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June 10, 1999

Ken Hitchcock


FRANK BROWN: Opening remarks from Mr. Hitchcock.

KEN HITCHCOCK: Good win, we are back in the series. It is a hell of a series. Every game is going to be like this, every game is going to be probably as strong. I have never seen two teams that defend with passion like both these teams do. Boy, for a low scoring games it is sure exciting, isn't it?

Q. Mike Modano?

KEN HITCHCOCK: Modano is a wrist injury that is probably day-to-day, but it is not overly serious, hopefully. We will have a better evaluation tomorrow.

Q. Obviously this is why you brought Brett Hull in here to score goals; at that particular moment; in that situation?

KEN HITCHCOCK: I just thought he got stronger as the game went on. He has been a player that we have had during some of the series. He has waited into some series; then been strong later in all the series, but he recognized with Modano out there, he had to step ahead. I just thought our team and, in particular, our veteran players played with a lot of passion tonight. We just never quit. Just stayed with it. I think Hull's goal was just our attitude in the third period, a lot of the stuff felt very similar to the Colorado game, Game 2, and we just kept coming.

Q. Talk about the efforts of the penalty kill and the final two minutes and the final powerplay especially after they had given up two goals --

KEN HITCHCOCK: I think we were disappointed in ourselves because we know how good Buffalo's powerplay is right now and in both cases we had a chance to clear the puck in both powerplays that they scored and we didn't get it down the ice. That was really disappointing, but boy, to be that strong; especially Keane and Carbonneau at the end was just outstanding.

Q. Ludwig will score a goal every Playoff game?

KEN HITCHCOCK: He has got one for the 90s, that is it. He is done. Somebody else is going to have to come into play (laughs).

Q. Your team did not sag after it failed on that two-man advantage. Something that might have gotten a team down you ended up scoring the goal. Mark of a club's character or --

KEN HITCHCOCK: I think it is a mark of the character, but I think also that we just -- I don't know, we just don't want to go home. I mean, not so much we want to go home, we just don't want to give away anything easily. We just -- this is our team. I mean, we just find a way to win all year and we knew coming in here how difficult this series would be. Both teams are so similar, I think neither team is going to go away. I just feel like every game is going to be decided in the last ten minutes. From an energy excitement level, I just don't see any of the games being any different. I think both teams recognize if you just stay with it, then you are going to have success. He made three great saves on the 5-on-3. That save on Hull was a rocket. He made three great saves on that 5 and 3. That is the looks we are looking for. We just didn't score.

Q. You talked about Dominik having an easy game in Game 1. Did you want to come back and play physical with him when he came out the crease?

KEN HITCHCOCK: I don't know that we wanted to play physical. He is very confident at going a long ways away from the net and playing the puck and doing those things. We just -- when a goaltender goes out that far, our attitude is he is a defenseman so we treat him as a defenseman. We recognize that, you know, if he was a defenseman, we would be barging ahead and trying to be more physical, but it is more the pressure that you want to put on him and hopefully he bobbles it. Patrick Roy was the same way. We scored three goals in that series because we treated him as defenseman. Sometimes when the goaltender is out there you back up off and try to go where he is going to pass the puck to, but we just feel like if we continually go after him maybe we can get a turnover. That is what we are looking at.

Q. You have seen this Buffalo team twice now. Are you impressed by the way they never seem to die? You had them down 2-1 tonight that could have been a killing blow. They came right back a minute later. Are you kind of impressed?

KEN HITCHCOCK: To be honest with you I have been impressed all Playoffs and especially in the series against Ottawa I have said before that these are the two best teams in the National Hockey League as far as defending with passion. You look at us today and we are sitting there after two periods with less than 15 shots on goal and they have got 20 blocked shots. That isn't by accident. They defend with unbelievable passion. They are quick on you. They are physical. You get no second opportunities unless you are prepared to work and that is what wins in this League. The skill level of teams is close. But if you can get your team as committed as both these teams are, I really feel like you have got a chance to win every game every night and Buffalo has been doing this all Playoffs. So it is nothing different.

Q. Just getting back on Modano again. A chance excitement of this victory masking any underlying concern; he seemed to be in some pain; do you think he might miss some games?

KEN HITCHCOCK: We really can't evaluate it right now. We were told by the doctor that he is a probable player for Game 3, but it is something that they want to see if it settles down tomorrow. But the doctors told us that he is a probable player for Game 3. So we are going to go on that premise. He certainly he is not a player hopefully that is out for the series, but you know, you never know until 24 hours later. We are thinking that he is a player though.

Q. It was kind of a distraction being over here for Game 1. Are you looking forward to going there --

KEN HITCHCOCK: Yeah, we mask it -- some of us mask it by whistling or humor or whatever, or watching Rick Jeanneret (phonetic) go through his gyrations or whatever, we -- this is different for all of us because there is so much, not only media and press, but family and friends and I mean, I found out I have a lot more friends in the last four days than I have known in my life. I think that when you are on the road you become tighter knit and you stay together and your focus is narrow remember. We have always played so well on the road all Playoffs. I think our players are really looking forward to that.

Q. You had to be impressed tonight with the play of Richard Matvichuk. He played obviously an outstanding game?

KEN HITCHCOCK: I think our whole defense did. I thought Craig Ludwig stepped up. Hatch played with passion; Matty played with passion. It has been our calling card all year - I don't know - we had to do those things. When we are desperate we have to play like this. It is at times bizarre and at times doesn't look cohesive, but when you are playing at this level, our energy guides everything. Our energy starts with that back end.

End of FastScripts...

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