First an anecdote. You guys know that I’ve given Chris Drury a hard time once in a while … not as much as you all, but a hard time nonetheless. Well, before he left the lineup in February for knee surgery he was wearing those ratty old ripped up pants and I wrote something about how embarrassing it was. And somebody showed him what I had written.
So when I went over to Drury today—and believe me, he’s always been good with me, even though I’m not around all the time, and once when he was in Colorado I did a big feature on him and we talked on the phone for a long time (he probably doesn’t remember that) … and as I said earlier today or yesterday, I forget, I am hoping he has a playoff that will help erase what has been a really tough year for him …
Anyway, I asked him a question for a story I’m working on for Wednesday, and before he answered he reached back into his locker and showed me his new pants, and how they weren’t ripped at all, and he turned them around, and upside down, and showed me and said, “see, no rips.” He was clearly joking. I told him I’m sorry that sometimes this job calls for me to be a sarcastic, S.O.B., congratulated him on his new pants, wished him luck, and told him I had written something nice about him. He laughed.
I also spoke briefly with Steve Eminger. He’s the one who gave the shirt off his back to OldCoach92’s son. I told him the story, that OldCoach’s son John was chosen because his dad, a long-time season ticket holder, had passed away, and also told him that one of OldCoach’s grandson’s favorite player is none other than Steve Eminger, and how much it meant for both son and grandson. Eminger seemed genuinely touched and pleased to hear the story.
And, one more thing, spoke briefly with Martin Biron. He’s got the sling off his shoulder and he’s working out, but not skating yet, and no idea if or when he might return. But he really wants to, you can easily see that.
“When we left the Garden we didn’t know if we would see each other for a meeting to end the season or for practice and get ready for the first round. We are getting ready for the first round and it’s exciting. This is where you want to be, and this is why we work really hard the whole year, and it’s a great challenge for us. They’re a great team, but we’re going to work hard and we’re going to do our best to have a successful, long spring.”
“I think we shouldn’t think or change too much. Our mindset has been pretty much the same for the last month, month and a half. Going into this series we just have to try to play the same game, have the same mindset. We know when we had success in the past how we played, and how we have to play. So, I think going into the playoffs, we just have to raise the level when it comes to everything, preparation and how hard we play, and just try to top our game.”
“We’ve seen them a lot. I don’t think there’s any surprises now. They know what to expect from us. We know what to expect from them. They’re a little different team this year. They play a little more defensive style, but they’ve still got a couple of the best offensive guys in the league and their power play’s always feared. So I look forward to it. It’s going to be a battle.”
“It doesn’t matter (the regular-season success). We had a couple of games where it felt like everything went our way. And I think it’s important to remember that. There’s been some close games and there’s been some games where everything went our way. That’s just in the past. We know we have to work really hard, we have to be on top of our game if we’re going to have a chance. They’re going to be a lot better than a couple of those games.”