Devils-Islanders Postgame Quotes [11.28.09]

Here are some of the postgame quotes after Saturday’s 6-1 Devils win over the Islanders:

Mike Mottau:

Describe your goal that started the offensive explosion today…

“The face-off was won to the boards and I just went down the wall, (once I got the puck) I tried to center it, it got blocked. Then I went around the net and tried to center it again, and I got a lucky bounce.”

Did you sense that the momentum shifted after that goal?

“Yeah, we came out flat in the first, the Islanders were pushing the pace, getting a good forecheck. We didn’t help (ourselves) by having all of the turnovers, but we settled down in between periods and came back in the second strong.”

What does it say about this team that you continue to win with all of the injuries?

“I think it shows the organizational philosophy, the system that’s put in place – that we can plug in (younger) guys and work as five-man units all over the ice, while still having success.”

Does that help make the transition of getting used to a new teammate easier, the fact that you have had success so far with the young players called up from Lowell?

“Yeah absolutely, because down in Lowell they’re doing the same things, so when they come in (here) nothing is a big surprise. When these young guys get a chance, due to injury, it’s a good thing in a way too; they get some experience and help out the team.”

Zach Parise:

You mentioned the team didn’t have a great start, was anything said during the first intermission?

“No, nothing really needed to be said; they came out really aggressive and maybe we weren’t ready for that. They played a good game in the beginning, but nothing needed to be said – we knew we weren’t playing very well.”

Talk about the play that you scored your goal on…

“I tipped one of Greenie’s shots and the rebound was there – I think I took about four shots at it until it finally went in.”

You got knocked down after you scored, did it matter?

“At that point you don’t really care anymore.”


Vladimir Zharkov:

You almost got a point, how close was it?

“Yeah, I’ll get more chances to score; not today, maybe next game. It was a good play, Dean (McAmmond), I like playing with him he’s a good player.”

You played with your linemates (McAmmond and Matt Halischuk) in Lowell too, did that make today easier?

“Well, it’s the same tactics, and coach wants us to work together here. He helps me and tells me to play like I played in Lowell. Short shifts and work hard.”


Jamie Langenbrunner:

What was said during the timeout before the two-man advantage?

“Oh we were just figuring out who was going to go on the ice there. We haven’t had a 5-on-3 in a while, we practiced it a couple of weeks ago; we weren’t sure who was going on (the ice) there and where.”

What was your point to the official on the disallowed goal?

“My point is there’s not a whistle and a goal’s scored, so why did that play stop. If he’s not 100% sure, he can point, as to say it’s a goal, but play can continue. There should be a whistle there. The play should go on if he’s not a hundred percent certain.”

You’ve played with Patrik for a long time now, how close is he to 100%?

“I don’t think he’s there yet, I think he’s making strides though. I don’t think he feels completely comfortable yet; though today he told me coming into the game that he felt as good as he has (this season), and that’s a good sign, but it takes a little while. When you miss training camp and you miss those first few games, it tales a while to get back up to the flow; I think he’s getting closer and that’s huge for us.”

How nice is it as the captain of the team that when guys go down with injuries the young players step in and the team continues to be successful?

“It feels good. It gives us the feeling that when things happen that aren’t good, we can find a way through it. We’ve done a good job so far – but I’d like to see some guys come back, that’d be nice too. It’s great to see these young guys, it seems like when someone goes down they come in and fill that role (for us). Tonight I thought Matt Halischuk played his best game in the NHL and I think he saw the opportunity with Clarkie going down that he’s going to get a chance to play more minutes and he elevated his game.”

When a guy comes up from Lowell is there anything you say to them as the captain of the team?

“I think all of us try to make them feel comfortable, we know they’re coming here because they can play and I think today Zharky played a heck of a game for his first NHL game, he had some great chances; everybody who’s come in has really been up to the task. All we can do is try and make them feel comfortable, make them feel like they’re part of it right away.”

When you first came into the NHL who was that player for you?

“Yeah, Joe Nieuwendyk was the one for me that really took me under his wing, made me feel comfortable, part of the team. There’s that and there’s also the whole team helping to make you feel like part of the team.”

Patrik Elias:

You and Brian Rolston seem to really be on the same page now…

“You have to play a few games with guys to know where they like to be; you have to communicate, you have to talk to each other and let each other know what you want to do out there. Build up chemistry or whatever you call it, comfort, that you know what each other’s going to do out there. Rollie is more of a shooter, so you have to try and get him open and create space for him and his great shot, he’s got an unbelievable shot. I think the last few games we’re playing pretty good together.”

How is it different from last year when he was at center and you were at wing, does it change a lot now that it’s reversed?

“This year he’s healthier obviously too. It’s tough to, I can speak from experience, when you start the season with injuries and you’re down, it’s not just the conditioning, it’s the hockey sense and everything. You miss that, so for him I think it’s good that he’s playing right away. Hopefully we can keep it going, he’s getting more shots every game and he needs to get those; Rollie’s a more up and down (the ice) guy, because he’s got the unbelievable shot, and I like to carry the puck, control it a little bit. Playing center is fine for me.”

Patty can you get thirty goals if you keep playing like this?

“Maybe in two years (smiling).”

How are you feeling after back-to-back games?

I have good days, bad days. Today I felt good, yesterday I felt that I just had to work through it; I didn’t feel good at all. I just, my own feeling, was that it was my worst game in the last few years. But it didn’t seem that way when I looked at it, but I just felt like it. I was a little rundown, I didn’t feel good at all, I played a lot of minutes yesterday and also the team that we played, the Bruins play really tight, they don’t give you much. It’s going to happen; you’re going to be up and down, good games, bad games. I just have to work through it.”


Martin Brodeur:

Down at the other end of the ice with so many weird bounces, were you thinking about that at all?

“Well, I think when you play against a team and they started to get a little lucky – I think we dominated in the second and we hit a lot of posts, the puck wasn’t going in, we got a goal taken away also. We had to bear down and that’s what we did early in the third we were solid; we kept playing our game plan exactly what we wanted to do. We showed we can play a different type of game, because we out played them, but one shot could’ve been the difference. They had a power play that we killed off extremely good all afternoon long, so it was good.”

The way the team came back after the first period, what’s the key ingredient with your team with so many guys out?

“I think its all about intensity. I think early in the game we weren’t intense and they took advantage of us. They got the best of us. Jacques kind of just touched on it again; he said ‘just be intense’. Get to the puck and be quick, do everything quick – when we do that we’re a good skating team, with so many young guys we have to use their young legs. Hally played a tremendous game and Zharky did real well in his first game also, so it was good.”


Jacques Lemaire:

What changed after the first period was it because of the penalty kill?

“I think that was part of it, the first part of the game we, I think our intensity wasn’t there. We turned the puck over many times; this is a team that capitalizes on every turnover. They have two great lines, as good as anyone in the league. You give them the puck, you turn the puck over (against them) and you’ll pay the price for it. We were fortunate that they didn’t score more than what they did in the first. But I think the penalty kill, that’s exactly what I told them after the first in the room — I said we played 5-on-5, we don’t have intensity and we played 4-on-5 and we were better. We’re getting chances, and I said I’d like to know the reason. Right away a couple of guys said, ‘we were more intense’; well can we bring that in the game 5-on-5? Then the second, we had a great second period, a lot of chances, its always scary when you get a lot of chances and you don’t score. We were wondering what would be the outcome; but we kept getting chances and in the third the goals came easier. We sent pucks at the net and for some reason we got the right bounces and we scored goals like that.”

How about your secondary scoring? You wanted to get Rolston and Elias going…

“They did the job tonight for sure. I think they’re on top of their game now, they’re playing good hockey and they play with confidence and they enjoy the game – you can tell when you talk to them. They feel better than they did at the start (of the season). And you look at the kids; you look at Dean, McAmmond, Zharkov and Halischuk – that was our best line in the first period. They played well through the whole game and all you could ask more would be to score some goals.”

How was Zharkov in his first NHL game?

“He was very good, solid skater, good with the puck. He’s good, he sees the ice well; he’s going to play. He’s going to be a player.”

Do Elias and Rolston have something special?

“Well Rollie’s shooting the puck with confidence, Patrik is starting to get in shape slowly, he’s skating more and if he’s skating more; you know he’s a guy that has good hands.”

How about his shot?

“I don’t know about the third goal, if their goalie didn’t see it, but he’s got a quick release that sometimes fools the goalies. Hopefully he can keep playing the same way.”

Elias Explosion Leads Devils Past Isles

Here is the link to my recap of the Devils-Islanders game from Saturday afternoon:

http://nycsportsnews.com/articles/details.htm?id=1039

Dan’s Three Stars of the Game:

#1 – Patrik Elias (NJ)– 2 goals (3), 2 assists (7)

#2 – Brian Rolston  (NJ) – 2 goals (8), 2 assists (5)

#3 – Martin Brodeur (NJ) – 22 saves, win (15-6-1)

Tonight’s line combos/d-pairings:

New Jersey:
Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner
Rolston-Elias-Bergfors
Zharkov-McAmmond-Halischuk
Peters-Pelley-Pikkarainen

Mottau-Fraser
Greene-Salvador
White-Corrente

NY Islanders:
Moulson-Tavares-Okposo
Bergenheim-Nielsen-Hunter
Tambellini-Bailey-Sim
Park-Thompson-Jackman

Streit-Meyer
Hillen-Gervais
Witt-MacDonald

Devils-Senators Postgame Quotes [11.25.09]

Here are some of the postgame quotes after Wednesday’s 3-1 Devils win over the Senators:

Niclas Bergfors:

There was an odd bounce on your goal, was that an easy one to score?

“Yeah, I was a little bit surprised to get it there. I just took the shot and it went in.”

Are you happy with how the team bounced back after going winless in the last three?

“I think it was good; it was a tight game. We never really had them (put away), but with hard work, I think we kept them from getting really good (scoring) chances. It was a good team effort.”

Ottawa didn’t have any power plays tonight, was discipline a big part of the game tonight?

“Yeah, they have good players, top players, so they are really dangerous when they get the man-advantage. We were good.”

You grew up in Sweden, what was it like to play against Daniel Alfredsson and was/is he some one you looked up to?

“Yeah, a little bit. He was winning a lot with the Swedish national team, so of course I definitely have respect for him. I’ve never met him though, only played against him.”

Martin Brodeur:

Talk about some saves you made tonight…

“They had a couple of good chances; we had a couple of breakdowns and they got some high tips, but I was able to be in good position. The puck was hitting me (tonight).”

Do you guys have to have a good stretch with all of these home games coming up?

“We have to, I think. It’s a huge advantage to play at home, and we have to take it somehow. It’s not an easy thing to do, but an easy thing to say — I think we have to play a certain way in our own building. We’re playing to get all these points and that’s going to translate into home-ice advantage hopefully, in the playoffs, if we do get there. It’s important to play at home, and the way Jacques likes to coach at home and stuff.”

Did you get a souvenir from tonight’s game for the newest member of your family?

“Yeah I got the puck. Hopefully he’ll be happy later on.”

Brian Elliott:

Bad luck on the first goal that caromed off of the boards on a dump-in?

It’s just a case of bad luck, I guess. I don’t know if they planned that or what, but it was a good play (for them) I guess.”

Do you think they have a home-ice advantage there, a home-glass advantage?

“Well if they know it has a tendency to do that, if you’re going to dump it in, why not try it and see what happens. Something that we’ll learn from and when we come back here (on Dec. 18) we’ll know about for sure.”

Chris Campoli:
Your thoughts on the game tonight…

“I thought it was a hard-fought game; they played typical, Devils-style hockey where they like to sit back and have you come at them. We kind of played into their hands a bit that way. We didn’t create a whole lot (offensively) and anytime you do that, and make a couple of mistakes that they capitalize on, they are a tough team to beat.”

Jacques Lemaire:

Why are you laughing?

“I’m laughing because I’m late, I was in a meeting.”

What did you like about the win tonight?

“The third period – I think we were better with the puck. We started to move the puck, better passes which was a lot better than what we were doing in the first and second periods. I think in the 1st and 2nd (periods) we turned the puck over a lot and every pass the guys received on the backhand, they couldn’t handle the puck. Most of them on the forehand couldn’t handle the puck. But we got a win (smiles).”

You said when the injured players get back you will move Patrik (Elias) back to wing, might you change your mind after tonight’s game?

“I’ll see at that time. He’s playing much better now (than when he first came back), he’s getting better as a player, as a center, making better plays. He’s in control right now, which is good. Now, when the other guys, the centers, come back, I’ll see. Because I know a guy like Patrik that can play center and wing, and has a lot of talent – I know that when that talent is put on the wing with a decent center (alongside him) he could be really effective. He doesn’t have to do all that work that a center-man will do: work with the defense down low, you know, prepare all the plays offensively.”

Based on the way Marty played tonight, will he start Friday afternoon in Boston?

“We haven’t talked about this yet. We mentioned it last week, but tomorrow we’ll solve that problem.”

Would you agree that he saved the game in the third period tonight?

“Definitely a couple of times; he played really well.”

Which one of the kids from Lowell impressed you the most?

(Matthew) Corrente played really well for his first game on defense, he was poised. He did certain plays that a five-year veteran defenseman does. I was impressed, he played good minutes too (8:54). Besides him, defenseman (Tyler) Eckford, different position for him playing forward tonight, but he was fine, nothing special, but we wanted him for the power play (2:44 of 7:57 played on PP). Timmy Sestito, he’s very steady, he works hard, and I can use him on the wing. To me it’s a lot easier for a center to go on the wing — left or right doesn’t matter — he’s been a pleasant surprise in a way. He’s doing the job, solid defensively. We don’t have a lot of offense but one thing at a time.”

How was Dean McAmmond tonight?

“He’s getting better – I liked him tonight. He made one play that I didn’t like around our net there, a turnover, but you can see he raised his game right after, and that he was upset. He’s a guy that I have confidence (in) when I put him out on the ice. Matt Halischuk is pretty much the same thing: he’s young, he’s learning and a lot of it is a matter of confidence when you put the kids on (the ice).”

How do you think Niclas Bergfors played tonight?

“I think he played good. He still had long shifts and I’ve been telling him about this and I’ve told him; it’s the 20th game and I think twice a game so that’s like 40 times, but he’s going to get it. He needs to take shorter shifts.”

Devils Snap Skid, Carve up Senators

Here is the link to my recap of the Devils-Senators game from Wednesday night:

http://nycsportsnews.com/articles/details.htm?id=1035

Dan’s Three Stars of the Game:

#1 – Andy Greene (NJ) – 2 assists (8)

#2 – Martin Brodeur (NJ) – 24 saves, win (13-6-1)

#3 – Patrik Elias (NJ) – gw goal (1)

Tonight’s line combos/d-pairings:

New Jersey:
Parise-Zajac-Bergfors
Rolston-Elias-Langenbrunner
Halischuk-McAmmond-Clarkson
Peters-Sestito-Eckford

Salvador-Greene
Mottau-Fraser
White-Corrente

Ottawa:
Foligno-Spezza-Alfredsson
Michalek-Winchester-Shannon
Ruutu-Kelly-Neil
Keller-Regin-Cheechoo

Phillips-Kuba
Campoli-Lee
Picard-Carkner

Madden Speaks Out in Chicago

Our old friend John Madden recently talked to the Chicago Tribune and it can be found here:

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/players-only/2009/10/john-madden-blackhawks-fans-have-been-great.html

Quite a difference from the John Madden that I used to talk to in the Devils’ locker room, but I am glad he is enjoying himself with the young, up-and-coming Blackhawks.

What You Need to Know [11.21.09]

Here is the link to my latest ‘What You Need to Know’ on NYCSN:

http://nycsportsnews.com/articles/details.htm?id=1029

This week’s highlights:

Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin proves he doesn’t need twin Daniel to score at the NHL level, San Jose’s Dany Heatley nets his 2nd hat trick of the young season, Maxim Afinogenov finds his mojo in Atlanta and LA’s Ryan Smyth & Montreal’s Brian Gionta become the latest scorers to catch the injury bug…

Devils-Caps Postgame Quotes [11.14.09]

Here are some of the postgame quotes after Saturday’s 5-2 Devils win over the Washington Capitals:

Dainius Zubrus:
Your thoughts on the game…
“Well the start wasn’t obviously very good, with the penalty that they (the refs) gave them and the quick goal they scored. We don’t want to give that up, but sometimes that happens. But more than anything, its how we reacted afterwards; we started skating, we were much better with the puck, winning battles — definitely for the last 40 minutes and parts of the first period as well.”

I thought you had a strong game (10-4, 71% on face-offs) and you were active when you had the puck; did you feel good out there?
“Yeah I felt good. You play against good players; our line and Travis Zajac’s line, sort of matched up against their two top lines. They’re a good team and their top guys play a lot, that’s where they get most of their goals from, so you want to be skating and play well against them. At the same time, by playing alot, you get in the game and you have to be moving and get your legs going, so I felt pretty good.”

Next game is in Philadelphia, how do you continue the winning streak?
“Well, the same way we played tonight for the last 40 minutes, when we are skating, when we are strong on the puck, winning battles, we can be successful. We’ve done that for the last nine games on the road, and some here at home too. I don’t think we’ll change much; honestly I don’t think about how many games we’ve won on the road. It’s just a big game because it’s a division rivalry and they’re doing well too, winning a lot of games. I don’t know stats-wise, but I know they aren’t too far from us in the standings.”

Jamie Langenbrunner:
What did you change after they scored the first two goals?
“Get our feet moving, we stood around and watched them for the first 10 minutes of the period and they took it to us. You watch that much skill and you don’t move your feet and you don’t battle; Jacques (Lemaire) talked about intensity and we didn’t have intensity for the first part of the game, and we got it back”

How different of a team are they without Alex Ovechkin?
“They’re still a talented team…everybody’s missing players. Obviously, he’s a big part of their team, but they’re missing four other players too; and we’re missing five. That’s part of playing in the NHL.”

Do you remember your first NHL goal?
“Yup (smirking), it was a while ago.”

How special is it to see Matt score his first NHL goal?
“He tried to play it cool and stuff, but you could tell he was excited. I think he has some people in town too, so that makes it that much more special. You couldn’t ask for a better goal, it was a good shot. Usually it’s a sloppy one, but that was a great shot.”

Nicklas Bergfors:
Coach changed the lines after the first period again, is it a big deal to you, or do you just play your game no matter what line you are on?
“We didn’t really do too much in the beginning (of the game), so I didn’t mind it; whatever is best for the team — he knows that. It (changing the lines) has worked before, it’s not the first time, so you just have to go out and play harder.”

Do you have to change your game at all, when you play with different linemates?

“I just try to play my game, try to be more simple because things didn’t work out in the beginning of the game.”

Describe the play that Matt scored on, you had a big part in it with the primary assist…

“We had a 3-on-2 and that’s something that we have practiced, the middle guy drives to the net. He got open, I gave him the puck and he made a good shot. It was a nice goal.”

Zach Parise:
How did you shut the Caps down after they scored the first two goals?

“We started to be a little better as a team and we didn’t give (Nicklas) Backstrom and (Alexander) Semin a lot of room out there, so it was a good job by our defense.”

You can set a record in Philly for longest road winning streak to start a season. Do you guys even look at that, or is it just a game in Philly?
“We don’t look at that, that’s something that you guys (the media) looks at. We don’t pay attention to that, we’re having fun, we’re playing smart, we’re playing well. We know it’s going to be a tough game, it’s never easy going into Philadelphia; they have a good team and they are playing well right now. We want to do the same things we did tonight — play good smart hockey.”

Matt Halischuk:
Walk me through your goal and how did you feel afterwards?
“It was a great play by my linemates there Timmy (Sestito) did a great job driving to the net and I got a nice pass from Nicklas, so I just tried to get it on net as quick as I could and fortunately it went in, so it was a pretty special feeling for sure.”

I know you’ve scored some big goals playing in Junior Tournaments, how big is this one?
“Oh, well this is right up there, it’s pretty special, and it feels great to contribute. It was a great team effort for the win.”

Do you have to change your game at all when Coach Lemaire changes your linemates?

“I don’t think so, I think you just have to go out there and take responsibility and play your best. We have a bunch of great players here, so it’s always nice to get to play with these guys.”

When you got sent down to Lowell earlier in the season and then got called back up, did you play any different so as to not get sent back down?
“Yeah, it’s never fun getting sent down, but you always want to play as hard as you can to get called back up. Fortunately, it was a quick turnaround (3 days) and I was able to get back up. I just try to take it game-to-game and keep going.”