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Drop the gloves during the playoffs with SI.com's writers in the NHL Cup Blog, a daily journal of hockey commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
4:34 PM ET, 5/21/06

Joys of Cup Travel, Part II

Posted by Michael Farber
After Game 1 Saturday afternoon in Carolina -- is there a team that buries its chances better than the Buffalo Sabres? -- I wandered to downtown Raleigh for dinner at Sullivan's, a steak house of some repute. While waiting for a table with a group from TSN, the Canadian sports network, I espied Kid Rock in the corner of the bar. I wouldn't have known Kid Rock from Chris Rock, at least until that afternoon when a hockey writer from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explained who he was when a shot of him appeared on the RBC Arena video screen. (I didn't understand the music; I did get the Pamela Anderson part.) Anyway, Kid Rock noticed a group of at least 30 kids at a long table, dolled up in tuxes and gowns, having their pre-prom supper. He went over to the waitress and told her that he was picking up the tab for the prom kids.

In life, you need to have only one great story ... and I imagine a bunch of 17-year-olds have theirs.

Apparently the current rock stars are more civil than in my day. Back in the 1960s, the only thing the rock 'n rollers would have picked up would have been the girls.

Kid Rock, who was a guest of Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, a native Detroiter, did not, however, foot the bill for the Sabres, who were leaving a team dinner when I arrived. I chatted with Daniel Briere and Chris Drury for a couple of minutes (Drury made a game-saving backcheck in the third period and Briere scored an all-world goal on a feed from the best 11-minute player in the game, Jason Pominville), mostly about the difficulty of getting direct commercial flights into Buffalo. Then I asked them why they thought the Sabres were so good at winning the opening games of series on the road, like they did in the 1999 final in Dallas and this year, the 7-6 stunner in Ottawa in the second round or Game 1 against the Hurricanes.

Was it Lindy Ruff's preparation?

"Sure," Briere said. "And (goalies Dominik) Hasek and (Ryan) Miller."

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