Western Conference Finals Press Conferences May 8th 2008

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  1. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    NHL WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: STARS v RED WINGS

    May 7, 2008

    Mike Babcock
    Ken Holland

    DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Practice Day

    THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach and Ken Holland.

    Q. What sort of lessons do you take from being at this point last season as you enter this series?
    COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I think the big thing is I've been really fortunate to be here. This is my third time in five years, and it's the best time of year. It's a lot of fun. You want to prepare as hard as you can and get your team ready to go.
    But I understand totally it's about will and it's about determination, and it's about breaks in goaltending. And we're ready and they're ready. We think we're going to win, and they think they're going to win, and something's gotta give.

    Q. With Dallas likely to be going for Franzen, Zetterberg, what are you looking for from in secondary scoring?

    COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Exactly, we're looking for everyone to score. You don't just go out there to kill the clock. The reason these teams are here is because there are a number of people. Ribeiro, everyone's talking about Morrow, but the Ribeiro trade has been a phenomenal trade for the Dallas Stars, and then you go to Richards and then you go to Modano, or you want to go to Modano Richards and Ribeiro, whatever works, those are good players. But there are other people on their team.

    Eriksson has way more skill than people think. Lehtinen's as good a two-way player as there is in the league. Morrow has significant -- so you go through the whole roster. That's what you need to have success this time of the year. We're going to do what we can to shut down their best people, and we're going to try to target their people and be as physical as we can, and do what we have to do. And they're going to do the same.

    Q. You shuffled your top two "D" players there for practice. Is that something you wanted to take a look at? And what is the reason?

    COACH MIKE BABCOCK: We did it during different times of the year. We did it in the national series. There is a number of ways to look at it -- we've got two real physical guys on the back end that hunt down players and we like players that we're playing against to be a little bit nervous. So, everyone thinks that the "D" man going back for the puck is the guy that gets the run. Well, there's nothing wrong with the "D" man running the guy coming to get him either.

    So we're just making sure we've got everything covered. As I said to Nick this morning, "Hey, let's do this."
    "Yeah, no problem."
    He said, "I played lots with Kronwall, so get used to him."
    And that was all.

    Q. And Fil's status?

    COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Fil skated real well today. We yanked him off the ice prior to a power play penalty kill. We're going to find out tomorrow. This is the first time he's skated and he responded really well. We didn't push it so we'll see tomorrow.

    Q. There's been a lot of hurry-up-and-wait kind of in this getting ready for the series. Talking about the expectations and what could possibly happen. Are you guys just ready to kind of hit the ice tomorrow?

    COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Yeah, obviously, I think it's a great time of the year. Sometimes we get so caught up in what's ahead that we don't enjoy what's gone on. I can tell you that our players and myself have enjoyed winning two rounds, and we've enjoyed the time when it's time to play.

    When you're watching the other teams play and you're done, you always say, gee, are they ever good. Are they ever good. You can't believe it. You don't watch yourself like that, and so we're prepared.
    I can tell you right now we're rested. We're excited. But now you've got to execute and now you've got to play hard and with determination. And we're a focused group, we're a determined group, and only time will tell.

    Q. Ken, with the explosion of Franzen in this post-season, can you take us back to the days when you were looking at him, and what you thought he could do? Is there ever a point in time when a player exceeds what you expected he could do for your team?

    KEN HOLLAND: Well, Franzen really was -- Hakan Anderson, he really is the man responsible for Johan being a Red Wing. First time that I saw Johan we had already drafted him. I remember seeing him during the work stoppage play a couple of games in the Swedish Elite League. My first initial reaction was there was more there offensively than what he showed. And then as the summer wore on, ended up hiring Mike in, what, July?

    And Franzen was on the world championship team, and was again in a defensive role on the world championship team. He didn't play a lot that tournament. Maybe played one or two games. He was in a defensive role in the Swedish Elite League.
    Mike and I had seen him practice a little bit with the Swedish team in the world championships. We watched him play. Mike was over there with a coaching symposium or something a few days. And Mike I and I had known each other for ten years. We were sitting beside each other, gabbing up a storm.

    Then he came over to training camp, and it was really the first time we'd seen him play in the NHL. And I think the first thing Franzen did was he won over Mike defensively. Mike put him and Dan Cleary got penalties. That was our second pk unit. We always thought he had more to give offensively. He had five preseason goals in six games this is year. Unfortunately he got hurt the last preseason game.

    We really thought this was going to be a breakout year. As it turned out, obviously, it has been his breakout year. We thought it was going to start in October, but his breakout year really started in March.

    Q. Can you tell me a little about Kronwall's importance in this series?

    COACH MIKE BABCOCK: It's really important. There's a number of facets. Number one, he's a character, character guy and he's an elite hockey player with or without the puck. He gets the puck. He's leading, him and Robidas are leading the league from the back end in scoring with 8 points a piece.

    But the dimension that makes him different than Rafi and Nick is he's out there hunting you down. He's looking for you. He's going to get somebody in this series, I guarantee it.

    You know, they're going to be trying to get him, but he just makes you nervous. You've got to know where he is, and he gets to play against good players. They have good players, and he'll be physical. I guarantee you he remembers when he was put in one of the playoffs last year. The players have good memories.

    So Lundqvist is a good body checker, comes after you hard, and Kronwall's a good body checker.

    Q. Coach, talking to some of your players, they talk about Chris Osgood's quiet confidence, and how he's never given up, and how he's almost a comeback kid where he's slated to be the second goalie on everybody's minds and then he makes the most of all opportunities. You're probably not surprised by him being 6-0, but why is he able to maintain this sort of quiet confidence that he portrays to us?

    COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, anybody who told you he's quiet was lying to you. He's not quiet. But he does have confidence. And he's just a great person, number one. He loves being a Red Wing. You know, Kenny drafted him and has had him here forever a number of times.

    I think the biggest thing, and I talked about this a number of times is he reinvented himself. He went back one summer after his first year back here and learned how to butterfly. As simple as that seems, he would always say to me, The 15-year-old kids butterfly better than I do. Well, you can't play in the league today without that ability.

    So he fixed his game and reinvented himself. And I think a lot of us have to do that whether we're a writer, whether we're a coach, whatever walk of life we're in it's about life-long learning and getting better or someone else has your job. And if Ozzie hadn't made those adjustments, he still wouldn't be playing.

    But he's made the adjustments and with his mental set and athletic ability and his knowledge and veteran play, he's able to carry all those things plus his butterflying and feeling good. He's earned the right to be confident. He gives our team confidence, and he's playing really well right now and all the power to him.
     
  2. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    May 7, 2008

    Johan Franzen
    Nicklas Lidstrom
    Chris Osgood

    DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Practice Day

    THE MODERATOR: Questions for Nick, Chris or Johan.

    Q. Chris, 6-0 an incredible run here in the playoffs. Where do you point the finger? Why have you had such success?

    CHRIS OSGOOD: In two parts I'll answer. Personally, just doing the right things in practice with Jim Bedard and staying ready. Even when I wasn't playing, I felt confident, even before I went in that I could do the job. Just being ready so I wasn't standing there doubting myself whatsoever.

    I was just doing things in practice, and doing things off the ice, and doing things like I said with Bedard to make sure I was ready at all times whether I was playing or not. Then again the second part is, you know, team's playing really well. I don't feel like I need to go in there and steal games. I just have to play solid and play sharp, and make the saves when I have to. I feel like I'm capable of doing that.

    Q. Can you talk about the contributions of Jiri Hudler he's only averaging 7 a game, but he's the forth winning scorer on your team?

    JOHAN FRANZEN: He brings a lot personally offensively. On the power play he's good at hanging out to the puck. He doesn't panic with the puck. He buys time with it. He's good at hanging on and buying time. And he's very good at finding the open players.

    You know, he's not the biggest guy out there, but for a little guy, he's strong in the corners. He's tough to knock off the puck. He's very quick in the corners, and that helps set up that part for him. But his vision is so good. He's able to see plays develop and be able to find an open player to when he passes.

    Q. How does the six-day layoff affect you in this series?
    CHRIS OSGOOD: I think it's good for our team, actually. I mean, you want to close quickly. We did that in Colorado. You don't want to make the same mistake we did in Nashville. You never know what's going to happen.

    We relished the time off. It was good for our team, we feel refreshed. What happens is you get excited to play again, because you kind of get sick of practicing. We've had some time off here, and we're ready and raring to go. We want to get things started and get on the ice and start playing games. We're excited about it. I think that's a good thing.

    Q. You've been on this stage many times, even when you're playing as a team as well as you are. Can you just describe how the intensity has to be raised up another notch with each round of the playoffs?

    JOHAN FRANZEN: Well, I feel personally that the first round is where you make the biggest step from playing the regular season to all of a sudden being in the playoffs and the intensity is a lot higher. You have to raise your level of play a little bit more. So once you get through the first round, I think you're into the playoff mode already. And I think that helps you to continue to play in the playoffs.

    So for me, personally, I feel that getting ready for the playoffs is that first few games in the first round. Once you're over that hump, you know, you're into that playoff mentality. You're ready for the next game. I think that really helps you set up your success in the playoffs being able to play strong in the first round.

    Q. Can you tell me a little about how much Kronwall has helped the defense this postseason?

    JOHAN FRANZEN: He's helped us tremendously. Of he's a top four defenseman. He plays all situations whether power play or penalty killing. And he brings that physical aspect to our team that I think we need.
    Always, especially in the playoffs, you want to have physical defensemen that are tough to play against. You've got to keep your head up out there, and he's shown that in this year's playoffs that he can make that big open ice hit and step out at the right time. That really helps our defense when you have a player of that caliber that can still log a lot of ice time. He can bring the puck up the ice, but can he play hard defensively and physically, too.

    So I think the pairing with him and Stuart has really helped our team where you have that physicality of their game that really helps our team and they're tough to play against.

    Q. You talked to your -- we talked to your general manager just previous and he talked about how you've had a breakout season in the regular season, but here in the postseason you seem to be taking your game to another level. Why is that? Maybe talk about your comfort zone on the ice and why the success and why all the new Red Wing records?

    NICK LIDSTROM: Yeah, records, I don't want to talk about the records. I just want to win eight more games this season.

    I don't know. I kept it going from the last month there in the regular season. It's the confidence. Winning and scoring a lot, the confidence grows. Every time you get the puck it seems a little bit easier to put it in the back of the net. It feels like you've got a little extra time with the puck and everything just gets easier.

    Q. What do you anticipate Dallas doing? Because suddenly you're a guy that the team's clearly going to have to focus on. And if they do send more men after you, how can that help your offensive attack as a team?

    NICK LIDSTROM: Well, hopefully that gives more room for my line mates. So if they want to keep an extra guy on me, that's fine by me. Hopefully, Sam or Fil can get a little more chances that way.
     
  3. TheeTFD

    TheeTFD All-Star

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    COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, anybody who told you he's quiet was lying to you. He's not quiet. But he does have confidence. And he's just a great person, number one. He loves being a Red Wing. You know, Kenny drafted him and has had him here forever a number of times.
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