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Biller's chat transcript (2/11/02)

The following commentary is from Deby, who transcribed Biller's interview after his win over Tampa Bay:
   As promised, here is the transcribed interview that Biller gave after the Tampa Bay game on 2-11-02. Two notes you need to completely understand the interview.  1) There is a woman in Maryland (a friend of mine) who does banners for a LOT of the home games, usually for particular players. Before the Tampa game, she and friends held up their banner, as usual. It said, "IT'S BILLER TIME!!"  2) When the game started, the referee dropped the puck and Craig stood in his goal, at the ready. However, Kevin Weekes was still sorting out his water bottle and equipment, with his BACK to the center face-off circle. Gonchar took a shot right off the face-off, that carommed off the goal post 18" from Weekes' skate. He NEVER saw it coming - it scared the Bejesus out of him!

AL KOKEN: Well, we've talked a lot about the scoring stars, but the Caps do not win this game without another strong performance from our guest downstairs, goaltender Craig Billington.

Craig, you know the life of a back-up goaltender is never easy, but when you get a little time to prepare for your starts, how much difference does that make for you?

BILLINGTON:  Well, [laughs] you've just got to go and battle, no matter what, and prepare, and that's all I've been doing.  And you know, no matter if Olie needs a break, or gets injured, or whatever the situation is, I just have to be ready.

CRAIG LAUGHLIN:  Now, Biller, I thought probably the best save you made in the game was on Kubina.  Can you talk us through that play that you made in the third period?
[video clip shown of Biller's wonderful save, diving out from the goal, then laying at the top of the crease and stopping the rebound shot attempt]

BILLINGTON: Yeah, I just shut my eyes and hoped it hit me.....[laughter from the announcers]....But it was a play that....They got a pretty good opportunity off a broken play there, and I just kinda dove out after that and then I lie there and just hit me....sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

KOKEN:  Craig, we want to go back to the very beginning of...

LAUGHLIN:  Weird stuff.....weird stuff.....

KOKEN:  Did you see what was going on at the very opening face-off, when the goaltender at Tampa's end, Kevin Weekes, didn't seem to know the play was underway?

BILLER:  Well, it was kinda strange because, I mean, I lined up for the face-off, and I thought, well, What's Gonch DOING? [much laughter from Biller and the announcers].  And then I looked, and I thought, "Holy Mackerel, this things got a chance of going IN!"  And I thought, you know, just when you think you've seen it all, of course, the game teaches us that we haven't.

KOKEN:  Whose responsibility is that, to let the goaltender know that things are getting underway?

BILLER:  Well, honestly, w....uh....That's OUR job!  I mean, we gotta be ready, I don't know - I know Kevin Weekes well, he's a great goalie, but, um, I don't know - [laughter from the announcers, smiles from Biller]  The centermen usually check with the goalie before they take the draw.  But it's our job, ultimately, obviously, to stop the puck.

LAUGHLIN:  Well, Biller, this is a good way to jump off a little bit of a vacation for you that what one of the oldest teams in the NHL needs right now?

BILLER:  Uh, it's one of the more "experienced" teams in the NHL.....Yeah, needs perhaps a little bit of a rest right now.  It'll be good.

KOKEN:  So, instead of "age", it's "experience", and we appreciate the "experience" and expertise of Craig Billington....Two wins in a row, Biller, thanks very much [amid MUCH laughter from both announcers and Biller].

BILLER:  All right, thanks........ [big smile]

KOKEN:  Craig Billington, picking up another victory for the Washington Capitals tonight, and that's the reason why they get to head into their Olympic break with a lot of smiles on their faces.  It IS now Biller time!

Biller's totals - 20 shots, 19 saves - Caps win, 3-1.
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