Comments from Kings players Drew Doughty and Justin Williams on Tuesday afternoon at MSG…
Q. Drew, can you talk about Dustin Brown, what you think of him as the captain, what comes to mind for you? Talk about playing against a guy internationally, as well.
DOUGHTY: Browny is a great leader, a great captain. He does a lot of things both on and off the ice, especially on the ice. He works as hard as possible. He cares a lot. The opponents don’t like playing against him because he hits so hard and at the same time he can make plays and score goals. When I played against him at the Olympics, basically whenever I had the puck, he was on the ice, I was trying to get rid of it so he couldn’t run me. Yeah, great captain, great leader.
Q. Justin, what has Darryl been like through this whole run?
WILLIAMS: I think with Darryl, you probably all realize this, it’s mostly all business. There’s not much toying around, playing around. Although we have a young team, we have a pretty veteran team. We’ve been through a lot together. A team that I remember Drew saying at the start of playoffs, hates to see another team get the better of them. I think our coach is the exact same way.
Q. Justin, with one more win, that would be three Stanley Cup championships for you, which is kind of the stuff of legends. Can you go back and describe sort of the journey for you, what it’s been like, the ‘pinch me’ moments you might have had, not just this year, but along the way?
WILLIAMS: Well, I’m a player who really is just another piece of the puzzle that everyone is a part of here. Throughout my career, I don’t do anything flashy out there. I’m not the fastest skater. I don’t have the greatest shot. I just try and do the best I can out there with what I have. I feel my smarts and my instincts have gotten me where I am, and my competitiveness. That’s really no secret that anybody gets here for that reason. Throughout my career, I’ve just attained a goal, then kind of made another one for myself. Step by step I’ve gotten to be the player I’ve become. I want to keep getting better.
Q. Drew, tomorrow night will be your team’s 63rd playoff game in the last three years. Can you go back to Game 1 of that stretch, April 2012, Vancouver, to now, how much has this team grown?
DOUGHTY: I think we’ve grown a ton. The experience from that first run helped us a lot. Guys have gotten older, better. We’ve added pieces to the puzzle. When all that happens, your team becomes a better team. We live for the playoffs. We live for these type of moments. Yeah, this team, we’re a great team, but we’re not finished what we have to do yet. We need to continue this as long as we possibly can. We have the right guys on this team, the right players. We have the possibility to go deep for many years to come.
Q. Justin, I know it’s a couple years ago, but when you had Jersey down 3-0, were you conscious of or in retrospect do you know of a letup that let them back in that series, or was it a difference in desperation or urgency level?
WILLIAMS: I think potentially, maybe not everyone, but there were some issues that maybe got us sidetracked a little bit. The thought of winning a Cup, being one game away, family issues, ticket issues, all that stuff. That can maybe sidetrack you from the end result. We’ve got the rest of our lives to see our friends and family, make sure they have tickets and all that. We have, you know, usually one chance, and this is our second chance to do it, to win a Stanley Cup, to be remembered forever. That had a little bit to do with it. Obviously New Jersey not wanting to go away quietly. They certainly didn’t. Made us earn it. We expect the Rangers are going to do the exact same.
Q. Drew, you guys know what it’s like to be down 3-0. Is that something you talk about over the next 24 hours or so? How important is it to keep the pedal to the metal here?
DOUGHTY: It wasn’t easy for us to come back from 3-0 in the first series against San Jose. We know how it can happen. All it takes is one game, one momentum shift, the team can run with it, the other team can be down in the dumps.
That’s why this next game is so important for us. We can’t let them back into the series. We have to take it to them. They’re going to have their best effort without a doubt and we need to have ours as well.
Q. Drew, what do you remember of 2012?
DOUGHTY: It’s just an exciting time. I don’t think you get any more nervous or anything. I treat it, a lot of other guys treat it, as if it’s another game. Yeah, you get a little nervous maybe the day before knowing you have the possibility to win it. At the same time so many things could happen that you won’t win it, as well. I’m just trying to treat it as a regular game, just trying to play as well as I can. Yeah, just go in there being confident in our team, hoping we can win it.
Q. In New York we’ve heard a lot about how the Rangers have gotten to this point because they’ve been balanced, able to run four lines. Can you comment on how you’ve been able to do that, how crucial that’s been for your run.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think — not I think. I know championship teams, and hopefully we can be one this year, have the same general attributes. They have goaltenders playing at the top of their game. Four good lines who can score. They’re relatively healthy. They have a D man who eats up a lot of minutes, is one of the best in the world. A lot of championship teams have that.
I think we have all the ingredients right now. We aspire to be a good team for a long time.
Q. You’re so close but still so far away. What is your level of anxiety right now? Can you hardly wait to get out on the ice tomorrow?
DOUGHTY: I can’t wait to get out there. It kind of sucks that the game is at 8:00, waiting around during the day. You just want to get out there. You don’t want to get overanxious at the same time. But it’s fun to play in these types of games. When the pressure’s at a high, you just want to go out there, play your best as a team, win games. Yeah, I just can’t wait to get out there, get warmups over there, drop the first puck.
Q. Getting closer to Conn Smythe trophy time, both of you have been mentioned. What does that feel like?
WILLIAMS: I mean, that’s an award that a lot of NHLers obviously aspire to have. But at the same time when you’re presented with it, I think a lot of guys just want to put it aside and look to the big jug. That’s pretty much how I can explain it.
I mean, to be even mentioned with these big guys in that conversation is awesome. But, hey, the big one is what matters. Yeah, I want to taste it again.
Q. Justin, Jarret talked earlier in the playoffs that home ice is only important if you win your home games. Is that more of a product of what your experience has been over the last three years as a group?
WILLIAMS: I think in 2012, we made a point it wasn’t important at all. Just depends how your team is playing at the time, how calm they can be, how you can manage your butterflies, your anxiety, ultimately how you can rise to the occasion.
It doesn’t matter where you’re playing. But sometimes you have to weather a storm early against teams in their own building.