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June 16, 1999

Derian Hatcher

Benoit Hogue

Brett Hull

Dave Reid

DALLAS, TEXAS: Practice Day

DAVE REID: It is fresh in our minds what happened last series, so I don't know, we lost Game 5 last time, so we know that feeling. We want to try to change that, put the heat and pressure on them that we felt in Game 6. In situations like this a lot of guys have been through situations through their career in the past, but like I say, best of 3 starts tomorrow night. We are pretty excited about it; I am sure they are too.

Q. How did you feel after last year?

DAVE REID: When we lost Game 5? I mean, there wasn't no life going on in the locker room. Afterwards everybody was very quiet and then we came back, the coaches went over the game and we kind of refocused and we took our game back to Denver. But last Game 5 was 7-5 game, I don't see that happening in this series. I doubt very much you are going to see that happen tomorrow night. It is fun. Hey, it is very enjoyable. This is great. Everybody is enjoying their team. Best of 3 starts tomorrow night and we get two in our rink; go from there.

Q. Is it because of the concern of play, strong backchecking the goaltender, a little of everything--

DAVE REID: A little of everything, both have strong goaltending, both defensive systems in their own end and strong in the neutral zone. There is not a lot of extra space where you get the chance to make a pass to a guy standing wide open in the slot. Most of the opportunities are -- Newey had one the other night but, but most of them, other than powerplays, are generated from hard work down low and a rebound or someone just, you know, popping up free with the puck; that is where we seem to get a lot of our opportunities

Q. Can you do any further damage to your knee than what has already been done by playing?

BENOIT HOGUE: I don't think so. I think the only thing I can do is if the knee buckles. It hasn't done it. That is why I did a lot of things one-on-one on the board. It feels strong. I had it checked by the doctor. He said my MCL has healed. It is pretty tight. He was himself surprised how good the MCL is.

Q. What about the ACL?

BENOIT HOGUE: That is going to need surgery. It is something that I can deal with. It is not painful. It is torn and the brace is going to help me out. It is going to need to be fixed after the series, so I am not worried about that at all.

Q. You are possibly going to get to play a little bit, I think (inaudible)--

BENOIT HOGUE: Really, the first time I had an MCL torn, a lot of guys had it done and I start working on motion right away. I was amazed the way I came back this quick, even the therapist in Dallas said, well, you are doing good and everything. I said, well, I will give it a shot. And today we are going to Game 5 tomorrow and I am ready to go, so it is pretty good.

Q. How anxious are you to get back on the ice?

BENOIT HOGUE: I am. It has been long watching the games and I was talking with Brett yesterday and Brett said how hard it is to watch it on TV and now I get a chance to get back in the game and I am ready; I am an anxious to get out there.

Q. Did he say anything if he is going to be around?

BENOIT HOGUE: He didn't say nothing. It is up to him. I think everybody else definitely got healed quicker and hopefully he is going to heal quick and get back in the series also.

Q. How tough is it on your body; you give out a ton of checks over the Playoffs, everyone is coming at you all the time. How do you feel at the end of the --

DERIAN HATCHER: (laughs) Well, if you win, it usually makes it a lot easier. I think when you lose you tend to feel the bumps and bruises a little bit more. I mean, right now I feel pretty good. It is a tough time in and time out.

Q. Feel like a target?

DERIAN HATCHER: Yeah, sometimes I feel like they are coming at me. I am a big Guy, I can handle it.

Q. A lot of people are under the impression that a big guy like you only gives punishment. How much punishment does it take to dish out the punishment?

DERIAN HATCHER: Well, it is tough. Someone asked me before how long I plan to play this game, when you play a physical game, you hit a lot, stuff like that, you know, it is tough on the body. I think it is actually -- it is not as tough to hit somebody than when you get hit.

Q. Were you the biggest kid on your team growing up?

DERIAN HATCHER: No, not at all. I wasn't a big kid until Juniors. I went on a late growth spirt. Growing up I was tall but I was never real big.

Q. Did you point to this type of player and think this is what I am going to be?

DERIAN HATCHER: Not really. I don't know, that is tough to say. I watched my brother Kevin play for a long time and kind of envisioned myself like that a little bit.

Q. Do you feel as though you gave the Sabres a little glimmer of hope last night that maybe they didn't have any at the beginning --

DERIAN HATCHER: Well, I think when a team is down 2-1, you know, it is a huge game. We go up 3-1, it is tied 2-2, I think for them to be able to tie it 2-2, yeah, I definitely think it is a big boost for them.

Q. You got it at home; you have got to feel good about that?

DERIAN HATCHER: Yeah, I mean, we are disappointed because we had a chance to go up 3-1 and really take command of the series and we didn't do it. But on the other hand, we still feel confident that we can win two more games.

Q. Who is your toughest battle? Ken Hitchcock talked about you and Forsberg. Do you have someone else there that takes you to the maximum?

DERIAN HATCHER: I think Forsberg last round was -- as of now, by far, my toughest battle.

Q. How come?

DERIAN HATCHER: He is so strong. He is smart, you know, he is just so strong on the skates.

Q. You can't be anymore entertaining today than you were the other day.

BRETT HULL: (laughs) Today is easy.

Q. What is going on?

BRETT HULL: Went out, skated today. It felt all right, but we will go out tomorrow and skate with the full team tomorrow, the morning skate and see how it goes and just take it from there.

Q. What is your feeling? How are you feeling now?

BRETT HULL: Well, I think I have been upgraded to doubtful or questionably doubtful or something.

Q. No matter what he says, you are doubtful.

BRETT HULL: I don't know, it is just -- it is one of those things where I think it is more up to how I feel tomorrow after responding today and see how the coaches feel about what they want or need in the lineup.

Q. What are you doing for it?

BRETT HULL: Just, you exercise it, you rest it, ice it, I mean, same thing you do for anything.

Q. Were you able to do cuts and stuff like that?

BRETT HULL: You guys missed me out there? Yeah, it felt all right, but again that is just sweats and without -- I don't think it was game speed at all. We will see tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a real good test for.

Q. I was hoping that you could walk us through your entire workout.

BRETT HULL: (laughs)

Q. Did you open it up? Did you go full stride?

BRETT HULL: Yeah, few times. But again that is out there with nothing and just sweats. It is not the same.

Q. What is the hardest thing about not being on the ice --

BRETT HULL: Without being on the ice, that is the hardest part; not being able to help or contribute, just that waiting is the hardest part, so.....

Q. Have you thought about Jagr during the first couple of rounds when he had the problem, he was wearing a special pair of shorts that helped hold his groin in place?

BRETT HULL: Those are all options, so, yeah.

Q. Have you tried working with it yet?

BRETT HULL: Yeah, we have experimented, so.....

Q. Do you feel comfortable like that?

BRETT HULL: No, you never really feel comfortable going onto something new, but it is something at this stage of the game that you just -- if that is something you do; that is what you have to live with.

Q. Where did you watch the game last night?

BRETT HULL: In the dressing room with the rest of the aces.

Q. Drive you crazy?

BRETT HULL: It is an understatement to be watching, especially in that 1-goal game when I think the majority of people agree that it is what I do is score goals and to just be that one short, it is frustrating, as you can imagine.

Q. You were bouncing off the walls?

BRETT HULL: Yeah, couldn't sit down. I went from CBC, ESPN, wondering which was going to be the lucky TV.

Q. Why did you say you have been upgraded to doubtful?

BRETT HULL: I don't know what term the coach used - if you talked to him yet, but he will give you that.

Q. He says you are going to be a player?

BRETT HULL: Sometime this decade. We will just have to wait and see. Come and talk to me tomorrow morning (laughs).

Q. If you get in tomorrow will there be that feeling that you want to make the difference; you want to get that one --

BRETT HULL: Of course.

Q. Do you pump it up?

BRETT HULL: You just have to play the game.

End of FastScripts....

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