“Our focus has to be on what we can improve on for tomorrow night’s game. Can we improve on our turnovers? Can we improve on the out-and-out turnovers that led to their goals? Can we improve on our execution with the puck?
“Those are all the little things that we have to focus on and that’s part of the process versus the result. Any mental coach will tell you that you can’t labor on the result being the ultimate. It’s the process that you have to live in your mind that helps you get ready for it.”
Carlyle has managed to keep his team poised off the ice in the midst of a playoff-starved, hockey-mad city. On the ice, he is bidding to mold a squad woefully short on playoff experience — and one facing a playoff-savvy Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup two years ago.
In the wake of a loss in which the Leafs were punished for mistakes, Carlyle looked to the positives as he tried to rebuild his team’s confidence.
“What did we do well? That’s what we’re trying to pick out,” Carlyle said. “We’re trying to focus on the things that we did well that gave us a chance in the hockey game.”
Carlyle’s morning message to his squad was repeated by his players later in the day.
“For the most part we played a pretty good game,” said winger Joffrey Lupul, an influential voice in the locker room. “We created a lot of chances. We definitely worked hard.
“We’ve just got to eliminate some of those mistakes.”
That includes losing faceoffs; Carlyle even wondered why his centers kept getting thrown out of the faceoff circles Monday night.
Boston coach Claude Julien, whose team excels at faceoffs, knew exactly what Carlyle was doing.