June 7, 2019
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. After some sleep, your thoughts about the non-call?
BRUCE CASSIDY: I think I was pretty honest about it yesterday. My feeling hasn't changed. I thought it was a missed call that impacted the game unfortunately in a negative way for us.
Other than that, I talked about there's been a few in the post-season. I'm also a fan of the game. For me, it's a privilege and an honor to be working in the National Hockey League, to be in the Finals. We're ambassadors for the game, too. We want to grow the game. We're trying to give them access. I'm all for that. I'd rather talk about that than missed calls that affect the game.
That's the way it was last night. Today is a new day. So we're going to move forward and get ready for Game 6. That's what's in front of us.
The other part, to expand a little bit, I've coached Noel Acciari for a long time. He's hard on the puck. That's his job, is to win pucks. He's a penalty killer, he's a shot-blocker. After the game, it's tough when you lose. Generally coaches don't address the group. You will from time to time.
You walk through the room, you see a guy, he's despondent. He feels like he cost the team a game. That's a guy I feel for.
I've grown tight to this group, these players. They lay it on the line. I feel as bad for him as anything else. There's no call, so he feels like he didn't win his puck battle. That's a tough one. I have to pick that player up moving forward.
There's a little bit of emotion that comes in after the game. The emotion now is we've got to put it behind us and we got to win Game 6. That's what's in front of us. How do we prepare to win Game 6? That's where my mindset is today.
Q. How do you plan to move forward at this time?
BRUCE CASSIDY: We're going to fly to St. Louis today. We're going to show a little video tomorrow, practice, work on things that we feel will make us feel better. It's kind of late in the year for that. But there's some things in the O zone clearly we could do to finish some plays. D zone breakdown, the first goal, got to revisit that. Our power play has kind of got stuck here a little bit. So we have to look at some adjustments.
That's the things we're going to talk about. Got to keep the puck out of our net if we're not putting it in their net. You need to win by one. If it's 1-0, great. If it's 6-5, we don't care at this point. We just need the victory. We have to figure out the best way to beat St. Louis in Game 6. That's what's in front of us.
We went up there and won one of the games there, so it's not like we're incapable of doing that. That's our task.
Q. You mentioned adjustments on the power play. What are those adjustments?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Entries. I thought last night they did a better job. We were looking at a certain side to get in. They have three across. If you can't get through the middle, they sort of have to sag then. I thought they did a good job of influencing us to one side. We got to be quicker identifying that.
We're not partial to one side. Marshy on one side, Pasta the other. I think in zone, they've been tight. Either got to stretch them out to get some seams or we got to be less stubborn, then get a net presence and take the shot that's available with that net presence. Maybe stretch them out off of puck recovery.
A little bit is on us to make sure -- 'us' the staff -- and it's on the players to make the right decision at the right moment in time. That's what we'll look at.
Q. Are you going into the situation like a motivational speech kind of guy, prior to Game 6, for the next couple days you'll be thinking of something? Or is it just the moment is what it is?
BRUCE CASSIDY: I think the players know what the moment is. We can draw on previous experience. This particular group went into Toronto, tough environment, first round, we won a game on the road, came back and won at home. That's why we're still playing, one of the reasons.
The group that won the Cup, they had to win the last two. They were down 3-2, reversed, home first then the road, but still... They certainly know we're capable of it. That's part of it.
There's some motivation that goes into it. I think at this point in the year, they know what's at stake. It's a little bit about getting their minds in the right place. Every player is probably a little bit frustrated for different reasons, so let's get them out of their own way, so to speak, and just breathe and play.
Q. Was there at any point that you remember, that sticks in your mind (indiscernible), assistant coach, coach, anything?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Not off the top of my head right now. I'll have to think about that one.
Q. (Question about it being about will and desire or X's and O's.)
BRUCE CASSIDY: More about will and desire than X's and O's?
BRUCE CASSIDY: There's always a couple things you want to try to do. We've seen them for five straight games. They're not changing. I don't believe they're changing. Good teams don't change a lot, they adjust in game for certain things, i.e., special teams or maybe a breakout. They're still going to forecheck hard, make it tough to get inside. We're not going to change our whole identity in one game. So I think it is.
Listen, the first period we had lots of will. We were on them, just didn't finish. Sometimes when you walk away, they executed one more play than us. That's why they won. It wasn't like we were horrible and they were fantastic.
I thought it was a well-played hockey game. Again, that's why you get frustrated sometimes on outside influences on the game. It's a real good hockey game. We just got to finish a few more plays, then defend a little harder on a couple more, I think we're right there.
Q. (Question about Johansson hit and lingering effects.)
BRUCE CASSIDY: No lingering effects that I'm aware of. Again, I thought it was a high hit. I thought the officials were close enough to call it, they didn't. Again, I'm not going to go down that road again.
If he gets a suspension or a fine or nothing, then that's up to the NHL. They'll make that call. We'll just worry about Game 6. Obviously we always game plan to a certain extent which player is in the lineup, but it's more about the whole group, how they played, than one individual.
Q. Second and third period, you were changing lines, combinations. Do you envision going back to what you started with?
BRUCE CASSIDY: A lot of times we do go back to that. Some of it's going to depend on health. Z played last night. There may be a residual effect on the back end. How close is Grzelcyk? Do we need to protect our D? Could be 11 and 7, could be back to 12 and 6. 12 and 6 for us is obviously our better formula. I mean, we did it probably 80 times out of 82 all Playoffs. It's just a little more comfortable for us. We're going to have to do what we have to do depending on the status of a few guys.
As for the lines, if there's 11 forwards, for obvious reasons you're going to see a lot of different combinations. It's easy if we just toggle one or two guys, things go well, we're happy with everybody. Last night things were going well. We also want to mix it up a bit when the puck wasn't going in their net. That's the thinking behind it.
Q. You would obviously rather be up than down. There's no room for error, do you feel (indiscernible)?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Yep. Listen, there's a certain level of pressure on their team itself, as well. They're going home. If it doesn't go their way, now all of a sudden they're thinking about it.
I can't speak for their psyche. Halfway through the game it's not going their way, Boy, we got to go back to Boston now? Maybe they get outside of their comfort zone the way they play. There's a challenge there for them, as well.
For us, we don't win, our season's done. If they lose, they get to keep playing. There is that level. Might enter their minds, it might not. There is that that goes into it.
For us, we know what's at stake in terms of if it doesn't go our way, we're packing, that's it, it's over. I think our guys have responded well all year. This is a group that plays hard. I'm not concerned at all about what our effort will be, that part. It's can we execute well enough. We have to play our game better than they play theirs to keep playing.
Q. Going back to the line juggling. You kind of lost (indiscernible). That may have been your best line in this series. Any regrets?
BRUCE CASSIDY: No. I guess the regret is we didn't win. I'd go on down the line. We didn't generate enough offense to win the game. That's the way I look at it. I don't look at one individual. That line was good. Part of thinking was also the players were good. Gives them a different look. Jojo has played with Krejci.
That was just a product of trying to get the right guys out there and hopefully it worked out. It didn't. We'll have to look at it again for Game 6.
Q. The last round for St. Louis, a call that cost them game. They were just as frustrated as you guys were. They were able to rattle off win after win. Do you use that same motivation or is there a danger of dwelling on this?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Our play should define us, not a call. It will be part of the message.
To go back to the Toronto series. We lost Game 5 at home. There was a review. Matthews' goal. It was reviewed. Some people felt it was a goalie interference, some people didn't. We had to go to Toronto and put that behind us. We went into Columbus, puck went off the net, ended up in our net.
We've played through certain situations. We got to play through this one. It's not going to be brought up in the locker room. It happened. I felt we actually responded fairly well. We got ourselves back in the game, cut the deficit 2-1. We had a chance to win.
Our play has to define us on the ice, not a non-call, call, whatever.
St. Louis has done a terrific job. That one really went against them, and they pushed on. High character in their locker room. We have the same high character. I suspect we'll put it behind us and off we go.
Q. (Indiscernible) Acciari, Johansson, no lingering effects?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Not that I'm aware. We're off today. Those updates I could get later on.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports