Fisher, Subban, Neal and Rinne Talk Conference Finals

Last night of course a late night with the West Coast start, but did you stay up to watch, and if so, what were your thoughts?

P.K. SUBBAN: Yeah, I watched most of the game, and as soon as it was done, I went to bed.

PEKKA RINNE: Yeah, I watched the game. Obviously it was exciting for us to know who we’re going to see. It was a good game.

JAMES NEAL: Yeah, I did the same, of course. Watched both games. Playoff hockey is exciting for us to watch, too, so it was a couple good games last night.

P.K. and James, having been to the Conference Finals before, how is the confidence like this round?

P.K. SUBBAN: Yeah, it’s a pretty exciting time. Obviously it’s the final four teams, so it’s a lot of media attention, but I think that just learning from the few times I’ve been here, it’s just staying focused and staying hungry, and I think for our team, we’ve had a couple days of rest, and I think that also generates that hunger to get back at it again. I think as a group, we’re ready to go.

JAMES NEAL: Yeah, I just think as you get older you appreciate it a lot more. It’s really hard to get here, and you put in a ton of work to give yourself a chance to play for the Stanley Cup, so just take advantage of it, know what’s at stake, know what kind of chance you have to do something special and to win. I’ll be excited to go tomorrow, and we’ll be ready and don’t take anything for granted.

Pekka, what is it about this franchise, all the guys that you’ve matched up with over the years, and what are your impressions and thoughts about the Ducks?

PEKKA RINNE: Well, I feel like for years they’ve been one of the top teams in the Western Conference. You know, any time you have a chance to play against them, you know it’s going to be a battle. For both times I’ve played them, it’s been — I think it was a six-game series and a seven-game series, and just obviously I have nothing but good things to say about this team. They want the Cup and are one of the top teams, like you said, and it’s going to be another big battle. Expecting it’s going to be — obviously these first couple of games are very important for us, playing on the road.

P.K., as you saw that second period last night, the way it looked like the way the Ducks were forechecking, how does that maybe affect the way you guys approach Game 1?

P.K. SUBBAN: Yeah, you know, they’re a hard forechecking team. I don’t think that’s what they’ve shown just in the Playoffs. They’ve been that way in the regular season and really since I’ve been in the league they’ve always been a hard forechecking team. They’re physical players and like to get in and establish a physical presence, and that’s what you expect in playoff hockey. For us, it’s the same as usual, continuing to get back hard for pucks and hold up a little bit just like every other team does, and get pucks, move them out of the zone and establish the forecheck. I think sometimes the best defense is offense. The less the puck is in your zone, the harder it is to forecheck, and that’s the success our team has had is getting pucks out. A big part of that is Pekka and what he does back there for us, a defenseman moving the puck and help stop pucks so we can start breakouts.

Mike I think it was 10 years ago that you were here and played this very same team in the Cup Finals. Can you reflect on your journey from there to here?

MIKE FISHER: Seems like a long time ago now, but that was one of the highlights of my career really, playing in the Stanley Cup Final. Obviously disappointing, but look back on the journey and remember a lot of positive things. We played the Ducks, I think it was the fourth time in the Playoffs, played them a lot, we know we’re in tough against this team, but we all know what’s at stake, too, and that’s a berth in the final, which is pretty exciting to think about. But obviously a real focus is just tomorrow night.

Anaheim has had a lot of success this season with Ryan Kesler. What are the keys to penetrating a team that has a really good defensive concept?

MIKE FISHER: Well, I think we’ve played against them all year long, and definitely they’re a good checking line, as are many teams, and I think you look at our last series, too, and St. Louis, they’re tight checking, strong defensively. We’re going to have to be the same and find ways. I think you look at our last series in these Playoffs, we found a way with different guys to chip in, and it hasn’t been all just one line. Of course we’ve got one line that’s very good, but we have other lines that can chip in, and that’ll be even more important and you look at our defense, too, that adds to that scoring. Our D are a huge part of our offense, too.