On whether he can get a sense of the team’s mental state at the morning skate:
I think once you get to know your team you do. It’s not always the same with every team, where you’re at, time of year, all those things. Generally with our group, just the way the schedule works. With travel you always know ahead of time what you’re doing, game days what we want to accomplish, the day before the game, all those things. If we all skated yesterday, we wouldn’t today, so in terms of getting a read from morning skate, I don’t base how we play on that, but just in our whole preparation part.
On how long it took Marian Gaborik to fit in with the team, and whether the plan was always to play him with Anze Kopitar:
That was our plan, was to play him with Kopitar. That’s what we did. I think there were high expectations when we got him, so that’s what we did. In terms of sticking with him, being patient, we were a team that was fighting for a playoff spot and we expected a lot out of him right away. I don’t think it’s necessarily being patient. I think it was more knowing full well what he could bring and not trying to change that ’cause that doesn’t work.
On whether a day like this is “torture” for him:
No, it’s not at all actually. 8:00 start is a little bit of a stretch. But I told the players this morning I was going after a practice goal in MSG. That’s pretty good.
On whether he communicates with his brothers during this playoff run:
I talk to all of them a lot either via phone or text, more to see what’s going on. They’re at home. Them checking to see how we’re doing. I mean, they’re pretty smart hockey guys. They can see how you’re playing and how certain guys are playing. They can offer you that.
On what is unique about Justin Williams, and how he compares him to other players:
What’s unique is he’s a consistent player every night home and road and he scores big goals and he understands his role. A lot of times, players like that don’t understand their role. I’ve said this before, I really didn’t know Justin as a player that well till he came here because basically he was Carolina, Philadelphia. You don’t see those teams very often other than on TV. For someone to learn by video or learn by watching, you need to know the person. I think ‘unique’ is another way of saying very consistent, very solid, understanding your role on a good hockey team.
On any differences between being up three-nothing two years ago:
We were at home. Now we’re on the road.
On whether Jeff Carter has helped elevate Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson’s games:
I think a lot. Jeff Carter’s a top player in the National Hockey League. Anytime you get to play with a top player, either you elevate your game or you don’t play with them.
On having been asked to compare Justin Williams to other players yesterday:
The only player I could come up with that was real similar in terms of big games and veteran experience and consistency, playing for a long time, playing on championships, was Martin Gelinas.