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January 22, 2007

Randy Carlyle

Bob Hartley

Lindy Ruff

Barry Trotz


MODERATOR: Questions for the coaches.

Q. Randy, Lindy, you don't mind, so many All Stars at this game, in some ways I guess you could say it's a changing of the guard, but can I get an opinion from both of you, so many new faces being displayed worldwide in their first All-Star game.
RANDY CARLYLE: Obviously the landscape of the NHL has changed in the past two years and it's vital importance for your group to have the skill level and the skill level that's being afforded from the junior level and from the colleges, it might be at an all-time high. But I think a lot of it has to do with the amount of dollars being spent.
You need these young players, skilled young players to make a contribution to your lineup to have success with the parody that's now taking place in the league and the amount of dollars that are spread out, it's a tougher job for your general manager and your scouting staff to provide you with the highest skilled players.
But everybody is looking out for the same thing.
LINDY RUFF: This is Ruff. I think a lot of young talent has taken over from the standpoint of, you know, the young talent that's in Pittsburgh and basically the young talent that's around the league. Tremendous young talent. And, you know, a lot of these players are first-, second-year players that have shown their relief players in this league.
I think you saw the change-over from post lockout where speed and skill kills them. These players have dominated the game and have made the game exciting. Have made it a lot more dramatic than it was in the past.
I think it's -- all the players that are here are well deserved and represent elite talent in the league. Doesn't matter what age they are.

Q. The two head coaches, how do you coach in an All-Star game? Do you sit back and watch the show like everybody else or do you manage the bench as you would in a regular game?
LINDY RUFF: I'm 0-1 in All-Star games and would like to get back to 500. So, you know, Bob and I have a three-hour meeting scheduled for later to discuss strategy. And Bob's got some good ideas that I'd like to put to use.
I'd like to see our team win. I think it's going to be fun to watch, but I also think it's going to be a very competitive game.
RANDY CARLYLE: I think it's important again for us as coaches to try to put the people together to showcase the skills that are here. And we've had a little bit of a conversation, Barry Trotz and myself, where he told me to wear my best suit and I said I didn't have one.
What we're really looking to do is allow the players, A, to go out and show the skills; B, to have some fun; and, C, we want to win the game too.

Q. Lindy, with the opportunity here in Dallas, do you think you and Brett Hull will get together, have a few beers, laugh over old times?
LINDY RUFF: He didn't kick it in the goal in Dallas. It was in Buffalo. But that's a long time ago. That was a hell of a series. That was fought right to the bitter end. It was a tough ending, but that was two teams that went at it pretty hard.
So I've got no hard feelings towards Brett or the way it ended up.

Q. Bob, I have a question for you, someone who coached Joe Sakic, won a Stanley Cup with him, any insights you can tell us about, what makes him such a special player, what kind of a person is he?
BOB HARTLEY: First, unbelievable player, like the best two player like in the past definitely 10, 15 years in this league. So completely.
You have a big face-off in the defensive zone, you have a big face-off in the defensive zone, you have a big penalty kill and a big power play. Any time you can answer a question like this and the name of Joe Sakic comes up, you know you have a franchise player. The guy takes as much pride in his defensive game and then it's his offensive game he can back it up with his own performance. And the scary thing of Joe Sakic, he's a better person than he is of a player. When you look at the player, he's already not bad, but tremendous leader. Great team guy.
Like everything is more important than himself. And he was an unbelievable captain for me in Colorado, and I'm very proud that we won a Stanley Cup together.

Q. Lindy, this is kind of being perceived as Sidney Crosby's coming out party. Do you have a role in that in any way the way you play him or use him?
LINDY RUFF: No. I think it's more along the lines of what Randy mentioned, that we want the players to have fun. We want to allow them to showcase their talents. The reason they're here. So Sidney can perform his skills the best he can. And I'm going to sit back and watch and hopefully that leads us in the right direction.
But I don't think he's going to have any problems showcasing what he's done so far this year. And I look forward to seeing him having a great time to operate with some extremely skilled players.
It should be a fun night.

Q. Lindy, what does it say about the Sabres' organization where it is and where it's heading to have three starters and plus yourself as the head coach?
LINDY RUFF: All I think it says is we've come a long ways as an organization.
When I say organization, I think a couple things collided when we were post lock-up that the Rochester Americans were a very good team. We had a lot of good talent, a lot of good talent that we put in our lineup. We trusted -- 13, 14 of our players in the current lineup were grown inside the franchise.
We made a decision. You have to make a decision coming out of lockout which way it's going to go.
And the fact that we had the best team in the regular season in the American League, with a lot of skilled players, and we finished the year off in '03 and '04 with one of the better records in the league. It made for a good year last year, a year that maybe we were questioned most of the year whether they could keep it up and were they for real.
I think we came out of that with a team-first attitude. The players believe as a group they could succeed, and I think they showed a lot of jam by showing up this year and getting off to the start that they got off to. And being able to be consistent.
That's our goal as a team, just to try to remain consistent. Try to remain one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference in the conference that's tough.

Q. Barry, just wondering if you could talk about the reaction you've got here from coaches and players about the Predators being at the top of the standings board here at the All-Star break.
BARRY TROTZ: I think everybody in the hockey industry knows we've got a pretty good team and we've been pretty consistent this year. So everybody has been very gracious. And I think that just says a lot about our organization that we've come a long way.
And everybody from our scouts and coaches, players have all been involved in having some consistency and some growth in the last couple of years.
So it's nice to be sitting next to these guys, they're good teams as well. Sometimes we fly under the radar, don't get the recognition, but this will certainly help in that area.

Q. This is for Barry, but any of you guys can answer it. You guys are all defensive coaches but your teams, they're taking advantages of the new roles. Are coaches' philosophies changing and are you coaching maybe a little more risky game than you used to?
BARRY TROTZ: I think we all are. I think the game is evolving. I noticed a difference this year from last year. Last year we were sort of caught in between some teams.
We're still learning and evolving. And I think coaches are, these are the best coaches in the world I'm sitting next to. They see something someone else does adjust it to their talent level and their teams. I think we all do.
The game will keep evolving as we keep going further. Everything is -- you look at the young players, the Crosbys and the Malkins and Ovechkins, they're going to evolve this game to a higher level and different level and the coaches will be doing different things than we are right now.
So I think everybody here just recognizes that the game is changing a little bit and we're trying to change with it.
MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen.

End of FastScripts
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