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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Larry Quinn (Photo: Buffalo Sabres)
[Editor's Note: The following transcription is the first part of the Buffalo Sabres end-of-the-season press conference. Managing partner Larry Quinn, general manager Darcy Regier and head coach Lindy Ruff each addressed the media, answering questions about the franchise and potential changes for next year.]

Q: In the last week there have been a lot of problems with players and coaches who have said they were embarrassed to go from first place to missing the playoffs. Were they given enough to avoid that embarrassment and does ownership share in it?

Press Conference: Part II
Press Conference: Part III
Press Conference: Part IV
Press Conference: Audio

Larry Quinn: I think when you succeed or fail everybody shares. That’s the feeling around here and I don’t think anybody wants to run away from the responsibility. Management should share in it and all the players should, but I think all the players also said they thought they were good enough to make it so I think we’ve just got to get back at it next year

Q: How do you change your approach, Larry, moving forward and Darcy, too, from a management perspective?

Darcy Regier: From a hockey approach, management approach, it’s the assessment of where we can be better, how we can get better, that will come from inside the team internally and we’ll look to make some adjustments externally as well from the outside.

Q: A lot of fans will point to last season, Drury, Briere, having to trade Campbell this year. As you look back on the body at work on the last year and you assess those scenarios, what happened? I guess assess their impact on this year’s team and how much of an affect they had on this year’s team.

Darcy Regier: You lose quality, veteran players on one hand, but it’s something that every team that finishes at or near the top is going to deal with, with this collective bargaining agreement. I think the decisions that you make in some cases, you are going to take short-term hits and you are going to look down the road for a better opportunity. There is a lot of that and I think those are the biggest considerations.

Q: As far as ownership and management, are you guys on the same page?

Darcy Regier: Absolutely. What I’m not responsible for is, there is a division of labor here, whether it’s the coach, the general manager or the ownership. It is as it should be. Each of us has our own responsibilities and my responsibility is the hockey club and the personnel and the ownership has separate [responsibilities], so that’s the reason for the question.

Q: Darcy, you referred to external adjustments. Does that mean you will look at adding to this team in free-agency, by trade and how important will that be to add to the core of this team?

Darcy Regier: We’ll know that better when we finish a full assessment, but you look any way you can in order to improve the team. It could come through trade, it could come through free-agency in some shape or form, it could come through players coming from the minors as we saw at the end of the year with two pretty good, young defensemen, and there are some forwards down there as well.

Q: In that sense, do you feel this team is lacking something in going forward and needing some kind of a kick-start to be better next year?

Darcy Regier: Well if you look at where we finished, it wasn’t good enough to be in the playoffs so the decisions and the adjustments have to be towards that end.

Q: Darcy with the amount of times you did lose leads at home- we know this team can score, we know this team is a good, core team- but as you look back though did you maybe overestimate the value of having a veteran person in that room? Maybe there wasn’t enough veteran influence in that room?

Darcy Regier: I think in the final analysis that we could have used more leadership. You lose some leadership in the case of Teppo [Numminen], in the case of [Jaroslav] Spacek being hurt. It’s certainly an area that we could have used a little more leadership and it’s an area that ultimately we will look at.

Q: Larry, bottom-line, economically how does not being in the playoffs affect you in the front office and are people seeking refunds on playoff tickets?

Larry Quinn: Obviously it hurts us but the new economics, sometimes I don’t think they are understood by everybody. During the playoffs you are contributing about half of your money back to the league in this new system. Although it’s important and you make money on it, it’s not what it used to be. I don’t know anything about refunds. We haven’t had any cancellation of tickets or anything. Most people typically apply the playoff deposit to their season tickets so I don’t have any information on that.

Q: Darcy looking back at the season, what was the biggest area of the team that you think failed, that made you miss the post-season?

Darcy Regier: Well I think we just talked about it. Again, pending a final analysis, I think leadership is one of the areas that we would like to add to. I think that there are some other areas Lindy [Ruff] could probably talk to better from inside what he sees on the ice. But generally I think that’s one area and then there are probably some other areas that we will get to.

Lindy Ruff:
I can just further that. When you put younger players in bigger role situations and they are moved up the lineup, there was reference to giving up leads. We had fairly good success at locking down with two lines last year, elevating the Roy line to a higher position. They were pure offense last year and asking them to maybe try to lock down on the defensive side of it, we struggled. They struggled as individuals. But there was growth there. Some nights it was tough growth, but there was growth.

We’re built around offense, we have been. We tried to maybe nudge that back a little bit to try to shore up some defensive liabilities, which at times we were able to lock into a pretty good mold, and at times we weren’t. I think those games that we gave up the lead even down the stretch were games that cost us dearly.
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