'Quinn said the Sabres were playing a 1-3-1 defensive system that the Leafs simply couldn't solve in the second period.'
Archives for March 23, 2003
'For those never-say-die Buffalo Sabres fans out there who still were clinging to hopes of a postseason miracle: You can get on with your lives now.'
'Sources said Neil Smith, also known as the only living general manager to guide the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup, is intrigued by what's happening in Buffalo. In fact, he's quite interested in becoming president of your hometown team. He's told several people in Toronto and at least one GM that he wants to help run the Sabres, from the trade deadline to the uniform colors.'
The end result is nice and all — Toronto won its 40th game, the fourth time in five years Pat Quinn has reached that milestone as coach — but the Leafs realize their overall effort must improve in the final seven games before the playoffs start. They mustered little against the Sabres stifling defensive system in the opening 40 minutes, which will be childs play compared to what the Philadelphia Flyers or New Jersey Devils could throw at them in the first round.
The whisper around the league was that if Regier had been canned, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would have exerted his influence to get him a job somewhere else in the league as a reward for his handling of the franchise while it was under the leagues stewardship.
'This was the final meeting of five games between the QEW rivals, but it was tame affair compared to the fight-night in Buffalo on Mar. 6. There were four separate fights in the Sabres 4-2 victory that night, but not one dust up in this meeting. In fact, the two teams combined for just 18 penalty minutes (10 for Toronto and eight for Buffalo).'
'When the Maple Leafs and Sabres played last played on March 6, four fights broke out in the first 14 minutes of the game. No fights occurred this time.'
'"We didn't allow a whole lot, but they have their big gunners who will get a little something going," Buffalo center Curtis Brown said. "Overall, we really limited them, so it's tough to lose it the way we did in overtime, giving up too good of a chance. Tonight, two big mistakes and they put them both in. That's what happens against a skilled team like that."'