Brad Richards and Henrik Lundqvist took some time to discuss things occurring in Rangerstown. One of the more interesting aspects of the conversation is with regards to coaching styles. Alain Vigneault is known for being cool, calm, and collected. Brad Richards is here to inform everyone that Vigneault gets just as emotionally charged as everyone else. Each offers their own opinion about The future of Brandon Prust and Derek Stepan as far as being really good friends off the ice.
Q. Brad, A.V. was just talking about how upset he was with the situation that’s happening with Carcillo and how it might impact his career moving forward. What are your thoughts about that?
BRAD RICHARDS: Yeah, it’s a tough situation. I still haven’t even looked at it. I have a tough time believing Carcillo is trying to do it, but in the heat of the moment a lot of things happen. Unfortunate for him, and, yeah, like you said, personally we want to try to protect him, and hopefully everything will come out on the good end and we’ll get by this in a positive way.
Q. He has a tumultuous past and quite a record at the NHL level. But as a teammate what kind of guy has he been?
BRAD RICHARDS: He’s been a great teammate. Ever since he got here our team has played well and he’s been great in the locker room. Heard a lot about him before and don’t have one bad thing to say about him as a teammate since he’s been here. Like I said, hopefully this will be a good lesson and turn out the right way for him.
Q. First of all, just your impressions on the two-game suspension handed down to Prust, and secondly, you’re familiar with Prust and Stepan and their closeness as friends and the incident that took place. Does that add an extra layer of discomfort considering how close they are?
BRAD RICHARDS: I don’t know. I really don’t know how close they are. You’d have to ask them. Prust was a teammate and put a lot of good work in for our team, and we appreciate what he did. It doesn’t really matter what I think about the hit. I do know that every meeting or anything I’ve been involved in with the NHL as we’re trying to get rid of head shots, there is a reason for it in any sport around the world. Head injuries, I’ve been through a couple, and numerous players have. They’re a scary thing, and we’re trying to get rid of those, and that’s what I know, and that’s what I’ve been told. But it’s up to the league when they decide those things, and we hope, every player hopes they can play the game honestly and hard without having those injuries, I’m sure.
Q. A.V. seems from our perspective so calm and poised at all times. Does he get worked up?
BRAD RICHARDS: Yeah, he gets worked up. He’s a human being, and he’s a coach. Coaches have to do things sometimes to get things going. But his worked up is different than other people’s worked up. Different from my worked up and your worked up, everybody has different ways of showing it. I think you’ve just got to be around it and be behind closed doors, and you’ll know when he wants a little more of a practice or a little more preparation or whatever he’s doing. He still sets the tone when you see him that day, if things need to be changed or need to be worked on.
Q. After Prust’s hit on Step and the two suspensions yesterday, does this have any different kind of feel going into Game 4? Is it still sort of what happens in the playoff series?
BRAD RICHARDS: Yeah, it can happen in a playoff series. The first two, nothing really like that happened, but we’ve seen and been in lots of them and things like this do happen. But really, Step, the most unfortunate thing is Step had surgery yesterday and who knows where that goes, and that’s not a good injury to have a broken jaw. So besides that, we hope he gets better, but besides that it’s try to win Game 4 and get right back at it.
Q. What did you guys know about Dustin Tokarski before he entered this series?
BRAD RICHARDS: I think there were rumors or talk about that happening. We got our prep. Watched a lot of video on him. He hadn’t played a lot lately. But if you follow hockey, you know he’s won. Being a Canadian, you always have an eye on World Junior and you remember the name. He played well there. Teams aren’t going to put him in a situation where they had a back-up and pulled him and put him in. They had faith in him. They wouldn’t do that if they didn’t think he’d give them a chance to win. So we figured he was a very capable goalie.
Q. (No Audio).
BRAD RICHARDS: Yeah, well, he’s played well when he’s come in. He’s brought energy. He’s a strong head, good hockey sense. Just our top lines have been kind of set and it’s not because he can’t play, it’s just the odd man out. But when he’s come in, he’s done a really good job and he’s going to have to bring that energy that he has and that skill that he can bring tomorrow. No matter if it’s a fourth line or whatever line, he can definitely add it. He can score or make a big play at any time. He brings that to the team.
Q. You guys are in the same position two years ago, up 2-1, Conference Finals. What is different this time around?
BRAD RICHARDS: A lot. I mean, we’re at home this time. It’s a different team. We’re up 2-0. Really don’t read into too much of that. It’s a new series. Obviously, if we score in overtime, it’s a whole different thing. It’s a new series now and we’re in for a war. But the best way to take a strangle hold on it is to win this game in front of us, and that is the only focus right now.
Q. I’m wondering if those are some of the ugliest goals you’ve seen in playoff hockey in Game 3?
BRAD RICHARDS: Yeah, some of them weren’t pretty, but if you go through enough playoffs, there are a lot of ugly goals. The defense is so tight that sometimes that’s what you have to do. You’re going to have to bank things off, and a lot of traffic in front of the net. Funny things happen. Overtime goals always — not always, but it seems like there are always funny things that happen. Two good goalies the other night that were playing well. That’s just the way it goes.
Q. Prust’s hit on Stepan.
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: No, I think we have guys that didn’t really see the situation. I haven’t really looked at it after the game either, so many try to just focus on tomorrow.
Q. Henrik, this is obviously a big series for you and this team. What do you remember about the last time you were here in this kind of position two years ago, and what lessons would you maybe take out of that?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Well, we were a different team back there. We played a little differently. What I remember, it felt like we didn’t reach our full potential. That was a disappointing feeling after the season. It felt like we had some more to give, and that is something you want to make sure this time around that you put everything out there. The preparation, you do what you can when you go out for the game. You really try to play your best every night, and then you see how far it takes you. If it’s not enough, I think it’s easier to accept if you feel like you did everything you could.
Q. Did you ever figure out why that team didn’t max out?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: I don’t know. It’s probably a combination of a lot of different things. To get there we went through a lot of tough games. But I don’t want to think too much about two years ago. I’m here now. Every practice now, everything, every little thing I can do now to help my game I’m trying to do that and trying to do it the right way so I can help this team to win games. It’s fun when you challenge yourself to try to reach your top level, and that’s what you’re trying to do every game. But especially when it comes down to important games. You want to try to be there for your team, and it’s definitely about pushing yourself.
Q. Because Brandon Prust is a former teammate and a friend of many of you in the room, does what happened between him and Derek Stepan, is there an added layer of discomfort or awkwardness?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Well, when you, especially during the playoffs, you don’t see your opponent as friends, even though you’ve played with them. Right now I don’t have any friends in Montreal, you know. They’re just enemies, and you play it that way. That is your approach. But you also have to understand this game. There are a lot of players who play on the edge. That is their role. That’s what they do. They’re always going to play it like that. Sometimes things happen and maybe they take it a little too far. As it comes to relationships as friends, in the summertime you move past that. But right now, do I like what happened? Absolutely not. But it’s on the ice. You know, it happens on the ice, and it is what it is.
Q. The other practice you looked like you pulled up a little bit after one of the shots. Was it an errant puck? Did something happen there? Are you okay?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: I’m good. Yeah, it was a good practice. I tried to go really hard and, yeah, there was no —
Q. It looked like you pulled up.
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: No, no. I can’t remember that. I feel good. Every time you have a practice after a day off you try to go a little extra hard to get back in the groove and feel good about yourself. Physically it’s pretty tough, but that’s what you need to do right now to push a little extra.
Q. With the home teams not winning a game in this series, does home ice mean as much?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Well, so far I don’t know how much it meant. But like you say, it’s a great feeling to play at home, and when you win the games it’s the best feeling. So that’s where you want to try to accomplish. But I think especially early on in the series, you’re so focused on just trying to do your job at playing away or at home doesn’t really matter. It’s just more the experience that changed. The experience of doing it in front of your home fans, that’s a great feeling. But it’s a great feeling to quiet down a building as well. It’s just different. I think as the series moves on, I think the home ice means more.
Q. In what aspect of the game has Alain Vigneault made the biggest impact?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: I personally just like how calm he is. Obviously, he changed a lot the way we play, so it was a big change early on in training camp and the first couple months for us to adjust and for me to adjust. It was a little different game. But he was very patient and calm and understood the process for us to get there. It’s going to take a while to get there. But obviously having Tortorella for almost five years and having that coaching style and then A.V. comes in, they’re opposites. As a player, you learn from both, and I enjoy both. But it’s refreshing when you see a new coaching style that you haven’t had before and the way he handles pressure situations. That’s been impressive to see, I think. The heat you felt early on and not getting the results and now getting in the playoffs, he’s pretty consistent with the way he talks to us good or bad.
Q. You’ve been through two Game 7s again, two Game 7s two years ago. Do you feel pressure now with the extra days off?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Yeah, getting the extra days in between makes a big difference in how you feel. A lot of times it’s tough to get to sleep. After games you’re so wired that it’s hard to calm down. So to get an extra day to get a couple extra hours of sleep is good. I think for all of us, physically and mentally it’s about preparing for each game now and after games you try to do the right things to just calm down and move on, I guess. That’s what you learn from it quickly and then you move on. But when you have an extra day, you might — you try to get away from the game a little bit so you don’t walk around for two or three days and think about the next game. You do something else. Today I think is the day where you start thinking about tomorrow.