Carlyle, Niedermayer and Pronger Friday Press Conference
Q. Randy, the guys excited to have Chris back for Game 5?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Always excited to have one of your premier players back into your lineup. And he's back where he should be, playing. And it's a welcome addition to our lineup and it was nice to see that his teammates came up with a huge effort on our behalf last night as far as our group.
And as I talked about it after the game, it was a gut check game for us. Hopefully we can use that to build on.
Q. You talked a little bit about the experience of the other players, getting involved in Game 4. Would that help you guys for a Game 5 situation, to have that experience on the road, in Detroit?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I don't think you can underestimate any game experience that you go through. I think it's important for everybody. The momentum swings in the game. The composure that you have to sustain, the work ethic, the focus, all those things are things that you can categorize as learning experiences as far as a player.
And even when things look grim, that there are ways that if you stay the course usually you'll be rewarded.
If you can do some of the small things more consistently than your opposition, then good things can happen. But there's a lot of things that go and emotions are heightened as the games dwindle down here now. It's best 2 out of 3, and the intensity level, again, I think will be ramped up.
Q. Knowing the aggressive nature of Chris, do you have to ? the way he plays, did you have to say anything to him after the suspension to warn him not to get into those situations?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: No. He's an experienced guy. The last thing in the world that I think a player of that caliber needs is a coach trying to lay out the game plan. He's lived this game. He's played in some difficult situations, in tense situations. And I think it's important that you leave the player his space.
Q. Randy, come Sunday, it will be four days since Chris's last game. And even for a guy that thrives on a heavy workload, at this stage of the playoffs, do you see this break for him as being a positive, mentally and physically?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, physically for sure. Any time that you're involved in the playoff series and you're going ?? we're in the third round. We've played how many games now? We played five in the first, and four here. We're at game 14 now.
And the next one will be game 15. So that's a condensed time frame that you play in. So you're playing almost every second day, if you look at the calendar. And I think mentally ? I cannot say that it would be an advantage or disadvantage. Depending how the individual dealt with it and how he was able to move on from the suspension, I think that's important.
But physically I'm sure he feels a lot more rested now. And I know that we'll practice tomorrow and I'm looking for him to be Chris Pronger, nothing else.
Q. Game 5, seems like you go in there, you win that game, and game 2, do you think that now you guys may have an advantage of winning in that building, having the momentum after winning Game 4?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I don't know about if you can say that you've gained any advantage or you have the momentum. I think that if you look at all the games so far, both ice surfaces, they've been pretty even at times.
And we thought we played fairly well in the first game and didn't get rewarded. And we played probably not as well in the second game and won the hockey game. Game 3 for us was a disaster. And then we went through the emotion of the suspension and the blowout and then we were able to find a way to get last night's game.
So it's been a funny series, just to sit and look at it. And overall I don't think there's any advantage one way or another. I think we felt that if we played to our level and played strong, that we could have success.
And I think they feel the same way.
JAMEY HORAN: Questions for Chris and Scott.
Q. Chris, just wondering how uncomfortable an experience it was for you watching the game last night?
CHRIS PRONGER: It's never fun when you gotta watch as important of a game as that was last night. But very proud of the way we played. And Ric Jackman stepping in after being off for two months and playing as well as he did, coming up with a huge goal for us, first playoff game, first playoff goal. It was a big effort by him, big effort by the other guys in the defense and Giguere in the defense played well.
Q. Brian Burke said you were, quote/unquote, a little upset about the suspension. Are you still feeling some emotions in that regard?
CHRIS PRONGER: I think he was the one that spoke for both of us on the issue, and I'm going to leave it at that.
Q. Can I ask both of you guys about what is said or not said after a game like Game No. 3 going into Game 4? Do guys just know that things have to get better the next game? Do you sit around and talk about it? What goes on in between those games to come out with a performance like you did last night?
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: Well, obviously we've been playing the game for a long time. So I think most of it probably goes unsaid. But there's a lot of little adjustments that the coaching staff will make, whether it's on special teams, whether it's on different parts of your game.
Little things like that will definitely get talked about, adjustments that have to be made to try to improve in certain areas.
But as far as the effort we put out in that game, I mean, everyone knew that it wasn't our best and that we had to be better the next game.
So there's not a long discussion regarding that. Mainly fine?tuning and little adjustments.
CHRIS PRONGER: Well said.
Q. Chris, with the experience you were mentioning, Jackman playing extremely well last night, do you think these players are going to have a greater advantage in Game 5 working with you guys to try to get a win in Detroit?
CHRIS PRONGER: Sorry?
Q. The experience of the players, guys like Ric Jackman who played well last night. They played great roles and what do you think about their advantage, having more playing time helping to contribute in Game 5?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, I don't set the lineup. But having said that, it obviously makes it a lot harder for the coaches to make their decision. And rightfully so, to be able to step in and play as well as he did. Him and Ryan Carter.
Certainly makes it difficult to make lineup changes and certainly will make it tough. But as I said earlier, the guys played very well. And as big a game as it was, as Scott touched on in the last question, you know what needs to be done and certainly we came with a focus that we weren't going to be defeated.
Q. Chris, come Sunday it will be four days between games for you. At this stage of the playoffs, even though you didn't want to have to sit, could that serve as an advantage, physical and mental standpoint?
CHRIS PRONGER: I don't know. I don't know if it will help mentally. I wouldn't say I had four days off mentally, would you?
Q. Away from the rink, so to speak.
CHRIS PRONGER: Exactly (chuckling). Physically, yeah, but I think it's harder mentally when you're not in the game and not playing. You're playing every shift as opposed to when you're on the ice.
Q. What kind of reaction do you expect to get from the Joe Louis arena crowd on Sunday. Obviously a lot of ?? Detroit is not a hockey town anymore. The building, it's been a struggle to fill the place up. Do you expect to hear much abuse or anything?
CHRIS PRONGER: I'm sure it's nothing I haven't heard before. Just add another building to the list.
Q. This thing, all of a sudden a three?game series. Does the approach or the focus change at all coming back here for Game 5?
SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: When it gets closer to the end like it is now, obviously the focus and intensity is just going to pick up. It just continues to pick up right to the end. And like you said, now it's become a short series where everything is just going to be magnified that much more.
And best out of 3 now, I guess. Starting on Sunday. So I would expect all the games to be hard?fought. As most of them up to this point have been. Maybe you look at the third game as not being that way, but the two games we played here I think were hard?fought. And last night's was too.