Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:49 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 11:55 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Buffalo Sabres forward Nathan Gerbe is considered to be "day-to-day" after getting hit in the face by a skate on Friday night during his team's 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, an injury that required 25 stitches.
Following a faceoff at center ice midway through the third period, Sabres center Paul Gaustad lost his footing when his skate blade went up and caught Gerbe, the shortest player in the NHL, in the face.
It's hard to say a person is lucky when he's required to get 25 stitches in his face, but let's be honest, he's lucky this wasn't significantly worse than it was. In the cases of Richard Zednik and former Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk, we've seen how scary and terrifying injuries caused by skate blades can be when they're in the head or neck area.
Posted on: November 23, 2011 8:16 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2011 12:44 am
Milan Lucic expected it. Just about everybody who has seen a hockey game before was expecting it. It didn't take long to make it fait accompli.
What's it? In case you have been under a rock, that would be some retaliation on the Bruins' Lucic for the hit that left Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller on the shelf with a concussion. The Sabres, Paul Gaustad in particular, admitted to their embarrassment at the response, or lack thereof, in the game earlier in November. Consider Wednesday's rematch a second chance for the Sabres. And they seized the opportunity.
Not even two minutes into the game, Lucic made his first appearance in the game, going on the ice before a faceoff. Naturally, Gaustad was sent out immediately afterward and the two had some words before the faceoff. Then this happened.
That might be why the Sabres didn't have much of a response in the first place. Lucic gave to Gaustad pretty good. But the deed was done. It's not really about if you take the other guy down, it's that you try to take him down.
"It was an unfortunate incident in Boston," Gaustad said. "I give credit to Milan for fighting. It's something where guys don't have to. He did."
So that was it, right? The Sabres got their retribution? You know better than that.
That one, too, turned out just about how you'd imagine: squarely in the Bruins' favor.
Regehr deserves some major credit for showing the fortitude -- or some might say stupidity -- to challenge Chara to a fight. You don't see Big Z fight often, and that's just because nobody really wants to go a round with the monster. Well Regehr did, and it's just good that Chara let up at the end of the fight.
Sometimes games live up to the expectations. Considering this was the expectation, mission complete.
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:55 pm
Also on his toes will be Milan Lucic, the Bruins forward who hit -- or "collided" with, depending on your vantage point -- Sabres goalie Ryan Miller outside of the crease earlier this month, leaving Miller out with a concussion. The Bruins forward, who wasn't attacked during the Bruins' 6-2 win that night, is expecting to be on Wednesday.
Here is what Lucic told Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe on Tuesday when asked if expects for somebody to take a shot at him:
"Yes ... I'm not going to lie ... yes."
Considering the Sabres did nothing and one of them, Paul Gaustad, was upset at both the team's and his own lack of response, it's not like Lucic is going out on a limb here. There is a lot of pressure from the fans in Buffalo, and likely within the team, to make up for their lack of a response.
Just a note to any would-be agitators, Lucic can fight and has been able to for many years.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: November 15, 2011 9:50 am
Edited on: November 15, 2011 10:22 am
Both before and after it was announced that Milan Lucic wouldn't be suspended for his hit on Ryan Miller on Saturday night, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff prophesized that no suspension would signal it's open season on goalies. Brendan Shanahan called the comment irresponsible.
So naturally, the Sabres had themselves another run-in, so to speak, in their first game with Miller out due to a concussion.
Normally, this would be nothing to write about. But the game after they lost their starting goaltender and then were hammered for failing to respond? Funny how the fates tempt sometimes. The result of this particular play was nothing more than a two-minute minor for Cole for goaltender interference (of course, Lucic was just given a two-minute minor as well).
After the game Paul Gaustad, who admitted that he and his team should have done more to the Bruins after the Miller incident in Boston, said that moment is something they are now trying to use as a galvanizing moment, saying they are full behind Miller and learned from their mistake.
In the end, this was a pretty minor happenstance, but anytime a Sabres goalie is even sneezed on it right now, it's under a microscope.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 3:21 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 9:31 pm
Let's start with the shot heard 'round the world from Saturday night.
Early in the Bruins' 6-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres (their fifth straight win for those keeping track at home) Milan Lucic found himself chasing down a puck on a breakaway. Ryan Miller found himself in the tough position of playing the puck before Lucic or waiting for the breakaway attempt. Miller chose option A and the following was the result.
The play had Miller peeved. He gave the hockey world a contender for quote of the year after the game when he was asked about any injury he might have sustained on the play.
"I'm not really going to get into that," Miller said. "I just stuck around because I wanted to say what a piece of [feces] I think Lucic is. Fifty pounds on me, and he runs me like that? It's unbelievable. Everyone in this city sees him as a big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he plays. That was gutless. Gutless. Piece of [feces]."
Of course seeing their goalie get trucked by Lucic was tough for the Sabres to see. But maybe the biggest problem of the day for them is why didn't it look like it bothered them? Lucic was given maybe a nudge or two. That's why he skated to the penalty box with a smirk on his face that would have made the Grinch proud.
His comment after the game must have been equally as cutting.
"You know, we wouldn't accept anything like that," Lucic said. "We would have [taken] care of business. But we're a different team than they are."
Ouch. That's pouring salt squarely onto the wound.
"I can do more. I'm embarrassed that we didn't respond the way we should have," Gaustad said. "It falls on myself. I look at myself first, and I wasn't good enough.
"We didn't push back. There's no reason to be scared. We had to go after it, and we didn't."
The only player who seemed genuinely intent on getting back at Lucic was Miller himself. He took a swing with his stick as Lucic went by after the hit and then was restrained by a linesman and was left to shout -- presumably -- some obscenities at Lucic when he was escorted to the box.
I can't help but think back to a quote from last week from John Vogl of the Buffalo News. He said a player on the team told him the Sabres weren't playing as hard in front of Miller as they are for Jhonas Enroth. The general consensus on that was that it was because Miller is so good and the team has grown a bit complacent in front of him. This lack of response and that quote from Vogl could still not be linked, but it makes you wonder.
What I do know is that coach Lindy Ruff wasn't too pleased with his team's response either. He was reportedly hot in the team meeting on Sunday and left the building without speaking to the media, instead responding "[Bleep] the media" when informed reporters were waiting to talk to him.
I can't agree more with the crowd saying the Sabres showed no spine in response to the play. It was no coincidence that the game got away from the Sabres in a hurry after that and the Bruins went on to the 6-2 rout. You have to stand up for your goalie when he gets trucked like this. It's standard procedure to get in a guy's face when a goalie gets a snow shower, let alone a big hit like this.
Should Miller have made this play? Probably not. If you venture into the jungle, expect you might get bit. Either way, he certainly wasn't expecting a hit like that. Lucic saw a golden opportunity to hit a goalie and took advantage of it. It's like anytime a quarterback throws an interception, all the defenders are looking for a chance to lay the quarterback out with a big shot in the name of blocking.
But that doesn't mean that it was a legal play by Lucic. Here is what Rule 69.4 states specifically:
When the Bruins meet the Sabres again, we could be looking at a slugfest. Buffalo will look at that game as a chance for retribution. Hey, better late than never, I suppose.
Alexander Semin is one of the more talented players in the NHL, speaking strictly on a matter of offensive skill. It was only two seasons ago that he had 40 goals and 44 assists in 73 games for the Capitals.
But he's also a player that's been singled out for not caring. That was an offseason storyline after former teammate Matt Bradley basically said as much. Funny how there weren't many Caps fans and media rushing to defend Semin for the slight. I think many actually agreed with Bradley.
But that was the offseason. This season isn't going much better for the 27-year-old Russian. He's off to a very slow start by his standards with three goals and five assists in 15 games. He's also a minus-1 and has a team-high 11 minor penalties this season. It seems they have all been some sort of stick penalty (mostly tripping) in the offensive zone.
With coach Bruce Boudreau on an accountability kick this year, it has led to some reduced time for Semin. So much so that he was benched in Washington's 2-1 win on Friday night against the Devils. He only logged 8:25 of ice time according to the official stats.
He did see a return to some normal ice time in Saturday's 3-2 loss to New Jersey as Boudreau doesn't seem to want to bury his star's confidence.
“I thought he tried really hard. You're not going to keep benching him and benching him and benching him,” Boudreau said after Saturday's game. “He got a penalty early -- he went for the puck. That wasn't a lazy penalty.
“You guys are getting the wrong impression: The penalties are part of why he didn't play [Friday], but it wasn't the whole reason. He just wasn't playing very well, and we wanted to win the game. So we went with what we thought were the nine best players at the time. Everybody assumes it's because he took two penalties. He was still playing after he took the two penalties.”
Semin declined to talk to reporters after the game on Saturday, both the English-speaking media and the Russian-speaking crowd.
This is getting to be an interesting situation in Washington. Semin is obviously gifted, that is not in dispute. He is a free agent after this season. If things don't improve not only on the ice but off of it, it will be interesting to see how interested the Caps will be in bringing him back, particularly with the money he will likely command. He is making $6.7 million this season.
It was such a pedestrian start for the Rangers this season. They were 3-3-3, were still having troubles scoring and the addition of Brad Richards didn't seem to make a difference.
Then coach John Tortorella got this crazy idea to switch up the lines and split the tandem of Richards and Marian Gaborik that had New York fans dreaming big before the season began. Wouldn't you know it's worked. The Rangers are on fire these days, dumping the Hurricanes 5-2 on Friday night for their sixth straight win.
I'm starting to think the Rangers like their plush new (or renovated) digs at Madison Square Garden. They are now 5-1-1 at home this season. That's their best start since 1992-93..
Oh, and the Rangers are 4-0-0 with Sean Avery back in the lineup, outscoring their opponents 16-6 in those games. He scored his first goal of the season Friday. Just sayin'.
It's all in the Hitch
The Ken Hitchcock era is off to a nice and somewhat predictable start in St. Louis.
In the three games the Blues have played under their new coach, they have two shutouts, including Saturday's 3-0 blanking of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In those three games, they have earned five of the six possible points.
We all had an idea that the Blues would get better defensively and thus would have better goaltending under Hitchcock, but this quickly? I'd like to credit it more to the wakeup call of a coach being fired and a new one leading them than anything tangible at this point.
Either way, victorious goaltender Brian Elliott was pleased.
"That was the complete game we've been wanting," Elliott said. "Everybody was hustling. Everybody was working hard. No one took a shift off."
Veteran's Day surprise
We return to Boston for maybe the best moment of the weekend.
Before the game at TD Garden on Saturday night, the Bruins, honoring a family of an active soldier in Afghanistan, helped offer a special surprise. When the parents of the soldier came out to drop the ceremonial first puck, the Bruins announced there was a surprise and they were soon reunited with their son, on leave from Afghanistan.
It's hard not to get a little choked up watching that, it's a great moment brought to us by the Bruins.
I'm a sucker for these reunion videos. I got lost one day going through all the videos at the Welcome Home blog. It's chicken soup for the soul type of stuff, especially on Veteran's Day. I'd just like to say thank you once again to any vets out there reading.
Not Flame retardant
Nature isn't the only place where a flame will conquer snow any day of the week. It appears to be a law of hockey too.
The Colorado Avalanche just can't beat the Calgary Flames, no matter where the game is played. On Saturday the Avs failed for the eighth straight time trying to beat their division rivals, and that was with one spirited comeback.
Miikka Kiprusoff is as composed as any goalie in the league when he's under pressure. Just see the final minute of the 4-3 on Saturday as an example. The final minute was incredibly intense and Kiprusoff didn't look like he was trying to hang on to the tenuous lead; he had the poise of a goalie with an 8-1 edge.
Meanwhile the Avalanche, after that 5-1-0 start have now fallen back to 8-8-1 with their seventh loss in nine games.
Quote of the week
First of all, we all know it's Miller's quote referenced above. But consider this the Miller-less category.
It's hard to pick just one, but all my choices are coming from Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo. To say the he has been unimpressed with his team the last few outings would be pretty accurate. This quote came on the heels of the 5-2 loss to the Kings on Saturday.
"Like, we think we’re there. We’re not even close," Yeo said (courtesy of Michael Russo at the Minneapolis Star Tribune). "Like, we think we’re good enough yet, that because we won five games in a row that we’re there. It’s not even close. We said this when we were winning these games. We’re not there. We along the way forgot what we have to put in to winning hockey games.”
It sounds to me like a coach who is trying to bring his team back down to Earth after a great stretch of games, that Yeo sensed his team needed a little humbling.
Photo: US Presswire
Tags: Alexander Semin, Brad Richards, Brian Elliott, Brian Stubits, Bruce Boudreau, Buffalo Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalance, Jhonas Enroth, John Tortorella, John Tortorella, Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff, Los Angeles Kings, Marian Gaborik, Miikka Kiprusoff, Mike Yeo, Milan Lucic, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Paul Gaustad, Ryan Miller, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, Weekend Wrap
Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 12:56 pm
The Buffalo Sabres have made their selection for the new team captain, and it might come as a surprise to some. Wearing the C this season for the Sabres will be Jason Pominville, entering his eighth season with the team. Assistant captains will be Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford, Paul Gaustad and Derek Roy.
He takes over the spot vacated by Craig Rivet, who had been Sabres captain since 2008 before leaving town.
The thing about coach Lindy Ruff's selection was that it was tough to make a bad choice. The Sabres have done a remarkable job of keeping a core together for many years now. There are nine players on the roster that have played in Buffalo for at least the past five seasons. That's a lot of continuity.
Buffalo clearly has a good thing going on as hopes are very high under new owner Terry Pegula. The hope is that the additions to the core of Ville Leino, Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr are enough to put them into the upper echelon.
As for Pominville, well he's been as big a part of that core as anybody. He's actually coming off his worst statistical season since his rookie campaign, and he still had 52 points (22/30).
Plus, he might have a future as a camera man ... if he can find the on/off button. He shot this 24/7-esque video from the team bus in Europe. In this episode, Luke Adam left his bag in Buffalo and Tyler Ennis debates who gets credit for a nickname.