DeBoer: 'Our confidence never wavered'
Transcript of Coach DeBoer's conference call with the media on Tuesday.
Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final is Wednesday at Madison Square Garden; the series is tied at 2-2.
Q. Is this rivalry more heated than you imagined it to be?
COACH DeBOER: No, I think it's exactly what I had heard it was and what I anticipated it would be.
Q. Can you take a stab at kind of describing why your team is able to lose a game and then come back and win the next one, is it leadership, confidence, the right players? How would you describe it?
COACH DeBOER: I think all those things. I think that we've got a group here, a nice blend of experience, guys who have been there before and won, and youth, guys that are trying to get there for the first time. And I think we've got a group that believes in the system and what we're doing. And we have a very clear picture of what works for us. And when we lose, it's usually because we step outside of that box.
And when we win it's because we don't. And I think we easily track ourselves back and regroup to where we need to be.
Q. Did you feel the need to defend yourself or your players last night?
COACH DeBOER: I think emotion takes over. Again I don't know the word "defend", but took offense at what happened on the ice, and that was my outlet, right or wrong.
Q. How would you describe the state of the series now? Obviously it's 2-2, how would you describe the momentum or the state of it?
COACH DeBOER: Again, I think the one thing we've learned with these Playoffs is momentum hasn't played a role, I don't think, in either team's series, when you look back over the three rounds.
So we just want to keep doing what we're doing. We feel that if we stick to our game plan, that whether we play on the road or at home, that good things will happen.
Q. Yesterday Martin Brodeur said it's important for the young guys and the newcomers to learn to hate the New York Rangers because this is a really special rivalry. As a newcomer with that team, do you feel like that you're learning as well to hate that team?
COACH DeBOER: Again, I don't want to use words like "hate". The rivalry is what I expected it to be. I'd heard about it. And it's lived up to its billing.
I think the most important thing for us is the young guys learning to manage their emotions against a rival like the Rangers, and I think we've done a very good job of that.
Q. On Sunday, after practice, you said we have to do some adjustments because we were shut out. This morning, when you come to the office, you have a complete other mindset. Are you thinking about what they are going to do or thinking about what you need to make sure that you will be able to do tomorrow night to get that first goal and get something going offensively?
COACH DeBOER: For us, it's about our game. And there's always things we can improve at our game. The process we go through is we watch the game and we'll sit down with our players and fix some of the things that we think we can do better.
So you never play a perfect game. We did a lot of good things. But we know that this level -- this series is going to go to another level and as a group we have to be better.
Q. As you say in English, if it ain't broken, you don't fix it. So can we assume that you will have the same lineup tomorrow night?
COACH DeBOER: You know what I wouldn't assume anything right now.
Q. Can you compare this rivalry with a rival you had when you were in Kitchener?
COACH DeBOER: I mean, sure. I mean, every league you coach in there's rivalries like that. We had rivalries with Guelph where my Assistant Coach Dave Barr coached and Dale Hunter coached half an hour up the road from where we were.
So the type of emotion that's involved is the same. The only difference is you've got ten million people here.
Q. I think a lot of people coming into this series would have given the edge on defensemen to the Rangers but it's been close. I'm curious what about your defense play have you liked, and do you think they're getting better as the postseason has gone along?
COACH DeBOER: I think our defense has gotten better all year long. They're a group that's gone about their business. They don't get a lot of press. They don't take a lot of bows. They just get the job done.
And I think they defend and contribute offensively by committee, and they're doing what they've done all year. Just nobody really noticed.
Q. Is there any way you can describe the impact on Zach Parise and how big he is for the New Jersey Devils?
COACH DeBOER: I've said all year he's the heartbeat of our team. And I can't describe it any better than that.
Q. Do you think that some of your players had to convince themselves that they can score against Lundqvist?
COACH DeBOER: I think we felt we could score. I know we scored during the season against him. He's a very good goalie. And they defend very well. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I don't think there was any point where we didn't feel we could score.
Q. Do you think any of the stuff that happened yesterday, the non-hockey stuff, will that all disappear as this series goes on, or there will be more of that?
COACH DeBOER: You know what, I don't anticipate any more of that. I think the stakes are too high going forward here for any of that stuff to show up. But you never know.
Q. I know you remind your team all the time but does there have to be another reminder of the importance of staying disciplined as stuff like that happens?
COACH DeBOER: Yeah, that's a daily reminder for us.
Q. Can you just talk a little bit about the mental toughness of the team bouncing back from two shutouts, and then coming back and winning each game, what does that say about the mental makeup of your team?
COACH DeBOER: Our group has been confident in our game from day one. Even through the shutouts. We felt we played well. We've created chances, and that we just had to stick with it. So I think because of the way we were shut out, I felt our confidence never wavered.
Q. What do you think of the mental makeup of the other team?
COACH DeBOER: That's not for me to comment on. That's your next press conference.
Q. Have you ever seen anything like what's going on with Bryce Salvador, as far as a guy who is not known for offensive production all of a sudden is getting points like this and he does all those other things so well, but he's not known for offense and all of a sudden he's got ten points in the Playoffs as a defenseman?
COACH DeBOER: I think there's someone like that every year in the NHL Playoffs, whether it's a forward that gets hot or a defenseman that comes out of nowhere or a goaltender that shows up that no one's heard of. I think that's the beauty of the NHL Playoffs. And Bryce has been outstanding.
Q. Would the extracurriculars would you have guessed would have occurred if it was not, if the game was still tied, if it was not 3-0?
COACH DeBOER: No.
Q. Is that a danger in this league that a team may get free shots?
COACH DeBOER: I don't know. I'm not here to fix the league. If you would have asked me if it would have happened if the score was closer, no, it wouldn't have.