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Boston Bruins' Aaron Ward (R) checks Montreal Canadiens' Michael Ryder during the second period of NHL hockey action in Boston, Massachusetts, March 20, 2008. REUTERS/CJ Gunther


"Part of it is that we had become fragile. Something would go wrong, and the bottom would fall out," Columbus Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger, after head coach Ken Hitchcock was fired this week and replaced on an interim basis by Claude Noel.

"As players, you have to perform every night. You've got to be ready. Things are out of your control. You can't be worried about it. Those guys from Calgary [Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust]played the other night when there were rumours that they were traded. When you put the jersey on, you have to have your head in the game. Anybody can be traded at any time," Atlanta Thrashers centre Todd White, on how the Ilya Kovalchuk trade rumours had affected his team in the midst of a tight NHL playoff race.

"There's always media talk, rumours buzzing around. I just learned to not pay attention to it," Boston Bruins winger Michael Ryder, whose name has been bandied again after a slow start this season, in which he scored just 12 goals and 20 points in his first 54 games.

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