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Todd McLellan Saturday Quotes

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
Q. Doug Murray made an interesting observation that for such a young team in Chicago, they have a lot of really young core, he sees a level of maturity maybe he didn't expect. Have you noticed that with the Blackhawks?

COACH McLELLAN: Well, they've been through what we're going through right now last year against Detroit. That experience that they've gained, I'm sure they're using right now. You have guys like Marian Hossa who have been to Stanley Cup finals two years in a row. The leadership group might be a little bit younger than on some other teams, but they've won championships, played in gold medal games, saw them play under those pressure type situations.
From our perspective as coaches, it doesn't surprise us that they have that quality and ultimately their No. 1 leader is Joel, and Joel has been involved in a lot of hockey throughout his career, both as a player and as a coach, has a lot of experiences to draw on, and I'm sure they're buying into it.

Q. Strange coincidence you were the team up 3-0, now you're down 3-0. Anything from that previous series you can kind of draw on going forward since you know what it was like on their side?
COACH McLELLAN: There is. And we talked about it. When I addressed the team this morning, I had mentioned, the first thing I told them I wasn't going to stand up there and be a cheerleader. Based on my experience and maybe the Detroit thing, when you're down 3-0, there's oftentimes where you got to go in and you got to give 'em the speech. It's just not going your way. You're trying to convince them they still have a chance.
It didn't feel like that. Doesn't feel like that in our locker room. We felt like we played with this team all along. The fact is we're still down 3-0. But I didn't go in there to become a cheerleader. I went in there to reassure them that everything was fine and that we would -- not fine, but everything was okay, and we would be approaching the game with a must-win mentality, like we always do.
But I also talked to them about the Detroit series. In that situation, we talked about the pressure we felt when we came home after getting that shellacked in Detroit. Detroit played very loose in that game, Game 4. Came out, threw everything they had at us, didn't respond well, that increased some pressure.
We'd like to come out, throw everything we have, play loose against Chicago, then put a little pressure on them after that. We've got to take step one first.

Q. How hard is it not to have this group feel discouraged, it doesn't feel like a 3-0 series, yet it is?
COACH McLELLAN: Didn't know coming to the rink today where our group would be. Would we be dealing with self pity, kind of feeling sorry for ourselves, or would we hold our heads high. The good sign was the first guys that walked in, they didn't necessarily have a smile on their face, but they were holding their heads up. And that was a real good sign. As the group arrived and I addressed individuals, I felt pretty good about where their mindset was.
My job in that manner was a little bit easier after reading where the team was at. I think some of the leaders took care of that. Quite frankly, they feel like I said last night, they've been in every minute of this series. We're not going to be perfect. There are going to be times where we break down, they play on our end, vice versa. It doesn't feel like a 3-0 series, but it is.

Q. You had a couple power-play goals this series, but they had three big kills in the third period. What do they do on the penalty kill to make it tough?
COACH McLELLAN: They're aggressive. Cliché, your best penalty killer is your goaltender. We all know how Niemi is playing. He's very solid. We haven't been able to beat him often. He's making second and third stops. They also are an aggressive team on penalty kill. They don't give you a lot of time and space to execute what you'd like to. You have to be sharp.
You know, the key is to try and be more than one and out. If you can keep them in their zone for an extended period, then you've got a chance. Every time the puck gets up the ice, they end up changing and getting fresh guys out.

Q. You said you were sort of taking a temperature of the team today. Do you feel like you need to do that again tomorrow or are you taking it on faith that what you saw today puts that basically out of your mind?
COACH McLELLAN: Have to take it on faith that what we saw today is going to be what we see tomorrow. We believe in this group. They've proven that they can play with this team. We don't have time tomorrow. We don't have a morning skate. We don't have the day to go through things.
The work we did today will help us. We'll have some meetings tomorrow, we'll put the skates on and play. That may be the best thing for our team. Too bad we weren't playing today. I think our guys are that comfortable right now. 'Comfort' isn't a good word; you guys will pick on that word, because we're not comfortable in the series, but I like that mindset.

Q. How difficult is it not to wear your emotions right now on your sleeve and the same for your players?
COACH McLELLAN: I want our guys to be emotional. You know, we weren't very happy coming in last night after an overtime loss. It was expressed in our room. It was expressed in their room. We're allowed to be emotional at this time of the year. I expect it and I want it.
But as I said earlier in the series, it's how we harness it. If we're empty, we're walking around with blank faces and some stares going on, you don't want your team in that. You want them engaged emotionally in the series. It's good to see some of it.

Q. Generally you sound like you're, not pleased, but at least okay with the way the team has been playing. That said, we all know there are some people on the team who haven't scored in a long time. Will you sit on them or allow stuff inside the locker room to kind of take care of that?
COACH McLELLAN: I don't understand what you mean 'sit on them.' Poke and prod, bring them in? Same thing we've done all year. Again, I talked about this earlier in the series. This isn't anything different. Anything we do with the individuals right now is not any different than we did at training camp, than we do during the year. We bring individuals in. We ask them to give the team more. We ask them to produce in certain areas. We show them video. Ultimately try and help them.
But it's not out of the norm. I think that's real important for us right now. There are people that need to produce more. To produce more, you probably have to play a little bit better. We expect that obviously as early as tomorrow. If it's not there tomorrow, it's too late.

Q. Last night, you did a lot of juggling with your forward lines. Other than the final outcome, were you okay with the results of the way that played out?
COACH McLELLAN: Yeah, I was. I thought it probably kept them on their toes a little bit. But more importantly, it kept our guys on their toes. They had no idea who they were playing with before the game, right up to after the warmup. I went in and told them this is what was going to happen. I think that alerted them that this wasn't normal, this wasn't the same. Even throughout the periods or throughout the play in each of the periods, we juggled and alternated.
I think that kept us on our toes as much as it kept them.

Q. Have you thought about calling Mike Babcock at all, just in this position that you were in, they respond understand fairly well?
COACH McLELLAN: Well, yeah, they certainly did. I don't think that I need to call Mike. I spent three real good years with him. I know exactly what he would be thinking. I now how he would carry himself. I know how he would react in this situation. Obviously, it paid off.
There's certainly some very valid points that he used when he approached his team and there are some others that we'll use with our team. There's no need to call him. But I will draw on that experience.



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