Let's check veteran Chris Drury
's line for the playoffs so far: 13 points, sixth among all playoff scorers, three power-play goals, one short-handed goal, one game-winner, 19:29 in average ice time a night. Gee, sounds like a guy who does it all.
If ever there was a player who truly embodies the personality of his team it is the Sabres' co-captain, Drury. Quiet, understated, efficient, Drury is all of those things. As are the Sabres, as they prepare for their first conference finals since 1999.
Prior to the start of this playoff season, Drury had played 80 playoff games, all of those in Colorado, where he learned from one of the finest leaders in the game, Avalanche captain Joe Sakic
In fact, there is a definite sameness in the way both Drury and Sakic go about their business, on and off the ice.
A native of Trumbull, Conn., Drury won a Cup with Sakic and Co. in Colorado and is also a two-time Olympian.
And yet, this spring marks a demarcation point for him, a giant, if quiet, step forward in terms of maturity, in terms of becoming a leader.
When the Sabres have stumbled or when they've faced adversity (as they did late in their second-round series against Ottawa), it's been Drury who's made the big play, set up the big goal or helped kill off the big penalty.
There is as big a twinkle in his eye when he goes over the boards to kill penalties as when he goes on the power play "because he knows how much it means," coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's as well-rounded a player as you can have on a team."