JUNE 8, 2017
2017 STANLEY CUP FINAL
PRE-GAME 5 TRANSCRIPT
An interview with:
Head Coach Mike Sullivan
Q. Coach, just how much are you looking forward to being back in front of your fans after a couple games in Nashville and the boost that you get from them?MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I think our guys are excited to play for a lot of reasons, but certainly we find a comfort level at home. I think our fan base is one of the big reasons why they're so supportive of our group. I know our whole team, our whole organization are so appreciative of the fan support that we get, and I think that has a lot to do with the success that we've enjoyed here at home this season.
Q. Who's the starting goalie tonight?MIKE SULLIVAN: Matt Murray.
Q. And is Nick Bonino a game-time decision?MIKE SULLIVAN: Yes.
Q. Patric Hornqvist obviously has stated intermittently in this Final. I'm curious how is he doing health-wise, and what do you think you've gotten from him so far in this Final, maybe what more could you get from him?MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, health-wise he's like everybody else at this time of year. It's a physical game out there, and Hornqvist plays a hard game for us because he plays the game the right way. He's doing fine.And as far as what he brings to our team, I think it's obvious his north-south game, his straight-ahead game, his willingness to go to the battle areas, his physical play, I think he goes to the net as well as anyone on our team.You know, his contagious personality on our bench, he brings so much to our team. We love his passion. We love his fire. And he's one of those guys that's hard to play against. I think he does it game in and game out, and so when we choose to use him on the power play, I think he makes it hard on our opponents' goaltenders as far as their movement or their sight lines because he's always on top of the crease, and I think that's one of the strengths that he brings to our team.Regardless of how we use him, what line we put him on, whether or not we put him on the first power play unit or the second power play unit, that's what he brings to our team.
Q. There's two days off now for the rest of the way, this game and going forward. How much does that make for better hockey? And secondly, how much does that allow the coaches on both sides really to push the envelope with some of their top guys, knowing there's going to be enough recovery time in between?MIKE SULLIVAN: It gives both teams an opportunity to get some rest, which should result in a higher quality game, a faster-paced game. I think that at this time in the season, both teams have played a lot of hockey.The NHL Playoffs is a grind, and I think that's probably why -- or that's one of the reasons why the Stanley Cup is the most difficult trophy to win in sports is the grind of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both teams have gone through it to this point, so any additional rest that both teams can get should make for a higher quality game.It should give us opportunities to maybe utilize some of our top people a little bit more than we might if the schedule was condensed. So those are just obvious observations just based on the logistics of the schedule.
Q. Home-road splits for goalies in this series have been pretty stark. Do you think there's anything to that, the nature of the position and being comfortable in your position maybe more so than other positions?MIKE SULLIVAN: I don't know. That's anybody's guess. That's anybody's guess. I think both goalies have performed well and helped their teams win in their respective home buildings. And so our focus really is more concerned about just that one game in front of us, and I know that – I know that our guys understand the importance of that short-term focus, just staying in the moment, and I think it's arguably the most important for the goaltending position because of the importance of that position, and so that's where our focus needs to be.I know that Matt is excited to play tonight, and he certainly has had success here at home, and we're hoping that we have our best game in front of him.
Q. P.K. Subban has said that he doesn't believe in momentum carrying over from one game to the next; what's your thought on that?MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I think if you watch just the history of the Playoffs here, each game tends to take on its own identity, and I believe that teams that make it this far certainly have a resilience about them that they have the ability to respond and rebound and put their best effort forward.And so this is another game tonight. It's an opportunity for us to get on the ice, play the best game that we can play and put ourselves in a position to accomplish the ultimate goal, and I think that's how our team is certainly looking at it is that this is a great challenge and it's a great opportunity and we're excited about it.