Comments from LA Kings captain Dustin Brown and center Anze Kopitar in advance of the 2013 Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks…
Q. Dustin, I want to ask you about the physical nature of your team, how you think that matches up with Chicago.
BROWN: “I think it’s really been a staple of our game for the last few years. We have big, strong forwards that like to get on the forecheck. I think that’s a big key to our success, the challenge that Chicago poses. They got some big guys on their team. They also rely on their speed and quickness. For us to be successful, in our physical aspect, we need to put pucks in good spots and make the hard. They got a lot of good puck-moving defensemen who can maneuver really well back there. It’s a matter of ultimately putting pucks in the right spot.”
Q. Have you seen, in the last two playoffs, a team that’s this fast, this skilled, has this much depth of scoring?
KOPITAR: “I got to think a little bit. Well, we’ve certainly faced I guess a lot of bigger bodies in the past, so maybe not as small and as quick. But the thing is, it’s not going to change a whole lot to what we have to do to make us successful. As Brownie was saying before, we still want to be a physical team. We still want to put pucks in good places where we can forecheck. At the end of the day, spend as much time in their zone and make them defend.”
Q. Does it really just boil down to getting on their D besides putting the puck in the right place?
KOPITAR: “Yeah. Well, you got to put it in where we have a chance to get it back, first and foremost, not just chase them out of the zone ’cause we all know they have some really mobile defensemen. Next thing you know, you’re defending in your own zone. You want to make it hard on them. We want to be physical against them. But that all starts with our play coming up the ice, making sure that we don’t have any turnovers first and foremost. When we do get in their zone, keep it there as much as we can.”
Q. Can you talk about the Blackhawks, what you know of them, your experience from facing them in the three regular-season games from this year.
BROWN: “Well, obviously they got not just their top two lines, but all four lines are very skilled and dangerous. They got a great goalie in Crawford, some great defensemen. They’re a great team from front to back. Obviously for me, my concern is more so with the depth of their forwards. You think about kind of the big four there with Hossa, Toews, Kane and Sharp. Four guys that can all shoot the puck really well, great vision as well. When they have the puck, you’re just trying to read all the situations, scenarios that they could go through. We definitely have our work cut out for us.”
Q. Dustin, last round you were down there with the third line, more of a defensive line, trying to boost the offense there a little bit?
BROWN: “I think at the end of the day, it’s about putting the lineup, giving ourselves, as a team, the best chance of winning. It’s not about where individuals play, who you’re playing with, it’s about giving the team the best opportunity to win. I went down in the third line with Kinger and Louie, there’s big holes with Stolly being out. I thought we were effective against the San Jose third line, put a lot of pressure on them, found a way to I think be pretty effective in the two games I played down there.
“It’s just a matter of finding that balance, getting guys going on different aspects of their game. I thought it was a good change at the time. It gave the Sharks a different look, something to think about. Our lines were probably a little more even. At the end of the day we got the wins we needed to win the series. Again, it’s about the best possible lineup for any particular game.”
Q. Dustin, stylistically, the last series got a lot of reviews for the style of game. I don’t hear a lot about your games. Do you have any thoughts whether it matters what kind of game you play, as long as you win?
BROWN: “We could bore you all to death. If we keep on winning, I could care less what people think of our game. We found something that’s successful for us as a group, and sometimes people don’t think it’s exciting. It depends on your opinion. There’s a lot of people that thought our St. Louis series was really boring because we only scored X amount of goals. I think there’s things that make playoff hockey exciting, and it’s not always about goal scoring. You look last year to the Philly/Pitt series and everybody thought that was the greatest series ever. When you give up 8 or 10 goals in a game, that’s very good hockey. We found what makes us successful and we’re going to continue to do that.”
Q. Anze, if you do get Jarret back, what would that mean to you if and when he does come back?
KOPITAR: “He’s been our best faceoff guy all year. That’s another strength, I guess, on the PK, even on the PP if he does play. It gives us a right-handed faceoff man that we didn’t have when he went out. I mean, we did have Trevor for a little bit. He’s been great. But getting Jarret back, you know, again, if he does come back, a valuable penalty killer, too.”
Q. Dustin, two years ago you lost in the first round for the second year in a row. You go from losing in the first round to winning the Cup. How much of that growth and leap was mental and belief?
BROWN: “I think most of it. I mean, you don’t understand what it takes to win until you lose. We went through a couple losing seasons, losing the playoffs. We did what we did last year. It’s one thing to have success and another thing dealing with it, and that’s what we’re learning to do this year.”
Q. (Question regarding back-to-back games.)
KOPITAR: “Yeah, we haven’t done this in the playoffs yet, at least not since I’ve been here. It’s not going to be any different. You do that during the regular season quite a bit. You know what you have to do as a team, what you have to do personally, to get ready. I don’t think it’s going to be any different. It’s just getting through the routine, getting as much rest as you can.”
For additional Kings-Blackhawks coverage, be sure to check out the links below.
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please include a link to www.MayorsManor.com