'Zhitnik says he can shoot with his bad shoulder, but trying to lean on a player or poke check somebody is still out of the question.'
Archives for April 1, 2004
'The first tiebreaker is victories, and the Sabres would own it in every conceivable tied situation.'
'He still can control a game, to the amazement of Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who reminisced about playing against Messier – in youth hockey. "It's amazing that he could play as well as he's playing at his age, and at times dominate the game still," Ruff said.'
'"I'm a different person when I'm around them," Kadlubowski said. "I won't miss the winter nights picking them up at 1 or 2 in the morning and the snow is blowing all over the place. But seeing them and being with them is a great feeling. For me, it's been a great ride."'
'The fans weren't rooting so much for the Rangers as they were rooting against the Sabres, who are trying to catch the Islanders for the final playoff spot in the East. While the Islanders did their part by whipping the Canadiens, the Sabres prolonged the suspense by edging the Rangers 4-3 to remain three points behind the Islanders. But there's little room for error on the Sabres' part, because there are only two games remaining for each team.'
'Before the game, Messier posed for photographs with friends, family, staff members and fans. He also signed several commemorative sticks, which he played with during the game.'
'The eighth-place Islanders had already done what they had to do. Receiving two goals each from Parrish and Roman Hamrlik, they dominated the Montreal Canadiens, 5-1, and remained 3 points ahead of Buffalo with two games remaining. An Islanders victory or a Sabres loss will lock up the Islanders' third straight playoff berth.'
'Last night certainly looked like a farewell. From the presence of Messier's extended family – teenage son Lyon even stood behind the bench for the third period – to the dozens of sticks he autographed and used in the game to the photos for which he posed with teammates and trainers to the pregame phone call from Wayne Gretzky, it had all the trappings. The only thing it did not have was Messier's official word.'
'Certainly everything pointed to this being the final chapter. In recent days, Messier posed for photos with everyone on the team, probably right down to the cotton-candy vendors.'
'Islander fans had become so desperate they also were willing to cheer for the despised Blueshirts on the scoreboard.'