Blog Entry

How will Sabres respond to Lucic, Bruins?

Posted on: November 23, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 2:37 pm
Lucic1By: Adam Gretz

The last time the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins met we watched as Milan Lucic plowed through Ryan Miller, sparking a debate as to whether or not goalies should be "fair game" when they venture out of their crease to play the puck (according to the current NHL rules, they're not). The play even resulted in the topic of goalie protection being a last-minute addition to the agenda of the general managers meetings that were taking place later that week.

When the NHL decided not to suspend Lucic there was a concern that it meant it would now be "open season" on goalies, a fire that the NHL quickly tried to extinguish. It also left us wondering how the Sabres would respond when the two teams faced off again (as they will on Wednesday night), and whether or not they would attempt to dish out their own brand of vigilante justice. In the initial meeting, immediately after Miller was hit, the Sabres did not respond the way one would expect a team to respond after watching their starting goaltender, and arguably their best player, get run over by a member of the opposing team.

Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff has said repeatedly that the team wasn't happy with their response and that it won't happen again.

As expected, the NHL has warned both teams about any shenanigans that may take place when the two teams meet on Wednesday, but that doesn't mean something won't go down after the puck drops.

Miller suffered a concussion as a result of the play and has not been back in the lineup since, and had some strong words for Lucic in his post-game interviews saying, "I just stuck around because I wanted to say what a gutless piece of [feces] I think Lucic is."

Lucic is already expecting somebody from Buffalo to take a run at him, and that's probably a safe bet. In recent years the Sabres haven't been a huge fighting team, finishing 23rd, 27th and 25th over the past three years in fighting majors. Through the early part of this season they're eighth, one spot behind Boston, with 10 fighting majors. The leader in the clubhouse at this point is Cody McCormick with four. Patrick Kaleta and Paul Gaustad each have two, while Robyn Regehr and Mike Weber have each dropped the gloves once.

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It's hard to say how it will all play out, but if I had to guess right now I'd say that somebody, and this would probably be McCormick if he plays (he's missed the past three games), given his size and experience as a fighter, challenges Lucic early in the game and the gloves come off. Hopefully that's the end of it and everybody can move on, but there's a chance, if the referees allow it and can't take control of the situation, that things could quickly get out of hand. The Bruins aren't a team that takes kindly to being challenged physically, regardless of the circumstances, and they've had their share of donnybrooks over the past couple of years.

It's also worth asking if the Sabres might try to return the favor and make their presence felt around the Boston net.

As I mentioned above, there was a concern in the immediate aftermath of the NHL's decision to not punish Lucic that it is now open season on goaltenders, and we've already seen a taste of that in the week-and-a-half since Miller was sidelined. In Buffalo's very next game Jhonas Enroth was hit by Montreal's Erik Cole skating through the crease.

On Tuesday night we watched as Toronto goaltender Jonas Gustavsson left his crease to play a puck behind the net, and was then hit from behind by Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone, resulting in no penalty (click here to watch). When Gustavsson pleaded his case to the official that watched the play unfold right in front of him, the referee simply pointed at the spot on the ice where the Leafs goalie was hit.

Whatever happens, this is probably the most anticipated game on Wednesday's schedule.

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: Nov 24, 2011
Posted on: November 24, 2011 12:13 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: November 23, 2011 8:27 pm

How will Sabres respond to Lucic, Bruins?

Gaustad got smacked around a bit, but at least that's better than being a coward and letting Lucic have his way with your goalie like last game.

Since: May 25, 2009
Posted on: November 23, 2011 6:36 pm

How will Sabres respond to Lucic, Bruins?

For all of the shallow and uninformed posters out here, those who love to bash Lindy Ruff about his character and "lack" of toughness, do some homework.

In the 1980 playoffs against the Islanders, when Billy Smith almost took his eye out with a cheap stick shot, Ruff took matters into his own hands. He jumped that moron regardless of what could have happened afterwards (the Islanders just stood there as Smith was getting pummled).

Lindy Ruff is one of the toughest lightweights to play in the NHL. He never backed down from ANYONE.

It's a different gae today. Shanahan blew it by not only not sending Lucic for a sit down but by sending an additional warning this morning regarding any BS. Thing is, Shanahan, as I said before, boxed himself into a corner. He has no ay out of this one. If the Sabres cheap shot Lucic or Thomas, he still looks like a hypocrite if he hands down a suspension. If the Sabres do nothing, he looks like a dictator who's threats now challenge the players and define who runs the league on the ice.

The NHL league office has a problem tonight whether their is a reaction or not by the Sabres. As far as the bruins are concerned, the cocky arrogant attitude their coach and players have at this point usually indicates the peak of run. Remember Julian was one OT goal away from being unemployed (Montreal series).

I give the Bruins credit. They won the cup. What their losing perspective with though is that was last season.

We'll see tonight. 

Since: Nov 16, 2011
Posted on: November 23, 2011 6:29 pm

How will Sabres respond to Lucic, Bruins?

The Sabres will come out and fight , because of all the bad publicity surronding their cowaring up , A better question should be do you think they will win any fights ? i don't see any member of the Sabres being able to beat Chara or Thornton , remember in the game Lucic hit Miller ... Thornton tried to get a number of the Pink Squad to fight and hd no Takers .. hope they brought up a goon from the Minors

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: November 23, 2011 5:45 pm

How will Sabres respond to Lucic, Bruins?

2 words: They don't.

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: November 23, 2011 5:32 pm

How will Sabres respond to Lucic, Bruins?

I have no problem with the league protecting goalies .. they are valuable commodities to each respective team.  Miller did come way out of his crease in the path of a surging Lucic who was going full steam towards the puck.  In that respect, Miller should know he is taking a big risk of a collision.  Should and could Lucic have done a better job to avoid him .. YES ... but he didn't and got the rightful penalty.  Lucic didn't target the head, he didn't hit Miller from behind ... he simply took the opportunity to run over him and like I said got the rightful penalty.

As for Buffalo getting "revenge"  ... well, I supose they coudl run some goon at Lucic and force him to drop the gloves.  In that instance, Lucic either takes a good beating, or he dishes one out on the guy who challenges him, so again Buffalo could be taking a risk.

If Buffalo deliberately takes a run at Thomas, who's innocent in all of this, I can pretty much guarantee Boston would respond the way Buffalo should have responded when Miller got his and an all out Donny Brooke would break out.   And with the makeup of the Bruins, Boston would be heavily favored in that tilt as well. 

Buffalo is littered with injuries right now .. the last thing they need is more injuries.   If they are smart, they would just retaliate on Lucic early in the game and get it over with and then concentrate on just winning the game.

We'll see how it shakes out tonight i guess.  

Since: Feb 4, 2008
Posted on: November 23, 2011 5:25 pm

How will Sabres respond to Lucic, Bruins?

Exactly, i have a probem with merciless crease crashing and i also realize there are huge men and pieces of rubber flying at you while your at a standstill(and cant move as you have to protect your net). the trapezoid should be a protected area but anywhere else that the goalie is IN CONTROL OF THE PUCK with his stick he should be fair game. 

Since: Jun 19, 2007
Posted on: November 23, 2011 4:25 pm

How will Sabres respond to Lucic, Bruins?

This just highlights the stupidity of the current rule in my opinion.  Goalies should have protection in the vicinity of the goal, but if a goalie wants to skate 30 feet out of the net to challnge a skater for the puck he should do so at his own peril.

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