On the game overall:
I really like our game from start to finish. I thought that was the best game we’ve played in a long time. And it was fun. It was fun to watch both teams, the pace. The first period was unbelievable. Both teams were skating. Great hockey. I don’t think there was whistle for the longest time but that’s the way we need to play. Kudos to the guys. They did a great job. Unbelievable.
On the defense being able to get pucks away from Campbell:
You expect your goalie to make the first save but you don’t really want him to have to make the second or third. So, you count on the defensemen, you count on the forwards that are coming back and helping out. I thought we did a good job of putting pucks into the corner rather than putting them back into the middle of the ice or back to their point men to reload and get another opportunity. They kept it simple. We were a tight group in around Soupy and he made the save and our guys were there to clear the rebounds.
On what he can reveal about the injury sustained by Michael Mersch late in the first period:
Well, anything I can tell you about Merschy it’s not going to be good. He’ll be reevaluated but it doesn’t look good. We’re not talking day-to-day. [Reporter: Was it something related to his recent injury?] Oh, no. This is something completely different than what he was — what’d his miss, one game, right, with that other one? – this is another lower-body injury but it’s different than the other one. [Reporter: Would you say this early if he is going to travel tomorrow with the team to Tucson?] No, there’s no chance he’s traveling. I’m not even going to say day-to-day with Merschy. It’s not fair to say because, again, we have to have him evaluated but to be honest with ya, it’s not day-to-day.
On Vincent LoVerde and his two-assist performance:
He’s our captain. He’s our leader. He’s our All-Star. What more can you say. You need a big play? Look to Vinny. Need a veteran presence back there with a younger-looking blue line tonight? He was there. He plays hard. He practices hard. Does everything hard. There’s only one speed for Vinny and that’s full throttle, all the time. He’s a pleasure to have. We’re very lucky to have him as our captain.
On how happy he was with the way the team responded after Mersch went down:
We got through it, which is great. But you’re playing back-to-back and he ate up a lot of minutes last night with our penalty kill. You think about what he brings to our team. He’s a penalty killer, he’s a power play guy, he’s late in the game, he’s protecting a lead. Big play guy. He’s hard to replace. But the thing that I liked about it is he went out and there was no drop off and everybody just rallied. You’ve got to give credit to a guy like Kempe. He was double-shifted. He was playing in the middle and he was playing on the left side. You can get through that for a stretch. We got through it tonight but looking forward and going ahead, it’s not the ideal situation. You don’t replace a Michael Mersch. So, it’s going to be a challenge for us. Again, it’s through nobody’s fault. Mike plays hard, he gets hurt. So, I’ll sleep on it tonight and try and come up with an answer tomorrow. It’s just part of the game.
On his decision to sit out Kurtis MacDermid for the first time and whether it was a tough decision:
It’s always a tough decision. As a coach, you don’t like telling anybody that’s perfectly healthy that they’re not playing. It’s not easy to tell any of them. They work their tail’s off for ya. They play hard for their teammates and sometimes you just tell them that they’re not playing. Sometimes a message needs to be sent, but more importantly a message needs to be received. So, hopefully a fine young guy like Kurtis, message received. Love the kid. Know his whole family. It’s like telling your own kid, giving ya a timeout, you’re grounded, you can’t go to the party, whatever. It’s a decision you make as a coach and as a parent. You’re probably not the most popular guy in the room right now, but you do what’s best for everybody. I had to give my daughters timeouts every once in a while. Had to ground them a couple of times. They still love their dad. So, I’m sure Kurtis and I will hug it out.
On Adrian Kempe’s play as of late and whether he’s found his motion:
I sure hope so. We’re going to need it with Big Mike being out. We were all kind of anticipating the year that [Kempe] was going to have. It’s now starting to become evident. He’s a real good player. He should be a dominant force on every shift. So, I don’t know, maybe the double-shifting helped his game tonight. But it goes beyond that. He’s been pretty good for a good stretch now. So, whether he’s feeling comfortable or whatever it is, we’re not going to tinker with it. We’re just going to let him go. Just throw him over the boards, see what happens.