As the hour draws near for the puck drop to commence the 2012 Stanley Cup finals and what may well be the most interesting match up and possibly exciting Cup finals in memory, the coaches spoke to the media about the series and their plans to ensure they win it all.
Devils Coach Peter DeBoer on his emotions with the puck drop just hours away.
“Just excited. You want to play. You know, you’re tired of waiting around. You’re tired of looking at film. You’re tired of practicing. It’s anxious energy. Whatever I’m feeling, I’m sure it’s doubled for the players.
DeBoer on the L.A. goaltender and what they can do to beat him.
“We’ve seen this before. Last round we had Lundqvist. This isn’t anything new. I think for us the same things apply that applied to trying to get some goals past Lundqvist. You have to get traffic, bodies, shots. You can’t get frustrated. It’s battling through. We got rewarded for taking that approach against Lundqvist. We have to do the same thing here.”
DeBoer on the extra long lay-off for L.A. and being rusty in game 1.
“I’m sure they’re going to be very aware of not being stale. Knowing Darryl, I don’t expect they’ll have any rust on them.”
How will the Devils neutralize the Kings forecheck?
“I don’t believe you get a real appreciation for what we’re dealing with watching them on tape, their speed and their size. We’ve dealt with some good forechecks this year. Are these teams in a different league? I don’t know. We’ll know at 8:00 tonight.”
DeBoer on keeping things as normal as possible during the finals.
“The one advantage I think our organization has here is the experience we have from the top down, whether it’s general manager and president. Then filtering down, my assistant coaches with Larry Robinson, the nine Cups he’s won as a player and a coach. We have a wealth of experience all the way through the organization right to the locker room. It makes my job easy.”
Coach DeBoer has no line up changes for game 1 as expected. As for the wealth of experience in the organization making his job easy, I doubt that anybody’s job is easy at this point in the season with just 4 wins needed to hoist the cup. Maybe it hasn’t hit him yet. Earlier in the interview he mentioned just one year ago he was at home, unemployed and thinking about his future but one can’t imagine he pictured this.
It was then Coach Darryl Sutter’s turn to face the media. He began by commenting on the long lay offs the Kings have endured between each series this post-season.
“Obviously we’ve been able to manage our time well. As series go along, there are players that definitely need days away and days off. It’s not just the physical part of it. Guys are banged up, but the mental part of it.”
Commenting on containing the speed and skill of Kovalchuk.
“Well, we’ve had to play against dominant individual players, not necessarily always offensive guys, in every series. I mean, you have to zero in on certain players, key in on them, prepare for them.”
Sutter envisioning the first 10 minutes of tonight’s game with the Kings coming out hard and dictating the game.
“I’d like to think that (we will). But it’s the same thing Peter’s talking about, too, so… It’s the Stanley Cup Final, both teams got here for a reason. Both teams are going to try to play that way.”
On the city of L.A. getting behind the Kings.
“It’s about winning, right? Anything else is just BS.”
Sutter concluded by speaking about managing the players expectations in the Stanley Cup finals.
“You know what, there’s just one game now. You don’t play again till Saturday. So just deal with it like that.”
The coaches said little of material import other than both will have their teams trying to press the play from the outset which could make for a higher scoring series than many expect with stellar goal tending a given. Sutter’s approach is bang on especially for the younger players. It is a tired cliché but you can only play one at a time so stay in the moment. Game 1 goes tonight at 8:00 Eastern from “The Swamp” in Newark, New Jersey.