Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/19/07 at 09:26 PM ET
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.
Q. Lindy, after you get over the obvious disappointment, what will you take from this season?
COACH LINDY RUFF: Well, I just take how energized this city was, how great our fans were. You know, even just seeing a shot of the plaza there tonight and the amount of people and how much fun, really, how much fun this whole area and whole city had.
I think you take that - you know, we had a lot to be proud of. It’s disappointing. It’s painful. You got to grow, you got to probably stick with the program, but it’s something - it was a fun year.
I think everybody had fun and, you know, now is not probably right time to deal with it, but it was - it was hard to lose two overtime games here in our building where, you know, we worked hard to get back in it, and then to lose to a team in your building is always tough.
Q. Coach, in retrospect, looking at the post-season, did the Sabres - were you able to get yourselves that game you hoped to play? You struggled against the Islanders and Rangers. You lose three here in your own barn to Ottawa.
COACH LINDY RUFF: I think if you look at it, we played a pretty sound last two games. We played a real sound Game 2, really. I think that, you know, even if you go back to the second goal where we probably tried too hard to score. You know, Lydman got in the play and probably a play that maybe should have just hung back and Pominville shoots it. But in that case, it ended up being a tough play for us.
Q. Coach, did Chris break his jaw?
COACH LINDY RUFF: No. No. I mean not that I know of, Paul. It just - the cut was real deep and real severe and - so it took a long time to sew that up.
Q. Lindy, a lot of the talk in there is about what a letdown it is for - because the expectations were so high, both within the franchise and out there in the community. Do you feel like they’ve been - that you let them down?
COACH LINDY RUFF: That we let the community down? You know what? I think there’s a lot of disappointment right now. You know, we asked them to put a lot of work in, and they put a lot of work in throughout the year. I think we had some struggles throughout the playoffs. I don’t think we really - you know, maybe part of it was we had some guys in there that came off some pretty tough injuries, and maybe we weren’t quite as good as we needed to be.
But, at the same time, I’m going stick with it. I think there’s a lot to be proud of. Nobody wanted to lose, and there is going to be a grave feeling of letting everybody down, letting our fans down. The fans’ support has been absolutely tremendous, and the expectations were sky high, and that room was as quiet as quiet can be.
But it was a team that - they never gave up. You know, there was various times that things could have turned and really got sour, but they always picked themselves up so -
Q. A couple guys in the room said they were a more desperate team, at least early in the series, the last couple games you were. Are those things maybe this team learned?
COACH LINDY RUFF: I agree with that. We still need to grow a little bit. I think that, you know, we gained a lot of maturity in last years’ playoffs, and we had a lot of young guys get a lot of quality playoff time. I think that assessment is very fair.
I think the last two games, we were blocking shots and diving in front of pucks, and some of that was missing early on. You know, I think we took for granted some opportunities that got to our net, and we ended up getting scored against.
Q. Coach, in this day and age of the NHL, we all know that teams change every single year. Is part of the hurt knowing that you guys won’t all be together again?
COACH LINDY RUFF: I said after the game it’s a great group of guys. I think our goal is to have, you know, a great group of guys again. We’ve worked hard to come a long ways in this league from where we were a couple years ago, and we’ve done it with a fairly young team.
You miss some of the faces from year to year. We miss the guys that were here last year that weren’t here this year, and I think the product of this league now is that you are going to see changes and you won’t be able to share, you know, future experiences with some of the guys.
Q. Coach, the Sens history has been well-documented where they’ve come so close and suffered heartbreak, case in point, last year losing to your same squad. Is this something that your team needs to experience to get to that next level?
COACH LINDY RUFF: Well, you know, yes. Obviously we didn’t get there. I think you got to rely on past experiences to move forward, and they’ve suffered a lot of pain, you know. Last year was painful. They’ve had a lot of years of pain where expectations have been sky high for them. They’ve had a lot of players that I think have grown through all that and now really survived, and they’re going to get their opportunity. It hasn’t been easy for them, either. Thanks.
Q. You know, obviously, Chris, this is a tough one for you guys. You won a Stanley Cup. Now you find yourself after a great regular seen having to walk away, wondering what happened, what if? Is this part of the maturation process for the Buffalo Sabres, they need to get through this type of experience?
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah, I think it is. I think at some point every team learns that there’s two different seasons, and, you know, you got to do things in the post-season that Lindy always says out of character, things that you don’t do as a team or as an individual, you know, during the year and get away with it. But you get this far and run into a team like Ottawa, you’re not going get away with, you know, not playing as hard as you can.
Q. You ever see the shot coming, and was there a chance you weren’t coming back?
CHRIS DRURY: Well, I saw him get it, and obviously he’s not a shooter, per se. Timmy is always looking to set guys up, and he’s great at it.
Yeah, I did see it, but, you know, just perfect. I couldn’t move. It was hard, and I don’t know if it was going in the net or on net or where, but I just didn’t have time. Kind of came right around the D - or the forward, and, you know, just took awhile to stitch up and so on.
Q: Chris, when the smoke clears and you look back on this, what would be your most frustrating feeling about the play? Was it the lack of the power play or was it something else?
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah, that’s certainly a big thing. You know, especially because I’m on every one ever them and I take pride in being out there. You know, I guess overall we certainly had our chances. We didn’t play too great in Game 2, but 2-2 in the 3rd we got a chance. Pretty poor effort in Game 3. Miller gives us a chance. Certainly give them credit. They matured as a team over the years. They played hard.
If anything, we can all learn that that’s how you got to play if you want to advance.
Q. When you were in the back getting stitched up, could you hear the tying goal?
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah, I heard the horn. I was obviously thrilled. At that point I didn’t know how much time was left or what the situation was, but I was obviously pretty happy just to get to overtime.
Q. Chris, I know you don’t have an answer, so I’m not going ask you about your future right now. Is part of the hurt knowing this is the new NHL, teams change every year, knowing that you guys as a team won’t be back together just because that’s the way it is? Is that part of the hurt?
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah, it certainly is. You know, great chance like you said, we’re not going to be a group anymore. After nine months that is hard to take. And even teams that win, you know, like Carolina, there’s always changes, new faces. We know it’s going to be changes here, and it’s hard because do you build friendships and you battle with guys, and, you know, ultimately I guess that’s just the job we do and that’s sports.
Q. Chris, the thought was that reports made that you had broken your jaw. How many zippers?
CHRIS DRURY: Eight on the outside, three on the inside. X-rays - I didn’t take x-rays because I’ve got to go to a dentist for that or a better x-ray or something.
Q. Chris, was how the series ended more disappointing or how it started?
CHRIS DRURY: Definitely how it started. Actually, thought once it got down 3-0 we showed some balance and grit, and even tonight being down 2-1, I know it’s a home game, but we still battled, and I think guys kind of came together when we were down 3-0. And I think overall, we’re very disappointed and, you know, at the end of the day, I think we’re disappointed for our fans and how they rallied around us, you know, from three, four years ago to now has been amazing, and, you know, hopefully they’ll stay with us.
Q. Chris, earlier you said that you thought from the regular season, the post-season, maybe the effort level wasn’t as stepped up as well as it should be or guys maybe weren’t playing as hard as they could have?
CHRIS DRURY: It’s just a different game. It’s ugly. Winning battles in the corners, winning battles in front of the net. It’s not, you know, tic-tac-toe game, exploded for six goals like we did in the regular season. It’s not that kind of game. Once we figured that out, once Lindy made us figure that out when we were down 3-0, we finally played harder and gave ourselves a chance but, you know, certainly starting the series wasn’t like that.
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