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October 25, 2006

Chris Drury

October 25, 2006

DAVID KEON: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm David Keon with the National Hockey League's Public Relations Department, and I'd like to welcome everyone to today's call.
With us we have Buffalo Sabres forward, Chris Drury. Thanks to Chris for taking the time today to answer your questions, and thanks to Mike Gilbert and Chris Bandera of the Sabres' public relations department for arranging the call.
His 8th NHL season, third with Buffalo, Chris is tied for the league lead in goals with Atlanta's Marian Hossa, each with ten.
He has added four assists in his nine games played, giving him 14 points and a tie for second in overall league scoring with teammate Maxim Afinogenov.
With Monday's 4-1 win over Montreal, the Sabres set franchise record of nine wins from the start of the season, breaking the team mark set in 1975/'76.
A win in New York against the Islanders tomorrow night will tie the National Hockey League record for most consecutive wins from the start of the season set by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993/'94.
Going back to last season, the Sabres have won 14 consecutive regular season games. Again, we thank Chris for taking time to answer your questions today.

Q. Last year when Buffalo got so close and then there was all that talk about signing players, that they might not be able to keep the cast intact; obviously they did. I mean, was that a large consideration considering you lost Jay McKee and Mike Grier, who were two very large pieces of the puzzle.
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah, you know, going into an off season with so many guys having to sign, I don't think anyone knew as far as the players who was going to be here and who wasn't.
But obviously they kept a lot of guys and signed a lot of contracts this summer, and it's certainly working out.

Q. Are the Sabres just made for, you know, the way the game is played right now? I mean, obviously fast-skating team, lots of offense, and you keep the puck moving up the ice.
CHRIS DRURY: I like to think we do well with the old rules, too. I think first and foremost we got good goaltending. No matter what the rules are, I think you can have a chance to win every night with the two goalies we have.
As far as the new rules, we have guys that can skate, they can certainly all move the puck, and that's where it all gets started, I think.

Q. How neat would it be to set this record? I mean, I know the guys that from '93 Leafs team consider it -- once their careers were over, looked back and thought it was a pretty special accomplishment.
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah I think it would be pretty neat in the midst of an 82 game season, it's not something we were or are thinking about. Half the guys in the locker room don't even know about it, which is a good thing.
But definitely if we do accomplish it, it would be nice to be a part of it.

Q. The suggestion's been made -- I mean, this is a record that maybe should have an asterisk because you guys have won some games in a shootout which they didn't have back then. The NHL says there as no asterisk. If it happens, it happens.
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah. I didn't think about that point. You know, but the way to get two points and the rules the way they are, it's nothing that either team can control. So I guess it's -- ultimately it's the league's decision.

Q. I guess the last thing is, were you aware that the night that (inaudible) the baseball player -- yourself you'll probably appreciate this -- the night they got their 10th was the night Joe Carter hit his World Series home run?
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah. I never seen the home run, but no I didn't know that was the same night.

Q. Coach was saying today he's really been relegated into a role of being a nitpicker in this streak. And as poorly as you played in certain stretches, you guys still find ways to win. Is it difficult in a 9-0 run to find fault with this team?
CHRIS DRURY: No. There's always stuff to work on and improve on. You know, we've come from behind a few games and had a lot of floppy periods here and there. As was already mentioned, there were some shootouts. Ryan Miller made 40 some saves against Detroit. What happens at the end of the night, whether you're on a winning streak or not, there's always things to work on, and we're well aware of that.

Q. Can you not though be happy or pleased with such an accomplishment right now?
CHRIS DRURY: Well, you know, our mindset is not to be satisfied with the previous game, I guess. The old saying, "You're only as good as your last game." Our motto is, "You're only as good as your next game."
Seems like when the buzzer blows guys are already thinking about the next one , who we're playing, and how they do, and what are their tendencies.
You know, there's some satisfaction, I think, maybe until about midnight of that night, and then that game and that day is over with and you got to get ready for the next one.

Q. Are the Sabres as tough to beat or tough to beat because they can spread the offense around? I mean, a lot of teams are trying to find a first line or whatever. Seems like it doesn't really matter what game it is, you're getting lots of offense from lots of people, which makes it very, very difficult for the other team to handle.
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah, I think being deep is important. I think we showed that last year just having a well-balanced attack. Same thing this year. I think also special teams, too. Having two power plays. I don't know if you want to call one A and one B, but that helps. And also penalty killing. I don't think there's any drop off from the first penalty kill to the next. We're pretty deep in all areas, so that certainly helps.

Q. Considering you got so close last year to get into the Cup final, was it a burning desire, obviously, this most of this cast to say, Okay, we got this close; we're not going to let to get away?
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah. I don't think anyone really thought we were that close. Maybe on paper, but the 4th game in the conference finals, and obviously the hardest game to win, and the next four are even harder. We know we still have a lot of work to do, and we're still very, very hungry.

Q. Hey, I know that you guys aren't thinking about the streak itself, or you're trying not to. But to be at least a motivating factor where you can say, Look, you're nine games up already. Here's the next goal. In terms of just trying to find each goal every night so you don't get complacent, is that something you can point toward?
CHRIS DRURY: Yeah. There's always little battles to be won throughout the season. Going into Montreal was a little -- it's a little battle along the way, and Lindy is great at finding little things along the way. He hasn't mentioned the streak yet. I don't know if he will. We know there's two games left in the month, and it would certainly be nice to finish off those two with wins.

Q. Has anybody in the dressing room say, Hey, let's at least be aware of it? That it's going on?
CHRIS DRURY: No, nothing formally. Maybe a little side conversations, but nothing as a group.

Q. (Inaudible.) How are you going to handle package of Hossa/Kovalchuk?
CHRIS DRURY: They certainly do have a lot of skill. And the biggest thing I think is their lineup can skate like ours. Certainly not looking past the Islanders at all, but we know how hot Atlanta has been and, you know, getting great goaltending. First things, first, you know. But certainly on Saturday we're going to have to be sharp.

Q. What do you think is your biggest strength and weakness right now?
CHRIS DRURY: Certainly our depth I think has got to be a strength. Just as I mentioned before, in all scenarios goalie, D, forward, special teams. Weakness, I'm not sure. We're working a lot on your system. Still working on our forecheck every day and watching video on it. Hopefully we can get that nailed down soon.

End of FastScripts...

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