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Tag:Buffalo Sabres
Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 10:29 pm
 

Ville Leino suspended one game for elbowing

By Brian Stubits

Buffalo Sabres forward Ville Leino was suspended one game for his elbow to the head of the Flyers' Matt Read on Wednesday night in Buffalo. Brendan Shanahan made the announcement, the third suspension of the day (Kevin Porter for four games and Andy Sutton indefinitely).

We'll let Shanahan take it from here.

The key points? Leino caught a break on two of the three things that Shanahan looks for: Read was not hurt on the play and Leino has no history of supplemental discipline to speak of. So that's the good for him.

But the bad? It was a reckless play, as Shanahan points out. He made a play on the puck by lifting up Read's stick and seemingly jostling the stick loose. The elbow that came up high afterward to Read's head was unnecessary and just a bad play.

Shanahan goes on to point out that the head was the principle point of contact. I'd argue the head was the only point of contact on the hit. It was quite literally a textbook definition of a bad hit they want out of the sport.

It also is going to leave Sabres fans wondering when they are going to get a call to go their way. It seems they have been on the bad side of nearly every possible questionable play involving them this season, most glaringly the non-suspension for Milan Lucic with his much-discussed hit on Ryan Miller.

This suspension is a slap on the wrist if there ever were one. A suspension pretty much had to be handed down on such an obvious elbow to the head in open ice. Luckily for everybody involved, it wasn't worse for Read.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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

Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Leino, Porter have hearings with Shanahan

By: Adam Gretz

It appears that Brendan Shanahan's schedule is full. Again.

Not only does he have to deal with (we're assuming) Edmonton's Andy Sutton for his hit on Alexei Ponikarovsky during Wednesday's game, it's also been announced that Buffalo's Ville Leino and Colorado's Kevin Porter will have disciplinary hearings for seperate incidents over the past couple of days.

As always, it's important to keep in mind that a hearing does not mean a suspension is automatic, but it sure seems like it's possible.

Porter is being called in for his knee-on-knee hit against the Vancouver Canucks that resulted in David Booth being sidelined for the next four-to-six weeks with a sprained MCL. There was a debate as to whether or not he would face any supplemental discipline, and  the fact Booth is going to be out of the lineup for an extended period of time is not a positive development for Porter.

He was issued a five-minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing.

Leino, meanwhile, is having a hearing because of an elbow he delivered to the head of Philadelphia's Matt Read during the Sabres 5-4 overtime loss to the Flyers on Wednesday night. He was not penalized on the play, but when watching the video, it's not hard to see why Shanahan wants to have a word with him, as he deliberately stuck his elbow out and made contact with Read's head as he skated past him.



More NHL Discipline News Here

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

Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:45 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 2:21 pm
 

Tootoo suspended two games for hit on Ryan Miller

By Brian Stubits

The NHL has handed down the punishment on Jordin Tootoo of the Nashville Predators for his crash into Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller from over the weekend. The result is a two-game suspension for the Pesky Preds forward.

As has become customary, here is video from Brendan Shanahan explaining the decision, but this one coming on location from Pebble Beach instead of New York because of the Board of Governors meetings.

In detailing the suspension, Shanahan notes a few factors that played into the rationale. First is the fact that while there is pressure from defenseman Jordan Leopold, it's not enough to significantly steer Tootoo toward the crease. This is something to keep in mind when you look at the David Booth hit on Miikka Kiprusoff again and why it's unlikely the Booth hit was given much of a look from the league.

Secondly is perhaps the money quote from Shanahan in this conversation: "Goalies should feel safe in their crease." For those wondering why Tootoo's hit warranted two games while Milan Lucic, who ran into Miller a month ago, resulting in a concussion and this high state of awareness, that's a key difference even if the rulebook clearly states that goalies aren't free to be hit no matter if they are in the crease or not.

Also coming into play was the fact that before the collision, Tootoo looks up and spots Miller before running into him. I don't see how that should have much of an impact, by the time he actually looks at Miller, there is nowhere left for Tootoo to go.

If anything, and Shanahan concedes as much, it looks like Tootoo actually tries to leap over Miller and avoid the hit. Bobby Orr he is not. Still, it didn't save Tootoo completely. The fact that he was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit was also a factor for Shanahan, perhaps reducing the suspension since he was punished in-game as well.

The environment around this topic is toxic right now, particularly around Ryan Miller and the Sabres. As some have joked, Tootoo was suspended two games for Lucic's hit on Miller. But if there was no punishment for Tootoo here, there would have been a near riot among the Sabres faithful.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff saw this as an opportunity for the league.

"I hope to see a strong message," Ruff said following practice on Monday. "Really, it’s just time. I just hope they do the right thing with it.

"I understand with a phone hearing the max you’re going to get is [a five-game suspension]. In my eyes, is that a big message? It’s OK. I look at the NFL and I look at the Detroit Lion [Ndamukong Suh] that got two games for a 6-inch kick. He got kicked out of the game, and then that amounted to one-eighth of our season. That’s a 10-game suspension. I think they do it right. The message there is we’re not putting up with this stuff. I think we need a strong message. Is five strong enough? I don’t know."

How about two, coach?

Even with Tootoo getting a boot, I don't think Ruff will be overly pleased. It was him, you might remember, that said the lack of suspension on Lucic meant it was open season to run goaltenders. That's why he was hoping for a clear message. Well that and his starting goaltender was run over twice in two games.

I know the folks in Buffalo won't agree, but I think it's a pretty good scenario of the punishment fitting the crime here, particularly with no injury resulting on the play. But it will cause every hit to be scrutinized, just like a lot of other hits around the league.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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

Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:08 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 11:05 am
 

Ryan Miller gets run over in return

By: Adam Gretz

The last time Ryan Miller was in the lineup for the Buffalo Sabres he ventured out of his crease to play a loose puck and ended up on the train tracks that were carrying the Milan Lucic Express. The result, as you may already know by now, was a huge collision that fired up the debate about how much protection goalies get, while Miller missed nearly a month of action.

He returned to the lineup on Saturday night in Nashville in a game the Sabres won 3-2, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced. Not a bad night, other than the fact he was on the receiving end of yet another big-time hit, this time as he was standing in his crease attempting to make a save.

With less than five miutes to play in yhe second period Miller was crushed by Predators forward Jordin Tootoo on a play that resulted in Tootoo receiving a five-minute major for charging, as well as a game misconduct.

Here's the video, via On The Forecheck:



According to Predators beat writer Joshua Cooper, Tootoo said after the game that he anticipates having a disciplinary hearing with the league as a result of the hit. Assuming that happens, it will be interesting to see the result.

Remember, when Lucic hit Miller outside of the crease back in November (goalies out of the crease are not "fair game" according to NHL rules) he recieved a two-minute minor penalty during the game, but did not receive any supplemental discipline, which drew plenty of criticism, especially from Miller and the Sabres.

The fear was that the lack of discipline would make it "open season" on goalies, and in the Sabres very next game Miller's backup, Jhonas Enroth, was inteferred with.

Previously At Eye On Hockey

Ryan Miller hit by Milan Lucic
No suspension for Lucic
Sabres Respond

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

Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:49 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 11:55 pm
 

Nathan Gerbe hit in face with skate (video)

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.



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

Posted on: November 27, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 8:30 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: Sanford, Jackets starting to roll

By Brian Stubits

Amid Columbus' awful, awful opening to the season, the only bit of defense the team and its fans had was something along the lines of waiting for everybody to be healthy. The team was built in the offseason around the additions of James Wisniewski and Jeff Carter and for the first month and a half of the season; they had not played in the same game. Now they are both playing and the Blue Jackets are now winning.

But it was another injured player returning that has been even bigger. And this one wasn't really on anybody's excuse radar.

Turns out the return of goaltender Curtis Sanford has been huge. Or at least it would appear that way. It was no mystery that Steve Mason in goal was as big an issue as anything else in Columbus' struggles, but I am not sure anybody believed there was a possible solution within the organization.

It wasn't long ago that in this blog we were discussing the possibilities of the Blue Jackets getting a major shakeup in the front office and coaching staff. Some were just saying give it more time, all they needed was to trade for a good goalie. The only problem was the Jackets are right up against the cap and have no flexibility.

This feels as good as a trade right now.

In the five games prior to Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Blues, all Sanford starts, the Blue Jackets picked up at least one point. His record is now 3-0-2 after Columbus' 5-1 beating of the Buffalo Sabres on Black Friday. He entered Sunday with a goals against average of 1.27 and a save percentage of .950. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The recent run has done what not long ago seemed laughable: the Jackets had climbed out of the NHL cellar. With the Devils' squeaker over the Devils on Saturday, the Jackets returned to the basement, but they are hot on the heels of the Isles, Ducks and Flames to move (or down) the draft lottery list.

But the big acquisitions have been doing their part, too. Carter, back after breaking his foot, is finally looking comfortable with his new team. With two beautiful assists against the Sabres, Carter brought his total to five points (3-2=5) in the last five games. Wisniewski has also recorded five points in that span as he also contributed two assists to the win on Friday.

However none of that would matter much if they weren't getting better goaltending. Now, with Sanford getting the bulk of the work, they are. It's not too late to crawl their way back into the picture, but a lot of that will ride on Sanford continuing to play at a level this high.

If he keeps those ice blue pads, maybe he will.

Hangover Part II

Much was made about the champion Bruins' hangover to start the season. They came out slower than any team not named the Blue Jackets. Of course, that's long-ago history as the Bruins have won 11 of the past 12 games, earning a point in all of them.

But not as much has been said about the Canucks' meager beginning. After all, this was the best team in the regular season last year and was within 60 minutes of winning the Stanley Cup. Like the Bruins, the Canucks returned the core of their team and were expected to be powerful once again. Yet they were merely average.

That might be changing. With a road trip that included a 5-0 domination of the Coyotes in a "packed" (with blue) Jobing.com Arena on Friday and a gritty 3-2 win over the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday, the Canucks have won four in a row.

With the eight points in four games, they are now two points behind the Minnesota Wild, two points from reclaiming their seemingly rightful position atop the Northwest Division (they have lived in the Northwest penthouse for a few seasons).

In goal for each of those four games? That would be Cory Schneider, not Roberto Luongo. Schneider -- who had back-to-back shutouts in the four-game run -- was already seen by many to be the best backup in the game, rumored constantly in trade talks around the league over the last season-plus. Now the only goalie that Canucks fans want to throw around in those conversations is Luongo, the Vezina finalist from just last season.

There was already a goalie controversy in Vancouver even before Schneider began playing so well. The controversy? The fact that Luongo was the starter. That was enough to cause a civil war among the fans in British Columbia. This just makes it more heated.

It's show time

We got a taste of the Winter Classic on Saturday with the Flyers and Rangers waging battle in New York, a 2-0 Blueshirts win. Brandon Prust fought not once, but twice, much to the pleasure of John Tortorella.

It was also the first time this season that the league's highest-scoring offense, the Flyers, were grounded. It should come as no surprise that it was Henrik Lundqvist who was first to do it. They don't call him King Henrik for nothing.

But over the weekend, we also got our first taste of the HBO 24/7 series that's set to debut on Dec. 14. No, I'm not talking about the game, but HBO's 12-minute preview of the must-see show for hockey (and non-hockey) fans.

Warning: If you don't already have HBO in your cable/dish subscription plan, the following teaser might make you change your mind (video courtesy of nyrangersblog.com).

There wasn't even an appearance from Jaromir Jagr or Sean Avery in this tease, so clearly they must be saving the best for the show, a refreshing change from movie trailers that show you the only good parts of the movie.

Glory Toews

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews isn't going anywhere anytime soon. If they have their way in Chicago, he'll retire in the black and red.

But if he were to change work addresses, he just might move to Southern California.

The Blackhawks took their turn at the SoCal double dip with a game Friday in Anaheim and Saturday in Los Angeles. What did Toews do? Oh just help the 'Hawks take both games with three goals and three assists. One of those goals came 1960s style with Toews parked in the crease without a helmet and scrambling to hammer home the loose puck.

I have no doubt that when this season is all said and done, Toews will have his say in the Hart Trophy conversation.

Real quickly on the Ducks, this is just too atrocious to leave out (from Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register: The Ducks have now lost six in a row, 12 of 13 and 15 of their last 17. No other word for that than horrendous.

Florida flurry

It's not even December yet and the intrastate rivals in Florida have already met five times. For the second time in the first two months, the Lightning and Panthers had a back-to-back set beginning in Sunrise and finishing in Tampa.

This time, it was the Bolts getting the better of the Cats. One massive reason was the play of Steven Stamkos. He had three goals, including the game-winner in overtime on Friday night, and an assist. He was the best player on the ice on Saturday, no questions asked.

It continues to amaze me how little attention Stammer seems to be generating. After all, he proved last year he's one of the top three scorers in the league. He has quietly amassed 14 goals and 10 assists this season. Yet there seems to be hardly a peep about him.

A few more four-point weekends for the Lightning and I'm sure he'll start getting his due.

Capital punishment

At this point I'm starting to think this will be a regular section in the Weekend Wrap. At least as long as the Capitals continue to play the way they have been.

With their 5-1 beating in Buffalo -- where the Sabres' Zack Kassian scored his first career NHL goal -- the Caps moved to 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. In the past eight, it's been particularly awful.

Check out this stat from Stephen Whyno at the Washington Post. The Caps have now been outscored 34-17 in their past eight games. Minus-17 in the past eight? That's worthy of one big OUCH.

The upcoming week for the Caps has dates with the Blues and Penguins. So things might not get better quite yet.

Quote of the weekend

After the Penguins destroyed the Senators 6-3 and Sidney Crosby continued his stellar return with three assists, Sens forward Nick Foligno attacked Crosby for taking a headshot at him late in the game. He wasn't too happy with Sid, saying he was disappointed and more or less called Crosby a hypocrite.

While Crosby was quiet about the criticism, his coach Dan Bylsma wasn't. Here's what he had to say in response.

"We're talking about a player that bumped into our goalie three times. With the score 5-1 and intentionally going into our goalie, he can expect more than Sidney Crosby coming at him and talking to him during the game. That's how we feel about those situations. He was in our net falling over our goalie, and I don't think there was any question about the intent."

Photo: US Presswire

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

Posted on: November 23, 2011 8:16 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2011 12:44 am
 

Sabres respond with quick fights vs. Lucic, Chara

By Brian Stubits

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.

After a hit behind Tim Thomas' net, another scrap unfolded. There was lots of action, but the stand-alone fight belonged to Robyn Regehr challenging Zdeno Chara.

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.

The intensity remained for the entire game. Just check out Brad Marchand's reaction to the Buffalo bench after scoring a goal later in the game. Yea, this is pretty heated right now.

Sometimes games live up to the expectations. Considering this was the expectation, mission complete.

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

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.

More On Sabres-Bruins
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.

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