Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The crowd’s reaction was predictable after the Senators won, 3-2, in overtime and reached the Stanley Cup finals. At first fans were confused. Within seconds, they were crushed. They started with a warm applause, an ovation that gained momentum before ultimately falling short, much like the very team in which they had invested their souls for two years.
You’ll hear plenty from the organization about how the Sabres entertained their fans for two seasons and how the future looks bright. But there’s no getting around the fact that this team ultimately underachieved. A good many fans should wake up today feeling cheated.
“It’s one of the parts that hurts so much, just how awesome they were throughout the city,” co-captain Daniel Briere said. “I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it. That’s the part that hurts the most, the feeling that we let them down.”
Q. Coach, this is going to get analyzed and analyzed over the next couple days. Was it special teams perhaps your power plays inability to score goals?
COACH LINDY RUFF: I don’t think you can put it there. If you look at Ottawa was maybe 0-17, 0-18 on their power play. The last three games and we were - we had got a couple so - I think, you know, the first two home games, that hurts. When you lose those first two home games and the second game where we had the 2-goal lead and end up losing that game, you know, to leave your building and then try to resurrect a series gave them some momentum, I thought.
‘‘It’s kind of surreal right now,’’ Alfredsson said of his first-ever foray into the NHL’s championship series.
It was fitting in too many ways that Alfredsson got the big goal, his 10th of the post-season, having been the goat on last year’s overtime winner by the Sabres when Jason Pominville walked around him and beat Ray Emery to end yet another disappointing playoffs for the Senators in the second round.
‘‘He’s taken a lot of heat over the years,’’ said Senators linemate Dany Heatley. ‘‘It’s great to see him score big goals. He deserves it. He’s a man on a mission.’‘
added 7:05pm, Bryan Murray, Daniel Alfreddsson and Ray Emery press transcript
Alfredsson, the best Ottawa player this post season, ends the hopes of Buffalo fans with a goal in OT.
Watch the press conference (will be available soon after the game).
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Needing to win four straight games against the red-hot Ottawa Senators with only one in the bag so far remains an enormous task any which way you spin in it.
So let’s ignore the bigger picture for the moment, shall we?
What about today?
The Sabres, it would seem, have managed to re-invent themselves, or at least they did to win Game 4 on Wednesday night in the nation’s capital.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
“Buffalo is going to have to show me they can play a lot better,” said (Denis) Potvin. “Even in Game 4, I didn’t think Buffalo played that well. They weren’t skating very good, they were showing signs of what they showed in the first three games and they were still hesitant.
“I think they’re intimidated and I still think that Chris Neil’s hit on Chris Drury early in the season is still having an effect on Buffalo. I absolutely do.
“It appears to me that this series has been determined around the boards and Buffalo can’t come out with the puck.”
That’s why Potvin isn’t convinced the Senators will give up this lead.
Lindy Ruff on an off-day Q & A…
Q. Lindy, the message today, you got the chance to play another home game and stay alive in this series. What’s the message to your players today?
COACH LINDY RUFF: Well, along the lines that we talked about before Game 4, again, that got to take care of all the little areas and make sure that we’re good with the puck and in a lot of situations just try to make sure we outwork them.
Q. They had a few more turnovers last game than the previous ones. Was that forecheck, guys clogging the middle better, pressure on them more?
COACH LINDY RUFF: I think it was a little bit of everything. I think that, you know, we were better with it. I think when you get the lead, a team has a tendency to try more things, you know, try to get back in the game. I think obviously when you get down by a couple, you’re going to err on the side of being more aggressive and trying to make more plays.
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
“Only two NHL teams have ever done it,” I said. “But look at it this way. There have been 20 teams that came back to win after falling behind, 3-1, in a series. That means they’re 10 times more likely to pull it off after Game Four.”
“You know, I hadn’t thought about it that way,” Rex said, closing his notebook and shifting on his bar stool. “This team does have a way of making it hard on itself. They don’t seem to play their best until their backs are against the wall. Maybe they’re creating the ultimate crisis, to see how much we really believe.”
“Just think how tight the Senators will be if they lose Saturday,” I said. “Every media person in Canada will be talking about their history as choking dogs.”
from the Ottawa Citizen,
Luck, though, can cause huge swings in confidence and momentum in the course of a game, ultimately deciding the outcome.
“A lot of it’s luck, but a lot of the luck you cause for yourself,” Senators centre Spezza said.
“If you’re working hard and doing things right, usually you get those breaks. We probably weren’t our sharpest the other night, and that’s probably why they got the breaks and we didn’t.”
Head coach Bryan Murray was asked what percentage of a game would typically be accounted for by lucky breaks.
“Sometimes it’s a post,” Murray said. “Sometimes it’s a rebound you don’t get to. You get a bounce like Joe Corvo ... the puck bounces on Ryan Miller.
from The CBC,
Sean Luck said his wife, Renee Luck, who was wearing Buffalo Sabres colours and logos, was walking in front of him through the corridors of Scotiabank Place as they tried to leave the stadium with about six other Sabres fans.
“Two guys that were clearing the section to our right, as they were walking out, punched my wife four times — in the head,” Luck said. “They just seemed like they were pissed off because the Senators lost.”
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.
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