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Category: Buffalo-Sabres

NHL Conference Call: Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock

Today, the NHL hosted a teleconference call for the media to ask questions of Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff and Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock.

Here is the transcript of that Q&A.


Q. The emphasis has been in the west all year now. Now the popular belief is whoever comes out of the west is going to be the Stanley Cup champion. Do you have that sense, as well?

KEN HITCHCOCK: No, I don’t. I think one of the problems is when you have so many good teams that what’s left of your team at the end of the three series that you have to play in sometimes isn’t much. I think a lot of it depends on the damage that gets done in some of these series.

I think when you look at the competitiveness of the teams and the closeness of really almost all eight teams in the playoffs, you know, I think health is going to be a major issue on whoever comes out from this series because it has the makings, especially in these early rounds, of some really long series here.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+hitchcock, lindy+ruff, media, nhl+conference+call, transcripts

The Goal Of The Sabres

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Ryan Miller received word that Buffalo Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn wanted to sign the goaltender to a long-term deal. That was well and good Monday, but Miller wanted to meet with management first before making any bold statements about his future with the franchise.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Miller looks for a few assurances before he begins talking about a long-term deal for big money. Miller is going to get his dough one way or another. But as a competitor, he should want a commitment about where this whole thing is headed.

The goal hasn’t been clear since the whole Chris Drury-Daniel Briere charade last summer. Are the Sabres simply trying to turn a buck? Was this a transition year for a team looking to win the Cup?

continued

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A Quick Drop

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

On the one hand, the Sabres collected 39 wins and 90 points – both franchise records for a non-playoff year. Given everything that happened last summer, maybe that’s not too bad on first glance.

But put that finish into the perspective of history and it becomes a fall that has been rarely seen in the NHL.

The Sabres became just the third defending points leader to fail to make the playoffs the next season in the expansion era (joining only the 1970 Montreal Canadiens and 1993 New York Rangers). Buffalo’s 23-point drop from last year’s 113- point finish is the third-highest among Presidents’ Trophy winners since the award was first handed out to the regular-season champion in 1985-86.

And by percentage of points earned, the Sabres’ drop is fourth-highest in the Presidents’ Trophy era.

read on

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Fixing The Sabres & Canucks

from Spector at Fox Sports,

Both clubs will now have a longer than expected off-season to address the problem areas that led to their decline in 2007-08.

For the Sabres, last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners and a two-time Eastern Conference finalist, the fall from grace was significant.

The loss of Daniel Briere and Chris Drury last summer to unrestricted free agency hurt the Sabres, leaving a gaping hole of veteran leadership and skill that they were unable to fill….

As for the Canucks, the lack of offensive production that got them bounced in the second round of late year’s playoffs cost them a playoff berth this season. Yes, injuries did take their toll on the Canucks but despite that, for most of this season they held onto a playoff berth before collapsing down the stretch.

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A Hollow Season

from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,

At least they’re still alive. The standard sure has fallen for this team. Who would have imagined that, one year after winning the Presidents’ Trophy, the Sabres would be jumping with joy because they still had an outside chance to finish eighth?

The arena didn’t have much of a pulse Sunday. The fans seemed to know they were watching a squad that was going nowhere, a team that had gone from Cup favorite to also-ran in 10 months. The Sabres won. But for much of the night, they didn’t play with the sort of passion you’d expect.

There was no curtain call by the players after the last regular-season game. Presumably, the Sabres didn’t want to give the impression that their season was over. So odds are, this year’s team will never get a chance to skate around and bid the fans a final goodbye.

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No More Max

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

You would think Afinogenov would have evolved into a leader by now, but that hasn’t happened. He makes you long for Pierre Turgeon. He’ll make $3.5 million and become an unrestricted free agent after next season for a team looking to get younger (see: cheaper). Gee, maybe they placed their bets on the wrong guy.

Why keep him? Well, he sells jerseys.

If the Sabres think he’s a source of entertainment, they’re kidding themselves and insulting the intelligence of their fans. The only people he entertains are youngsters who are enamored with his style and can’t see his flaws. Anyone with an ounce of hockey sense can see he needs a change in scenery.

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  Tags: maxim+afinogenov

Enough Of These Sabres

from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,

But after nearly six months of this exasperating team, could we just be done with it? Couldn’t they simply resign, like the governor? Maybe call off the final four games of the season and spare the fans further anguish and exasperation?

I mean, how much more can a hockey fan take? In a season of mind-boggling losses, Friday night’s might have been the most maddening of all. Leading, 3-1, and seemingly on their way to their fifth win in six games, the Sabres allowed two goals in the final 2:31 of regulation and another in overtime of a crushing 4-3 loss to the Canadiens.

They got a point. It had to be one of the most disappointing points in the history of the league. They didn’t need one point. They needed two, and two more after that. The Sabres might have needed to run the table to simply have a chance. They simply couldn’t afford to squander a victory. But they did it. Again.

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Miller Keeps On Playing

from the Buffalo News,

Miller tied the Sabres’ single-season record for most appearances by a goaltender, guarding the net for the 72nd time to match Don Edwards (1977-78), Dominik Hasek (1997-98) and Martin Biron (2001-02). With five games left, Miller certainly will have the mark all to himself, probably as soon as tonight when the Sabres host Montreal in HSBC Arena.

“It’s just the coach tapped you on the shoulder,” Miller said in Scotiabank Place. “It wasn’t about setting a record or whatever. It’s just [coach] Lindy [Ruff] saying, ‘You got the start.’ It was definitely a learning experience for me.”

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  Tags: ryan+miller

Looking For A Miracle

from the Buffalo News,

On the day after one of the most grievous collapses in their history, the Buffalo Sabres tried to put on a happy face and say all the right things. After all, there are still six games left, beginning with tonight’s rematch in Ottawa against the Senators.

But the Sabres are 10th in the East, five points out of the magic No. 8 slot. And it’s going to be incredibly hard for them to focus on tonight’s game and erase the sordid memory of Tuesday’s 6-3 loss in HSBC Arena.

continued

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Miller Has Been Average

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

This isn’t meant to hang this loss solely on Miller. The Sabres needed a GPS to find the net until Derek Roy, the only player performing to the numbers in his contract, scored a couple goals to give the Sabres the 2-1 lead. Buffalo allowed a short-handed goal. Once again, the Sabres fell apart at home.

It’s all true, but when was the last time Miller won a game by himself?

He’s ranked 21st in goals-against average and 25th in save percentage this season. He made his 29th consecutive start Tuesday night.

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  Tags: ryan+miller

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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