Tag:Buffalo Sabres
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Lucic anticipates retaliation from Sabres on Wed.

By Brian Stubits

The Sabres and Bruins will clash again on Wednesday in Buffalo, and the referees will be on high alert. Well, that's the edict that was handed down by Brendan Shanahan to the Northeast Division foes.

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.

H/t to Pro Hockey Talk

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Sabres' Myers out 4-6 weeks with broken wrist

By Brian Stubits

It's been an eventful week-plus for Tyler Myers. It began with him being a healthy scratch, he returned to score two goals and then delivered a hit that drew a warning from player safety chief Brendan Shanahan.

Now it ends with him suffering a broken wrist that will make him a scratch every game for the next 4-6 weeks. Or possibly longer, according to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News. He notes that with Myers suffering a scaphoid fracture, 4-6 weeks is awfully optimistic. It could be closer to 8-12 weeks.

Myers suffered the injury at the end of the second period of the Sabres' 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.

“It happened just on an awkward play,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “Nothing that you’d ever notice, just one of those freak-like incidents.”

Fellow defenseman Robyn Regehr talked about the void that Myers' absense will leave.

“It’s important that we each try and step up a little bit and fill that void. And there’s also a real good young call-up with T.J. [Brennan] here,” Regehr said. “I know he’s really looking forward to getting in the lineup and helping us out as well.”

It's a bad break for Myers and the Sabres as he was just beginning to turn the corner after the benching. This is the second straight season Myers has been slow out of the gate. He struggled for a good portion of last season -- his sophomore campaign after winning the Calder Trophy -- before turning it on late.

Now he'll have to wait a while before he can try and regain that form long-term once again.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: November 20, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: Wild move to top of the NHL

By Brian Stubits

When I was trying to wrap my head around the aftermath of the weekend in hockey, you must pardon me if I'm a bit staggered. It's not exactly the college football landscape after Saturday, but it's equally as jolting.

It's still only late November, but a tour of the standings is surprisingly fun. And confusing.

Who'd a thunk the NHL's top team at this (or any) point in the season would be the Minnesota Wild? Was there anybody not busy laughing at Dale Tallon that they could have seen the Florida Panthers ahead of the Southeast Division? Did anybody believe Dave Tippett could work his magic again and have the Coyotes in first place of the Pacific? Lastly, who saw the Maple Leafs atop the Northeast Division?

This is the bizarro NHL. Or maybe it's just that this is the NHL with the 2-1-0 point system.

The difference between the best in the NHL (Wild and Chicago Blackhawks) to 25th place (Winnipeg Jets) is only eight points. Four of the six divisions have the fourth place team within four points of the division lead.

One of the divisions that doesn't fit that bill is the Northwest, and that's not because the Vancouver Canucks are running away with it again. Instead, the Wild are, building the biggest division lead in the NHL, holding a five-point lead on the Edmonton Oilers (we told you this was bizarro world).

If we want to take the last 10 games (which we do, it makes this look better) the Wild are the hottest team in hockey alongside the Boston Bruins. Each of them are 8-2-0 in that span after the Wild took the two points from the St. Louis Blues on Saturday with a shootout victory.

It must be the offseason additions of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, right?

They haven't hurt matters, to be clear. But I wouldn't go as far as to call them the reason the Wild have the most points in the league. Offensively speaking, the Wild have been well below average. Their 2.20 goals per game ranks 28th out of 30 teams.

Obviously that means it's the defense that's led them to a league-high 12 wins. The Wild are surrendering a very impressive 1.95 goals against average. It's funny how starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom is the "worst" goalie of the tandem of he and Josh Harding as he sports a 1.97 GAA and.935 save percentage.

The most amazing part about this is the Wild are doing it with what most would agree is a no-name group of defensemen. Brent Burns is gone to San Jose. Greg Zanon has been sidelined as have Marek Zidlicky and Marco Scandella. That leaves a cast of characters that I doubt anybody outside of Minnesota or Houston (the Wild's AHL affiliate) had heard of; guys like Justin Falk and Kris Fredheim.

This is all under first-year NHL coach Mike Yeo, by the way. He has come in from Houston and has this team as one of the biggest turnaround stories of the season. I defy anybody, including those fans in Minnesota, to say they saw the Wild starting this well.

Speaking of surprising turnarounds ...

There's another team shocking the NHL under a first-year coach after an awful season a year ago. That would be the Florida Panthers.

Kevin Dineen, certainly with a great pedigree as a player in the NHL, has put his name in the early running for the Jack Adams (next to Yeo) with what he has done in Florida. Or perhaps we should say with what Dale Tallon has done.

The top line for the Panthers is making all the difference right now. For years, the Panthers didn't have much production from the top line. If you had to rank where they stood, it was always in the bottom five of top lines in the NHL, that includes when it featured Stephen Weiss, David Booth and Nathan Horton.

The new top line of Weiss, Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg showed its prowess on Saturday night against the Penguins in South Florida. They were in on all three Florida goals, including Weiss' power play tally in the final minutes. Each member of that line is on pace for about 80 points or more. None of the three has ever had more than 61 points in a season (Weiss in 2008-09).

The team has some serious gumption. After taking the late lead on the Pens, they withstood a massive barrage, particularly the final 65 seconds when the Penguins pulled goalie Dan Johnson. That's when Jose Theodore -- another surprise -- stood tallest and denied Pittsburgh's numerous scoring chances. Theodore, by the way, has a very respectable 2.46 GAA and .923 save percentage.

We are close to a quarter of the way through the season and it's just so weird to call them the first-place Panthers. But that's exactly what they are.

Getting Bizzy

Another one of the surprising teams (boy, there are a lot of those) is the Phoenix Coyotes -- we'll have more on them this week. They have been winning in seasons past, but I think many believed that Ilya Bryzgalov was a big reason for that and when he left for Philadelphia, most predicted they would falter.

Surprise is a word that would aptly describe Paul Bissonnette's night on Saturday, too. Maybe even surprise doesn't cut it, shocking would fit better.

The Coyotes tough guy who hardly plays but is one of the most popular players in the NHL due to his Twitter fame, had the rare shot to play in Buffalo, near his hometown of Welland, Ontario. It also happened to be the first time his mother had the chance to see him play live in the NHL. And so wouldn't you know it, this happened:

As I said, shocking. That goal brings his total to five goals in the past three seasons with the Coyotes. Maybe equally shocking was Tyler Myers' play to give Bissonnette the shot on the doorstep.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes' 4-2 win moved them into a tie with the Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division.

We want 10!

How crazy are things right now? The Oilers scoring nine goals on the Blackhawks and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recording five assists goes here. Oh, and Taylor Hall had a hat trick.

The Oilers had eight goals at the mid-way mark of the game, prompting the chants of "We want 10!" from the Edmonton faithful. They came close, real close, in the final minutes, but didn't get it. Instead they had to settle for a 9-2 rout. For shame.

For the Oilers, it's what you would call a rebound win. They entered the game on a four-game skid. The quick start to the season seemed long ago in the rearview mirror. But then in 60 minutes they scored more goals (nine) then they had in the entire span of that losing streak (eight).

What's more, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continues to live up to the billing. Labeled as a play-making center, the Nuge's five-assist night was the a record-setter. No 18-year-old had ever done that before in NHL history. His 19-year-old linemate Hall had his second career hat trick. Whatever they wanted to do, they did.

As for the Blackhawks, their four-game win streak ran into the Alberta armor and went kaput in back-to-back nights to the Flames on Friday and then the Oilers.

"Right now, it seems like every little mistake we make it's in the back of our net and we're making a lot of mistakes," defenseman Duncan Keith said on Saturday. "We all as a team need to focus on committing to playing the right way and the way we know how to play. We have to. The last two games have been embarrassing. The only thing we can do is try and learn from it and move on."

Make it eight

The Boston Bruins can't be touched right now.

With their 6-0 trouncing of the Islanders on Saturday, they have won eight games in a row. With that run, they have finally climbed back into the top eight of the Eastern Conference standings.

The most amazing part of the eight-game run? The Bruins have outscored their opponents 42-14 in that time. That's an average margin of victory of 3.5 goals per game. As I said, they can't be touched right now.

Caps popped

The Capitals are in a tailspin, leading to the annual chatter of Bruce Boudreau's job safety starting up again. That can happen after taking a 7-1 pounding by the similarly struggling Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

When asked after the game about a vote of confidence for Boudreau, GM George McPhee game a "no comment."

But it's still hard to put this on Boudreau in my mind. He's trying everything he can to right the ship. The problem is partly on the shoulders of Alex Ovechkin, who has failed to score a point in any of the past four games. The last time that happened? Go back to February of 2007.

So what's the next step after a team meeting and a practice on a typical off day? It could be the benching of Alexander Semin. The other talented Russian forward on the Caps, Semin has already seen demotions this season. In Sunday's practice, he was dropped all the way to the third line and when Boudreau was asked if Semin might be a healthy scratch on Monday against the Coyotes, Boudreau didn't say one way or the other.

Matters could be coming to a head very soon in D.C. one way or another.

Coming back to Earth

Once sitting atop the NHL in points, the Dallas Stars have gone into a funk, losing five in a row, topped off by a 3-0 loss at Colorado on Friday and a 4-1 defeat in San Jose on Saturday.

That prompted first-year coach Glen Gulutzan to go off about this team, leading to ...

Quote of the weekend

From CSN Bay Area:

“We whine like little babies throughout the game,” Gulutzan said. “I don’t know if there’s been a history of that here or not, but every team that I’ve coached, we’ve always been at the other end of the scale. I think we’re the worst penalty differential in the league, and every team I’ve coached we’ve always been the opposite.

“That’s going to change. We’re going to change that culture here. We’ve got to do it by zipping our mouths one step at a time. The refs are human, and if you whine that much, they’re not going to give you calls. That’s just the bottom line. We’re not getting some calls, and it’s our fault.

“I’ll be glad to go back to Saskatchewan if we don’t get out of this, but at the end of the day we’re going to do it the way we’re going to do it,” he said. “We’re going to be men, we’re going to have character, we’re going to shut our mouths and we’re going to play. If that’s not good enough, then so be it.”

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Bryzgalov gets to meet Winnipeg

By Brian Stubits

Weekend Schedules: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Let's call this the Ilya Bryzgalov tour of fun.

It started with Bryz facing his former team on Thursday night, the Phoenix Coyotes. His old pals still in the Phoenix red? Let's just say not all of them had flattering comments to make about their former netminder.

There was Derek Morris (no, not THAT Derek Morris) talking about how Bryzgalov gives up soft goals. He even went so far as to say he's glad Bryzgalov is gone and Mike Smith is in. Adrian Aucoin wasn't the most complimentary either.

In the end Bryzgalov got the last laugh with a 2-1 win. Afterward he was only complimentary of his ex-squad.

"It's my former team and not an easy team to beat," he said.

That was Step I, reunion with the team he used to play for. Step II is visiting the city he could have played for, but never would have on Saturday afternoon.

You remember earlier this year, before the Thrashers became the Winnipeg Jets, don't you? Most of the speculation was that the Coyotes, not the Thrashers would become the Jets. So Bryzgalov was asked for his thoughts on the matter and considering he's usually always candid, the response he gave didn't exactly sit well with the 'Peggers.

Here is what he said in April.

"You don't want to go to Winnipeg, right?" Bryzgalov said. "Not many people live there, not many Russian people there. Plus it's cold. There's no excitement except the hockey. No park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It's going to be tough life for your family.

"I better go to somewhere in Russia, KHL, to be honest. Because KHL is Russian people, it's family, friends. Even as a cold place, I can speak to people in Russian language."

Think the people in Winnipeg forgot about that? Of course not. After all, there is no excitement except the hock ...

Bryzgalov remembers it too, and he did back off a bit on Friday.

"I didn't mean it and I didn't want to offend anybody," Bryzgalov said (from Ted Wyman at the Winnipeg Sun). "I'm pretty sure it's good people, beautiful people live in Winnipeg. I'm pretty sure it's passionate fans. I didn't mean it to be honest. That's it."

Since returning to the NHL this season, the Jets fans have enjoyed once again the art of goalie taunting. No doubt they will serenade the goalie with "Illlll-yaaaa" chants all game long, but they could have just a little more juice in store. A popular Jets fan forum has taken to posting sign ideas for fans at the game. I'm envisioning a WWE event or ESPN College Gameday site with signs all over in the crowd. Make it happen Winnipeg.

Of course, with all of the anticipation in Winnipeg for the chance to boo and jeer Bryzgalov, it will probably be Sergei Bobrovsky that starts.

As far as the game on the ice is concerned, the Jets are playing better hockey these days and have been getting the habit of knocking off some of the traditionally stronger East teams at home. They come into the game against the Flyers -- the top team in the East at the moment -- having won the last two home games, both against teams in the playoffs last year (Capitals and Lightning). They also knocked off the Penguins at home early in the season.

When you add in the absence of Jaromir Jagr for the game and it won't be a walk in the park (get it?) for Bryzgalov and the Flyers.

Back on track

It was only a couple of weeks ago that the Canadiens were in disarray. They were off to their worst start in more than 60 years. Assistant coach Perry Pearn was fired. Jacques Martin seemed to be only a couple of losses away from meeting the same fate.

Since an October 24 loss to the Florida Panthers and the subsequent dismissal of Pearn, the Canadiens have very quietly rebounded. I mean, when have you known the Habs to do anything quietly? They have posted a 7-3-1 record since that game and have climbed within three points of the division-leading Sabres.

The natural connection to make is to see the team has done well since firing Pearn, so that must have something to do with it. While I don't want to completely dismiss the idea -- there could be some credence to the belief that it was a "wakeup call" for the Habs players -- it probably is more coincidental than anything. Montreal just happened to have a rough patch at the beginning of the season.

This is where I caution you not to get too high with the highs and too low with the lows. The Canadiens have evened themselves out and are at .500 (if we treat OT losses as ties). Of course, that doesn't mean Martin's seat isn't still hot, it's just not scalding at the moment. He's been passed by Scott Arniel and Paul Maurice in the hot seat rankings.

We will get a better idea of which team more closely resembles the truth: the one that started the season or the one that is 7-3-1 of late. That's because they will go up against arguably the hottest team in hockey on Saturday night. What the Rangers been up to lately? Oh, they're just on a seven-game win streak.

Roller coast of tough love

Speaking of highs and lows, check out the Detroit Red Wings. Talk about a roller coaster of emotion.

The Wings came out of the gate winning their first five games. They followed that up with six straight losses before rebounding with four consecutive wins. Now they have lost two in a row. Pretty amazing for a team to be 17 games in without anything but a streak.

Overall, they have lost five in a row on the road.

"It's tough, nothing that we want to do," said Henrik Zetterberg of the road losing streak. "We have another chance Saturday [in Los Angeles] to turn it around."

That will come on Saturday afternoon against an on-the-up Kings team, 4-1-0 in their last five.

"Do we want to be a good team or not?" coach Mike Babcock said about what will be the subject matter of a team meeting (Detroit News). "Life doesn't just go on good for you. You make a decision it's going to go good for you. You decide for yourself you're going to be successful. You decide for yourself that you're going to make a difference and have a good career. No one just gives you stuff.

"The other teams are trying to. We have to make some decisions."

Ovie debate continues

Alex Ovechkin is drawing a lot of heat these days, and unfortunately for him it isn't over goal celebrations.

At first glance, his numbers don't seem bad (seven goals and seven assists in 17 games) but this is Ovie we're talking about here. Obviously a lot is expected of him.

Right now he is struggling. And, maybe as a result, the Capitals are struggling. Are the two connected? Somewhat. Obviously No. 8 is a big part of the Caps. They especially need more than one goal in a five-game span, such as his current stretch.

So what better place than Toronto for Ovechkin and Washington get find their confidence again? Since James Reimer went down, the goaltending in Toronto has returned to its pre-Reimer state: atrocious. Moreover, Ovechkin has always put up good numbers at the Leafs' place, scoring 23 goals in 23 games there.

It would help ease some of the increasing hysteria in "the nation's hockey capital" if he and the Caps could bust out the scoring stick again in a Hockey Night in Canada showcase.

How much more for Maurice?

That's becoming a popular question in NHL circles right now. Is Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice one or two more losses away from being fired?

Something's gotta give right now in Carolina. The 'Canes have lost six of seven and their star player, Eric Staal, is still struggling to make much of an impression. This was supposed to be a year of progression, not the other way around. After just barely missing the playoffs last spring, the hopes were that the 'Canes would again contend for the postseason as presently constructed.

It would probably go a long way toward calming the panic that is setting in not only among the fans, but GM Jim Rutherford as well, if they handle the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. As you'll recall, Rutherford has fired Maurice before, he could certainly do it again.

We're going streaking

As the great Lou Brown said in Major League: "Gentlemen, we won yesterday. If we win today, that's two in a row. If we win tomorrow, that's what they call a winning streak. It has happened before."

So with that obvious definition in mind, here's a look at the winning streaks in play.

Flyers: As mentioned above, they play in Winnipeg on Saturday and they enter having won three in a row.

Rangers: Also covered, they have won seven games in a row and take that streak into Saturday's tilt against the Habs.

Boston Bruins: The B's also enter the weekend winners of their last seven games and only have one game to play, that's Saturday at the Islanders.

Ottawa Senators: Yes, the Sens have found themselves on another run, winning three in a row. Their lone weekend game comes on Sunday night in Vancouver.

Chicago Blackhawks: Riding a four-game streak, the Blackhawks will have to do the Alberta two-step with the Flames on Friday and Oilers on Saturday.

St. Louis Blues: That's right, that Ken Hitchcock move is working out pretty well. The head to Minnesota having won three consecutive.

Kings: Lastly (boy there are a lot of streaks right now) the aforementioned Kings also take a three-game run into their Saturday game against the Red Wings.

Among the losing steaks, we'll just list the top (or bottom) and that's the Oilers, losers of four in a row.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:21 am
Edited on: November 17, 2011 9:28 pm
 

Sabres' Myers avoids suspension for hit on Zubrus

By Brian Stubits

Welcome back to the ice, Tyler Myers.

The Buffalo Sabres defenseman who was struggling so much to start this season that he was a healthy scratch two games ago apparently received the message. In Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Devils, Myers had without question his best offensive performance of the season with two of Buffalo's three goals.

He also put his name on the list of debatable hits with a shot on Dainius Zubrus.

Every hit that is questionable is scrutinized now, that's the climate of the NHL under Brendan Shanahan's rule. So this is today's debatable hit: suspension or not?

The answer is no. After reviewing the hit, Shanahan elected no further discipline was needed on Myers, according to Katie Strang of ESPN New York.

After review, the NHL's Department of Player Safety determined that while Zubrus' head was the principal point of contact, it was not targeted. The disciplinary team, led by Brendan Shanahan, felt Myers attempted a full body-check but caught Zubrus while he was reaching low to play the puck.

Shanahan still plans on calling Myers to explain his decision since the call was considered borderline.
Consider, too, that Myers is not in the repeat offender category. That weighs in Shanahan's decisions, as does the fact that Zubrus was not injured as a result of the hit, just a little shaken. Thus, we end at the result of no discipline.

"I didn't like the look of it," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "It looked to me like one of the head shots they are trying to get out of the game."

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff saw it differently.

"If you want to play physical, and the guy's stretched out and bent over, sometimes bad things can happen," he said.

More NHL Discipline News Here

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 9:50 am
Edited on: November 15, 2011 10:22 am
 

Game after Miller hit, Enroth interfered with

By Brian Stubits

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.

In overtime of Buffalo's 3-2 shootout win over the Canadiens on Monday night, Habs forward Erik Cole made a somewhat reckless play and side-swiped Jhonas Enroth as he skated through the crease.

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.

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

Posted on: November 14, 2011 4:03 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 10:05 pm
 

No suspension for Milan Lucic



By: Adam Gretz


Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic had a meeting with Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's vice president of player safety, on Monday afternoon to discuss the play that took place on Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres when Lucic hit goaltender Ryan Miller after he came out of the crease to play a loose puck.

Following Shanahan's review, as well as his discussion with Lucic, it was determined that the Bruins forward will not face any supplemental discipline.

Despite the calls from fans to allow goalies to be hit when the leave their crease, goalies are not "fair game" when they exit the blue paint. The NHL rule book states that incidental contact may be permitted at the referee's discretion when the goalie is playing the puck outside of his crease, as long the skater makes a reasonable effort to avoid the contact.
More on Bruins-Sabres


Said Shanahan, via the league's official web site, "I had the hearing because I did make an initial assessment of the play as I do with all plays, but I did have some questions for Milan and I wanted to hear directly from him. They were regarding his intent; at what point did he know there was going to be a collision; and whether or not he felt he had the time to avoid the collision. I was satisfied with his answers."

Lucic received a two-minute minor for charging, while it was later revealed that Miller suffered a concussion and will not be in the crease when the Sabres visit the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.

Miller was livid following the game and was brutally honest when it came his post-game comments, saying "I just stuck around because I wanted to say what a piece of [feces] I think Lucic is."

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli released a statement relaying his pleasure not only with the NHL's decision, but Lucic not responding to Miller's postgame remarks.

"We are satisfied with the NHL's announcement that there will be no suspension or fine for Milan, and we respect the process that the League took to reach this decision.

"I am also proud that Milan took the high road, and chose not to engage in an exchange of words after the unfortunate comments that were made about him following the game."

The "statement" from Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was decidedly different.

“It just means that teams will be to able do exactly what Lucic did,” Ruff told reporters before Buffalo's game in Montreal. “Your goaltender can play the puck, we can run him over, we can hurt him and all you get is a two-minute minor penalty.

“That is essentially what that means -- You can concuss the other team's goalkeeper ... it means it's fair game on goaltenders again."

Shanahan wasn't on board with the idea that the decision opened pandora's box on goalies across the league, instead condeming Ruff and the Sabres.

"I think Buffalo's comments are irresponsible to suggest that it's open season," Shanahan said at the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "I will have this warning for players: `It's not. If you run a goalie you're going to find yourself in the same situation that Lucic was today, you're going to have to explain yourself and you don't explain it sufficiently, and if I don't buy it, you're going to be suspended."'

The Sabres and Bruins meet again on Nov. 23.

The play has been a hot topic of discussion around the league, and on Monday Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson, who coached Miller at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, wondered if the NHL should be doing more to protect goalies. Here's what he had to say from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail:

"It'll be interesting to see the direction the league's going to go. There's no white papers out there to describe that kind of an injury or hit with regards to goaltenders. If it was a defenceman, you'd say that it was a clean hit.

"However, a goaltender's more or less defenceless in some of those situations. They're not wearing the same type of equipment, they're not built to absorb a 250-pound freight train running you over. Whereas a defenceman may. That's the debate that's going to go on in the next couple of days. Should we be protecting goaltenders?"

Wilson's team has been without its starting goalie, James Reimer, for nearly a month after he took a hit to the head while standing in his crease in a game against the Montreal Canadiens back in October. The NHL general managers meetings are scheduled to start on Tuesday, and while this isn't a subject that was planned on being discussed, it wouldn't be a shock if it makes its way into the conversation at some point.

Click Here For More NHL Discipline News

Brian Stubits contributed to this story

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

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