‘It was billed by many as the most important game for the Buffalo Sabres in three years, but turned out to be just another poor performance against the New York Islanders.’
Archives for February 22, 2004
'"We still got to realize there are six, seven weeks left in the season," Ruff said. "If we put the onus on every game, every night, we'll go off the deep end. This game is behind us now."'
'The Sabres scratched rookie winger Andrew Peters for the 10th straight game. He has played only nine times since Dec. 13, a span of 31 games.'
'Satan isn't just a sniper but a 29-year-old sniper. There's been much talk about reducing the age of unrestricted free agents as a bridge in the next collective bargaining agreement. Many believe the age for unrestricted free agency, now 31, could be 28 or lower. With labor strife threatening to wipe out next season and Satan pushing 30, it makes sense for the Sabres and other teams to view him as a rental.'
'Buffalo, with a six-game unbeaten streak, entered Nassau Coliseum as the N.H.L.'s hottest team. The Islanders are now alone in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, 5 points ahead of the Sabres and 2 ahead of Montreal after the Canadiens lost to Toronto.'
'Just 1:07 after Bates' first goal since Dec. 13, Buffalo cut the Isles' lead to one on Dmitri Kalinin's one-timer that came off Rick DiPietro's failed clear. Seventy-five seconds later, though, Aucoin put the Isles up 3-1 after some grunt work down low opened up space at the right point for his floater that beat Sabres goalie Martin Biron.'
'"It was probably our best 60 minutes we've put together," said All-Star defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who followed a minus-5 showing Thursday with a solid plus-3 night. "This was even bigger than the Ranger game."'
'"It was huge," defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. "It was even bigger than the Ranger game. Obviously, the rivalry is huge, but I think they're buried pretty deep back there. And we're looking forward."'
'"It can seem like there's no light at the end of the tunnel. We thought our team was not going to survive," goaltender Martin Biron said. "But you know what? Lindy and the coaches stayed constructive the whole time. They were very patient, especially with the young guys. They didn't make decisions just so we win one game. They did things so we would all get better by the end of the season."'
'"We've got a core group of guys who have taken over the team," Ruff said. "Dumont's a great example. He's a great player but now has a voice in the room you didn't normally hear. Hecht, he's been the silent killer on the team. He's not real vocal, but he does it on the ice. He's been our best two-way player. You can put him in any situation. He's big enough, strong enough and doesn't back off from anybody."'