Murray, on the San Jose series
Question: Now that you’ve had a little time to reflect, how do you analyze the series against San Jose?
MURRAY: “In talking about it through the series and at the end of Game 6, it was about us, in my mind. When you go into a series and you have Kopitar out of it, you’re wondering, can you score enough goals to win a series. We did. We ended up matching their number on the offensive part of it. It really never came to a lot of thought that we would execute the way we did without the puck, or even with the puck. I guess you could put it in that sense, too, with the number of turnovers on breakouts and in the neutral zone. We wanted to do a little extra all the time, and it came right back at us. Then, just in our structure, as far as the play without the puck, that was so far away from who we’ve been throughout these past couple years. To me, today, it’s still a concern. That’s part of what I’ll talk with, with the individuals, and get their thoughts and go back over the games here. We’ll take a long look at it.”
Question: Does that mean there was a problem with the people executing, with the strategy, the pressure of the Sharks?
MURRAY: “Absolutely. You’ve got to give the other team some credit there, too. Just go back to the last game, the first period. San Jose came out to avoid a seventh game at all costs. `We’ve got to make sure we get this thing done here today.’ So they came out with that kind of pressure, intensity, really on the puck relentlessly. They pinched for the first time in the series, and were very hard down the boards with their D-men. So part of the credit does go to them. But on the other side of it, when you go back through the other games, and staying with Game 6, our attitude in the first period of every game was, literally in the first 10 minutes, to get the puck in behind the defensemen and get our part of the offensive game established. That’s where a good feeling comes. That’s where players want to play. They get their legs going, they get into the game physically, emotionally. You get a real good sweat going, you’re moving all the time, you’re just playing the game on the fun side of it. That’s the sexy part of the game, is in that end. Why not chip pucks and get it deep? That’s where we, literally, refused to get pucks deep. Sometimes we tried and we’d hit a stick, hit a shin pad. The attitude, that’s the concern. `What happened, guys? Why did we end up coming and chasing pucks back into our own end in the first 10 minutes, when that’s clearly when we wanted to establish that other side of the game.’
“It has nothing to do with character. It has nothing to do with being good people. System-wise, the system has been in place for three years. Instinctively, you’re playing the game. There’s not a change there. So how do we deal with this emotionally, mentally? Again, I think there’s quite a bit that can be tied into — and I don’t want to use this as an excuse, and please don’t interpret it that way — but when you have your top player out of the lineup, who can grab a big part of the start of the game like that, against a team that’s putting a big push on, they have the ability of settling things and doing things right. That helps the game plan get established right away. But even saying that, everybody else has to be on the same page. We’ve got to learn from it.”