home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


April 19, 2006

Daniel Briere

Chris Drury

Derian Hatcher

DAVID KEON: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm David Keon of the National Hockey League's public relations department. I'd like to welcome you to the fourth of eight conference calls being conducted this afternoon as we prepare for the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

This call we are featuring Series D between the Buffalo Sabres and the Philadelphia Flyers. The two teams will open their series on Saturday at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo at 7 p.m. eastern time on OLN and TSN.

With us we have Buffalo co-captains Daniel Briere and Chris Drury. Daniel finished the season with 25 goals, 33 assists for 58 points in 48 games played, while Chris tallied 30 goals and 37 assists for 67 points in 81 games played. From the Flyers we have their captain, Derian Hatcher, who scored 4 goals and 13 assists for 17 points in 77 games this season.

Again we thank the three of them for joining us to answer your questions. We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Chris, you have played in enough of these playoffs where there always seems to be two or three teams considered the favorites. Can you remember any year where it seems like seeds 1 through 16 thinks they have a good shot of going all the way?

CHRIS DRURY: Nothing like this. I think you saw it throughout the year exactly how tight the races were down the stretch, divisions, conferences, right down to the last night. I think it's true, any team could get out in front and win this thing.

Q. Derian?

DERIAN HATCHER: I couldn't agree more. I think this year in both divisions, if you look, both conferences, really every team going in thinks they have a shot. It wouldn't surprise me. Whoever ends up to be in the Stanley Cup Final, it really wouldn't surprise me.

Q. You were the last game to end before the Atlantic Division -- Devils come back. Where were you watching? What were your emotions seeing different teams you may be playing?

DANIEL BRIERE: It was pretty clear, when we came off the ice, our media guy told us it looked like we were going to play the Rangers. We got undressed, moved in the next room where the TV was on, we were watching Montréal against Jersey. I think Montréal was still up by two. We were playing the Rangers. A few minutes later they tied it up, looked like more and more we were playing the Devils. Next thing we know a few minutes later they scored, we were playing the Flyers. It was kind of weird. For us, it didn't really matter. Three really good teams. They all have strengths and players that are going to be tough to stop. It didn't matter to us who we were facing.

Q. Chris?

CHRIS DRURY: Yeah, same thing. It was kind of a strange 10 or 15 minutes. Like Danny said, you kind of deal with it, roll with it. Whoever we got, we got. Either way, I think we'll be ready.

Q. Daniel, you as a team seem to be one of the teams that benefited from the new rules in the regular season. In past years, we've seen the whistles go away to a certain extent in the playoffs. How are you expecting the playoffs to be called?

DANIEL BRIERE: Well, throughout the season, we were expecting the calls to go down, the referees to stop calling the new rules. I mean they kept it going all year long. I expect the same kind of treatment in the playoffs. I think it was much more exciting to watch games as a fan, watching games when players were about to skate a little more freely.

No, I expect the same kind of treatments. Everybody was a little worried it wasn't going to stick, but they stuck to their guns all year. I have to expect the same thing in the playoffs. We'll have to keep playing the same way and try to keep our sticks off of especially guys like Forsberg and Gagne especially.

Q. If we do see that rougher checking style in the playoffs, are you fine with that or would you prefer to see the more wide-open game we saw in the regular season?

DANIEL BRIERE: We'll adapt to whatever's out there. But, I mean, I think everybody, for the good of the game expects the penalties to be called the same way it was during the season.

Like I said earlier, I think it was much more exciting to watch games. I'm hoping they'll keep it going the same way just for the good of the game especially.

Q. Derian, what do you think the key is for your team to have success against the Sabres in the playoffs?

DERIAN HATCHER: It's a good question (laughter). You know, obviously we want to try to play our game. We're somewhat familiar with the way they play. We know they're a very fast, very quick team that likes to lay it out there the way they play. Their defensemen pinch, they're go, go, go. We're kind of the opposite of that. I think you're going to see two opposite game plans.

I think the most important thing for us is to apply our game plan, the same thing we've been doing all year. I'm sure they're thinking the same thing. If they go in and play their game, do what they want to do, they'll have the upper hand. That's usually the way it is.

Q. Chris and Derian, a lot has been made about the goaltending in the Eastern Conference, how there's not a whole lot of playoff experience out there. Do you feel too much is being made of this whole lack of experience in the east in nets?

CHRIS DRURY: Well, we came into the season with a question mark there with Ryan Miller as far as experience goes. He responded just fine throughout the year, had a great year. He's so mentally tough, I think despite not having a lot of NHL -- any NHL playoff games under his belt, I think he'll respond well. We all know if he doesn't or if they choose to go with Biron, he'll be fine, too.

DERIAN HATCHER: I feel the same way. We have two goalies. I don't know if there is any saying who will start. I think when it comes down to it, all the goalies have experience at some level. They've all played in big games. They've always obviously excelled, and that's why they're where they're at. Sure, we don't have anyone that has been to the Stanley Cup finals or anything like that, but the goalies have been in big-pressure situations before.

Q. Would it be fair to say it's being a bit overemphasized?

DERIAN HATCHER: I think so. I think it's just something for everyone to analyze the game. I definitely think it's overemphasized.

Q. Derian, today Hitchcock came out and named Esche the No. 1 guy. Do you have any thoughts on that?

DERIAN HATCHER: I know he carried them to the Conference Finals in '94. That doesn't surprise me. He's played really well down the stretch.

But I'm sure it will be like anything else, both goalies will be on shorter leashes. That's the advantage, just like Buffalo having two goalies.

Q. Derian, the games that you played against Buffalo this year, what do you take from that? How much do you maybe try not to take from games during the regular season because maybe the game is played differently or what have you?

DERIAN HATCHER: Well, there's no question you can only take so much from the regular season. But with that said, it's the same team and their style of play's the same. I know the last time we were in Buffalo, we put a lot of emphasis on wanting to win that game because we knew they could be a possible first-round opponent, which they are. They beat us the three prior games to that.

I'm sure we'll sit down tomorrow, look at some of the video of the games throughout the course of the year and take stuff from that. That's the way it is. But you don't take too much because you never know what you're going to get in the playoffs. Sometimes it's two different teams out there.

Q. Aside from the speed factor, what comes to mind when you just think of those four games?

DERIAN HATCHER: Well, the first two seemed like they were a long time ago. I know they won. The last one, I wasn't playing. I watched. I think we lost 6-5, the game was pretty much a shootout. I don't think it's any secret, we don't necessarily want to get in those types of games. The last game in Buffalo we ended up winning.

They're a team that lays it all out there. I said it earlier, their D is going to be pinching, their forwards are going to be coming hard. We just have to counter that.

Q. Derian, when Bob Clarke signed guys like you and Mike Rathje, the critics said, why are they getting these bigger guys when the NHL seems to be focusing on faster players? Do you think you showed there's still -- this game can still be played, for lack of a better term, the way Ken Hitchcock would like it to be played?

DERIAN HATCHER: I think if you look throughout the course of the year, at the beginning of the year a lot of teams were playing a lot more wide open. By the end of the season, you still have some teams that play their systems, the systems they've been playing. I think guys like Ken Hitchcock, they've reverted back to their old ways of defense first. I think that's happened throughout the whole league.

You have more of a prelockout team to a team that has that speed and quickness. So we'll see.

DAVID KEON: Thanks, guys, for your time today. Good luck in the playoffs.

End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297