June 5, 2013

 

 

An interview with:

COACH DARRYL SUTTER

 

THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

 

            Q.  Can you talk about why your team has been so successful at home when it seems like you struggle a little bit on the road?

            COACH SUTTER:  We've only played three games in this series.  Give the other team credit, in Game 1.  We didn't play really well in Game 2.

            Unfortunately, our business is about the score.  So I base it on performance, not score, more than anything, that way we stay in the right place all the time.  You can play really well and lose.  The questions are always, you didn't do this, you didn't do that, right?

            Doesn't matter.

 

            Q.  A lot of times in playoff competition you get great performances from unexpected sources.  Is Voynov that example of what I'm talking about now and how he's been so successful?

            COACH SUTTER:  You know, you have unsung heroes always at playoff time the farther you go.  Basically what happens, if you don't make the playoffs, what are perceived as star players take the heat, or coaches.  As you go further down the road in playoffs, the only way you do it is by having great depth.

            There's guys that get a little bit more spotlight, usually because of offensive production.  So when you talk about someone like Voynov, that's why we put him in a lot of situations to excel at what his skill set is.

            Basically what you're asking him to do is maximize his skill set.  Simple.  If you do that, you get an opportunity to play in those situations.

            All it is for someone like him, it's one more year's experience removed from playing in the American League, coming up partway through the year, playing in the playoffs, playing back in the American League this year, coming back to the NHL, then to play the same amount of minutes again at playoff time.

            It's just a little bit more experience.

 

            Q.  Dustin Brown talked about in the room they're so impressed with how Voynov is able to match up physically against the bigger guys.  For a guy of small stature, he plays well defensively against some of the bigger players.

            COACH SUTTER:  I think there's a lot of talk made about size, you know, big teams and all that.  Quite honestly, it's a bunch of bull.  When you look at the actual stats part of it, I think everybody's team average is 6'1" and about 204.  That's what our team is, that's what their team is.  Some guys are just under it, some just over it.

            Is there a big stature difference?  I don't think so.  We try and have him so he's not always on the ice against Hossa, Bickell, so he's more into his skill set, so he can maximize his skill set, not put the square peg in the round hole.

 

            Q.  It looks like the hearing is over, but we don't know what came of it yet.  You said last night you weren't expecting anything.  Are you hoping for something?

            COACH SUTTER:  You know what, I moved on right after the game.  Had my feelings on it, I think I'm correct.  After that it doesn't matter, to be quite honest, it never has.

 

            Q.  How is Jeff Carter today?

            COACH SUTTER:  Awesome.  I wish I was Jeff Carter today (laughter).

 

            Q.  Anything on Mike?

            COACH SUTTER:  You know what, guys just got here at 11.  Kind of circling the wagons.  We'll know as we go along.

            Just talked to him for 30 seconds.

 

            Q.  What kind of progress did he make yesterday?

            COACH SUTTER:  Light workout.  Whether that's progress or not...

            I talked to him for a minute after the game.  More interested in the fact we won than how he was feeling.

 

            Q.  After giving up four goals in Game 2, did you think there would be any effect on Jonathan?

            COACH SUTTER:  No.  Obviously he'd love to have a couple of those goals back. 

 

            Q.  When you got here first, what were your initial impressions of Voynov?  And how have they changed?

            COACH SUTTER:  You know, I'm not even sure if he was here.  I don't remember.

 

            Q.  When he first came up then.

            COACH SUTTER:  I guess what I remember most was he wasn't playing much if he was here.  It was a big adjustment for him.  There definitely was a language barrier.  Whether he was uncomfortable with not wanting to converse, whatever it was.  That's an issue.

            To be able to coach a player and team, you have to be able to communicate.  That was an issue here, in a lot of different areas.  That was really important to me.

            The next part of it was, because of the roster, the team, I forget when it was, I know there was a point that we sent Slava back to Manchester.  At that point, it was to find a roster spot for King and Nolan.  Then he came back to the big club when we traded for Jeff.  Basically it was to replace Johnson.

            We were basically saying, Okay, we're on a fine line here, we're seeing if we're a playoff team or not, but let's put the young player in there, have a veteran player to partner with him.

            What's the progress he's made since then?  I think we put him in a position to succeed, not to fail.  He's a young player.  He has so little experience, you think about it, game experience at this level.  Quite honest, he's probably got as much playoff experience as regular‑season experience.  I bet it's close now.

            There's been highs and lows in this season.  There's been highs and lows in this playoffs, that's for sure.

 

            Q.  Talk about what Justin Williams has done in this post‑season for you guys.  He seemed to be everywhere last night.

            COACH SUTTER:  I think he had a really good start to the St. Louis series.  As that series went along, he really struggled.  I think the travel, just the way the series was, it was a tough, hard series that wore him down.  He's one of the older guys on the team now.  Even though he's, what is he, 33, I think it took its toll on him.  We didn't have much of a reset between that and the San Jose series.

            He measures his game, a lot of it, on his offensive opportunity part of it.  I think he wasn't getting what he wanted.  He was a frustrated player.  I think there's times that that trickles into parts of the game that was not productive for the rest of the team.

            You have to watch how you use him.  I think he'd be the first one to tell you, again, that he didn't play the way he wanted in Chicago in Game 1.  We're making a big deal out of it today because he had a good first period last night.  We need him to play like that every night.

            Thank you.

                       

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An interview with:

           

KYLE CLIFFORD

 

THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

 

            Q.  After the win, is there like a sigh of relief after what happened in Chicago?

            KYLE CLIFFORD:  Yeah, definitely.  I think we knew it was going to be a big game.  It was one of those must‑wins.  Kind of get the ball rolling for us.  We know we’ve got to get a little bit better and getting ready for tomorrow night.

 

            Q.  Was last night a game where you maybe imposed your will on them?

            KYLE CLIFFORD:  Yeah, I think we came out with a really good start.  That's what we wanted.  The first two games in Chicago, we didn't necessarily do that.  Kind of got the confidence going for us a little bit with a good start.  We played pretty physical.

            It was a good thing for us.

 

            Q.  How about Patrick Sharp saying he's willing to fight Justin Williams?

            KYLE CLIFFORD:  Willie is pretty tough undercover.  I wouldn't mind seeing that (laughter).

 

            Q.  As the playoffs go on, you're getting more and more beat up, you've had resilience in the past.  How do you dig down and find some more?

            KYLE CLIFFORD:  We went through it last year, so we know what to expect.  Being mentally tough throughout our lineup, our whole team is like that.

            We know we're going to have bumps and bruises.  We're battling through it and focusing on winning games.

 

            Q.  What about the plays in particular against Richards and Carter?  You haven't necessarily retaliated against that kind of stuff.  Are you making a concerted effort to stay away from that?

            KYLE CLIFFORD:  Yeah, well, I think within the rules, we got to take care of those guys.  We don't want to be running around looking for situations that are going to get us penalties.  Special teams are pretty big in the playoffs.

            Like I said, we have to be mentally tough and battle through it.

 

            Q.  From what you've seen, why is Chicago such a good team on the penalty kill?

            KYLE CLIFFORD:  They don't give you a lot of time and space.  They get on you quick.  They’ve got guys that make sure the pucks are cleared.  We got to get a little more traffic on Crawford, get pucks to the net.

 

            Q.  What about the fatigue factor for you right now?

            KYLE CLIFFORD:  I feel pretty good.  I mean, start of July here.  We've been playing for quite some time.

            Our team's conditioning is pretty good, too.

 

            Q.  What is your theory on why you guys are so good at home?

            KYLE CLIFFORD:  I think we just come out and we always have great starts.  That kind of gets us going early on.  Trickles throughout the game.

 

            Q.  Have you talked to Jeff Carter, and how is he doing?

            KYLE CLIFFORD:  As far as I'm concerned, he's good.

 

            Q.  You guys win the series knowing that the neutral zone, slowing them down there is good.  It didn't happen up there.  I know you even have emphasized it again.  Why did it work so well last night?

            KYLE CLIFFORD:  We have to frustrate their top players.  Last night we did a good job.  We can still do a better job at it.

            They like that rush‑type game.  Stay tight in the neutral zone, make sure they don't get too many chances, make sure we're getting pucks deep and make sure we're not having too many turnovers in the neutral zone.

                       

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            An interview with:

           

JEFF CARTER

 

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Jeff, please.

 

            Q.  How are you feeling this morning?  What was the extent of the damage last night?

            JEFF CARTER:  Feeling all right.  You know, a little sore.  I had a bunch of cuts inside, one outside that you could see.  Got a bunch of stitches.

 

            Q.  Are you and your teammates a little angry about the incident?

            JEFF CARTER:  There's bigger things to worry about right now.  We're in a fight here, down two games to one.

            I don't think that's on our minds.

 

            Q.  You kind of blew him off there when he was trying to apologize on the ice.  Did you happen to hear what he was saying?

            JEFF CARTER:  The video said that I blew him off.  If you watched, I said something back to him, so...

 

            Q.  Can you go back and just recreate for us exactly what happened.

            JEFF CARTER:  We were battling in front of the net, up the ice.  You know, I think I took a swing at his glove there, he was trying to pick it up.  I was in front of him.  Next thing I knew, I was getting a stick to the face.

 

            Q.  He said it was an accident.

            JEFF CARTER:  It is what it is.  It's over with.  It's done with.  We’ve got a pretty big game tomorrow night to worry about.

            I'm not too worried about the incident.

 

            Q.  He had a hearing with the league today.  Do you think it's worth a suspension?

            JEFF CARTER:  That's up to Brendan.  Whatever he thinks is right is what's going to happen.  If he does get suspended, it's a huge loss for their team.  He’s a big part of their team.

            Nothing we can do about it.  We have to get ready to play.

 

            Q.  Look forward to tomorrow, can you talk about Penner and Toffoli?

            JEFF CARTER:  Obviously with Mike going out, it's a huge loss to our team.  He's a guy that plays in all situations.  You know, I think the first game in Chicago, we didn't really have too much time to think about anything.  Maybe that was a good thing with Tyler coming in.  Chicago's not an easy place to play.  With him coming in there, he played great.

            Penns (Penner) has been good.  Seems like we're kind of keeping things simple.  When you do that, get pucks deep, work their D low, which is something we've been trying to do, good things happen.

 

            Q.  You played with Toffoli earlier when he was called up.  Did you notice anything different in this short period of time in his confidence?

            JEFF CARTER:  Yeah, I think he's been great the last two games.  Obviously the more you play, the more confidence you're going to get, right?  The more success you have, the more confidence you're going to get.

            He really battles hard on the walls.  He makes real strong, smart plays, quick passes off the wall, down low, stuff like that.  A lot of times you don't see that in a young guy just coming out of juniors.  I've been real impressed.

 

            Q.  You mentioned Mike (Richards).  How encouraged are you by the fact he's out there on the ice today?

            JEFF CARTER:  Yeah, it's obviously great to see him out there.  I don't know anything more than that, other than he skated today.

            If we can get him back at some point in this series, whenever it is, it's a huge lift to our team.

 

            Q.  How much teeth did you lose from the high stick?

            JEFF CARTER:  I didn't.  I had a tough practice in Chicago.  My bridge fell out.  Those were already gone.

            I chipped one tooth, cracked a couple on the bottom, but didn't actually lose any.

 

            Q.  How many stitches did you take?

            JEFF CARTER:  I think it was 20, 21, something like that.

 

            Q.  Just the roll that Justin has been on.

            JEFF CARTER:  Yeah, since I've got here, you can tell he's always a guy that plays with a lot of passion, a lot of fire.  He hates losing.  It's pretty fun to watch him play when he gets going, gets rolling, the confidence is starting to flow.  It's pretty amazing what he can do out there with the puck, with his game.  When he's playing like that, like he has been, he's a huge help to us, so...

 

            Q.  What have the last couple games been like for you without Mike?

            JEFF CARTER:  It's been fine.  Obviously going back to center, it's something that I'm familiar with.  Very comfortable playing in the middle.  I think it gives me a little more kind of free rein, if you will.

            You know, I think with the way that Dustin and Tyler have been playing the last two games as well has made it pretty easy for myself, pretty easy for our line to get things going.

 

            Q.  In this series, with the hit against Mike, the slash to your face, you haven't retaliated.  Can you talk about how you've handled that situation?

            JEFF CARTER:  It's not a time to go out and retaliate and take dumb penalties.  You do that, your season's going to be over pretty quick, especially against a team like Chicago.

            Highly skilled forwards, they can put the puck in the net, so...

 

            Q.  Can you talk about offensively the struggles the team has had through the playoffs so far.

            JEFF CARTER:  Yeah, Quick has been unbelievable for us, obviously.  Not much that needs to be said about him.  We know what he does.

            Offensively, I think it's maybe some confidence for a lot of guys.  You know, you get a lucky one, whatnot, you start to get rolling.

            It's just the way it's been.  You look at St. Louis, San Jose, two great defensive teams.  Goals are hard to come by.  Chicago plays a real solid defense.  They got great goalies.  You got to work for everything you get.

 

            Q.  Patrick Sharp looked like he was ready to go at it yesterday.  In your years with him, watching him, have you seen him in a fight?  Have you ever seen him win one?

            JEFF CARTER:  I don't know if I ever saw him fight in person, but I saw him fight, Philly/Ottawa, Spezza, they had all those fights there.  He did pretty well for himself.

                       

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An interview with:

           

MATT GREENE

 

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

 

            Q.  We've been talking this morning about injuries.  Aren't you guys really upset at what happened to your teammate with the high sticking and everything?

            MATT GREENE:  Yeah, but you can't dwell on it.  We're here to win games, not worry about what happened in the past, what got called.  That's it.

            Our focus has to be going into Game 4.

 

            Q.  You went over to the referee after it happened.  What did he tell you?

            MATT GREENE:  He said it's a judgment call where it's an intent to injure.  He didn't think it was.  So it's a four‑minute penalty.  That's it.

 

            Q.  But in the back of your mind, it has to be there.  You're remembering what happened to your teammate, how you can retaliate, whatever?

            MATT GREENE:  No, you're upset obviously.  You got to play within the rules.  You got to play a hard game.

            Our whole mentality is to play a physical, grinding game, to be hard on their skill guys.  That's our game plan.  Everyone knows that.  You have to do it within the rules.

            If you're going to let that get into your head, answer back with something illegal, you're going to hurt your team.

            You can't do that.  You have to be worried about playing our game, doing what we can to get wins here.

 

            Q.  Is there a sigh of relief after getting that first victory in this series?  What is this mystery about playing so well at home?

            MATT GREENE:  You got to play well at home.  You got to come out in front of your fans and put on a good show.

            Obviously want to carry that over to the road.  We want to get a big start here coming in tomorrow night.  We also got to keep continuing that.

            Like I said, they're a good team.  It's just about keeping pace in that series right now.

 

            Q.  How much did last year's run through the playoffs help you guys with what you're dealing with now?

            MATT GREENE:  Experience helps, you know.  A lot of guys, been in Western Conference Finals before.  Pretty much our whole team has.  Now it's just time to deliver on that, use that experience to help us out.

 

            Q.  How do you have to change your game being paired with Muzzin or Martinez?

            MATT GREENE:  Not much.  Both are good players.  Both are really good puck movers.  It's pretty much playing the same way.

            I've played with both of them enough now that it's a pretty easy transition.

 

            Q.  Obviously we've seen Toffoli make an impact.  What impresses you about him?

            MATT GREENE:  Just his ability to get pucks to the net.  There's a lot of guys, you see them when they come up, just the puck finds them.  They have a great way of getting the puck back to them.  He's a guy that does that really well.

            That's definitely a skill that a lot of guys don't have, find the puck, get a good shot off.  The majority of the time it's not easy to do.  He's finding a way to do it a lot.  It's a skill that he's worked a lot on.

 

            Q.  Talk about maturation process for Slava as the season went on and now in the playoffs.

            MATT GREENE:  Slava has been great.  He's been great last year since he got called up.  It was a bit of a logjam here before he got up here.  But he's been awesome.

            Same thing from when I first got here.  We knew we had a really good player with him.  Now he's delivering.  He likes being in the play.  He really does a good job of taking care of his own end.  He's been great.  We've seen that since day one, though.

 

            Q.  Told us last year you were learning a little bit of Russian from him.  Has that continued since last year?

            MATT GREENE:  No.  I have one phrase.

 

            Q.  Which is?

            MATT GREENE:  I'm not saying it (laughter).

 

            Q.  You have guys who are struggling to score goals.  He scores one when his stick breaks, still goes in.  He's leading the league in game‑winning goals.  Is that one of the rolls that players get on sometimes?

            MATT GREENE:  Yeah, that's playoffs, man.  Crazy things happen.  That's it.  Sometimes you need that.  You need a little luck.  We got it last night.

                       

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