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June 4, 2019

Bruce Cassidy

St. Louis, Missouri - Practice Day

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Bruce.

Q. (Question about Chara.)
BRUCE CASSIDY: No. He has to get back to Boston, get looked at a little closer. We'll go from there.

Q. What do you think of the officiating last night? The fact you didn't get any calls or many calls?
BRUCE CASSIDY: You got the best refs. They go through the process, like teams do. They get evaluated. They're here because they've been the best throughout. I expect they wouldn't get (indiscernible) into somebody's (indiscernible). They should be better than that.

I certainly didn't expect them to. They should have a degree of professionalism, call the calls they see. That's why the night before, I found it odd that we killed five power plays.

We scored on our (indiscernible). One was in the last minute, so it's inconsequential. One was on them. It wasn't an infraction. They got called, challenging an off-sides. Really there's a couple that they could look at that affected the game, I think one in the first period, one in the second.

Going into last night, I think the call on Clifton was a head-scratcher. Tarasenko went to reverse hit him. I don't think there was any contact to the head, maybe his head. I don't know where that call came from. That's the only one I was unhappy with.

There's always some that go your way that they could call. It's hard to nitpick through every one. That's my thought on that.

At the end of the day, we didn't play well enough to win. We know that. We killed the penalties we were called on, and scored on a shorthanded goal. We would have liked to have gotten on the power play a few more times.

Q. You mentioned the power play. On the opportunities you did have, was there something St. Louis did to keep you quiet?
BRUCE CASSIDY: A couple off the rush. We've always encouraged our guys, you get a good look, you take the first available best shot if it's there, as opposed to looking for a perfect play.

Marchy had one. He was off on an entry. I think Charlie got a rebound later, fired. Pasta got in late. But at the end of the day, we didn't do enough offensively. Usually it's recovering pucks, getting a second chance. They did a better job in that area. We did a better job in the game before.

Q. It goes without saying, but what is it about hockey players at this time of the year that will play through anything?
BRUCE CASSIDY: It's the Stanley Cup. That's it. I don't have a better answer for you.

I think I know where you're going. I've been on this long enough that I suspect for every player it's to get their name on the Stanley Cup. It's that simple. They don't want to let their teammates down. At this time of year you have a tight team you're playing with. That's usually the case, in my experience.

Q. Along those same lines, Noel suffered a similar injury in Providence, then again this year. What is it like for a guy like that to play through those types of injuries, come back as quick as he did?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Obviously have a higher pain tolerance. Other times it's, You're good to go. It's up to you whether you think you can play through it, be a factor. He's just one of those guys that has a high pain tolerance.

I think every player is hurt this time of year. I always thought there's a difference between injured and hurt. When you're injured, you're on the injury list, you're on it because you can't play. Hurt, I don't think there's one guy on the ice Thursday night that isn't hurt in some way.

Q. If Z and Griz can't go, you've obviously been through a lot of injuries this year, how much can you draw on that experience, how much does it draw the team together and focus teams when you lose big guns like that?
BRUCE CASSIDY: I think what we shouldn't be worried about is, can we win without certain guys in the lineup? We've won games without - go down the list. That's the first thing. Should be a mindset that you can still get it done.

How are we going to get it done? That needs to be discussed, how you have to make up for the loss of certain players in key positions. Z has been great on the power play. They've been ineffective (indiscernible) goaltender. Now we have to plug someone in there. We got to fix that hole.

He's a shutdown defender, forces guys to go outside. We'll work to get inside. How you going to fix that? I don't know if you can all of a sudden. We have to talk about the mentality of boxing out better. That also involves forwards.

There's different things you got to do to support each guy missing. Griz is more of a puck mover. How are we going to move the puck better when he's out of the lineup? Forwards have to support the puck better. Did a good job of that in Game 3. The other night not as much.

I don't think it affects the team in terms of you can win with guys out of the lineup. It's the magnitude of this time of year.

This matchup is not good with Z out, let's face it. They're a big, heavy team. You lose that element... But someone else is going to have to step up.

Q. You see it often in the regular season where you do lose a big gun, everybody comes together, the team actually plays a little better for a very short-term.
BRUCE CASSIDY: That's what we need for two more games, maybe three, if that's the case. Now we're getting ahead of ourselves with Z. Chris could return, so... These are probably better answered on Wednesday or Thursday.

But that's what we need. It's a short period of time. Sorry I cut you off. If that's the ask, our players should be able to buy into that, for sure. It's tough to say we're going to survive for a month. We did that in November, kept our Playoff hopes alive.

I think our mindset will be fine in that regard. You just hate to lose a key player, your captain, one of your leaders. You lose some intangibles, as well.

Q. Do you need a little more offensive production from your second unit?
BRUCE CASSIDY: On the power play?

Q. Just period.
BRUCE CASSIDY: Period, yes. I agree with you.

Q. What do you do to try to coax that out of them?
BRUCE CASSIDY: We've changed lines all year to try to get guys going. The problem with that this time of year is you're so far down the line, the other lines have their chemistry, especially our bottom two lines. We used to pull guys, throw them a little carrot, some extra minutes, some extra responsibility. Usually get the puck to people. We thought about that, but now you're kind of messing with the chemistry of other lines. We got to be careful with that.

We may move Pasta in there periodically for a few shifts here and there. We got to sit down with them obviously. They got to change the way they're playing. It hasn't worked so far to generate offense.

One thing, if you generate offense night after night, doesn't go in, we'll see where that line is. We did talk about it yesterday. We're going to have to revisit it, sell some different ideas of how they can generate offense.

Typically Krej is very receptive, but he still likes to play his way. We're going to have to be halfway on that, then go from there.

Jake, I think it's pretty simple with Jake, he has to play more on the inside right now. Use his speed, get inside. That's when he starts to get going. He's that type of kid that when he scores one, he's streaky. When he gets that one, he may take off.

Backes is Backes. He's a complementary guy on that line. His game is not going to change a lot. I think the other two, we have to find a way to get them back.

Q. What is ultimately going to allow the one team to get the two wins to determine the series?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Well, I think you've seen the response after a loss from each team. It's kind of like the ball is in our court now to respond.

I don't say one specific thing. We won the special teams battle, yet it's still tied 2-2. Both goalies played well. Maybe Game 2 they won a few more stops. I don't know if the goalie is the one that cost them the game. You would think both teams would be solid. It comes down to a little detail here and there.

I think at the end of the day, the inside chances they got yesterday made a difference. Every goal they scored, they got a second chance. We got to do a better job on that.

When we've been on our game, we've used our speed skill on the forecheck, turnovers, get inside as well. That's how I see it. Who is willing to get in there and get the puck for themselves? That's what it comes down to at this time of year.

Q. Are you contemplating any lineup changes other than what you may be forced to on the back end?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Well, the back end could have a domino effect. Again, speculation. I hate doing this. If we are out two D, Griz and Z, we might have to play seven defensemen. Playing guys that haven't played a ton.

Maybe you got to look at how does this best work out to use a guy situationally, take PK minutes, if the other guys match up, which of course would be reaching into an area that a young kid hasn't played in the Playoffs at all. You have to be careful there.

Forwards, I think we can manage. We've used different guys, double-shifted throughout the year. So that part doesn't worry me as much as how is it going to affect the young kid coming into the lineup.

We've plugged a D in, it's worked well for us so far. That's the other option. I don't think we'll go any other route. We've gone this far. That's kind of our options right now how to play. That's dictated by (indiscernible) right now.

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