Tag:Mike Weber
Posted on: November 23, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 2:37 pm
 

How will Sabres respond to Lucic, Bruins?

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

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 3:15 pm
 

Tyler Myers expected to be a healthy scratch

Myers1By: Adam Gretz

Tyler Myers is a core player for the Buffalo Sabres. He's a massive 6-feet-8, 230-pound offensively gifted defenseman that has recorded at least 37 points in each of his first two full seasons in the NHL, and is one of the many drafted and developed, homegrown players that fills the Buffalo roster.

That level of production over the past two years earned him a seven-year, $38.5 million contract extension prior to this season. And on Monday night when the Sabres visit the Montreal Canadiens, he's expected to be a healthy scratch and will watch his team from the Bell Centre press box.

In 16 games this season Myers has yet to score a goal and has been credited with just four assists, and has struggled defensively.

He is coming off a particularly tough game against Boston on Saturday, a game his team lost 6-2 and then watched as their starting goaltender, Ryan Miller, suffered a concussion, an incident that Myers was on the ice for and that his team has taken some criticism for based on their reaction. He finished the game as a minus-three, due in large part to a number of key turnovers and lapses defensively (including this one on Boston's first goal scored by Rich Peverley).

Said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, via Arpon Basu of NHL.com, "Some of his decisions haven't been very good. For Tyler to be better, inside the game he has to make some better decisions."

Even with the big contract and all of the individual success he's experienced over the first two years of his career, it's important to keep in mind that Myers is still a very young defenseman (he doesn't turn 22 until Feb. 1) and there will still be some struggles for him at this point in his career. Perhaps a night off and a new perspective on the game (watching it from above) can be a positive thing for him.

Mike Weber is expected to play in his place.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com