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May 19, 2006

Rod Brind'Amour

Eric Staal

Cam Ward


Q. Rod, we were talking to Peter about the new rules, the way the game is played now; they talked they felt it was more exciting, more fun. Have you seen that? Did it make it more fun for you?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I think just in general it was more fun, especially early on I thought the play was a lot up and down. It took a while for the guys to get used to it. A lot of penalties that might slow the game down a little bit. As it adapted it's been great. Positive all the way around.
Q. With the veterans you have on this team do you feel you have advantage over the Sabres, the experience factor?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I don't know that it really matters. I think we got some older guys, but I think experience is overrated at times. I think it is more experience during the regular season getting through the ups and downs, the long haul. I think at this point it is all about having fun and excitement. I don't know that experience is that big a factor.
Q. Rod, what about (inaudible)?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Oh, I think that's more important. I think the energy that young guys bring to the game, to the locker room, to your play, I think is more a factor than experience. Sometimes they don't know what they are in for. Inexperience can almost help you.
I think the energy factor that the young guys bring is a lot more important.
Q. Has that been accentuated, the way the NHL is played now, that experience has been marginalized to a certain extent? I think of Dave Andreychuk, where you just add a guy just because he has experience.
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I think I heard the argument sometimes experience players can cheat more and do definitely and get away with the hooking and holding. I think now because you can't do that, that element is gone, but I think it's better to have the young guys. They just provide a lot more energy.
Q. Rod, are you finding something special about this playoff run for you guys (inaudible)?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: We don't talk about it. We know it's in the back of our minds obviously. And you guys call us old guys, but we don't feel like we're old guys, I think that has a lot to do with these guys. They keep pushing us and make us have a lot of fun. Although I am a lot older than both these guys, I don't feel that way. I certainly don't look at it as them being young and me being old.
Q. Eric, do you find you are motivated by guys like Rod?
ERIC STAAL: I think everybody is pulling the rope together. Like you said, I don't feel any -- I know I am younger but I don't feel that it's a big rift between us or any of the old guys on the team. Everyone has been a good group together all year. I think that's one of the best feelings, especially for the younger guys; everyone is pulling the rope together and it's been good so far.
Q. Eric, you are from a hockey family it is in your DNA. What is the mood like for you right now?
ERIC STAAL: Obviously excited about everything that has been going on. For me it's a first-time experience. It's been incredible the whole season with the group of guys we have. We know it's not going to get any easier and we're ready to play Saturday and it's going to be fun.
Q. How much of a different team is Buffalo without (inaudible) in there? I know they have won without him but he had a pretty good season to take him out of the lineup.
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I think it affects them a little. Any good team, especially teams playing now, can usually overcome the absence of one guy. When you start having more, one or two or three key players, then it might start affecting it but I don't see one guy being that much of a drain on them, even though he is one of their best players.
Q. Cam, as a rookie goalie how do you prepare for guys that you really played against very little? Does the coaching staff give you advice?
CAM WARD: It's something that we prepare ourselves all week for, whether it be going over video and finding the tendencies of Buffalo. As tough as it may sound, you just got to treat it like any other game and go out there and give it your best.
Q. Coach, said that these teams are really similar, do you agree with that? How are these teams different?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I think everyone is just saying that. I don't know that we're really that similar. I know we try to play up tempo games. I know they do for sure. A very aggressive style of hockey. They've got great players that can skate. That's the key. The one thing that you hear about all the teams especially that are left now is that they can skate. Buffalo is probably at the top of that list, guys that can really skate, skilled players. I think we have a lot of that as well. So that's the similarity.
You talk about the two young goalies. You can keep going on and on about few other ones, but that's probably the most of it.
Q. How about differences?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I guess maybe it's harder to find differences. I don't know that there's any similarity. All the teams are different, but I think our similarities seem to match up a little more than maybe us against New Jersey or us against Montreal?
Q. Eric, around the League you guys seemed like a surprise this year, (inaudible) was it a point in training camp when you noticed --
ERIC STAAL: I think it was probably during the early nine game winning streak. We felt good in training camp. We felt we had a good group of guys, good mix. Once we went on a roll there at the beginning, I know for myself, confidence grew and I think for the whole team it came and we just continued to push from there and it went well.
Q. Did you guys learn a lot from that last game against Buffalo in the regular season? You beat them three times, they came in here, you were playing for the top of the conference. Did you sort of learn maybe that they were better than you thought they were at that time?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I would say we knew they were a top team the first time we played them. I remember the first game up in Buffalo I thought, holy cow. These guys, they took it to us. We ended up winning the game. A lot of times the score doesn't necessarily translate how the game went. Then you saw them play all year. No one was talking about them but every time you watch them they were killing everybody.
I think the players that play in this league have a better tendency to understand who is good and who isn't, a lot of times more than, no offense to you guys -- we knew they were a top team.
Q. How much did the underdog mindset motivate you guys and (inaudible) based on the traditions, at what point did --
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I think it's a non-issue now. I think it was a motivating factor more for Lavi than anyone.
I remember the first day in Tampa, opening night, he came in and was mad, saying, "Look where they picked you guys. Look." I don't know if he had the article or talked about it. He said, "Here you go, 30th. That's what they think of you guys." I think it pissed him off more than anyone. He used that a lot this year to motivate us. I think if you talk to him a bit, I am sure he felt like you guys dissed him, and he's still kind of talking about it.
Q. The gamesmanship of getting ready for the post-season, things that are said in the post-season, teams have a tendency to maybe build up the role of the underdog. You can't can do that anymore. Buffalo can't do it and you can't do it either.
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I don't know that we have. I don't know that we were touted as being the underdog. Coming into the playoffs we never felt like we were the underdog. Again, I think that's something more that gets played on the outside. When you are in there, you don't think you are an underdog. You think you are going to win every game.
Q. Rod, how is this year's playoff run for you guys similar or different from 2002? A lot of the same guys are here.
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: If you talking about underdog, I think going into '02 no one thought we could compete every series and we were supposed to lose. Where I think this one I think we have a better team. So we're a lot more confident group going into every series than in the past. That's probably where the difference is. We have just better all around team depth-wise and everything.
Q. So this time it's not a question of getting to the Finals then facing Detroit, saying (inaudible) --
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I think everyone that's in it now has a legitimate chance. There's not a team that's sitting there, well, there's still Detroit hanging up there or whatever. I don't think anyone is thinking that. I think the thinking is toss a coin; everyone has got a chance here.
Q. You got thrown in the fire against Montreal, was it like "here we go"? Were there nerves there?
CAM WARD: There's always more excitement and goosebumps rather than nerves. That goes back to the way that I was raised by my parents, and no matter how much success I am going to have I think it's important to keep an even keel and stay humble.
In Montreal you couldn't ask for better finish, to have the opportunity to have your first NHL playoff start in Montreal and knowing what the atmosphere was going to be like was a thrill for myself, and I found it important no matter what, just to enjoy the moment. Cherish it.
Q. Tim Rutherford said in his press conference being in kind of an enhanced American Hockey League atmosphere was good for your career.
CAM WARD: I think it was beneficial to my development to get your first pro season under your belt at that level. Especially with the lockout, there was a lot of NHL-caliber players playing in the league, so it made that step-up not as dramatic as it may have been in the past.
We went on a playoff run last year and got the opportunity to experience the grind at the American Hockey League level and tried to use that over to the national level.
Q. Buffalo has a few shorthanded goals in these playoffs (inaudible). Can you make any adjustments to that how do you handle that situation?
CAM WARD: Well, yeah, you are going to have to be sharp at all times because they are a team that can surprise you with their speed and attack even if we're on the power play. Perfect example was the goal against Ottawa to clinch that series. It's important that we stay alert even though if we have a man advantage?
Q. (Inaudible)?
ERIC STAAL: I think it's easy to say now after the success that we have had and I have had this year to say it was really good, but I don't know what the difference would have been because there wasn't an NHL, but at the same time we went down there with good attitude. Like Cam said, we had a great group down there, a good group of young guys. I got the benefit of playing with Chuck Kobesew, who's a very good player with Calgary, and Colin Forbes who played a lot of years in the NHL.
So we had a good line and just I think being out on the ice in all those situations and getting a chance to be counted on offensively helped me and built my confidence coming into this year.
Q. (Inaudible) Did any of you three see that goal as it was happening, what was your reaction to that?
ERIC STAAL: I saw it, it looked like it was a one-on-two and didn't really look like anything was going to happen. I think I looked away and all of a sudden it was over. It was a good rush obviously. It was a little bit of a shock because you didn't think that was going to end up in the back of the net.
Q. The fact that it was Ottawa, too (inaudible), to end their series on that play had to be even stunning even though you guys know what Buffalo is capable of?
ERIC STAAL: I think it was a pretty evenly matched series. Ottawa obviously was first in the conference, but Buffalo wasn't the big underdog by no means, I don't think. Obviously finishing them off in five games was probably a little bit different, but it was a good play and anything can happen in overtime. It was a nice goal.

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