Below are quotes after the Ducks’ afternoon practice at Honda Center.
On what this postseason means to him: “Especially as an older player, making the playoffs these days is a feat in itself. It’s a tough league and any team can win on any night. To make it in, you’ve accomplished something. I think I just appreciate the fact that you don’t take it for granted. It’s not like the Red Wings or [Devils] in the late 90s, when you’re in. You’re a good team and you know you’re going to be playing. These opportunities, especially with the team we’ve got here, we have an opportunity to do something special. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that opportunity. It’s going to be exciting.”
On his playoff memories: “I think I’ve played in four playoffs and have been the first seed a couple times and lost out in the first round, and have been the eighth seed and went to the second round and lost to the eventual Cup champions both times. It’s fun. Everything just picks up. It’s a different game, different atmosphere and there’s a lot on the line. It’s a grind, a battle of wills for the next however long it goes.
“But we’re preparing to play for a while.”
On turning it up for the playoffs: “This is an exciting time of the year. Any time the season ends and the real fun begins, that’s why we play the game. It’s an exciting day today and it’ll be even more exciting tomorrow.”
On facing the Detroit Red Wings: “It’s just another team, a good hockey team. Playoffs are all about who wants to compete more and who wants to play their system better. We have to be prepared to do both of those.”
On what he remembers from facing the Red Wings in previous postseasons: “They belong [in the playoffs]. None of them happen overnight. They‘re not a group you’re going to roll over. You’ve got to be ready for the long haul and play that even keel throughout the whole playoffs. This first round is very important for our group and a learning process, and a development for the next couple.
"Any time you lose in the playoffs against anybody, it’s something you want to redeem yourself, and prove to yourselves and each other that you can beat that team over there. We’re getting prepared for that tomorrow.”
On the postseason: “Main focus for us right now is we want to do our things as good as we can, and go from there. It’s time to raise the level a little bit, and I think we can do it.”
On beginning the postseason: “I’m happy. The first 25 games, I felt really good, but then the schedule starting catching up. Then the schedule after that was unbelievable. But it was the same for everybody and I’m happy it’s over. The playoffs are the time to shine. It’s the bread and butter for hockey players. Best time of the year. It’s funny, usually after the playoffs, you can’t wait to start the playoffs again. Forget the regular season, let’s start the playoffs. I’m expecting it to be a hard series. It’s time to enjoy it.”
On the keys to success in this series: “It starts right from the goaltending on out. Special teams are going to be huge. We know how good their power play is and we have to be ready to defend that. And we have to be ready to score on the power play when we get our chances. It’s crucial for us to be successful, winning the special teams battle. That’s where our power play has to step up.”
On the importance of home ice advantage: “This is our building. We earned our home ice and this is why we’re here for the first couple, to come out and have our fans behind us and jump on them. That’s what we want to do. That’s our game plan. We like being on home ice and we earned that right to be here. That’s why we worked so hard in the regular season, for this opportunity.”
On the importance of having home ice: “We love playing in front of our fans even though we haven’t been too successful in the last 10 games. We’d much prefer it being here. It’s a reward for winning the division and being higher in the standings. We’d much rather have that, but from experience, Detroit can win in this building. I don’t think we’re going to intimidate them by being at home.”
On his approach to the playoffs: “You take it one game at a time. It’s a cliché used everywhere, but we just need to focus on tomorrow. If you look at it like ‘We have to win four against these guys,’ it seems like a tough task. But right now we want to win one against them, and that’s tomorrow night.”
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