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May 15, 2007

Daniel Briere

Ryan Miller

Lindy Ruff


Q. Lindy, you had a night to think about last night, and how can you, you know, explain, you know, the situation that you're in now and just what's the move going forward?
COACH LINDY RUFF: Well, if you look at the situation, I mean we had a Game 2 that I thought we could have won, should have won, but we didn't, and the Game 3 that we probably ruined a pretty good goaltending performance by not giving him any help.

Q. Lindy, what specifically in your mind is the different, I mean, with this team in the post-season and in particular this series as compared to where you were? I think that's probably the biggest question in the fans minds back in Buffalo right now.
COACH LINDY RUFF: I think, you may be underestimating what Ottawa is altogether, because I said they're a very good team and they've done a good job, very good job defensively of, you know, staying in shot lanes and blocking shots, and we haven't done a good enough job of getting enough shots. I think that they've been very good in that area, shot-blocking area. I think we were a little bit loose in our defensive scheme, and I think we're going to try to tighten that up.
Again, we try to get - I thought we had positive energy on the penalty killing side. We just need to get something good going for us on the power play side.

Q. Lindy, how much is this mental right now with the forwards?
COACH LINDY RUFF: You mean what category?

Q. Not putting the puck in the net right now.
COACH LINDY RUFF: You know, it's something we've dealt with all year where I've answered that question a lot about we're not a team that - we've been a very good play-making team throughout the year. We're going to have to give up a few plays and put pucks in the net instead of trying to make that extra pass.

Q. Do you need more from your top stars?
COACH LINDY RUFF: I think anytime, anytime you're struggling, you look to your top players and you know, even if you go back to Game 2, I thought lot of the opportunities came from our top players. I think you look at last night and the great opportunities were few and far between. We've been a team that said the depth of our team has been the strength and the arrow never gets pointed at any one guy. I think if the top lines or if Danny or Drew or any of those guys don't do it, our depth is what has been very effective.

Q. Lindy, Dainius wasn't on the ice today. Any problem there?
COACH LINDY RUFF: He's just resting today: He wasn't on the ice.

Q. You expect him to play tomorrow?

Q. Coach, watching your captain, not Chris Drury today, it seemed like every drill was his last one. He was just going and going and going. He was just saying he's hoping it just rubs off on everybody and both your captains mentioned they would like to see desperation from the whole team, more desperation. Would you agree?
COACH LINDY RUFF: Yeah, I think that, you know, there are areas where your desperation has to be greater. I think you look through your lineup. It has to be, you know, one through ten, one through 20. It's not something that anybody can escape from. You can look back in the game and can point to some power play retrievals that you lost the battle. You can point to some offensive plays where a little more desperation maybe would have created that extra opportunity. I think to a man, we've talked about it in our meeting last night and this morning, that every guy can bring just maybe a little bit more in every different situation.

Q. Coach, as a head coach when you're down like this, are there any more buttons you can push, or does it just come down to 20 guys that have to make it?
COACH LINDY RUFF: I know that, you know, approximately every 33 years something great happens in this league, you know, and we're at about that 33-year range where something great is bound to happen. So we've told them we're on the verge of greatness (laughter). The math is okay? '42 and '75 and round it off to '07, '08. Is that pretty close? Approximately every 33 years?

Q. Close enough for a sports writer (laughter).
COACH LINDY RUFF: Way too close for sports writers. You guys get ten, subtract two and end up with six. With beers (laughter).

Q. Pay for two?
COACH LINDY RUFF: Don't pay for any (laughter).

Q. If there was a positive for you last night it had to be Ryan's play. Is that something that -
COACH LINDY RUFF: There was two positives, Ryan's play and penalty killing I thought were very good. I said if we can stay away from the five-on-threes, I think our penalty killing has been pretty good against a very good power play team. There is two positives in the game. Both teams penalty killing and both teams goaltending. Ryan was very good for us.

Q. Lindy, have you found that they're clogging up the middle and just allowing outside shots from along the boards for you guys, maybe concentrating on the slots -
COACH LINDY RUFF: You know, they've done a very good job with, you know, their back checking assignments. You can point to numerous plays where, you, once they've gone over the blue line, they've had players coming up our back side and been able to reach in and disrupt some plays and even our partial three-on-two rushes they've been able to get back. I think that's the one area they've really done a good job. They've paid a big price to get back in some of those situations to eliminate our offensive opportunities.

Q. Do you entertain the notion at all of putting in a guy like Drew Stafford into the lineup?
COACH LINDY RUFF: You know, I don't necessarily think putting a young player in a lineup is the answer. Drew has had a good year for us. The start of his playoffs was good, but I think - I don't know. I don't think that's the answer. I think the answer lies in the room, and I think it's easy to maybe point out one guy or one mistake or a couple mistakes. But I think it's something that we've said as a team we're going to stick together on this one.

Q. Lindy, you were doing the skating around - doing a number of lapses today before you started practice with Daniel Briere. What were you telling him?
COACH LINDY RUFF: We just - Danny was saying that, you know, how upbeat and how positive he wanted to remain and I said, "You have to believe." It's the word we've used. We ran off ten straight wins to start the season. We can easily run-off, you know, four straight wins. It has to start with one, but you have to believe.
Danny has to believe in himself, and each guy in the room has to believe that they can make a difference in the game, and, you know, we're just basically talking about that, that yesterday's game was yesterday's game and there's lots of disappointments.
I think each guy to a man can say "I could have been better, I could have finished, I could have done this."
So, you believe it and you go out and try to make a difference.

Q. Talking to the guys last night, whether it be Danny, a couple of the others, you ask them for reasons and they just say "I can't explain it, I don't know what's going on." Is there still confidence in the system? Do you tailor the system? Where is that coming from, and how do you get them ready for it?
COACH LINDY RUFF: You know what? Again, you have to give Ottawa credit. You got to give them credit because you've seen guys go down on both knees and block shots. You've seen guys dive in front of shots. They've done a good job in that area.
I think that's where some of the frustration stems is on some pretty poor angle shots we've had to get to the net, somebody got a stick or leg on it. That's the one area. I think that combined with their back pressure, you know, I said they're a good skating team. They didn't walk through Jersey and didn't walk through Pittsburgh by accident. It wasn't by accident. They left those two teams looking for answers, too.

Q. Coach, you want intensity, everything that comes with that, but can you tell them to relax, too, and don't be up uptight, but still go out there with the tenacity and relax at the same time?
COACH LINDY RUFF: I think if you look at the start of the game, we started that way. And I think as pressure in the game started to mount, I thought we made some uncharacteristic plays. But we talked about, you know, the day before in the morning meeting that we're going to go out and make plays. We're going - even in our own zone, we're not going to whack it around the wall. We want good puck support and want to make plays. They grip the stick a little tight as the game went on. That was evident.

Q. You talked last night about everybody having to do - sorry. Talked last night about what everybody had to do. How do you try not to put it all on your shoulders here? That would be a temptation maybe in some cases, you have to steal a win, steal another win, that sort of thing?
RYAN MILLER: We're going to do it as a team. I'm not going to get into a conversation of what I have to do. My job is pretty obvious, night in, night out I have to worry about stopping pucks. It doesn't change based on the situation.
I try and do my best every night. So it comes down to believing in the team part of it and believing that we are good enough, and I think, you know, a little bit of that has been missing. But the effort has been there. We just have been a little overzealous in some things.
I think some guys have taken things on their own shoulders and try to do too much. You're not going to get through a good system that the Ottawa Senators have been playing on their own. We've got to work as a team, and, you know, again I'm not going to change my approach to the game. I haven't changed all playoffs, I haven't changed my entire career. It's my job to stop the puck regardless of the situation.

Q. Did you feel it was important, though, to talk to the guys after that? Lot of guys were saying things?
RYAN MILLER: Yeah, we talked. I mean, what goes on in the locker room is going to be between us. But we know what's necessary, and it's basically - you know, a lot of what I've been saying, I'm just going to reflect it back to you again today. It hasn't changed since last night. We are in a situation where we need to come together, and that's the end of it.

Q. Ryan, talking to your teammates today, they've been telling me if each and every one of you are a little more desperate and just give a little more that you're going to be successful. Would you agree?
RYAN MILLER: Yeah. I don't think that's the ultimate solution. I think it's a good starting point, but I think believing in each other and working together is why we're a good team. And for whatever reason, you know, it hasn't worked out these first three games, but I think we come together, just start with one, maybe just one good period even where we can get a lead and start something positive, then we'll worry about the game and the next game and down the line.
But you know, I think we've been good. And I think again, I think I'll stick with what my analysis has been. We've been overzealous. We've played a system - we haven't played the system very well. I think we've been out of position because we've been trying to go after the puck or we've been trying to make things happen with the puck that aren't there.
And again, I think last night, same thing today, I think it's admirable, I think it shows, you know, good side of our character that we want to compete and win. But I think we have to use each other and believe in each other, and for whatever reason that hasn't quite been there.

Q. Ryan, to be down - to be facing elimination for the first time this post-season, does that change the mood? How does that change the mood?
RYAN MILLER: We're trying to change the mood for a positive. We're not going to hang our heads. We have a lot to be proud of as a team, and, you know, right now we find ourselves in a difficult situation, but we're trying to find ways to remedy and move forward, and I think the mood is - today was pretty good, pretty light.
Guys were goofing around. I think that was actually a good start, just to have fun with each other. That's going to come out on the ice. We can, you know, celebrate hockey a little bit instead of, you know, worrying about - I think maybe worrying about, you know, how we're going to approach things. Just use each other, play hockey and enjoy it and, you know - today was probably a good step forward as far as enjoying it.

Q. Ryan, you were talking - a lot of guys in the room were talking about staying together, and you just alluded to it. You mentioned that not playing the system and maybe not having that belief there, at what point do you notice that starting to deteriorate? Or what do you - what are some maybe anecdotal-type things that you see that leads you to think that something is missing, had been there all year and now it's gone?
RYAN MILLER: I don't know if you guys - what I mean when I say we're not playing the system, I think we're kind of too energetic on some points. I can think of situations where we had too many guys chasing the puck, lot of odd-man rushes. Too committed to bird-dogging the puck in a few situations and we're - so, that's my prime example is we're giving them ice because we're a little too anxious for whatever reason. For whatever reason we need to be patient and sit back and believe that the guy next to us is going to play his part in the system. Lot of guys been trying to do a lot on their own. I don't mean with the puck all the time, either. I guess I should do a better job explaining things in my head to makes sense, but I've never been good at that. My family kind of criticized me for that one (laughter). I can have a million things going through my head and I'll come out - but, anyway, see what I mean (laughter)?
Like away from the puck, guys are just kind of inching towards the puck. They want the puck. That's great. I love the energy. But we've got to believe that our guys are going to do their job. Got to have faith that the defense is going the adjust and move over in our neutral zone and take away that play.
We've had wingers and center men sneaking over and leaving the whole side of the ice where they can get some speed, for example. We've got three guys, sometimes two, three guys being trapped by their passes on a breakout. That just doesn't happen to us when we do it right. We've got one, maybe two guys on the puck, third guy high, reads the play. It shouldn't happen.
I think it's just we've been, again, overzealous. Lot of energy and we got to channel it the right way.

Q. Just follow-up real quick. You can answer this as briefly as you want. You had mentioned the mood and how loose things are right now. You guys seemed really loose coming into this series, too. What's the difference? Was it maybe a little too complacency mixed in with that looseness? Looking back on heading into the series, how would you describe how you guys were coming in?
RYAN MILLER: I don't know. I thought we were in fine shape coming in. Game 1 didn't get off to the start we wanted. I think that had a lot to do with the tone as far as recovering from that, Game 2, double overtime. Last night 1-0. Just two close games. We could be sitting here talking about, you know, we're up 2-1, but we're not. So we've got to win the race to four games, and I think the tone is, you know - I like the tone better today. I think the guys understand. I don't know why in the first few games it didn't work out, but if we had won one of those games, you would have said, "Hey, it's great."
We have to sit here and analyze, and we handed them a lot of ice and handed them a lot of opportunities by being overzealous. So, all we can do is, you know, try and fix it.

Q. During the regular season, the highest scoring team, where did all the offense go?
DANIEL BRIERE: We've been streaky during the year. It wouldn't be a bad thing to start during the year. You don't like to hear that but, you know, it would be a good time to turn it around and get on a hot streak.
I mean, it's a different type of hockey, also, playoffs. There's a lot more desperation. And now just thinking about the first shift of the game when I got the puck behind their defenseman, I thought I had enough time and I went around Emery, and that's desperation by Phillips to come back and just lift my stick at the last second when I only had to push it in.
So, I don't know how else to explain it. We have to find a way to get more pucks behind Emery than they.

Q. Danny, last night Chris Drury talked about perhaps not being enough desperation on your part as a team. Do you see it that way? How do you explain something like that at this stage?
DANIEL BRIERE: I don't know how you explain it. You know, I don't know what you can do to change that. Obviously we're down to one game now. I'm hoping that everybody is going to lay it all on the line, but I can't control how everybody else is feeling and how everybody else feels that we have a chance or not.
But I certainly do that, you know, think that we can play better, think that we can come back and can get back in the series.

Q. People kind of look at you and Chris as kind of the catalyst, lead by example out there, you try to set the tone early in Game 4?
DANIEL BRIERE: It's a fine line. You want to do that, but at the same time you don't want to do too much all by yourself. You got to respect that, that line. You got to use your teammates around you as well. I think that's - you know, the last couple games, that's been part of our problem, too. We're trying to do it all by ourselves, especially on the power play.
But it certainly is something that we look in the next game, and we can only look at one game at a time.
I mean, we want to take over, but I guess you need everybody else around, but it certainly starts with -

Q. Is it mental now at this point?
DANIEL BRIERE: I don't think so. I don't think so. I mean, what's mental is having a belief that we can come back. We certainly need that and realize that we can't quit. But like I said earlier, maybe finding out a little extra desperation in our play would be huge as well.

Q. At this point are you still kind of searching for answers as to what just happened, how do we counter their fore-check? Are you guys wondering?
DANIEL BRIERE: The one thing that we're spending a lot of time and working videos and looking over shifts, our power play. That's an area where if we can improve on the power play, it would change the whole series. So far they've won special teams battle, and it's put us in a big hole.

Q. It looks, looking at power play, Danny it's obviously struggling. It looks like it has a long way to go from the press box, but from the ice and as you work on it, how close are you? What's going on there?
DANIEL BRIERE: We're trying to find answers. I mean, we're looking at tapes and hopefully we can - I'm not going to tell you what we're going to do, what we're planning on changing, but we're hoping to find that answer and looking over tapes and looking where - in what area we can take advantage.
We haven't been able to put our fingers on it. We've tried different things and it still hasn't worked. We're not going to quit. We're going to keep looking, keep searching until somebody tells us that it's completely over and we have to go home.

Q. What would an ugly goal be right now, just something to bank off somebody's head?
DANIEL BRIERE: That would help, there's no doubt about it. But, you know, I also believe that Ottawa deserves their break. They've worked hard, and they've had most of the bounces so far in this series.
But like I said, they deserve it now, and it's not over. And if we can get one like you said, get a lucky goal, get a lucky bounce and get us on our way, I think it would go a long way.

Q. Danny, I know the focus - the fact that the rest of the series, it could be this team's last game. Is that (indiscernible)?
DANIEL BRIERE: Yeah. I think you get at this point in the season when you're down to your last game and you know what, it doesn't matter if it's a team that wins the Presidents' Trophy or a team that finishes in last place, it's always a little sad to leave your teammates.
But we don't want to think about that right now. Like I said, we still believe we can come back in the series, and we're certainly not going to last game thinking it's going to be our last one.

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