Habs and Caps - Between Game Notes and Player Quotes

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What follows is a grab bag of quotes from both team coaches and players such as Alexander Ovechkin, Tomas Plekanec, Jose Theodore, Mike Cammalleri, Jaroslav Halak and others gathered from various sites such as the Gazette, Le Journal de Montreal, CBC Stanley Cup blog and various NHL.com links.

"It's kind of been the case all year of people saying, 'They're good, but this is where they are weak. When people are looking for an angle they try to pick you apart and I guess you could do that for any team, try to find a weak spot. It just matters what our players think. Hopefully we play good in front of him because then he doesn't have to win games for you, he just has to make the saves he's supposed to make." - Mike Knuble, on Capital's goaltending

"For myself, it doesn't really change the approach. The nets are the same size the puck is the same size. I've been around." - Theodore, on playing Montreal

"A lot of people counted me out when the season started for different reasons. It was a big challenge for me just to have a solid season pretty much since training camp." - Theodore

"He's been a guy that's said from the beginning, 'OK, last year was last year. If I have to prove myself I've proved myself my whole life. He's going to be prove himself again. He did it in the face of a lot of adversity this year. I give him full credit for everything he's done." - Boudreau, on Theodore

"It's an often asked question (about the goaltending), but it's the last year of his contract and every player wants to play the best in his last year, especially when you get over 30 so you show everybody that you're not done. He's done that all year. This is a mindset he's had all year. He's a determined guy and you don't get to the lofty positions that he's shared in the National Hockey League by not having a tremendous amount of pride." - Boudreau, on Theodore

"When you see him play every night and you see what he does power play-wise and what he does for his wingers, even with Ovechkin out of the lineup, you have seen him do some pretty amazing things. His talent, what he can do with the puck, the space he gets puts him up there in mention with the top players in the League without a doubt." - Penguins coach Dan Byslma, on Nicklas Backstrom earlier this season

"I only played one game in November, and that was very tough for me. But I worked hard to get better and I've found some success." - Halak

"At this time of year, strong goaltending can transform a team. A team with struggling goalies can't help but walk on egg shells out there and seeing your goalie give up weak goals is a total momentum killer. All I know is we've got a brick wall back there right now and we're all feeding off of that." - Ryan O'Byrne, on Halak

"He was awesome for us. We never would have gotten as far as we did without Jaro." - Slovakia Olympic teammate Andrej Meszaros, on Halak

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Alexander Ovechkin quotes from NHL.com

"I think our line didn't play in their zone at all. We had a couple of chances and we score one, but still we didn't play our game like we want to."

"It's the playoffs and you try to do your best every shift. I think we played great in the first period. We had great chances and didn't score and they scored the first power-play goal. It didn't feel good. We stopped after they scored. Yeah, we scored a goal, but we had to push and we didn't push. But it's OK, it's just one game and we have 24 hours to realize and think about what we did wrong before we play the second game."

"If we had a chance to play in the zone and they got the puck they just put the puck in the neutral zone and we had to go back. I don't know. Maybe we just have to play simple. Maybe we have to play more close to each other. I don't know. We're going to think about it, watch the game and make some changes"

"It's just one game. We have 24 hours to realize it. Right now we're mad and right now we're disappointed, but tomorrow is going to be a new day and it'll be a new game."

"I think they just didn't give us room. They put two guys in front of me and two guys in front of Backy. We just have to talk to each other and talk about what we have to do better."

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Canadiens player's quotes from NHL.com

"I don't think it's a surprise. I think there is a belief in this room that we can win. At the same time there is a big respect for how good that team is that we just played. It wasn't like we dominated the hockey game. They outshot us (47 to 38) and probably could have been up a few, but Jaro (Halak) played well. It's not a surprise, but at the same time it's almost a little bit of, 'Hey, these guys are that good.' " - Cammalleri

"Jaro for sure was a factor, especially early in the game. The first period we could have been in trouble, but he made some big saves and kept us in the game. He gave us a chance to get our momentum, to get our game going and after that when he was called upon he made big saves." - Martin

"You know what, you can't really go too high. It's only Game 1 and we are still really far away. Every game is a different game, like they always say. We just need to get ready for Saturday. We just need try to do the same thing as we did tonight." - Halak

Tomas Plekanec quotes from NHL.com

"I just wanted to put the puck on net. The puck was bouncing a little bit. It wasn't flat on the ice, so I just tried to shoot it and it went in."

"Theo played great tonight and you have to shoot to score. We saw it last night that they scored goals from corners and off defenseman's skates. We wanted to do the same thing and it paid off. I just wanted to shoot the puck and hit the net. Cammy was coming there so I was thinking he might get the rebound and I would be going to the net after that, too."

"It's a huge goal for our team. For me, personally, I am happy to score that goal, but it doesn't matter who scores the goal in the playoffs. Stats don't matter. You have to do your job and that is what we did. Every guy on the team did a great job tonight and we won the game."

"Like I said, I didn't take it personally and it wasn't right what was in the newspapers, or completely right. I was clear and I didn't do anything bad or say anything bad about Theo. I would never do that. I respect him big time. He won the Hart Trophy for his performance in Montreal. I've played with him and he's a good goalie. That's all."

"Well they played well, but I didn't think that we played that bad. Obviously they pressured us big time and they had some power play time and got some shots there and a couple of good chances. We picked it up in the second period so we did better. We were a little more passive in the first period than we intended to be."

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Player quotes from the Montreal Gazette

"It was good that we finished the first period tied 1-1. They had a lot of shots and I think that was the key." - Halak

"They had a 3-on-1 break in the overtime, but Jaro threw himself in front of the play and didn’t let them make a pass." Halak, on Spacek

"If you look at the game, they created a lot of chances, but he played really well. They came with a lot, but we were able to capitalize on a few." Cammalleri, on Halak

"We gave him no space, no time to shoot, even when he had chances. Our guys stuck close to him. We did a great job, but Saturday’s another game." Halak, on Ovechkiin

"He had no shots, but he probably had 10 shots blocked. He tried hard for it. Their whole line played hard." - Spacek, on Ovechkin's line

"He didn’t play well. When you get fifty shots on goal and you have four power plays and he doesn’t get any. They gapped him up pretty good, but I just don’t think he was very good tonight." - Boudreau, on Ovechkin

"I never said anything about the Capitals goaltending. I said they have very good goaltenders and they proved it. I would never say anything disrespectful of Theodore."

"It was a really good play by him. He just looked me off and buried it. He made a good play out of the neutral zone to make that space for himself." - Mike Cammalleri

"(Cammalleri) was tapping his stick on the ice, but he’s always doing that. That’s why I don’t have more shots." - Plekanec

"Our defence was caught in transition, so they backed up and Plekanec got to walk into the top of the circle and he had a perfect shot." - Boudreau

Capital's goalie Jose Theordore's quotes to Le Journal de Montreal

"I lost track of the puck for a second."

"It was a great shot on his part. I was moving from one side and he shot to the other. Plekanec is a very talented player."

"No, there's no irony in it. It was said to create a little playoff atmosphere more than anything I guess."

"Tomas is a super good player, one of the best on the Canadiens side, and I played with him."

"The Canadiens played a really good game, and you have to credit their players. They practiced a good system and were very disciplined. In that way, they were successful in neutralizing our big cannons. They killed off some key penalties and in overtime, all it takes is one mistake. Their players waited for those chances. Canadiens played an intelligent game."

"We came out strong, but they aren't going to run and panic. Apparently their coaches did a job."

Coach Jacques Martin quotes after Game One

"Our best players played big games. The supporting cast as well. It was solid teamwork, but it's only one game."

"The Capitals dominated us in the first period. We were playing on our heels."

"Jaroslav was a factor, and without him we would have been in trouble. He made some big stops and it kept us in the game. It enabled us to regain some momentum."

"We had to make adjustments for the second period. Our plan was to eliminate turnovers and remain as deep in their end as possible. From then we were able to better move the puck and we were successful in adding more pressure on the forecheck."

"When you meet up with a player (Ovechkin) of that calibre, it takes a collective effort. A team responsability. The defensemen must work at limiting space, but it requires the assistance of forwards coming back on the play."

"The key for us is to concentrate on what we can control. The important thing is that we won the first game. But it is only one game. We have to learn from this game and come back even stronger in the next."

More quotes from CBC Stanley Cup blog

"Jaro was Jaro, he's been so solid for us all year," Cammalleri began, before suddenly and unexpectedly breaking out into a fit of laughter. "He has to be that way, it really isn't an option. "It's funny, there's been times this year when we've asked him if he wants more shots because he seems to do so well under that barrage."

"You outshoot a team 19-7 in the first period, it's not going to end up 57-21," he said. "I was a little worried after the first that it was a 1-1 tie and we were outplaying them pretty badly. Usually when you do that and
you don't get your 3-0 lead, they're going to go in the dressing room and get hell or their coach is going to say it's going to turn their way at some point. Something's going to happen and it's going to turn the other way - and it did." - Boudreau

"I thought we were in pretty good command of the game until Gomez had that rush." - Boudreau

This is extremely interesting. A closer look into the indivudual Ovechkin versus Markov game by game matchup from Japers' Rink. A sample quote:

Lots of numbers there, and lots of frustration for AO (on the goal-scoring front, at least). We see multiple games with big numbers of shots that never even reached the net, and, more importantly, a relatively low goal total - take away what many regard as the best game of his NHL career and Ovechkin is averaging .41 goals per game, well below his career .68 goals per game regular season average. Even with those four tallies, he's "only" at .61 goals per game, and his shots on goal per game are below his career average as well.

Also, check out Are The Caps Caught in a Trap, it offers some solid insight into not only where the Capitals break down, but where the Canadiens are looking good. Click the You Tube vid while reading!

One needs look no further than last night's game to get a sense of the difference a little good ol' fashioned dump and chase could make. Without question, the bottom two lines were the most effective last night in terms of puck possession, and that's no coincidence - those six forwards were willing to dump the puck in and fight for it in the corners and along the boards. The top two lines could learn a lot from the grinders in that respect, and it's not like those two lines can't play that game: both trios have the requisite size and the grit to get it done.

 

No truth to the rumours of what Ovechkin was doing before the game. None!

Finally, a Caps fan takes a hissy fit after the Plekanec goal.

In Montreal, we riot!


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