Pre-Game Quotes

Comments from Caps coach Glen Hanlon prior to tonight’s game with Vancouver:

On the new look power play:
“We were definitely going to make some changes on it. Our feeling when we had the meetings that if weren’t in 15th place and we weren’t quite happy we’d tinker a bit with moving some people around. But when you’re sitting when we are we felt it was time for a … radical was the word you used [to Corey Masisak], I would say ‘dramatic’ is a better word. With Tommy [Poti] out, it leaves us two sort of natural power play defensemen. We have more forwards than we do D, so it makes some sense.

“Corey asked if this was modeled after Carolina. No. We’ve had five [forwards] before. You have to have the right people to do these types of things. This was more determined by needing to make a change and then Tommy not playing.

“Hopefully that’s a starting gate for a horse race. I’m not trying to be funny. You need rotation, you need movement and the [right-handed vs. left-handed] sticks work out. If it works out that Ovie slides down and he’s low and Nylander is up top … the good thing about Carolina is when you’ve got five guys back there you don’t have to worry about having a defenseman back and a forward up. Maybe it will make it a little less predictable. Like [Carolina coach] Peter [Laviolette] says, ‘Sometimes you’ve just got to close your eyes and hope for the best.’ I’m not going to use hope; I’m going to use prayer.”

On John Erskine replacing Tom Poti:
“Johnny’s in. He’s chomping at the bit to play. Johnny had a real good start for us and we made the switch to Schultzie because it was part of our plan to have him here. It was Johnny’s job then to wait for an opportunity to play. He has worked hard and he is ready to go.”

On whether Erskine would play alongside Mike Green, as Poti had prior to his injury:
“Yeah, we don’t want to break the pairs up. Mo and Juice have been fine. And then we’ve felt that Brian Pothier’s best games of the year have been with Schultzie, so there seems to be a comfort level there and they seem to be playing well.

On having all lefty-righty defensive pairs after being right-handed heavy the last couple seasons:
“It really does help. Guys are comfortable with it. When we talked to all the guys before the season, Tom Poti was the only one who said in his meeting that he had played the other side with no problem. He has played a lot on the right. He is the only that if we were going to make a switch, we’d do it. We’ve tried to keep them left and right. Morrisonn would be the most obvious one, too, because of his skating ability. It’s easier to keep pucks in on the offensive line. There are a lot of advantages for having your sticks in the right spot and on the natural side.

On whether the team had considered activating Steve Eminger from IR to replace Poti:
“It’s because of the left stick situation that we just talked about. We felt it would be easier just to [put Erskine in]. One of the other things is that Greenie has had some good games with physical players and we felt that was kind of a natural, too.”

On the checking line and Morrisonn and Jurcina’s performance in Wednesday’s win over Tampa Bay:
“It was a group of five. It was just a plan. We’ve done things where you break up the checking line and the checking D and split them up. We felt that we would gang up. The reason I did that is because their top two groups play so much early on that I wanted to get one constant and then be able to allow Ovechkin’s group or Nylander’s group to just play no matter who came up. So that was the reason we did that. So we ganged up all five shutdown people against Lecavalier and St. Louis. And they did a good job.

“I watched Vancouver and Detroit [on Wednesday], and the Sedins went against Datsyuk head-to-head and Draper played against somebody else. There are all different ways of going about it; we just happen to like having a checking line. But not at the expense [of our offensive players]. I don’t want to see Ovechkin play 16 minutes and Boyd Gordon play 22. There’s a feel to that that I don’t think is right. Sometimes you just have to go out and do the job against the other team’s top line.”

On Luongo’s prior success against Washington:
“I’d like to think that our team is better than it was two years ago when he was coming in here. That’s our rallying cry with most of the teams when we are presented with some negative statistics. Well yeah, that did happen. But we are what we are in 2007-08 and let’s not look back.”

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