Q. What do you feel the next three days will be like for you, family, friends, maybe any kind of time to disconnect before the game?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Yeah, I think today is your opportunity to do that. We’re off. I’m sure guys will have to take care of whatever business they have to today. Then you’re back to work tomorrow. Our guys are pretty good at that, have been good at that. We’ve been through it. I haven’t personally, but those guys have. I think it’s a great place, a starting point for our younger guys.
Q. Is it a situation where maybe you rely a little bit more on your own players for experience?
BRUCE CASSIDY: For the days off, absolutely. We’ll go to practice. We’ve practiced all year, so we’re not going to stray too far from our typical routine. Yeah, I defer to them on days like this for preparation to help the young guys. We have our message as a coaching staff, don’t get me wrong. I think we work as a team. Since I’ve got here from day one, I’ve said it, we’re very fortunate to have those guys. This is one of those times of year I’m extremely fortunate.
Q. Zdeno and Charlie, how were they able to settle down?
BRUCE CASSIDY: I think for Zdeno (Chara), it’s obvious. He had a tough adjustment to make. He’s in a lot of pain. He’s playing with a face shield that probably limits some of his vision. I think the moment, he’s been there. Charlie (McAvoy) is a guy who rises up quite a bit for a younger player. That wasn’t going to bother him. I think just the fact that they’re good players, they settled down. I think as a group, we were better that way. If the forward group in front of them is playing with them, forechecking well, puck possession, there’s less defending for them, they’re not fatigued. It’s a tough assignment, so I think that has a lot to do with it. The less you expend your energy in your own end, obviously the fresher you’re going to be in other parts of the game. I think that happened a lot, especially after the first period.
Q. What does this team have left in the tank?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Lots. We’ve got lots.
Q. It’s such a long season. Describe where this team is at in that sense?
BRUCE CASSIDY: We had a lot of energy last night, do-or-die game. I don’t think it was all on emotion or adrenaline. I think obviously you knows what at stake. Wednesday there will be some more of that. We’re okay. We’ve lost a player to injury, Grzelcyk, hasn’t been cleared. Who knows how it will play out Wednesday. Z got hurt, but he didn’t miss a game. In that sense, we’re relatively healthy at this point of the season. Some of the other guys we’ve lost earlier were not in the series, previous injuries. We’ve held up pretty well. That’s why I suspect it won’t be an issue, our energy level, on Wednesday.
Q. Couple days away, but guessing you’ll most likely go with the same lineup?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Yeah, we’ll have a better idea on Wednesday morning. I mean, Grzelcyk is a wild card. We’ll have to make a decision. He’s missed some games now, don’t want to mess with the back end. Obviously up front, Kuhlman did a good job, so he’ll probably stay in. I don’t have any injury reports on any of the other forwards. That’s good news. Something could happen obviously.
Q. Is Carlo giving you everything he possibly could?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Probably more. It’s his first Playoff. He’s a young guy. We didn’t know what to expect. He’s grown his game. He’s a good player, but it’s a different animal here. Brandon has really stepped up; I think him and Torey, you can make an argument they’ve been our best, most consistent pair. Z and Charlie obviously take tough matchups, but so do they. Most teams have two good lines. We’re happy to have all four playing at the top of their games, to be honest with you. Brandon is actually chipping in some goals, as well. You need that this time of the year. One was a lucky bounce, but those are great stories.
Q. In some ways, it seemed like on the heels of the third period you might have broke their will a little bit. Do you see any carryover going into the next game? Or given the circumstance, it’s a totally new slate?
BRUCE CASSIDY: New slate. I think they had expectations, the Stanley Cup is in the building, they fight their way back, we get a goal right after. That can certainly demoralize you for at least a shift or two. I can’t speak for them. But it can be tough. I don’t think that will affect them at all on Wednesday. It’s one game, winner take all. I think both teams will be in a good place mentally.
Q. Do you worry about the Cup being in the building, all the people on the streets, it’s sure to be an electric atmosphere in Boston?
BRUCE CASSIDY: No, no. I think, again, going back to the first answer, our leadership group has been there. They’ve been in a Game 7 before, in the Stanley Cup Finals. In fact, the last one, they’ve lived it. Been in a Game 7 at home against Toronto this series. Stanley Cup is not at stake, but if you don’t win it, you have no chance at it. I think there’s a certain amount of pressure that our guys are used to having. In this situation, I think both teams like the pressure that’s on them. Any team would trade the opportunity to be here, so I think we’ll be okay.
Q. What can you say about the play of Karson Kuhlman stepping into the lineup last night?
BRUCE CASSIDY: I think it’s his DNA. For a first-year player, he’s very mature, responsible, has great work habits. Coming into this situation, I think you got to give him a lot of credit for how he’s prepared over the last month. The coaches have been working with him to keep him on top of it. It’s a grind for them, too. He has played for us. He knows our systems. Krejci and DeBrusk, played a lot of games with them, so there was that comfort level. He won last year in college. I think that helps. Any previous experience you can draw upon. I think you put those things together, I’m not surprised. He’s a pretty mature kid for a young guy.
Q. You mentioned last night you needed to improve against the forecheck in the second and third. Where did you see the most improvement, whether it was the forwards on the puck battles, your Ds making better decisions once they went back for the puck?
BRUCE CASSIDY: I’d say the latter, I think we got moving. Maybe they didn’t put it in as difficult places to get it. Sometimes when it sits on the yellow back there, guys coming at each angle, you can’t really get going. That’s part of it, sometimes you get fortunate with some of the puck placement. That’s probably a credit to our forwards taking away some time and space for them to not have the time, that extra second. We talk about it all the time, you keep it away from the goalie or put it in a good spot. But when you’re getting hounded by another player, you want to make sure first of all that it does get deep. Give our forwards some credit, too, in that regard, forcing them maybe to give it up earlier than they wanted. Then they were able to get their feet moving. You get some energy from having a lead, as well. I think our guys picked up some juice in those situations last night and were able to make good decisions.
Q. You mentioned kind of the emotion of playing at home, the Cup in the building. What have you learned about how to handle that throughout the series, whether it’s how you guys managed it in St. Louis? Also, do you change your game a little bit in that situation to play more of a solid road-style game even though you’re at home?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Well, we addressed it after Game 5. I thought that was the easiest way to win a game, focus on team defense, do your job, trust the guy beside you, not worry about the scoring aspect or pressuring yourself. We have good players, eventually someone is going to step up, that’s what we felt happened last night, that same formula. As for the pressure part, all that, I think we have good leadership. We talk about it a little bit before the game what’s at stake, and off they go. Once the puck drops, the players play.