clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Off-Day News: Leighton To Start Game 2, Carcillo Back In? Pronger Gets Feisty At Presser

Getty Images

Three hours ago, the Flyers announced the following.

Peter Laviolette will not address today who will start in goal tomorrow for Game 2.

Change of heart, apparently. Minutes ago:

Per Peter Laviolette, Michael Leighton will be the starting goaltender for Game 2.

So, there's that. Leighton's your goaltender tomorrow night. But will there be another change or two? Most of the Flyers writers out in Chicago are reporting that it seems like Dan Carcillo will be back in the lineup on Monday night.

The question then, of course, is who leaves the lineup? There are varying reports. Anthony SanFilippo of the Delco Times says that its Ryan Parent who will leave the lineup. The Flyers would just play with five defenseman -- and it wouldn't matter anyway given Parent's 41 seconds of ice time in Game 1 (and his miraculous minus-1 rating in those 41 seconds).

John Boruk of CSN says, however, that Darroll Powe will come out of the lineup. Personally, my vote goes for Parent since he's not contributing anyway. Seems like a simple decision, and it's never bad to have an extra forward anyway.

After the jump, we have full transcripts of Peter Laviolette's press conference today -- where he said he wasn't naming a goalie. We also hear from a feisty Chris Pronger, a "surprisingly not nervous" Michael Leighton, Danny Briere and Mike Richards.

Peter Laviolette's press conference:

Q. Peter, is there any reason for you not to go back to Michael Leighton tomorrow?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: Let me start this press conference by saying that we will keep everything internally with regards to lineups, lineup changes, lines, goaltenders, anything that's internal, we'll probably keep it internal. But thank you for asking.

Q. Are you confident that Michael Leighton, if he plays, can bounceback?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: We're confident in all of our players. We wouldn't be here if we weren't. We're confident as a group, the way we play the game. We're a confident group, generally speaking.

Q. Peter, for the most part, last night, do you think that the majority of the goals were the responsibility of the goalie or the fault of the defense in front of them?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: I said last night our team has proven to be a group that wins as a team, and we play really well together; and we also lose as a team. When we lose as a team, typically everybody could have done something better.

I think last night is a perfect example. Sure, our defense could have played better. Our forwards could have helped out a little bit more. Our goaltender probably would like a second look at some of those. We need to tighten it up.

We didn't give a whole lot of chances against. The ones that we did ?? we even had coverage on a lot of them. Some of them were one on four, one on three. We have to do a better job in front of our goaltender, making sure we are competing in that area. That's the area we need to tighten up.

Q. Do decisions get tougher, is it tougher for to you make a decision on a goalie when you've seen Boucher come in and play, you've seen Leighton come in and play, and you've kind of had a guy just come in and he's been unbelievable? Does it make a decision tough where guys have come in and can do the job?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: Those decisions are always the tough ones when it comes to telling players they can't be in the lineup or they're not going to get the call that night. Danny Carcillo is a perfect example. He went through it. There was no reason for him to come out of the lineup. He's done everything we've asked. Based on numbers, those are tough decisions. They're also decision that is, you know, you look at and you're fortunate to have to make them. It means your team is playing well, and somebody has to come out of the lineup.

If you're talking goaltending, for instance, and having to make a decision, it seems like we haven't had to make a decision since I've been here because there's really been one. The other two have been injured. Ray has been injured. When Ray came back and he was healthy, somebody else was injured. There wasn't a lot of decision?making going on with the goaltenders. It seemed like we covered each other just enough injury?wise to get through to this point. Tough decisions are sometimes good to have to make.

Q. Peter, Blair Betts said this morning that he was surprised the lack of mental preparedness by all the centermen on the face?offs last night. Did you see anything on video? Because a couple of players mentioned they want to go back and look at videos of face?offs.

COACH LAVIOLETTE: They had us pretty good in the first period. Maybe in the 20 percentile in the first period. We got it up to 37 through the course of the game, 39, somewhere in that area. Certainly not good enough. Face?offs, a lot of times, not only do they give you possession of the puck, that's the obvious; but they also kind of give you the state of the team and where they're at. That's where ?? hockey is about just ?? it's a very competitive game, and it's about one?on?one battles and winning those one?on?one battles. Most originate in the face?off circle. To me we have to compete a little bit better.

Q. Peter, you scored five goals, you matched their speed in a lot of ways. At the same time, would you prefer it not to be such a fast game?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: I don't mind the fast game. Like I said, when we went back and looked at the chances, there weren't a lot for them. I think after two periods there was six or seven quality chances. Five of them ended up in the net. The game is going to be fast. We're not going to change the way we play, as far as the speed, and try a countering game all of a sudden.

We got here because we play an aggressive game. They do the same thing. They send their forwards hard into the offensive zone. They look to counter quickly. The game went back and forth pretty good. If they tried to change it, or we tried to change it at this point I think you would get yourself into trouble.

The one area ?? I'm sure they're not happy giving up five goals. I know we're not happy giving up six. We need to tighten it up defensively. They're probably saying the same thing.

Q. Coach, I know you're in the going to tell us which goalie is going in there, but when you look statistically at Leighton and his bounceback games and he was 3?1?1 during the season after getting yanked, and then he had that shutout after getting beat in Montreal, do you ride those numbers at all? Do you think about that when you're a coach?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: I think you evaluate everything. You evaluate numbers, you evaluate practices, you evaluate what your players are saying when you're talking to them. And you take everything into consideration and make the best decision that you can.

Q. Peter, now that do you have a decision to make, do you tell the goaltenders this afternoon? Tonight? Tomorrow morning? What's your strategy on that?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: Our goaltenders will know well enough in advance to make sure they're ready.

Q. Can you draw on the experience in '06 when you kind of had the magic touch. Gerber for some games, Ward for other games. You can drop on that, but you made the good decisions and obviously had a good gut feeling most of those situations.

COACH LAVIOLETTE: I can tell you whoever is on that ice in the lineup tomorrow, and I say this wholeheartedly, there's 100% confidence that the people that we're choosing to go out and represent our organization were very confident in their ability to do the job. And whoever gets the start tomorrow night is really going to ?? is really going to shine.

That last line from Lavi there is pretty awesome. His promises usually come true, if you haven't noticed.

This Chris Pronger interview is by far the most entertaining thing you'll read today. His interaction with Tim Panaccio of CSN is just hilarious. Here it is:

Q.         Chris, just wondering what you felt you guys did well against the Toews and Kane line last night to essentially keep them off the scoreboard?

            CHRIS PRONGER: I think we just did a good job of denying them time and space. If they don't have the puck, they can't make plays. And for a lot of their shifts we played in their end, forced them to play defense and really tried to deny the puck to both Kane and Toews. The times they did get it, we closed on them quickly and forced them to dump the puck.

            Q. A lot of anticipation about you and the Byfuglien matchup. It looked like you initiated more than we've seen in the first three rounds with the player.

            CHRIS PRONGER: There was a lot of talk. You guys had a lot to say about him. So I guess we needed to calm that down real quick. I have played in the West for 14 years. I played against him a lot. So it's not like I've been out East for my whole career and never played against the guy. That may have been blown out of proportion, I think.

            Q. Did you initiate more last night early on?

            CHRIS PRONGER: I just tried to deny him easy access to the front of the net. As I said, the first couple of days I think teams allowed him to just to go stand there. You have to force a guy like that to work. He's a big guy. But he's got to exert some energy and work to get into position. That tires guys out that aren't used to it. You have to pay a price, whatever that may be.

            Q. Chris, Danny was in here and said last night was important because it proved that we belong with this team, regardless of the loss. Do you feel that way, that because maybe Chicago came in as a big?time favorite in this Series, that you had to prove that you belong, that you could play with this team?

            CHRIS PRONGER: Favorite to who? To you guys? This crew in here? All that matters is what we think in that locker room. And that's it. Whether the world is picking them as favorites, we've all seen probably one of the most heavily favored Super Bowls, St. Louis against the New England Patriots. That didn't turn out very well, did it. A lot of people lost money on that one. I don't really buy into the favorites, underdogs, all that. I think from the get?go we believe we can beat that team. Do we need to tighten up a few things and play better defensively, absolutely. That's why it's a best of seven series.
            Q. Chris, it sounds like the goalie situation is up in the air right now.

            CHRIS PRONGER: What?

            Q. Michael Leighton was able to do the last Series ??

            CHRIS PRONGER: That's news to me. Are you starting to stir the pot? It's news to me.

            Q. That's what your coach said.

            CHRIS PRONGER: Okay. Maybe he's keeping you on your toes too.

            Q. I think he is. What's your take on the goalie situation. Would you feel bad for Michael if he doesn't have--

            CHRIS PRONGER: I don't have a take. It is what it is. That's the coach's decision. We play the same way whether Bouch is in the net or Leights is in the net. It doesn't matter, it shouldn't matter to us in front of him. We need to play better in front of him whoever is in the net. That's the bottom line for us. It doesn't matter.

            Q. Chris, the result of the game aside, speaking as a defenseman, were you like appalled at all the goals that were scored last night?

            CHRIS PRONGER: I wasn't necessarily appalled. Probably more concerned with how the goals were scored, just through defensive lapses, really. It wasn't like they created a whole lot. It was more on our mistakes. And I guess that could be disheartening and a positive thing. We can clean that up and we won't be allowing as much.

            Q. You've been around long enough to see these kind of things where the goalie decision has to be made. Do you think if he were not to put Leighton back in there, that sends a message to the room that I don't have any confidence in him right now? You're all saying that it was your fault for what happened last night. Not to go back to him, what do you think that says to the team?

            CHRIS PRONGER: I don't think he's made up his mind. So it would probably be premature for me to speculate or say anything on the matter, Tim.

            Q. Say anything.

            CHRIS PRONGER: I don't think I will. Because I don't like the way you phrased your question.

            Q. Why don't you phrase it for me.

            CHRIS PRONGER: I don't guess.

            Q. You played in Stanley Cup Finals before. Lappy was saying looking around he thought some guys first time being there trying to get used to o it, maybe especially defensively or assignment?wise. Did you see that? And how much more comfortable do you think a lot of these guys will be in Game 2?

            CHRIS PRONGER: I think there's no question it's good to get a game under your belt, understand the circus we're in, and obviously the stakes of the games and the atmosphere of the crowd and all the rest of that. The first game is behind us. Everybody kind of knows what's expected of them now. If they didn't, they do now.

            Whether the guys are nervous or just had mental breakdowns, it happens. The game is a game of mistakes. And how you deal with them and correct them and all the things like that is what makes this game great and makes hockey the sport it is.

            Q. Chris, what's it like this time of year-- 

            CHRIS PRONGER: I don't know what Buff did, but ??

            Q. Stop that. It's dead now.

            CHRIS PRONGER: Well, thank you. Finally.

            Q. What does it feel like, especially at this time of year, to be playing 32?plus minutes a game?

            CHRIS PRONGER: It's exhausting. I don't know. I couldn't get up this morning. I don't even know how I'm sitting here. I almost fell asleep.

            You know what, it is what it is. It is that time of year. You do what you can to help your team win, whether it's playing that many minutes or 24 or whatever is asked of you, you do. You prepare yourself to play as much as you're asked to play. Whether it means you have to shorten your shifts a little bit or alter your game a little bit, you do that.

            But I feel good.  Had some treatment and feel good. I'm ready to go tomorrow.

            Q. You guys played a disciplined game yesterday. Do you think as a team you played physically enough?

            CHRIS PRONGER: What do you want me to say? There's two parts to your question.

            Q. I think you guys played a really disciplined game. You stayed out of the box, which is a different experience for you guys. It almost felt like maybe it was a little bit too quiet. Do you feel you need to pick up the aggression a little bit?

            CHRIS PRONGER: So you don't want to us play disciplined?

            Q. I'm not trying to coach this team.

            CHRIS PRONGER: Okay, well, I don't know what you are trying to ask me.

            Q. Do you think since you didn't have any penalties, maybe you should play more physically?

            CHRIS PRONGER: Should we take more penalties? Is that your question, Tim? I thought she was asking the question. Can we play more physically? Absolutely. I don't think we need to take more penalties in doing so. I think we got off track by not getting the puck in deep and being physical in that respect.

            You know, if we take a couple of penalties, so be it. I don't think we're worried about taking penalties. I think we just got off track and started to play a little bit their game, a little bit of run and gun, and that fed into their hand a little bit.

            Q. I'll ask this question for Tim.

            CHRIS PRONGER: Does it have stats in it? That's what he's good at.

            Q. It actually does. Hartnell said he and Danny were never told to come off the ice when matched up against Toews and Kane. Danny has never been in the Selke conversation, but he had four points, Tim ??

            CHRIS PRONGER: 1 in 3.
Q. And Toews and Kane had no points and minus 3. Talk about their matchup.

            CHRIS PRONGER: They did a great job. I think that's the line with Ville and Danny and Hartsy. They control the puck very well. They're all good with the puck. They make good plays. They keep it simple. And they can all skate, which helps against a line like that. You can close fast. The more you have the puck, the less chance the other team has of getting it and putting it in your net. As I said at the beginning, against that line, you have to close quickly, you have to eliminate time and space and you have to try to deny them the puck. When you're playing with it, it forces them out of their rhythm and forces them to play defense, which they obviously don't want to do.

            Q. You've played in Stanley Cup Final games in Carolina and Southern California. Is the ice surface this time of the year par for the course, or is it a little bit disappointing considering this is the biggest series of obviously the year and that the conditions are not optimal?

            CHRIS PRONGER: Well, it's pretty hard for them to be optimal in June. It is what it is. It's getting hot out, humid out. While it is the Windy City, we can't open up the doors, as we talked about yesterday, and let all that cold wind in. I don't think it's any worse than it was in Anaheim or Carolina or whatever. As you've progress further in the Playoffs, the ice usually gets a little softer. It's tough to keep it that cold. We could make it hard, but it would be about 4 degrees in the building. I'm sure the fans wouldn't appreciate that very much, wearing parkas in June.

            Q. As much as these games get magnified and you guys are down 1?0 here, it seems the guys on the ice today are loose. You're up here joking around. You're loose. How crucial is it to be loose and relaxed even though you guys have a 1?0 deficit here?

            CHRIS PRONGER: Well, the world is not ending, and the sun came up today. It's a long series. We're looking at it as a long series. We played a decent game but not our game yesterday, and I think we understand that. The mistakes that were made can be easily corrected, and that's what we're looking at.

            So I don't think anybody is hitting the panic button or rushing to do anything rash here. We just need to stay focused and play probably a little more relaxed. Play a little bit more our style, and a little bit more Flyer hockey, as Tim likes to say.

Now on to less entertaining press conferences. Mike Richards:

Q. Mike, it seems like all season you guys have had a different goaltender in there. No matter who plays in net tomorrow, does it matter to you guys, or do you not care? What are your thoughts on that?

MIKE RICHARDS: We feel comfortable playing in front of whoever. We've proved that all year. We've put our goaltenders in tough situations. Every time that we've done so, they responded. We feel comfortable playing in front of anyone and have confidence in either goaltender.

Q. Mike, the Bolland line, throughout these Playoffs, has done a good job shutting down the top lines in the other teams. What were they able to do against you guys? How annoying is he to play against?

MIKE RICHARDS: He's a good player. I'll give him that. I played against him in Junior. He's a very smart, intelligent hockey player. I thought we had good looks last night. We just didn't score, and did everything but.

So I think persistence is something we need to have as a line and not get discouraged by one or two bad bounces and just keep trying.

Q. Mike, a couple of minutes ago, Danny Briere made the comment saying essentially all we heard was our how great Chicago was, and that we didn't have a chance and that game showed we belong with them. How much respect do you think your team has been given coming into this Series.

MIKE RICHARDS: Have we been given?

Q. By hockey people or fans and others about your ability to win?

MIKE RICHARDS: I don't know. I don't think too many people on our team focus on what you guys say. No offense. It's just we go out there and play, and what's written about us in the paper or said about us on TV just kind of brushes off our back. Obviously they got a good team over there. I think you guys said before was probably the favorite coming in here.

We have a good team. We're confident in our team. We know we can play with these guys. We just have to execute better and play better.

Michael Leighton:

Q. Michael, just your thoughts about getting an opportunity to bounce back tomorrow.

MICHAEL LEIGHTON: I don't know if I'm starting yet. That's kind of up in the air. I haven't talked to the coach yet.

But if I am, I'm just going to kind of approach it the same way I did the last game, just keep doing what I've been doing, and try not to think about what happened last night.

Q. Michael, how much of last night was a case of nerves for both yourself and a lot of your teammates? Was it the first time they had been in a Final game?

MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous at all. I wasn't ?? that wasn't the way I would say ?? the reason I played that way. For my team, I don't know. But maybe it was that we had a couple of days off, and it just took us a little while to get into the game. We just didn't play our game last night. We're going to regroup and have a good one tomorrow.

Q. Just to follow?up, you mentioned you hadn't talked to Peter yet. How disappointed would you be if you didn't get the opportunity?

MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Obviously, I would be disappointed. We're in the Stanley Cup Final. That's not the time to be mad at someone if I'm not starting. If Boucher goes in, he did a great job going in the other night. If he gets the start, then I have to support him. I'm not going to sit there and pout on the bench, because we're in the Stanley Cup Final. My goal is to win a Stanley Cup starting on or off the bench.

Q. What do you learn in a game like that that might help 2 days later as you move on to Game 2?


Q. Yes.

MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Well, me and Jeff Reese went over some video this morning. He showed me some positives and negatives. We went over something and said, all right, we have to change this a little bit or watch this and watch that.

For the most part, you know, if we ?? we know we're going to play better defensively in our zone. A couple of times we had four guys in front of our net, and they had one guy come in and get a clear shot, and that's not our game. We know we're a better defensive team than that. We're definitely going to show it next game.

Q. Michael, what didn't you do well, in your mind, after looking at the tape?

MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Well, I didn't let any really bad goals in. That's the way I look at it. I didn't make some big saves. That's pretty much what it came down to. Every good scoring chance they had, they scored. And a couple of them were good shots. There's one or two that I was mad at myself for what I did. But that's the way it goes. That's the game of hockey.

JAMEY HORAN: Thank you, Michael.

Danny Briere:

Q. Danny, Jonathan Toews pretty much cleaned up on the face?offs last night against just about everybody on your team. What is it he's doing that was so effective? Was he cheating, or what?

DANNY BRIERE: I don't know. I had a tough start against him, I think my first four face?offs. And then after that we were able to settle down, and I think as a team we did better in the second and third period.

But definitely in the first period, I don't know, I haven't had the chance to pay much attention. We knew coming in that he was a good face?off guy. But in the morning that's something I was planning on doing, taking time to kind of go over all the face?offs that were taken last night.

Q. What did you see?

DANNY BRIERE: He's strong, he's quick, and he's strong. That's what he seemed to be doing last night. But that's why I want to look at the tape and see if there's a way we can improve.

Q. A couple of things, first off, how much did nerves play into at least the first 20 or 40 minutes of this game, and some of the breakdown that is occurred first off?

DANNY BRIERE: I think both teams seemed to feel comfortable offensively, but in the defensive zone, I don't know if it's the nerves or guys too excited and running out of position, chasing guys down the wall, leaving the slot area open. Not just on our side, but on both teams.

So that was probably nerves and excitement at the same time.

Q. And secondly, talking with some of the Blackhawks, they didn't really say whether they thought that we may not see another game like this. There's nothing to suggest that it won't be another high?scoring game, whether it's Game 2 or somewhere down the line. Do you feel that way?

DANNY BRIERE: You never know. You look at the two teams playing now. Both teams can be good defensively. Both teams can be good offensively. So sometimes you get running like last night and things ?? everything seems to be going in. I mean, it's tough to say.

One thing I can tell you is we want to tighten up defensively. We want to play better defensively. And I'm sure they're going to try to do the same thing and they're going to go over tapes and try to improve.

The chances that we gave them with the bad coverage in our zone, we're not going to be winning too many games playing that way, and we know that.

Q. Danny, a lot of the Hawks believe they may have stolen one. You guys led three times through the first 40 minutes, outplayed them in big stretches. Is it hard to recover from a game when you feel like you should have won like that?

DANNY BRIERE: I don't think so. Every loss is big in the Playoffs. I'm not going to lie about that. But at the same time, coming in, everybody was talking how good the Blackhawks were. And not too many people ?? I haven't heard anybody giving us a chance to win this Series.

What I liked is, last night we proved we belong with them. You know, maybe not to all the hockey experts, but in our room, I think we realize we can play and we can stretch the Series and definitely come back in it.

Q. Danny, lots of focus from our side on who's going to be your goalie tomorrow night. What's it like in the room for the players who have won with both guys this these Playoffs?

DANNY BRIERE: Honestly, to us it doesn't matter. Both guys have played well. I think they're six wins apiece.

So it doesn't matter who is going to play for us. But the one thing, I mean, if there's players that should take the blame for last night, it's certainly not our goaltending. The chances we gave, the shots we gave in dangerous areas, we haven't done that too many times in the Playoffs.

Like I said last night, not too many goalies are going to be successful when especially with the shooters that they have also. Not too many goalies are going to be successful when you give point?blank chances to score the way we did last night.

Q. Ville Leino is listed as a rookie, but obviously he's not playing like one. What are some things about his game, some of his strengths, that make him look like he's not a rookie and doing this for the first time?

DANNY BRIERE: You're right. Until we started the Playoffs, I didn't even know he was still considered a rookie. What he does well, I think he's very strong on the puck. Sometimes it will be a one?on?three, and he'll find a way to keep the puck or extend the play. A lot of time you think the play is dead, and they're about to break out, and he'll strip the puck and keep it going.

Me and Ville, for some reason, seem to have found that chemistry as soon as we started playing together. I like playing with him. We seem to be thinking alike and finding each other in the offensive zone.

Q. Danny, if it is Michael Leighton in there tomorrow, do you look at it his bounceback statistics where he's 3?1?1 during the season after being pulled in the next game, and the fact that when his only loss, up to this date, that he did suffer in the Playoffs, he came back and recorded a shutout. As players you must like the statistics.

DANNY BRIERE: Definitely. That's exactly what I was going to say. The last game ?? the last time he had kind of a rougher night was in Montreal.

And he came back with a shutout the next night or the next game. So I mean, he's shown a lot of character. And for a guy that's ?? had to go what he went through the last few years, I think it shows his perseverance, his character that he's still here, he's still fighting. And he still wants to make it and make a name for himself. I'm not too worried about him.

Q. Danny, can you talk about this entire season and what it's like with Philadelphia goaltending? Because it seems like it's almost about a crisis management from day one of the season.

DANNY BRIERE: There's things that are out of your control. Like injuries. And it seemed every time goalies started to play really well, they suffered an injury.

So that's out of your control. There's nothing you can do about it. But at the same time, looking at it today, we still have two guys that have played well at times for us throughout the year and into the Playoffs.

So to us it doesn't really matter. We have two guys that we know can play. So I feel it's a big advantage.

Q. Danny, can it help you guys with what you've been through, not just in the Playoffs but the regular season, to realize it is just one loss and you know you guys have kind of been in the situation before? Does it help the mood in the room?

DANNY BRIERE: Well, what it does is it gives us confidence that we know we can come back, that it's never over until it's completely over, and we hear that cliche all the time. I feel it's never been as more true as it is with this team.

So, yes, even being down 1?0, to us, we know there's still a long ways to go in this Series, and we feel confident that we can come back.

Transcripts provided by the NHL.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Broad Street Hockey Weekly Roundup newsletter!

A weekly roundup of Philadelphia Flyers news from Broad Street Hockey