5.13: Brodeur & Kovalchuk interview transcript
Q. Marty, what does it say about you that you were here in '94 for that memorable series and you're still here today for this one?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Keep my job for that long. I don't know. I guess it's kind of amazing when you look at the amount of years in between the two series.
Q. Marty, can you relate a little bit about that '94 series and how wild it was in terms of attention, in terms of hype in the New York area, and do you anticipate a same type of thing like it was in '94 with all the major attention that the two teams got?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, I think it's going to be pretty chaotic at times. But I think a lot of things have changed since '94 as far as the media is concerned and the way people handled them and the way you conduct yourself. So I expect to be just the same I think for the guys. I think they have to just enjoy the moment.
This is a great time in everybody's lives. And we need to really take it all in. You never know when you're going to get back in the situation that you're going to play for a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Finals and playing against our biggest rival, kind of puts a cherry on top for the guys to get that excitement.
Q. Kovy, you said Marty talked to you a lot about the Playoffs, spent a lot of time talking on the phone. Did he talk to you at all about '94 and that series?
ILYA KOVALCHUK: No, not really, because there's a lot of them I don't think they don't want to talk about it too much, but we're going to get a ride into New York City tomorrow before the game I'm pretty sure, so he'll give me some advice.
MARTIN BRODEUR: Hopefully we'll get traffic.
Q. Follow-up to that, Marty earlier said this year he was glad to see you picked up on the rivalry, that there's a hatred, I guess, would be the word. What does the rivalry mean to you and how did you pick up on it so quickly?
ILYA KOVALCHUK: You know, you play against them eight or seven times in the same year and they're really close to us, too, and we are close in the standings. And fans always bring this extra motivation. And it's a big event in this area. And I think the Conference Finals, it makes it even bigger. So they're a great team. They're in the position they are for a reason. They won the conference. And I think we were playing really well. And I can't wait to step on the ice tomorrow.
Q. Marty, last time you played them they beat you pretty well. How does that feel, especially after finally beating them and sweeping them two years, is there still an edge?
MARTIN BRODEUR: I think different years, different teams and different results, and we're definitely looking at some success this season.
But you always look at matchups you had in the past as far as the organization is concerned. And not many guys, I don't know if there's five to maybe seven guys that were there three or four years ago when we played them. There's not many guys. So it's new. And the guys that were there, I think that definitely is an extra motivation for them to get back at them somehow and have good series.
I think it was tough. I think it was our first year in our building when we faced them. Never got a chance to get our fans into really cheering us on and being the extra man that we need sometimes because of the way we played in our own building that series.
And I think this year's a lot different. We played Florida. Fans were great. We played Philly, a pretty close rival, and the Devils fans were unbelievable, and we expect more of the same when we're going to get to our building. And that's going to help us mainly go over, be a little more consistent throughout the whole series here.
Q. Marty, I'm pretty sure 18 years ago it still isn't keeping you up at night, but does part of that still as a competitor bug you?
MARTIN BRODEUR: No, I grew from that. I think - it hurt, no doubt about that. I never hide it that it didn't affect me. I think I was the first one to say that was probably one of the toughest losses I ever had. But if I didn't have that loss maybe I wouldn't have become who I became or even our organization. It's not just myself. And I think sometimes you need to hit the hurdles before you're able to go over them pretty easily. And I think that was one of them in '94. But you're right it doesn't keep me up at night at all.
Q. Just as a follow-up, is there some symmetry for you guys to get back to where you once were, having to go through them again?
MARTIN BRODEUR: You know what, I think it's a big rivalry. They're the best team in the Eastern Conference. They proved it all year. They got themselves the No. 1 spot. They used it for two Game 7s to be able to stay alive in the Playoffs, and they're going to use it to have home ice advantage right from the get-go on us.
So for us we have to do what we've been doing, just put our head down and listen to our coach and just play well.
And regardless of what series that we had in the past, everything's out the window. It's what we're going to do starting tomorrow.
Q. Marty, do you relish the opportunity to go against a guy like Lundqvist knowing the year he had and knowing that people are looking at the series as a matchup between two MVP goaltenders?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, I mean, he's a Vezina candidate. He's the one that's been - I don't know, he's unbelievable. He is lately. He's kind of the top goalie in the NHL right now. And I think I was in that position once. Played against Patrick, played against Dominik Hasek, I played against all the guys that maybe, you know, the top years in their career, but for me it's kind of nice to be able to compete against them, regardless of what's going to happen.
I'll do my best to try to match up, but it's going to be pretty hard. He's a pretty good goalie.
Q. Marty, kind of asked before Patrick, but you've been in this market your full life, in New Jersey. Do you ever contemplate what your fame potion might have been like if you played in a place like New York and won three championships and had the career you had?
MARTIN BRODEUR: I like my life in New Jersey. I love my life in New Jersey. So I never thought about that. If anything I was thinking about spending my life in Montreal and how that would be, how that would be different. But New York for me doesn't give me any special - I don't even go in New York. (Laughter). Just when we play them.
Q. Marty, one thing Patrik said, if you had a different career, if you had been in a bigger market, not just New York, but Montreal, a place where goaltenders are made or broken, maybe you would be a very different goaltender, you would have had a very different career. Do you think about that what it would have been like if you hadn't been in this kind of market, if you had been somewhere like Montreal which for you would have been esoteric -
MARTIN BRODEUR: I made a decision early in my career to stay in New Jersey. I made commitments to them. They made huge commitments to me, I think, and I thought it was the best thing for me. The way that the team was playing, the area, how close it is to Montreal for me. Travel. I considered everything.
I wanted to be the best I could be throughout my career and I felt New Jersey was the right place, because of the whole environment that surrounds the hockey club, with Lou around, wanted to win every year, making every decision possible to be the best we can be. And we pulled it off three out of four Stanley Cups we played for, so it's not too bad.
Q. Ilya, you said you can't wait to get on the ice tomorrow night.
When you came here and now getting to the opportunity to be an important player on a team that is this far in the Playoffs, what have you learned about yourself and how special this opportunity is?
ILYA KOVALCHUK: It is special, because it took me 10 years to get that far. And now it's my second and a half year in Jersey, and my family is here with me now, we all moved here, and that makes a huge difference for me. Last year I was without my kids. So it was kind of difficult and we didn't start the season real well. So it was even more difficult time.
But then we turned the season on a little bit and we felt better about ourselves and we knew this year was going to be totally different, with the coaching and stuff changing. I think Peter did an unbelievable job the way - the system we play now, I think we are more fun to watch from defense standpoint, we score way more goals than we used to. And I think that now we have the Playoffs and I think we got a good chance.
So like I said it's a big rivalry. And now with only four teams left, I'm pretty sure now those guys seeing that they would change everything to be in our position. So we're just going to go there and play and try our best and cheer them on.
Q. Marty, Henrik's numbers against you in the regular season in particular are dominant, 4-4 in the Playoffs, 23-6 and 5 in the regular season. Do you play as well in those games or do you think it's a reflection of team and circumstances?
MARTIN BRODEUR: I think it's because of him. I don't know how many times he's shut us down and played so well. I didn't think I played that bad. And against the Rangers, I think he's played really well.
I think circumstances, you could talk about my record against Mike Richter and we'll probably flip-flop the stats. At one point it's pretty lopsided. So you play long enough, you can make the stats read whatever you want. And that's something I don't really pay attention to. Like I said, he's a goalie at the prime of his career right now. He's playing really well. I think he's cherished that challenge to play against the Devils.
And really the only thing I could say, I'll do better in the Playoffs. But looking forward now, try to be better.
Q. Do you feel like you have anything left to prove in your career?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, you know what, I'm still playing. So I'll be judged about the performance I'm going to throw out there the next two weeks. So I might as well try to make a good impression for you guys to write about, you know?
I mean, does it matter what I did in the past, whatever I'm going to do in the next two weeks is what people will talk about. So that's just the nature of being still active in the NHL. And if I wasn't ready for it, I wouldn't be here. So I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to have the opportunity to try to move on to the Stanley Cup Final.
Q. Kovy, the book is shoot high, does the shooter change, hold the puck a half second longer to load up, or does he not just go straight - straight with the rebound?
ILYA KOVALCHUK: I'm pretty sure the goalies watch the videos. And they know who they're going to face, and they do their adjustments. But I think for us it's going to be very important to create a lot of traffic in front of these guys, because it's not a secret he plays butterfly style and he will go down every time.
So I think he's kind of similar with Bryzgalov, those two guys. So I actually like to play against him. And it's a great challenge to play against the best, and we'll take the challenge any day.
Q. We asked Patrik and Zach before whether they watched the game last night and if they had a preference of who they wanted to see win. First of all, did you guys watch the game last night? And, second of all, did you have preference of whether or not you wanted to see Washington get home ice or face the Rangers and realize the hype and what the mystique was going to be about the next two weeks?
ILYA KOVALCHUK: I watched the first two periods when I was eating my dinner and I watched them, but in the third period I think it was the Rangers and they deserved to win. So I think it's good for the area. It's a big rivalry for a long time, and it will be a great Conference Final.
MARTIN BRODEUR: I watched it. Not much happening. What you expect for a Game 7. I think it's tough to play these games. I think people were really careful and Washington just had a hard time getting through Lundqvist. They had one shift that lasted a minute 50. That's about it.
They played really well. I think we're playing the best team. We're playing the Rangers, the best team in that series. They won. They won it and they were the best team all year. So for us it's just a great opportunity to do something great.
Q. You've been pretty open about studying goaltenders. Have you studied Lundqvist and what did you take away from that?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Even though I would have found the secret, I doubt I would tell you guys. But I didn't. He's a good goalie. All the adjustments, I'm sure he does the same thing. You don't become top goalie in the league and just put your pads on and go out and play. You need to be smart about what you do. You have to learn the players that you play against, the system you play against. The technology of goalies, everybody talks about equipment. But I think knowledge that brought to goalies compared to before is huge. He's got a goalie coach.
I'm sure he's talked about it and he'll be ready for us and it's about us trying to get him disturbed somehow, get him some traffic and get some quality shots on him.