Penguins Report: Practice 5/11/10
Tuesday, 05.11.2010 / 12:36 PM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
Sounds heard around the echo chamber of the media work room at Mellon Arena:
On the emotions of a Game 7:
I think a big part of the situation both teams fined themselves in is dealing with emotions of coming off Game 6 – winning the game, losing the game, where you team is at, the emotions of the day when you know one team is going to be going home for the summer. There is a lot that goes into that. It’s not the emotions of the crowd. There is getting ready and focused to play one game. There is a lot that goes into that. Throughout the day you are dealing with that. It’s about the team that executes, gets to its game and does not get caught up in the emotions that are not really a part of the game is the team that has the better chance to win.
On getting to rebounds that are left out there:
I think we have done better at that as the series has gone on. We certainly can look to, and need to, pick up on pucks in those areas. We have had more people there and had more opportunities. I can just picture more guys picking up pucks at the top of the crease. It has been more frequent. That is going to be a big factor – second-chance opportunities, winning those battles in and around the net and cashing in on those opportunities.
On Crosby maybe being frustrated at the end of Game 6:
I think that the passion that other people show is probably doesn’t have the same camera lens as the one that was on 87 (Sidney Crosby) last night. We know we are in a battle. We care deeply and we want to win desperately. We want to move on. That passion and fire that you see from Crosby is there for our team. It sometimes shows itself in different ways. It’s playoff hockey and it’s intense when you are out there fighting and clawing for every inch.
On the Penguins’ fatigue factor:
You may be able to argue one thing or another on the number of games but I don’t see a 20-perecent decrease in our level at all. I don’t sense a fatigue from our team in terms of our mentality or what we have to go through. We find ourselves in a series with a team that is playing really well and defending really well. We are trying to get to our game and fight and scratch and claw. I think our players are up to the task and ready for that, and have been ready, for the way Montreal has been playing. We can get better and stay on our game longer. The fact that we have an opportunity back here in Game 7 in front of our fans in building, I know our guys are going to be throwing everything out there on the table (Wednesday) night with the whiteout crowd going crazy in our building.
On the series being unique and making a major change:
I don’t think it has been unique. It feels like it because you are stuck in it. At times you can’t see outside the series you are in. You will find that storyline in other series or other series we have had. This series has played out with a pretty similar script. They have been opportunistic and they have gotten scoring off the rush. They have made the most of their opportunities. We have outshot by a lot at times and carried some of the play, but that is the way the games have played out. They have been very tightly contested. Both teams have won some of those games. They have come back when we have had some of those leads and gotten goals. That is the way this series has played out. If you look back at the Washington series last year, it went to Game 7. We outshot Washington quite dramatically for a lot of those games last year. That’s was a storyline in that series as well. I think we understand how this game is going to unfold on (Wednesday).
On the Penguins success in elimination games the past couple of seasons:
The first question we had today was about the emotions. You have talked about some of those emotions. They have certain emotions and we have them. We both know this could be our last game. This could be the last game at Mellon (Arena). We have experience and they have experience. They probably have more recent experience than we do after playing as a road team in Game 7 against the Washington Capitals. We have some guys in this room who have been there in past years. We can talk about some of those things. It will be about getting focused to the task at hand and playing the way we need to play. It’s contrasting styles a little bit with them comfortable playing the way they doing being opportunistic and getting goals from their guys and us getting the zone time to win that way. I think the team that is the most focused and ready to play their game regardless of the situations you are talking about is going to be the team to put itself in the best situation to win the hockey game on (Wednesday). That’s going to happen on the ice in Game 7. It’s not about past experiences or last games.
On how he evaluates making potential lineup decisions:
You always want to make decisions about the lineup and line changes that you think are going to be the best for your team. Whether that is the mentality of a line, a power play or the group giving you the best chance to have success. You don’t change just for the sake of changing. You don’t change without doing that for your team – giving them the best chance or situation. That is what goes into it. We will see on (Wednesday).
On stopping Mike Cammalleri:
There are several things that he has done well. We are aware of them and we know what he has done when he has been out there on the ice. That is one of the things they have done really well and one of the things we have to be aware of tomorrow – not just Cammalleri but (Brian) Gionta and (Scott) Gomez as well. They have been dangerous and will be a factor in the game tomorrow.
On his son being happy with a Game 7 at home:
I only got to see my son briefly this morning but he is excited about Game 7. He is a very opportunistic kid.
On how Game 6 played out:
I think the script of the game played out a lot like the other scripts. It wasn’t something new. We didn’t see a reinventing of the wheel. It’s a credit to them. For a period of time in the second period we had some chances where we put them back on their heels. We scored with our power play and hit some posts right after our power play. We had a turnover and a great chance by (Pascal) Dupuis, but yet they get the rush opportunity by Cammalleri and they are right back in the game. A very short period of time later they get a goal as we come back into D-zone coverage. You look up and there is less than half a game to go and the score was 3-2 and the building was going nuts and they had the momentum. That wasn’t a lot unlike Games 1-5. In those six games, Pittsburgh has won three and Montreal has won three. We anticipate Game 7 being a lot like that. We have to be prepared for what is going to come, what they are going to bring and where they have been dangerous.
On taking from last year’s two Game 7s:
You just try to make sure that you prepare to play your best game. That’s all you can do. Everything that led up to that point, whether you won going into that game doesn’t really matter. You just prepare to play your best game and give yourself the best chance to win.
On his frustration factor:
I feel good. You can always analyze things a lot of different ways. If you saw it as frustration, what was the frustration? There’s frustration throughout most games. I think that’s pretty typical in a playoff series for things to get heated after a game. If that’s the way you want to look at it that’s fine. But I think that’s pretty typical as far as I’m concerned. Things are emotional. That’s what happens at the end of playoff games. That’s pretty common.
On if he’s fatigued:
We’re playing a Game 7. It’s the playoffs. Nobody expects anything to be easy. It’s a 3-3 series. I don’t think anybody expected anything to easy or took anything for granted. This is a good opportunity. This is a challenge for us. It’s a 3-3. There are some views out there that this should have been an easy series. It’s 3-3. We’re not losing. It’s tied. They’re here for a reason. We’re here for a reason. It’s tough. That’s the way it is. It’s tough for both teams. When you get to this chance, you’re going to see what you’re made of. Nothing is easy. You don’t get this far without going through challenges and this is another one.
On the large number of turnovers in Game 6:
That’s one area of the game that can help you a lot as far as momentum if you limit your turnovers. You give yourself the best chance of creating momentum if you limit those. We all know that. When you get to a Game 7 all those little details, all those habits that are so important become magnified more. You have to prevent those to give yourself the best chance to win in one game like that.
On what was said about burying second-chance opportunities:
When you get this far into a series then you’re pretty aware of what you need to do. Before that you know the things that make you successful as a team. I think you can talk about those things a lot. It’s important. Everyone realizes what it’s going to take. You talk about getting to the net, we’ve done a pretty good job of that. It’s hard to get there. You just have to maintain that attitude that you’ll get there and put pucks in. That’s how you have to look at it. There isn’t a lot that you have to uncover to get to Game 7 that you need to talk about. It’s a matter of getting out there and executing, finding a way to get to those areas and finding a way to have success.
On Mike Cammalleri’s success:
We’re all aware of his skill, his speed and everything that he creates. He’s got a great shot. He makes the most of his chances. I don’t that’s a lack of preparation or a lack of not knowing where he is. We’ve made a few mistakes, we haven’t gotten a few pucks deep and he’s capitalized. That’s what great players do. They find ways to score. He’s made the most of his opportunities but that’s not a lack of effort or not knowing where he is. He’s just executing well.
|Sidney Crosby always sits at the same seat for media conferences in the playoffs, at the far left of the stage. It's a ritual he's done since the 2007 postseason.|
When you go into a series you have to prepare to play seven games. That’s how you prepare. You don’t want to lose. You approach each game, but you know ultimately that it could take seven games. I don’t think there’s any feeling of thinking about (Game 6). It’s in the past. It doesn’t really mean anything. What you do (in Game 7) as a team is going to effect your future and whether your season goes on or not. I think that’s the most important thing, putting all your energy and focus towards that. For me, that’s what I’ll try to do. That’s the situation. That’s all you can really worry about.
On the fans in Game 7:
That boost that everybody gets when they’re at home. You want to create that momentum. I think we’ve done a good job, especially last game, of doing that consistently. When you’re at home, that does give you an extra boost that you need. Looking forward to having that and making sure that we’re better for it.
On if the winner of Game 7 proves the better team:
When it’s a big game like this you’ll see what you’re team is made of. It’s a challenge. If you want to have success, you find a way to win. The team that finds a way will deserve and move on.
On if they change anything in Game 7:
That’s what it comes down to. Both teams in this situation try to rise to the occasion. For us our focus and habits, Game 7 is not a time to re-invent everything. All those things that you’ve done, that’s what we’ll show. If you have trust in all those things in your team then you’re confident that all those things will make the difference.
On using past big game experience in the Game 7 stage:
You look at it as an opportunity to move on. Somebody is moving on. You want it to be our team. Every situation is different. You try to prepare using those (past) experiences, but at the end of the day you have to go out there and play. Just because you’ve done it before doesn’t mean it’s automatic. It helps to have the experience but those situations never change. The fact that you have to go out there and be your best individually and as a group, that’s the way it is. The only thing that I think those experiences help you with is that trust. As a team that is an important trait, that trust. I believe we have it. We all know we have to have our best game tomorrow. We’ll leave it all out there and see where that brings us.
On playing Game 7 knowing that the Penguins have not won many Game 7s at home in the past:
I think that from how we look at the game, we’re at home tomorrow. You can look at all the stats and all of the things that have happened in the past, but it’s a one-game do-or-die situation. We’re at home here at Mellon. We’re going to need the fans to be louder than they have been during all series in the playoffs. We’re excited for that challenge. We had a meeting today and talked about what we’re going to do tomorrow. We’re just going to carry on with what we’ve been doing and stay positive and focused.
On trying to prevent Montreal from scoring tomorrow:
I think that you have to try and limit their chances. We feel that we’ve done that. When they get the opportunities, they capitalize, and you have to give them credit for that. On the other hand, we hit a few posts in the last game and had a bunch of opportunities, but we haven’t gotten frustrated. We’re going to just keep playing the way that we’ve talked about, and we’re going to stick to our game plan. That’s what we’re going to do in Game 7. We’re not going to really re-invent the wheel at all, but we’re just going to go out and play hard. Whatever happens will happen.
On the success of Montreal’s Michael Cammalleri in this series:
I played with him last year at this time in Calgary, and he’s a guy who can put the puck in the net. He has done that repeatedly, and he always finds the spots and the situations to do that. Now all of that is in the past. We have to look to one game, and we have to win one game. (Montreal) is thinking the same thing. He has had some success, and we’re aware of that. We have to limit his opportunities.
On having leads in all three of their losses in this series:
We’ve talked about playing a certain way and pushing it and playing in the offensive zone and getting second-chance opportunities. We feel like we’ve done that. In every game in this series, we have definitely brought that during certain times. There have also been times where the momentum may have changed, and we had a couple of bad shifts. Going forward in this game, it’s all about getting off to a good start and trying to find our game and putting the pressure on them. They’re going to be saying the same things. We need to get the fans into it, and that can help us, as well. We’ll want to keep that going throughout 60 minutes.
On dealing with the hype of playing a Game 7 in the playoffs:
Game 7 is always the one that everybody wants to play. You’re playing for the Stanley Cup. With the one in Detroit (during the Finals), it was the end no matter what. We could never play another game. In this one, we have to win to survive and play on. I think that the experience in our locker room might help us. We know that our fans are going to be excited to be at the rink. They will be full force. We just have to get to our game. We have to do the things that we like to do and put them in situations that will help us to be successful.
On playing Game 7 at home tomorrow:
I don’t think that there is a nervous energy (for the home team). I think that it helps to bring out the emotions. If it involves driving to the rink and having people see you on the way – it kind of gets your emotions boiling before the game starts. To come off of that ice with our fans behind us – it’s a feeling that I haven’t had with this team since I’ve been here. We’ve had two Game 7s on the road. I think that guys will be excited. It is going to be a lot of fun. It should be a really loud and crazy building for them.
On how the crowd affects the team’s motivation level during big games:
I don’t remember it being really loud in the locker room underneath the stands, but it definitely gives you that emotion and that feeling. It’s the same during warm-ups and right when you come onto the ice during game time. It kind of raises your blood level a little. It gets your heart beating a little bit more. It’s just the atmosphere of the building, but it’s something that you have to be controlled with. You have to keep your emotions in check and keep that excitement level going. You can’t let the building get quiet. We have to go in and keep our game plan on. We have to put pucks behind them and keep our fans going the whole time.
Evgeni Malkin did some light work in warmup gear before the Penguins' practice.
The Penguins held an optional skate at Mellon Arena Tuesday afternoon. Twenty players took part in the session. Five players that were in the lineup for Game 6 at Montreal - Craig Adams, Tyler Kennedy, Mark Letestu, Mike Rupp and Jordan Staal - participated in the practice.
Also on the ice for Pittsburgh were Eric Godard, Nick Johnson, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Chris Conner, Ruslan Fedotenko, John Curry, Brad Thiessen, Brent Johnson, Dustin Jeffrey, Eric Tangradi, Deryk Engelland, Ben Lovejoy, Jay McKee, Steve Wagner and Tim Wallace.