The waiting is finally over as the New York Rangers continue their playoff hunt as they shuffle off to Buffalo to play the Sabres – and it appears that the Rangers pre-series chirping has rattled a few sabers in Buffalo.

John Dellapina of the “Daily News” had the following tidbit from coach Lindy Ruff.

“It’s a good thing to develop a little emotion and passion for your opposition. And the things they’ve said already about us, that’s good. I like that.”

Jerry Sullivan of the “Buffalo News” had the following quote from center Daniel Briere in reference to the comments Sean Avery made.

“I mean, that’s always good for our room,” Briere said, laughing. “But I’m not going to get into a war match with any of their guys — or not yet, anyway. We’ll see after a few games. It’s good. It’s good for our dressing room, definitely. We thrive when we find motivation and we’ll find some stuff to get motivated for.”

It is a bit interesting to see that the Sabres are looking for “passion” and “motivation”.  This is the bloody Stanley Cup playoffs.  If you need to find passion and motivation then you have bigger problems then what Sean Avery and Tom Renney are saying.

Heck, the Sabres might be playing into Avery’s plan.  Here is Sullivan’s take on Avery’s comments.

“Avery says he wants to hurt someone. But by stoking the hatred, he might actually be helping the Sabres,” Sullivan writes.  “It’s clear that Avery tries to get under an opponent’s skin. But an angry, motivated Buffalo team might be more than he or his coach bargained for.”

It seems that Avery’s comments have turned the feisty forward into Public Enemy Number One in Buffalo – something Avery wanted to do.  With home crowd egging on the Sabres, you can bet that Avery will be number one on the hit list, which could get the Sabres off their game.

Much has been written about the Sabres sweeping the four-game series from the Rangers during the regular season.  However, there a couple of points that need to be made.  Outside of one 7-4 blowout, the other three games were either decided in overtime or in a shootout.

The regular season series ended on December 1, 2006.  The Blueshirts are far different team than they were during the first couple of months of the season.  There was no Avery, no Paul Mara, no Ryan Callahan, no Daniel Girardi and no Jed Ortmeyer.  In three of the four games there wasn’t even a Henrik Lundqvist.

Some hockey “experts”, okay so it was WFAN’s Chris Russo, feel that the Sabres will prevail because they were tested during their first round series against the New York Islanders as opposed to the Rangers sweep of the Atlanta Thrashers.  What Russo fails to take into account is that the Rangers have been playing “playoff” hockey for the final third of the season.  Remember, the Rangers did not clinch a playoff spot until the 81st game of the regular season.  During their wild ride to the finish, the Rangers faced adversity and playoff uncertainty and finished up the season 17-6-5.


This series marks only the second time the Rangers and Sabres have met in the playoffs.  Buffalo eliminated the Blueshirts two games to one during a 1978 Preliminary Round series – back in the days when the first round of the playoffs was a best-of-three contest.

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