Niagara Gazette


April 25, 2006

Tough talk subsides before Game 3

Hitcock, Ruff backtrack after Monday's trash talking


In each game, Buffalo has gotten off to a quick start.

“I think we’re mentally prepared for these games. It’s crazy to say you have to get mentally prepared for a playoff game, but it’s true. Everyone wants to go out and make a difference,” Derek Roy said. “We played at home and got some great support from our fans. Going on the road I’m sure it’s going to be a different story. Their building’s going to be very loud. It’s not going to be easy.”

Although the Sabres had their way with Flyers’ goalie Robert Esche in Game 2, Hitchcock said Tuesday he’s staying with him.

Roy isn’t surprised, even though he and the netminder got tangled up in the first period of Monday’s game.

“He’s a good goalie. We had a couple of really nice goals that weren't his fault,” Roy said. “Forsberg came and took a cheap shot after the whistle and I wanted him to know. And (Esche) came off the bench and threw a blocker at me.”

The Sabres might have to face R.J. Umberger — the rookie who was rocked by Brian Campbell’s hit in overtime of Game 1 — in tonight’s contest.

Umberger, who scored 20 goals during the regular season and was a key player down the stretch, will see a doctor in the morning and could be cleared to play.

But Hitchcock ruled out the rumored return of captain Keith Primeau, who hasn’t played since October because of a concussion. Primeau has been practicing with the team and made the trip to Buffalo.

“He’s a man trying to help our hockey club,” Hitchcock said. “I admire that so much, what he’s trying to do, but we have to make sure that there’s long-term health here, too.”

Contact Tim Schmitt at (716) 282-2311, Ext. 2266. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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