WCQF Game 6: Post-series comments from San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan, Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


Post-series comments from San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan:

You could think about it from that perspective (the 5 minute penalty kill being the turning point), but we also had a number of power plays that we weren’t very successful on. Probably at the end of the night it balanced out. It is magnified at the end of the night when you have to kill the last 3 and a half, and the last minute and a half in overtime. It balances out because our power play wasn’t very effective again. Probably at the end of the night that was a trade off.

(What did you think of the call) You know what, lets move on to the next series.

We weren’t please with the result in game 5. We weren’t very happy with the start in game 5, but once we made the change and got going we liked a lot of the things we did. It is a little reminiscent of game 1 and game 2. They liked their play in game 1 and lost, and they came back in game 2. I thought our start tonight was exactly what we needed. We needed that for the goaltender so he can feel comfortable. We needed that for the backend so they could feel good about breaking out pucks against a very good forecheck. We needed that for the forwards sake. We won a lot of faceoffs, we had some poise coming out of our own end. It backed off the forecheck, and took the crowd out of it just a little bit.

What did we learn about ourselves, we don’t do anything easy. But I am saying that with all due respect to LA. They played extremely hard, they were very well prepared. Their staff did an exceptional job in preparing their team to play against us. They did a lot of good things against us, you have to give them credit. We don’t do anything easy. There is some resiliency in the locker room. The leadership shone through when it had to. The belief in the goaltenders we have is important. We learned a lot about each other, just a part of what we hope is a long journey.

It was definitley back and forth. Just when you thought you had it, you lose it. I thought tonight we had a full 20 minute period that set us up going into period two. The game evened out a little bit, and then they had the momentum in the third. Really that is how the series went, tonight was no different.

We don’t know who is going to win the Chicago Vancouver game. There is no sense even speculating. If you ever find a coach who will tell you what his preference is, make sure you introduce him to me.

When you are a player of (Joe Thornton’s) stature, it doesn’t matter what team you are on. You are a focal point. He accepted the leadership role that we gave him. To see him battle through the year that we had, the turnaround that we had, and then to score the winner. We are proud of him. We are very lucky to have that in our organization. He cares as much as anybody in our organization. Not only about his players as teammates, but about the community, that a lot of people outside our locker room don’t see. For him to get the winning goal, to have the C on, to settle the team down. Keep in mind he is known for offense, but he was a hell of a penalty killer tonight. Blocked a lot of shots in the series, won a lot of key faceoffs. He broke up plays on the back check. He is doing a lot of things away from the puck that he needs to do to make him a successful player.

Nemo is our goto guy. We really believe in him. There was no hesitation to put him back in. I feel very comfortable with Nitty there, and his experiences. The guys firmly believe in Nemo. They have played against him. He has stoned them, and he went on to win the Stanley Cup. Now they are playing with him. They have seen the effect he has in the last 3 months. They want him in the pipes, they believe in him.

No (I am not surprised at Demers offensive output). That is his game. He is very creative. He is a riskier dman, if you will, so he has to be paired with the right guy. He has great vision, and he is prepared to turn that risk into offense. It was nice to see him score a big goal.

Without a doubt (the game 3 comeback was the turning point in the series). I mentioned it that night, we used our mulligan up 4-0 in the opponents first home game of the series. You don’t know what you could get in game 4. It could be 3-1 and then you are scrambling. That was a huge turning point for us. I think we woke up a little bit and decided that we needed to play a certain way. It still wasn’t smooth, but that definitley was.

Post-series comments from Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray:

I don’t think so (that Kings were still reeling from game 3 comeback). The difference was our own play with managing the puck. That was again here tonight, it goes back to the loses we had in the series. Three overtime losses, three games here at home are losses. That is why I called the timeout. I called the timeout midway through the first period because we probably had 15 turnovers till that point. That loss, that second period where they scored 5 goals really had no effect on us emotionally or mentally. We go back up there and we play a real hard game and came away with a win. That is not tied in, not related.

That is the critical moment in the game. A chance to put it away. I thought we did with 17 seconds left. There was celebration going on, people were throwing their arms in the air. I thought it was over. Again that is a missed opportunity.

It is hard to talk about (successful power plays) when you talk about a power play at the end of regulation going into overtime for about two minutes and you don’t capitalize on it to finish the game off and take it to a game 7. We are happy about what we did, but at the end of the day this is still the critical point of the game.

Going back over the year, it was a great start. You actually have a tremendous start to the year. You have a tough time in a homestand in January, and you bring it back together at a critical time post-ASG. You really get the job done. Guys dug in, the leadership, the players. Every player played outstanding and we got ourselves into the playoffs. We could have finished, we were talking about winning our division at one point this year. I look at it as a very good year, a very successful year. We have grown a lot, the culture is really pushing along the right way. Losing in 6 games to me, it is disappointing for sure, you would like to go furthur. If we could have just managed the puck a little better, that probably comes along with experience. It was lacking at critical times. We could have pushed that team furhtur. I am very pleased with the growth of the individuals, the growth of the team. Again with what we talked about when we first got here to start this thing off. Just to change the culture, I really like the direction it is heading.

You got to welcome frustration at times. There are a lot of young players playing on the power play. They are going to be better at the end of the day because of the experience they went through this year. Certainly just looking at the playoffs against one of the premiere teams. Things did not work out the way we want. They were put in positions where they have an opportunity to excel. It doesn’t happen right now. There is some lag time. It will happen next year. Players will be better. We will have better execution on that power play.

San Jose came out to me and play as good a hockey game in the first period as they have all year long. Mind you I haven’t seen all their games. Just on their pace, their attitude, their intensity. Lets get after it. We don’t want to go into a game 7. They played a real intense tempo game to start the game off. We responded. Quick was good. We killed off a power play, we were real good on the penalty kill again. We got things settled out. We came back in the second, and better in the third. Then you get to an overtime. You battle back, getting a couple goals at important times to tie the game up. That is what you are looking for. Guys dug in. Guys cared as much as everyone, everyone in that room cares about this organization, cares about this team, cares about their teammates. That is what I really love about this group of guys. There is a very big emotional attachment going on to what is happening with the Los Angeles Kings. From ownership, who have been tremendous, right down through our training staff. The guys worked hard for each other tonight.

The fans were tremendous, weren’t they? They give us everything we needed to come out and play the right way, settle it out after the first period. There was support. There was chanting for us. The guys appreciate that. You hear that on the bench. It is very loud when you got that glass in around behind you. You are in a chamber almost. Fans were great.

There you go. You are talking about youth. They have great games, they are having a hell of a series, they are scoring huge goals. Now you get into extending the series to 6, you are trying to get it to 7. Maybe there is a little too much coming at them, too intense, trying to sort things out and you get caught. That is another learning moment. You are going to see a better group of guys next year.

It was (their best game of the series). They had a good first game. They played good there right at the start, but this game overall for me for San Jose was their best game. Their first period was as good as I have ever seen them play. I bet if they were candid they would say that is the best we have played all season long. They carried the mail, they were on top of us. They did the right things getting pucks deep. They were physical, hard going to the net. We whethered the storm, and that is what you have to do. That is the one thing I really liked about this group here tonight. You have to get through the hard times, the big push. Now you got to get your opportunity to push back. We did, we responded very well.

That is because of Quick, we found that way (to hang in there). There was a lot of blocked shots. We have a lot of veterans that helped settle it out but there were far too many turnovers when we had the opportunity to get it deep. We were already over the red line, we were already in the neutral zone and we tried to make that one extra play which you just can’t do in the early part of the game. When they are revved up like that it comes right back at you. You end up spending an extended time trying to defend. It makes it a long night when you are playing with that kind of an attitude.

I don’t know that right now, there will be. You are right about that. When will it be, maybe in a month I will take a look back at it and try to sort this whole thing out. The thing that bothers me the most right now is that it was our own play. That was very out of character the way we played a couple of games. Why does that happen? I am talking about the fundamentals you have been practicing the last 3 years. On breakouts, counters, puck possession plays that should be executed 99% of the time. We just failed to do it.

That is just part of the game (overcoming injuries). That is the way it is. You are going to lose players. It is going to be key guys, role players hurt. You are going to have to find a way to get it done. That is what we have to figure out. You have to move by that kind of stuff. If you start to feel sorry for yourself when it comes to injuries, you might never break through as a pro team. There is no sympathy there, nothing is needed from anybody to say it is too bad. To hell with that. Guys needed to step up a little bit higher to do the job. That I hope will come now that we have gone through it.

Sure they can (go four rounds), absolutely they can. They got premiere playes in the world. They have three lines that are outstanding. They have guys on the back end that are very active, very experienced hockey players. Sure they can. You play like they did in the first period, they can go pretty deep.

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