Detroit Coach Scotty Bowman may have gained his 29th Stanley Cup finals victory with the Red Wings' 2-1 win over Washington on Tuesday night but he didn't feel too good about his coaching.
"I didn't think I had a good game myself as a coach," said Bowman, who moved three victories away from tying Toe Blake for the most Stanley Cups won by a coach with eight. "We were mixed up in the first half of the game and we had too many different line combinations and I have to do a better job on that."
If that's how Bowman felt, his players didn't seem to notice.
"I don't know [what Bowman is talking about]. I think for sure it was just us," said forward Sergei Fedorov. "In my opinion, everybody tried to adjust, coaches, players, goalie, everybody."
Added captain Steve Yzerman: "I have my mind on other things. I am not concerned with that."
In the Washington dressing room after the game, the Capitals looked at their low number of 17 shots on goal and blamed that for losing Game 1.
"We have to shoot the puck more often," said forward Esa Tikkanen. "Thirteen shots in the game, you don't win the game. This is playoff right now. We have to understand when we have a chance we have to shoot the puck. That is the bottom line."
One Capital who made his presence felt was veteran center Dale Hunter, who roughed up Yzerman all game and played nearly 11 minutes.
"Dale has waited 18 years for this moment to get to play in the finals," Washington Coach Ron Wilson said. "We didn't have any particular assignments tonight. But, I think Hunter can get under anybody's skin and in particular, I think he irritated Steve tonight and drew a couple of penalties.
"Dale isn't going to let this opportunity pass by. At 38 years old, I don't think he expects to play the next four years in the finals either . . . All I had to do was turn around and who is over my right shoulder but Dale Hunter's dad. so, if I did not put Dale in, I might have had a beer thrown on me if he wasn't on the ice."