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NOTEBOOK: KALININ SAYS CONFIDENCE IS FINE

Friday, 05.18.2007 / 2:17 PM / News
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: KALININ SAYS CONFIDENCE IS FINE
Defenseman Dmitri Kalinin
Defenseman Dmitri Kalinin says that his confidence is fine.  Some around the Sabres press box have speculated that Kalinin was shaken by his blueline turnover that Mike Fisher converted into a shorthanded goal in Game One.

The six-foot-two, 216 pounder says that's not the case.

"We all make mistakes," said Kalinin.  "You just have to work through it and focus on the next game.

"[That turnover] didn't effect me at all."

Kalinin  logged just six shifts and 4:23 in ice time in Game Four.  All but 56 seconds came strictly on the penalty kill, which held Ottawa scoreless in five opportunities. 

"I think I did," said Kalinin when asked if he thought his performance on Wednesday night proved that he could handle more minutes.  "Personally, I felt bad I didn't play as much as I used to play, but we won the game.  So it's working, I guess. 

"Whatever it takes to win the games."

Both Kalinin and head coach Lindy Ruff reiterated similar sentiments on Friday concerning the defenseman's potential ice time in Game Five.  His playing time will be dependent on factors that Kalinin can and can't control. 

"It is about winning," said Ruff.  "It's a little bit of desperate measures but we really want to go with the guys that are going the best. 

"You judge on the way the individuals are going or how the team is playing.  But [Kalinin's] attitude and work ethic are normal."

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Drew Stafford has been waiting patiently to get a second chance at playoff hockey and that opportunity may come on Saturday afternoon.

Ruff said Friday that the team is leaning towards injecting Stafford into Buffalo's lineup if Dainius Zubrus' lower-body injury keeps him on the sidelines.  Zubrus tried to battle through Game Four, but couldn't continue after just six shifts and 4:06 of ice time during the first period. 

"We haven't decided yet," said Ruff.  "There is still a possibility that Dainius could play."

Stafford had a successful rookie season, recording 13 goals and 27 points in 41 games, and had scored in nearly half of Buffalo's playoff games.  In nine contests, the six-foot-two, 202-pounder  recorded  two goals and four points, but was replaced in the lineup by a healthy Paul Gaustad, who fought his way back from a devastating ankle injury.

"I thought I was doing alright," said Stafford regarding his post-season play.  "I'm just trying to learn as I go since it's my first time."

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Fans who travel the 290 westbound to HSBC Arena should find another route on Saturday.    The 290-W will be closed from Main Street to 990 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Severe delays are expected all day, and NITTEC is advising travelers to use alternate routes.

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