in the puck battles? How do you look at that statement?

DAN BOYLE: I think it's a combination of all those things. Certainly we need to be more physical. I think puck battles don't necessarily mean just hitting. It means winning 'em. Finding a way in the scrum for our team to gain the puck. In the D zone we go the other way, in the offensive zone get a shot off of it.

Q. Joe, he said 'why not' when fighting Kesler. He's their best player.

JOE THORNTON: I assume, Let's fight. Let's start the series off with a bang. That's about it.

Q. Were you surprised he declined?

JOE THORNTON: No (laughter).
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