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Lindros, Flyers ponder collapse

His eyes were vacant. Eric Lindros didn't seem to blink as he tried, and failed, to explain what went wrong with the Flyers' season.

"It will be easier to sum up in a couple of days when it sinks in," he said after the Sabres upset one of last year's Stanley Cup finalists in five games.

"Right now, guys are just absorbing the shock," Lindros said.

Explaining what went wrong with the Flyers will be easier than fixing it, because the team's main problems seem to revolve around intangibles such as chemistry and character.

Through all the change _ or maybe because of it _ the Flyers never seemed to find an identity, and that translated into erratic performances on the ice.

"You've got to be able to depend on the same team showing up every night," forward Shjon Podein said. "Last year, we played a lot hungrier."

SABRES: Coach Lindy Ruff has convinced new owner John Rigas that he should return for at least another season.

Rigas said Saturday Ruff has done an excellent job in overcoming turmoil and commended the coach for taking the Sabres into the second round of the playoffs.

"There's no question he's coming back with the way things are going," Rigas said. "We would never think of making a change. Are you kidding? I'd be hung out to dry."

BRUINS: Boston's Jason Allison limped off the ice Friday in Washington, the result of a slash from Capitals forward Chris Simon, who said he didn't mean it.

Allison missed practice Saturday but plans to play today.

"It was a cheap shot," Bruin Rob DiMaio said. "They took a liberty on our best player. What, do we go back at Adam Oats or (Joe) Juneau? Is that the solution? I don't think so. I think you have to bite your tongue a little bit, be patient . . . This isn't the time of year to be taking a stupid penalty."

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