- How do you get the players to buy in to feel that they can do this, “They are ready. Yesterday was a tough day and today you can feel the energy and everyone recognizes that we are in the Stanley Cup Final and we are happy to be here but we gotta come out swinging tonight for sure and the feeling is good in the room.”
- What was missing in game three, “A few things we looked at are trying to get more on the inside and had some scoring chances and some borderline scoring chances but we for sure want to fight our way to the inside. LA is a good team defending and we want our defense more involved in the offense and the cycle.”
7:20PM: John Moore is in for the Rangers and Robyn Regehr is still scratched. It was thought yesterday that Regehr would play.
6:55PM: Ulf Samuelsson spoke with John Giannone on MSG before game two:
- Where are the players at, “I think they are very hungry and got a first taste of the Stanley Cup Final and realized that it’s very hard to win and we started off with a bang but then we sat around and watched. We are ready for a 60 minute game tonight.”
- On how the defense can improve, “we can be better with our first pass, be more active on the rush, be more active with offensive zone plays. LA is a lot of man on man and you need a defenseman to make the reads harder for them.”
- What needs to be better, “I think for us it’s when we manage the puck well from our zone to the neutral zone and getting our forecheck and skilled players through the neutral zone. Getting through the neutral zone and putting the puck in plays where we can create some scoring off the rush.”
- More nerves as a player of coach, “I think as a player, now you get a little distant and have done it before and know how hard and fun it is.”
- On game one and what needs to change, “I think we are going to need our best game. We are playing a good team with a lot of experience in big games so they are going to do what they can do without being bothered by nerves and things like that so it will require our best game but that isn’t surprising. We know what we are up against and we had some players who played good and some players who need to play better.”
- On the team being ready, “we gotta take it to them early because in game two they took it to us pretty hard and we made some small technical adjustments to be able to get the puck quicker in to their zone and to get forechecking which has been great so far.”
- On the defense and goals against this series, “I think Henrik is Henrik, best goalie in the league in my opinion. The group in front has worked really hard, pushing the pace from behind and eliminate a lot of the delay plays that MTL has. Our D has done a terrific job in defending and battling in front of Henrik and it’s a combined effort.”
- On his family success, “hockey has been great to us overall but this year there has been a lot winning so lets push the pace and hope that I am not the guy who is falling off.”
- Congrats on going back to NY 2-0, “it’s very exciting to be up 2-0 but we know we are a little lucky to get the W with how Montreal came out last night in the first period.”
- On coaching experience, “I think AV does a terrific job staying focused and calm and weathering the storm. We push from the bench but it’s more about getting back to our game and taking some punches and keep going. Playoffs can be such an emotional roller coaster ride that you need to find a nice level to stay at.”
Ulf Samuelsson met with John Giannone on MSG:
- “late and early this morning, you look at all details to maneuver and change our position. Excited that the game is here.”
- What did you see, “there are some small tactical areas but more importantly our puck possession and how we gave it away and if you feed a transition team like that they go to work.”
- On 6 in 9 nights, “it’s something we have taken off the table. We know what it is but you get into the game and it’s the second round of the playoffs and those things we don’t even talk about. It’s just petal to the metal.
- The crowd,” a huge factor, we lost the second game but recognize that we need to stay away from the roller coaster and we have home ice and we need to go out and kick some butt.”
- On Sidney Crosby, “he is a great player and we need to get more than one person to cover him, if he has it or Malkin we want to swamp them with people.”
2:40PM: Earlier today, new Hurricanes GM Ron Francis fired head coach Kirk Muller and his staff.
Chip Alexander speculates that Francis may look at his former teammate and Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson as a candidate. He also mentions Kevin Dineen, formerly of the Panthers and another former teammate, as a possible candidate.
Luke DeCock says that it would “not shock” him if Ulf Samuelsson is number one on the coaching list.
Bob McKenzie mentions Samuelsson as well as Dineen and Eddie Olczyk as possible candidates.
Samuelsson and Francis were teammates from 1984-85, first with Hartford and then with Pittsburgh, until Samuelsson was traded to the Rangers in 1995-96.
The two won two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh and were traded together from Hartford to Pittsburgh for John Cullen, Jeff Parker and Zarley Calapski.