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In The CreaseIn The Crease Face Off: Dick Tarnstrom

Inside the locker room with the NHL's best and brightest

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Dick Tarnstrom, Penguins defenseman, again ranks among the NHL leaders in scoring at his position. He set up the tying and winning goals in the 3-2 overtime victory against the Bruins yesterday, giving him two goals and four assists for the season.

Dejan Kovacevic asked him questions after the game yesterday at Mellon Arena:

You have spoken in strong terms this year about the chemistry of this team. Is a game like this a sign of that?

It shows what kind of character there is here, to come back like this, especially against a team like Boston. The chemistry here is ... just unbelievable. It's getting stronger, too.

I believe in this team, and I know I'm not the only one in here who does.

Does it feel good to be putting up the points you have lately? Does it feel at all like last season?

Oh, no, not at all. The start that we had last season with that power play going at 35 percent and getting all those goals, it's tough to think about trying to get points like that.

It is nice to get points, but really, as long as we're winning, I don't care.

Four of your team's six power-play goals have come as the result of a point shot you have taken. What is your approach to shooting in that situation?

If I can, I want to beat the goalie, of course. But what I'm trying to do most of the time is just put it in there. We've done a good job of getting people in front of the net, so I just want to make sure it gets that far and see what happens. If it gets there, it's either a goal or a nice rebound for somebody.

You had four other Swedes with you in this room last year. Now, you have none, but it still seems you have been a bit more outgoing. Why is that?

It always makes things easier when you have your countrymen in the dressing room, when we can speak Swedish with somebody. I think maybe not having them forced me to ask some other guys some things, and that helped.

Back in training camp, you said your attitude was not that you were this team's No. 1 defenseman but that you were trying to make the team. Why did you feel that way?

I still feel like that.

Of course, you feel a little more comfortable if it's your second year with the team and you're getting a lot of ice time. But I still think you have to have that mentality. I think everybody does. I don't think anybody has a job on this team for sure.

Except for one guy, anyway.

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