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June 17, 1999

Ken Hitchcock


Q. Can you talk about Modano's play tonight?

KEN HITCHCOCK: Well, I thought when we came into the game tonight that they had an x-factor. I thought Modano was our x-factor. I think for us to win this series Mike had to be a player of significance; whether he scored a point or not in the game and he made a big step in that direction today. We were able to throw a one-two punch out there with Modano and Nieuwendyk that was effective and he had big impact in the game.

Q. He said you called him last night at home. Any other tidbits you can let us in on as far as what you wanted from him and told him to do?

KEN HITCHCOCK: Well, I was really just saying hello to his mom and dad. We have a pretty close relationship. I have spent a lot of time with him and he spent a lot of time with me and I am able to say some things candidly and only to him that maybe I can't say to other players. But it was -- it was just a phone call of support and getting him to think in some other direction and if he listened, great. I mean, I think he took it to heart and he went about his business today.

Q. After Game 1 you came in here talked about how you felt you guys tried to sit on a 1-0 lead in the third period. Tonight after the second period did you guys talk about that in the room about continuing to attack and not sitting on the lead?

KEN HITCHCOCK: I don't know that -- I don't know that -- this game had so many swings and momentum. I don't think that either team had control of this game. The thing we had control of was the score. But we spent some time in our end, because of the way Buffalo plays. And the goal we scored was because of the way Buffalo plays, the second goal. We just had to hang in there and hope that the cracks were there. I thought that the first period was the best that anybody has played against us all year in our building. And then I thought our second period was the best that we have played for a long time in Playoffs and then the third period was just an absolute war. But I thought that there were so many swings and momentum in this game -- I just don't know other than us being up 3-2 in the series really is the only thing that any team should feel comfortable about right now because they are just as -- there just is no read on momentum, like there is -- there is no dominant player; there is no dominant area. It is just an absolute shift-by-shift battle. This is a series that, from an intensity standpoint, is much higher than the Colorado series even.

Q. Can you talk about Darryl Sydor and take us back a little bit to the time you first met him; all that stuff.

KEN HITCHCOCK: I met -- we took a chance when I was in Kamloops and we listed Darryl as a 13-years-old and it cost us a lot of spots and our list at that time, he was a four-spot player. He was a kid, believe it or not, at 14 weighed 20 or 30 pounds more than he does now. He was a chunky kid that played center ice. Just personality alone, we really loved him. He came to our team and two things that stick out were he made our team as a 15-year-old and there was a rule put in that summer that 15-year-olds couldn't play. He was absolutely crushed when we sent him home even though he knew what the rule was. Then as a 16-year-old he really got homesick and I remember going a couple of times to the Greyhound Bus depot to go and haul him back to keep him in school and in Kamloops. He has come a long ways. We had made a decision, I think everybody knows in junior hockey, finances were tight and a lot of money went to first round picks and we were told by a number of scouts that with the way Darryl skated backwards and the way he played defense, the little bit he did as a 16-year-old that he had a chance to be a first round draft pick as a 17-year-old, so that is why we moved him back.

Q. Was the fact that he was chunky the reason you were first attractive?

KEN HITCHCOCK: Yeah, I fell in love with him at that time. That is probably the wrong thing to say. (laughter)

Q. What was going on with you and Lindy Ruff?

KEN HITCHCOCK: Kind of two guys from Warburg saying hello to each other. He is from Warburg; I am from Edmonton. We are not too far away. Ed made two big saves in the third period; probably saves that maybe upstairs you couldn't see, but one was a deflect that was a great save and he made a cross-ice pass save that was good. I think that both goaltenders are really under seige right now. The shot totals are not indicative of the tenacity around each team's net. I think both guys, to be honest with you, are holding up pretty well because it is a very emotional scene in front of both goals.

Q. You mentioned obviously it is very difficult to choose between the teams right now, but you do have them with your foot on their neck and the chance to win the Stanley Cup on the road. What sense do you have of it? Can you put them away before coming back here?

KEN HITCHCOCK: I just -- I don't have a feel for anything right now because the swings and momentum happen so quickly with these two teams because both teams are fired up. I mean, you are seeing shifts -- we have had players last five minutes never sat down on the bench and they have players doing the same thing. The emotional swings in these games are so dramatic they can just happen so quickly; I don't have a feel. The only confidence we have right now is the fact that we -- we had it taken to us pretty good in the first period and we responded terrifically in the second period when we really needed to respond, we did it in the second period. But there is just no read. I just think this thing, like today, is up for grabs right to the end. I see no reason that the next game is going to be anything different and then we will just see from there.

End of FastScripts....

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