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Not To Make Excuses

March 20, 2009

Here’s a quick summary of Paul Gaustad’s interview yesterday with Mike Schopp. Apparently, Goose didn’t realize he was supposed to do a call in, and Schopp was giving him some grief over that. Apparently Goose needs to get a copy of the call-in schedule so he knows what’s going on.

– The penalty kill in last game was good, but threw off ice time allotments for the forwards, as they get cold or not as involved in the game. (What, do they get Shiny Object Syndrome and start scouting out the hotties sitting in the first two rows of the arena?) It’s not an excuse for losing the Ottawa game, as they should have been able to keep a two goal lead.

– They have to take pride in winning the third period, untimely penalties don’t help.

– Schopp asked who in the locker room rallies the troops? Goose kind of danced around this one, saying it’s a team thing. There’s no lack of hope in the team, they control their own destiny, but its a challenging position. It’s the same situation as last year, and hopefully they learned from it. They don’t want to not be in the playoffs again, since that leaves a horrible taste in the mouth. The team is definitely good enough to make the playoffs (and Schopp agreed), but at the same time, the team needs to play playoff caliber hockey (last part added by me).

– All of the Sabres stats are better than the stats of the teams the Sabres have games against before the end of the season.

– The most interesting part of the discussion, I thought, talked about hockey in Buffalo. According to Gaustad, the fact that the fans do care is what makes playing in Buffalo so great. Such a big part of putting on sweater every night is that the fans do care and support them. They play as hard as they can since the fans are behind them. (I’d argue that there’s some nights the team is phoning it in, but I digress.) The players can understand that the fans are getting frustrated.

Gaustad also mentioned that he knows that some fans are in a “bad place” heading into the Philly game. (Has he been listening to WGR or reading the various blogs that are calling for the heads of Darcy and Lindy on a platter and the entire team to be set adrift on Lake Erie in a rowboat and one oar?) The use of the phrase “bad place” just kind of struck me. Makes us fans sound like we should all be one step away from entering the funny farm. (At this point, there was a sound coming over the phone line that either may have been a cell phone hiccup or Goose quietly burping. I couldn’t tell.) Again, even though the fans are in a bad place, the support of the fans during the bad times is what makes Buffalo such a cool place to play. He’ll be out to lunch and someone will come along and wish him well. (Seriously, interrupting players while they’re eating is not cool. Let the man finish his entree and dessert before you go pester him.)

– They wrapped up the interview with a discussion about what seems like the almost constant line shuffling. In “the system”, guys can play with everyone. Part of the line shuffling is trying to find chemistry. Gaustad said he really couldn’t comment on what makes the line shuffling start happening, that this topic is more of a question for Lindy. Both Schopp and Goose joked about conferencing Lindy in on the other line. Now that would have been a fun conversation.

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