WCSF Game 7: Post-series comments by San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan and Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Friday, May 13, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


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

Patrick (Marleau) has been through an awful lot. This year is no different than any other year. Patty, Jumbo, they become the lightning rods. When it doesn’t go well, people question them. That was out there. The way we played him in the series, the amount of minutes that he got. We obviously believe in him immensely. For him to end up with the (game and series) winning goal is pretty special, for us and for him. I think the monkey will be off his back and he will be even that much better in the next series.

When you look at the goal that was scored, the third one that ended up being the winner, we were on our heels. Your top end players have to go out and settle the game down. We talked about making plays, and not being afraid to err and make mistakes. It started in our end with a breakout pass Jumbo made. It went up ice. We looked the way we should look on that shift. For Patty to score there, I thought we settled down after that a little bit. We knew their push was coming. It was a hell of a series, hell of a game.

The difference is a power play goal and our penalty kill. I thought we had a pretty good plan. They would beat us with a drop pass a lot in the series, so we adjusted a little bit. We felt that if we didn’t allow them any free entries into our zone we would have a better opportunity at killing it. We did a really good job of it. They really didn’t get set that much. The penalty killers came up big.

Why wouldn’t I have (Patrick Marleau) out there (at the end of the game). He is a world class player. He has won in a lot of pressure situations. As I said earlier, we believe in him that much. It is funny when you are up 2-0 or 3-0 someone is asking me about who is on the ice and what you did well defensively. I broke the play down, Jumbo won the faceoff, Patty cleared the puck out. Nobody was questioning Patty at that point. When you lose a few games, everybody starts questioning him. Yes he could have been better, but he was a difference maker tonight.

First of all, we were exhausted (when we took the timeout). They had about 3 of 4 real good shifts in a row. We couldn’t get out of our own end, and we weren’t winning very many faceoffs at that point. We needed to rest. we needed to settle our team down. We needed to make some plays. That was basically the message. There was no magic, no special speech. Give them time to get composed again, win the faceoff and get out.

(At intermission) We did what we always do. We addressed the chances. We addressed the players about maybe some technical stuff we wanted to clean up. I pointed out to them that we shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes. We are not going to be perfect. If we make a mistake, we are going to live with it and we are going to be fine. We also knew the red team was going to have a hell of a push, it worked out our way.

(Chris Osgood’s comment that this was the best 7-game series he had seen) Ozzy’s has been around a long time. One of the tv crew, a gentleman who has been around for years and years prior to game 7 thought it was one of the best series as well. In the games and series that I have been involved in the NHL, your heart gets going and it gets revved up. I remember winning the Cup and how anxious you get. I felt that this round. I shared that with the players, we are going to need a little more poise, a little more composure moving ahead because those feelings are going to come back a lot quicker now.

Yes, without a doubt (we tightened up after the 2-0 lead). We still didn’t quite learn that lesson. We saw it the past few games in the third period when we got back on our heels. I felt that they needed to hear that. It was okay to err, ok to make a mistake and to play kind of free if you will. I am not sure it affected us at all, they still came at us pretty hard. It is part of growth, and we are still in that process.

Yes, pretty much (the focus shifts to Vancouver). It’s draining. It’s draining for everybody, players, coaching staff. We’ll start working on Vancouver tonight, we don’t have many days. It will be interesting. We will enter a series, maybe this one as well, as the underdog. That hasn’t happened before. So maybe there will be a little pressure taken off us there and we can go play free.

(Devin Setoguchi) has found a way to score some timely goals. You look at this series. He had a winner in overtime, he had an important goal tonight on the power play. He is an important player to our club. When you look back at our year, and maybe the transformation from the first half to the second half. You have to put 16′s number up there. He had a much better second half. He was much more committed to his game, and he came a long way. We are starting to see some of that in the playoffs as well.

I think (Vancouver) is a more physical team. They grind a little more. I don’t want to say grind because Detroit grinds with the best of them. They are more about running over you and then getting the puck. When you get to this stage, the goaltenders are all elite. Obviously Luongo has really found his game. They have depth on their team, four lines they feel comfortable that they can continue to roll. They also have a lot of confidence. Every one of the four teams in the final four have had to play a 7-game series. Anybody coming through that has got to feel pretty good about their game. They have all experienced it.

You never want to say it as a coach (an early lead is important), because if it doesn’t happen you can’t always recover from it. I thought the first goal was important, it kept the fans in it. Then perhaps the biggest goal was the Logan Couture steal at the end of the period to get us to that 2 level and make us feel good.

(Do the Sharks have an us against the world mentality?) I am not sure that existed maybe until tonight. The message that was delivered to our players yesterday, maybe a few tweaks as far as hockey goes. There was two stories, I mentioned this to a lot of you already. There was already two stories a lot of you had written, it was up to us which one was going to be sent off. We wanted players to play to the positive one. We couldn’t have that baggage of thinking about the negative. I think a lot of people watched this game, and sometimes you hope for the comeback, the casual fan would like to see the comeback. We were aware of it. I thought we did a good job of eliminating that from our minds.

Post-series comments by Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock:

It was a good game, I thought they skated better in the first than we did. I looked up and 10 minutes had gone by. I thought we did a good job. We gave up the power play goal. I thought they took over for the rest of the first. I thought we pushed the issue for the rest of the game at least. Their goaltender was outstanding. We had 40 shots on net, they blocked another 25. We missed the net, it says 11 times. We had a lot of rubber going that way. Their goalie did a good job, you have to give them credit. They are a good team. I thought the series was a good series. It was entertaining, it was fast, it was hard for any team to leave the other team. It was just one of those series, it was a good series.

We lost (Bertuzzi) real early. When did we lose Cleary, was it in the second? We would have liked to have had some minutes out of those guys, but that is hockey. Bert only played 3 minutes tonight, Cleary only played 10. You miss those guys but it was an opportunity for other guys to step up. I thought our guys did a real good job filling in and playing hard, competing hard. I thought we were on the puck. I am proud of our group, our group worked real hard.

(Jimmy Howard) did a good job. I thought the goaltending in the whole series was excellent, both goalies were real good, giving their team’s an opportunity. That is what you need at playoff time, an opportunity. Good for them.

Any way you look at it your are disappointed here. What I am pleased with, I am pleased with the effort, I am pleased with the growth of our young players, our high end forwards in Datsyuk and Zetterberg were fantastic in this series which I think is really important. They showed great leadership quality which is fantastic. We still feel we have a real young core, and an opportunity to get better. As we continue to change our organization to try to be current, we need these guys to be great. You are disappointed tonight for sure. You thought in your heart and in your mind you were moving on and having an opportunity at Vancouver. I really thought the team coming out of this series was going to have a real shot at winning. You get very few chances to win, you want make good on your opportunities.

(Pavel Datsyuk) is good. He is committed. I think he is the best 2-way player in the game for sure. Zetterberg is no slouch either. We are real fortunate we have a great 1-2 punch, or both together. They have a great drive in them. They really compete at the highest level, and they make the people around them better. They are great players.

(Special teams) didn’t get ‘er done for us, they scored one more power play goal in the series than we did. I think they got 5 and we got 4. Tonight it was enough to win the game. Any way you look at it, they won the special teams battle. We had some opportunities but not good enough, and we had opportunities down the stretch and we didn’t get it done.

(Patrick Marleau) is a real good player. I think he skates hard, he competes hard, and he is honest. It is easy sometimes to criticize Patrick Marleau because Patrick Marleau doesn’t say anything. His play, I don’t think there is one team in the league that wouldn’t want to have him. I know when he played for me in the Olympics, he was fantastic. He played both ways and was an honest player. He is a good man. Obviously, he is a big part of the reason they are moving on.

Obviously Nick (Lidstrom) hasn’t told me what he is going to do. He will get at me when he decides probably. Hopefully I will be hearing good news that he would like to return. I don’t know the answer to that question. I am sure he will take some time to figure that out. As far as Pavel goes, he had a sore wrist and couldn’t take faceoffs.

I think (Lidstrom has a lot left to give Detroit). He is a family guy. He has got kids, a wife. I imagine he will make that decision. Right now, talking about this stuff. I guess you have to do it because the year’s over but we haven’t had any time to think about this stuff. I couldn’t tell you much.

Obviously it was a good series, good teams. Good tempo. I thought their goaltending tonight was fantastic. It was just one of those series, hard to lose the other team. I thought when we were down 2-0, I kept saying to our guys all you have to do is stay with it. We will get one here. I thought we were in the drivers seat to tell you the truth because we were coming after them. We gave up that third goal, but we scored right away. We still had lots of opportunities. They didn’t go in.

How do you ever know (how close Franzen was to playing). All I know is that he wasn’t good enough to play.

I don’t buy any of that stuff (coming back from 3-0 in series). To me, obviously if you look at it, coming back from 3-0 is a huge, huge thing to overcome. We were unable to do it. If you take the approach that we have a game today, and we have to win it, I don’t think it is as big a deal. Our guys came here, we fully expected to go to Vancouver without any question. In the end, their the team that are going to go. That part is disappointing. I don’t think we left anything out there. I thought our guys played as hard as they could. The only time you look at tonight, I don’t want to make any excuses, but without (Cleary), without (Bertuzzi), without (Franzen), that is a chunk of a team right there. I thought our kids hung in there, we battled. I thought we had the better of the play.

Zetterberg got better. Z is a great player during the year, but he is a better playoff performer. It just seems to get the most out of him. Obviously he was injured, that is the way life is. You can’t control those things. I thought he really got skating as the series went on, no question about it. That’s life.

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