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Now He'll Hate to See Series End

June 09, 2003|Jerry Crowe and Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writers

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New Jersey Coach Pat Burns has finally spotted the one emotion he was searching for in the Stanley Cup finals.

A little bit of hate.

Well, maybe a lot of hate, if you consider the hit that Devil defenseman Scott Stevens put on the Ducks' Paul Kariya in Game 6 at the Arrowhead Pond.

This evolution has pleased Burns on the eve of Game 7 here.

"It's normal. That's why you have these long series," he said Sunday after the Devils returned home for tonight's Game 7. "And that's good. That's competition.

"You're almost hoping that it's going to happen. Now we've seen each other every second night since the start of the series, and now the hate begins, it began a couple of games ago. It's 'You this, you that.' "

The mutual dislike wasn't evident in the Western Conference finals because the Ducks tore through Minnesota so quickly, sweeping the Wild. After the first two games in New Jersey, it looked as though the Devils might do the same in the finals.

"If we had ended in four, you probably never would have saw it," Burns said.

"But now you get into Game 5, well, and a guy remembers what he did in Game 3.

"So I think there's a little hate there. And that's good. That makes for good competition."


Goalie Martin Brodeur didn't hold back on his feelings for the conditions at the Arrowhead Pond.

"I'm definitely pretty happy we don't have to go back to that rink," he said.

"It just gets to you whenever they dump the puck, you have no clue what the puck's going to do. And now I know my boards, my glass, I know how to play my game a little more in my building than I did in [that] building.

"It could be the worst building I ever played in, and never realized it until you play it more than once."

He counted the ways.

"Shallow corners, bad glass, bad boards, bad ice," Brodeur said. "Hopefully the NHL are supervising the ice, but it's a big difference. But it's part of the game, it's for both teams, you can't complain about it."


Six times Brodeur has given up as many as five goals in a playoff game, as he did Saturday night in the Ducks' 5-2 victory in Game 6, and five times he has won the next game.

"He got blown out against Boston," teammate Turner Stevenson said of a 5-1 loss April 15 in Game 4 of a first-round series, "and played phenomenally in the next game," a 3-0, series-clinching victory two nights later.


Devil center Joe Nieuwendyk is not expected to play after he said he hasn't felt enough improvement in the hip-related injury he suffered during the Ottawa series. ... The Devils, 11-1 at home in the playoffs but only 4-7 on the road, would become the first team since the Philadelphia Flyers in 1974 to win the Cup with a losing road record.

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