2002 NHL WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
AVALANCHE at RED WINGS
May 17, 2002
An Interview With:
Q. Who's been your most valuable defenseman this year, Lidstrom or Chelios?
KRIS DRAPER: Good first question. I mean, that's -- both guys have been unbelievable. You know, the way Cheli played, especially against Vancouver facing, Bertuzzi game in and game out, Cheli was huge for us. But in this case, he is a guy that goes out there, makes great pass after great pass steady from start to finish. You know exactly what you're going to get out of him. That's a tough question. Both guys are just huge, when you can get a Chris Chelios and in this case Lidstrom playing at the top level they're playing, you can see why we're in the Western Conference. Probably Cheli's biggest asset has been what he's done with Jiri Fischer. The strides he's made this year are unbelievable. Chelios's level has been high for so long, I think that's why Fisch is playing as well as he has.
Q. Kris, can you talk about the impact that Hasek has had on the team. Do you guys get a little nervous when he goes out for his little strolls?
KRIS DRAPER: Yeah, I think you definitely want to see Dominik stay in his game. It keeps him in the game. I think that's something he needs to do at times. He knows when to stay in his net. He's being obviously very responsible in the playoffs with that. The one time against St. Louis, we pretty well had the Game 1 and he's wandering around the net. You want him staying at the net at the end of the game. The impact he's had, he's obviously one of the best of the world. His work ethic is something we've never seen. He's a guy that goes out on the ice, and, I mean, even if he isn't having shots, he's doing things. He's trying to make himself better. He's nonstop from top to finish. He calls on breakaways. Fun if you score, you know, he's eyeballing you and he wants you to go again.
Q. Kris, is there something to be said for the adage that to be the best you have to beat the best? And if so, how does that relate to this whole Colorado-Detroit thing that's gone on in the playoffs in the postseason?
KRIS DRAPER: You know, I think obviously Colorado has won a couple Cups, and are obviously the defending Stanley Cup Champions. We've won a couple in the late '90s. You want an opportunity to play against the best in the league and the defending Stanley Cup Champions. That's where we're at. Those guys, they just find ways to win hockey games. Down 3-2 in San Jose, and they end up winning in overtime and going back to Game 7 and tighten it right up, and obviously a shutout Game 7. So this is a big challenge for our hockey club. This is something that we want. I think a lot of people were looking forward to a Colorado-Detroit matchup. And I think as players it doesn't get any better than this, so the level is going to be I think tremendous. I think both teams are going to go at one another. There is a lot of talent. There is guys that like to hit. There is two great goaltenders going at one another. Like I said, these are the series you like to be involved with.
Q. Kris, watching the way Steve's competed, knowing how bad his knee is, and game in and game out you wouldn't know there is anything wrong with him. What does that do to the team?
KRIS DRAPER: Well, I think obviously he's a leader of our hockey club. Everyone realizes that. You know, to be honest with you, I think we weren't even sure if we were going to have Steve against Vancouver. He was struggling in practice and was kind of getting down. He wasn't sure. He's willing himself through every game, and I think when you see your leader going out and playing the kind of hockey that he's playing I think everyone else has no choice but to raise the level of their game. He's a guy that takes huge faceoffs for us, penalty kills, blocks shots. He does everything for us. He's the guy we just feed off.
End of FastScripts.