Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
He's so freaking classy.
On the match up with Vermont and season to this point:
"First of all, congrats to all the coaches ... It's been an interesting year in Hockey East - certainly the tightest that I've been involved with ... I thought the battle for that last playoff spot was intriguing. That brought a lot of attention to that part of the standings, but also for the trophy - that was amazing. [UMass-] Lowell was the best team through the season and they deserve a lot of credit."
"Our particular match up a little bit unusual that we just played Vermont and all of a sudden we flip and we start our series with them. We have tape, they have tape of us - we've just played. Our team is very excited about starting the playoffs. We're disappointed in the fact that we couldn't win a championship but you've got to reset and all of a sudden it's the playoff championship we're going to go after. Our goal is to try and win it. We understand just because of our seeding doesn't put us in the Garden. We have to get by Kevin Sneddon's team who has played very well at times over the course of the year, and I thought played us toe-to-toe on Friday night up in Burlington. We kind of broke open the game on Saturday but when we left for the bus there I thought, ‘Hey this is going to be a difficult match up for us,' based on some of the players Vermont has but also more importantly the work Kevin Sneddon has done as a coach."
"Our particular team - getting Patch Alber back which is a terrific story for the young guy. He got hurt in a soccer warm up (he thought he was Lionel Messi in the pregame warm up in Minnesota in late December). He hurt his knee and we never thought he was going to be back. Our surgeons thought he had probably played his last game at BC. But he's kind of defied the odds and he practiced full up yesterday. He will be a welcome addition to our team this weekend. Other than that we're pretty healthy. At this point everybody's banged up but we're about as healthy as you possibly can be going into the playoffs."
On compare and contrast the 19-0 run from last year and this year's ups and downs with injuries:
"We're completely different teams from last year. We lost a lot of seniors - we lost [Chris] Kreider we lost [Brian] Dumoulin. Coming into this year is a whole new group of players to work with - different strengths different weaknesses. We've tried to address the weaknesses during the course of the year and build on our strengths. I think we've got a pretty good club. We're certainly not as deep as we've been over the years. We've had some outstanding performances from our group of players here. Now going into these playoffs we surely need really good defensive play and I think Patch [Alber] will help us in that area. We've gotta give Parker [Milner] a lot of help back in the defensive zone and I think all five guys can do that. We limited some of Vermont's scoring chances which is a big plus for us. During the course of the year we were giving up way too many scoring chances, and that's playing Russian roulette because you can only ask your goalie to stop so many of those. But I think our defensemen have cut back those scoring chances and try to generate some really good offense from our own zone."
On Steve Whitney's goalscoring late in the third period:
"He's been a really good player - you've watched him for four years. But this particular year he's really elevated his game in all three zones. He's a better defensive player, he's more conscious of defense. He's played without the puck which a lot of times signifies how he's playing defensively. He's much more aware and he's got an outstanding nose for the net. He drives hard, he shoots pucks really quickly and he's certainly in my opinion one of the best players in the league up front this year. He's been a real catalyst for us - an excellent, excellent player."
On Johnny Gaudreau's breakout against Vermont?
"I think every time he steps out on the ice he's the number one target of opposing players. They circle him. He's the guy they've got to stop. He gets close, close checking all the time and he's used to it. It's been that way since he started Hockey East and probably that way in the USHL when I watched the games there. But he's had an outstanding year - even when he wasn't putting points up for that stretch of five or six games - he had the puck all night long. There's players that get you out of your seat when they get the puck and I think Johnny's a player that makes you jump out of your seat the minute he gets the puck. He's great for college hockey. When we showcase college hockey, Johnny is one of those players that really brings fans to the rinks. Media are fascinated by his ability to play the game with all love. He's a real big asset for Boston College and for Hockey East."
On playing a team consecutive weekends - does it change anything about the way you prepare?
"It's an interesting scenario. We've got the exact same thing in ACC basketball. We just defeated Georgia Tech and all of a sudden we have to play them in the first round on Thursday in Greensboro. I was talking to our basketball coach Steve Donahue about that. You've really got to be conscious of the fact that just because you beat that team in the regular season doesn't give you a head start - doesn't give you two goals or two baskets - free. It's a fresh start. We've got a great deal of respect for all the teams in our league, so if we lose a game it's never because we looked past the other team. But I think Vermont probably has two of our games to break down that are taped as we do with theirs. It's not like, hey, we played them six weeks ago, what are they like now? We know exactly what Vermont is and what their strengths are and we're going to have to really be conscious of that because they're a dangerous team."