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Todd McLellan's Pregame Presser

by Staff NHL.COM / San Jose Sharks
Coach Todd McLellan met with the media after the morning skate prior to Game 5 of the Western Conference Final between San Jose and Vancouver.  Here's a transcript of his press conference.

Is there a chance Jason Demers plays tonight?
We're still contemplating that. There's a chance.

How did Joe (Thornton) look to you and how important is it for him to be on the ice?
He looked real good out there. He will be on the ice. He's played extremely well in the playoffs. He's our leader. I think we're going a little overboard as far as him being injured. So I'll leave it at that.

What do you need out of (Antti) Niemi starting tonight, even leaving last game aside?
Nemo is a very important part, as goaltending is, in the playoffs. I think if you're watching, we're all watching both series, even prior to, a key save, a timely save, you know, a go-to save, if you will, really makes a difference, calms the team down, settles everybody in. We'll be looking for that from Nemo. I'm sure he will deliver.

Do you think your team's best hockey has yet to be played in this series?
Perhaps. That's a pretty good question. In Game 3, we showed signs of a team that we can be and that we are. In a lot of the situations, and you have to give Vancouver full marks, they're playing extremely well, but we've also beat ourselves in the three losses in many different ways, uncharacteristic ways. Situations that we should be able to handle and we have handled. Full marks to Vancouver. I'm not dismissing their level of play. They've been very good.

Are you getting to the point where you're going to go to the guys that you trust more with the season on the line?
I'm at that point already. You can see how we play certain individuals down the stretch in games in different scenarios. We're at that point. We're in the playoffs. We're in the final four. We talk about Jumbo, how much we're making a big story out of him playing, how much we trust him and others. But you can't just win with a handful of players. I do trust all of our guys in certain situations. That's very important that players know that. Given an exorbitant amount of minutes, you have to find a way to produce. Given a minute amount of minutes, you have to find a way to produce. You look at our fourth line, they've done a really good job, in my opinion, over the last couple games. They've been big factors, provided us some energy. We've got that. We've got some of our top end guys. It's that middle tier that needs to show up and get it done for us.

At this time of year when you've got some guys in your room who you're just not getting it from, does the head coach have 1-on-1 meetings at this time of year or is it up to the team and the guys to be directed by their teammates?
I'm going to use Mannheim (preseason) with you guys. We had 1-on-1 meetings in Mannheim, throughout exhibition season, and now. It's pretty clear, it's drawn out, what our expectations are of individuals and then collectively what they are for lines and pairs. Guys have to play to that. We have some players that are under performing, some players that have to perform better. All teams at this point do. All four teams that are left have them. It's just who has the fewest. The ones that under achieve the shortest amount of time, you can't be perfect, no such thing as a perfect player or perfect game, you're going to make mistakes. It's just we've got to minimize it, shrink it up a little bit.

Facing an elimination game, does each shift change, each hit, each great goal intensify the momentum? Being an elimination game, do things get out of hand quicker. Do you know what I mean?
When you say 'out of hand,' I'm not sure what you mean.

Each momentum change becomes that much more exaggerating, influencing the way the game continues.
Perhaps. There's dramatic momentum changes in a lot of games during the playoffs. We saw it again last night. There will be tonight. We have to handle it when it works positively for us and we have to be prepared to respond if it works negatively against us. There will be momentum changes, it's inevitable. We have to react appropriately.

(No microphone.)
I don't believe so. They gave you the same 60 minutes to work with. You've got to use all of them. If you plan on using only 58 of them, you're probably going to be in trouble.

What would you like Devin Setoguchi to capture when he's been at his best?
What would I, like, Devin?

Refer to in terms of what he has done well?
Devin is at his best when he puts himself in position to shoot the puck. Power play is a prime example of that. He can be a significant factor positively as far as offense goes there. He can become a very good forechecker when he's moving his feet, he's active, stays around the puck.
Devin Setoguchi, among others, know the ingredients they have to bring to be successful. It's not like we're asking them to do something they haven't done in the past.

When any team trails 3-1, not many on the outside give them a chance. Can you use that to take some of the pressure off your guys?
Perhaps we can just lay it on the line, go out and play. We know there's only two options: play on or move on. We're aware of that. We can go out, lay it all on the line. We expect to do that. We want to empty the tank here, not worry about what happens after that. Plus past experiences. We were here two weeks ago with Detroit. On the other side of the coin, when we were the 3-1 team, you could tell that Detroit's goal was to bring it back to Detroit. They believed they could win Game 6 there. They were hanging their hat on it and they did it. All of a sudden the pressure turned. It's about us having a good, honest effort tonight. We'll worry about Game 6 if we get there.

The situation at hand, does it make your message to the players tonight more simple to give to them because of the circumstances?
No. It will be the same message. We'll try to prepare them for any small adjustments we have. We'll stress certain parts of our game. They're pretty intelligent guys in there, believe it or not. They are. They know what's ahead of them. They need to take advantage of it. They'll be ready.

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