NEW YORK – Martin Biron may very well have the best seat in the house for the playoffs.
The 34-year-old is unlikely to see any time between the pipes, given that the former South Carolina Stingrays and current New York Rangers goaltender is currently backing up Hart and Vezina Trophy finalist Henrik Lundqvist. But that most certainly should not suggest that he isn’t capable if the situation arises.
Biron was asked by ECHL.com before Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to recall his fondest playoff memories, and he recalled long runs he made with both the AHL’s Rochester Americans and NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, not to mention getting to see a historic goal first-hand while with Buffalo.
"The year with the Flyers that we went to the Conference Finals; we played Washington in the first round, and it was a seven-game series, which we won in overtime on the road. Then, we went and played Montreal, which for me was just an amazing experience, being in front of your family and friends. We won in five games, in Montreal. Then we played Pittsburgh in the Conference Finals, and Pittsburgh lost to Detroit in the Cup (Finals) that year, but that whole playoff run was just amazing, it was a lot of fun. We all enjoyed it, and that was one of my memories of the playoffs."
"We lost in the Calder Cup Final the one year with Rochester against Providence. Throughout the playoffs, I got called up to Buffalo and back a couple of times, just because Hasek was hurt in Buffalo, so the Conference Final against Toronto, I was in Toronto for the first couple of games and then he came back so I went and played my Conference Final in the American League in-between the breaks. I didn’t miss a game in the AHL, but I was going back and forth."
"We lost in the Finals to Providence, but then I went to Buffalo. We met up with the team in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, it was just three guys from Rochester just as extras. It was so far towards the end, that they only brought up two or three guys. We traveled with the team and did all of that, and then we were there in the locker rooms after Game 6 with Brett Hull and the third overtime goal. That was extremely heartbreaking, but it has to be one of the best hockey times that I’ve had, just going back and forth through the AHL playoffs and NHL playoffs. It ended with two Finals losses, but they were great moments."
In addition to looking back, Biron was asked to look ahead to the Easterm Conference Finals series between his Rangers and the New Jersey Devils.
"Well, I think the intensity level is going to be up, obviously. With it being the Conference Final and with the rivalry and all, I think it’s going to be a different kind of intensity. We saw a lot of chippyness and a lot of nastyness. I’m not saying that’s going to go away, but it’s going to be channeled in a different energy. I expect a very physical series from both sides; the hitting and the skating, I think it’s going to be good. I don’t foresee having three fights when they drop the puck, but you never know what can happen. It doesn’t matter who you play in the Conference Final though, your intensity level is way out of the ballpark. It’s got to be controlled intensity and controlled emotions, and I think that every round has been a step towards being better at that. We want this round to be even better."