Tag Archives: Milan Lucic

Backup Goalies, Man

The Buffalo Sabres beat the Boston Bruins last night.  They scored FOUR goals, which is a ton for this team.  It helps that Chad Johnson was the goalie (not the football player), and let in a couple of butter-soft goals.  Of course, it seemed that Miller was going to match him with a rough patch of ‘tending, with two goals by Marchand but those were it for the night.

The goal-scoring came from a variety of sources, and included some hard work in front of the net.  Foligno took a Jamie McBain shot off the chest and tapped it in, for instance.  I like that Myers scored, even if it was a “hey, might as well try it – it went IN??” goal.  Stafford had the game-winner on a wraparound.  It was that sort of night for the B’s backup goalie.

Special recognition to Ville Leino for the dive of the week, drawing a tripping call on Milan Lucic.  On the downside, karmic retribution came on short-handed goal.  Marcus Foligno had the Gordie Howe hat trick.

Buffalo and Boston do it all again on Saturday, with 12:30 tussle in Beantown.  I imagine we’ll see Tuukka Rask this time.

It’s a GAME

You know, I’m dreading this game.  Not because Buffalo has sucked since game 3 of the season.  Not because we’ll get a hundred and fifty Miller/Lucic references.  Because it won’t live up to the hype.  They almost never do, these ‘team toughness’ statement games.  Oh, Lucic might fight somebody, John Scott may terrorize some poor sap, but at the end of the day, what the Sabres need is two points.  They need to GET RIGHT.  They could hardly pass the puck with a purpose in the last game, the only reason they were in that game at all is the Leafs suck just as bad.  This might mark me down as a ‘bad’ fan for a certain portion of the fanbase, the part that thinks adding -mafia to the team name makes you sound intimidating.  I don’t care.  Two points, awesome goals, that’s what needed.

Now, if John Scott were to rip Lucic’s spine out, Mortal Kombat style, I’d probably nod and say ‘Good Job, Hodor’…but not if it’s 4-1 Bruins at the time.  Sorry.

Things to Remember

If you’re like me, and you tuned out the NHL a bit since the end of last year thanks to lockout shenanigans, you may be a bit fuzzy on some of the details surrounding the Sabres as they currently stand.  Here’s a handy list you can refer to, to help with your water cooler conversations.

  • Steve Ott, Adam Pardy, and John Scott are all Sabres.  Yes, Scott counts, even if he’ll be warming a press box seat.  (please don’t kill me John Scott)
  • Ville Leino is still a Sabre, too.  Sorry jerks, compliance buyouts start AFTER this season.
  • It is still funny when Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Myers stand next to each other.
  • Terry Pegula added a pit trap underneath the Sabres logo in the dressing room, so REALLY don’t walk on it, Harrington!  There’s no spikes at the bottom, but that IS where Harry Neale will be sitting, ready to regale you with the same stories about coaching in the WHA that you’ve heard thirty times.
  • Rob Ray will be in the booth next to RJ, so you can marvel at the way he makes ‘at all’ sound like ‘a tall’ even more.  Rayzor is thrilled, as Pierre McGuire was really starting to creep him out when sharing the space between the benches.
  • The Winnipeg Jets are a team again, in case you forgot.  They have not yet moved to the Western Conference, either.
  • Toronto fans will still be crossing the border to see their beloved Maple Leafs, until they take a look at the roster and decide shoving the money they’d be spending in the fireplace for heat would be a better use for it.
  • Tim Thomas is still crazy.
  • Milan Lucic was denied by the competition committee when he asked if he could use “one of those mart carts” on the ice.  He left the conference room dejectedly, though he did have to take a knee once to catch his breath.
  • Scott Gomez is still a Canadien.

I hope that helps you get ready for training camp.  Go Sabres!

Prep Time

The Sabres split the weekend, shutting out the Canes 1-0, while losing to the Coyotes 4-2.  Other than suffering the ignominy of allowing Biz Nasty to score, the worst news came in the third period on Saturday, when Tyler Myers didn’t return to the ice.  He’s got an ‘upper body injury’ that we should hear more about today.  He had just picked his game up after his benching (though he still had a few bad decisions) so losing him now (if indeed they do) would be tough.

All of this becomes background noise as Wednesday approaches, and the rematch with the Boston Bruins looms.  I talked before about the likely scenarios we’ll see for that game, though we now have even more injuries that make brawls and fights even less likely.  Cody McCormick is still sitting, he’d be the most likely to go after Lucic on his own.  If Myers is out, I don’t think I’d want any defensemen to take themselves out of the play challenging Lucic (Weber or Regehr…obviously Leopold isn’t stepping in there).  So barring a Commander Cody recovery or callup cannon fodder, what we’re probably going to see is a bunch of hard hits, Kaleta-style charges, and a shit-ton of after the whistle tough-guy posturing without punches.  It’ll be annoying until the refs start tossing guys into the box to discourage it.  I’d much rather just see Buffalo win the game and keep their players upright and available for future games at this point.  Get Lucic later.  The anger will keep.

Head Games

The plot, it does thicken.  After a resounding win over the Senators, Buffalo went to Boston and let the Bruins run roughshod over them (literally).  A lot has already been said about Lucic and Miller and responses.  I think Nick Mendola summed up the immediate reaction best for me:

The Sabres immediate response to the offense was mostly fine in my book, given their personnel. Miller tried a blind baseball swing back at Lucic. Thomas Vanek tried to knock the train over. No dice. Andrej Sekera shoved Lucic and looked around for reinforcements. Not seeing any coming, he buried his head and hoped for the least beating possible. I’d like Paul Gaustad to look more interested in getting to Lucic, and maybe it’s above Tyler Myers’ weight class right now.

While I did wonder where the Gaustad is that came off the bench to attack Ovechkin for cheap-shotting Briere, but the officials got their arms on guys as quick as they could and Goose apparently didn’t see it happen.  As for not taking care of Lucic later, well, for the rest of the 1st and 2nd periods, the game wasn’t out of reach (though those two goals later in the 2nd off stupid defense AGAIN had to drive even a concussed Miller crazy).  Would I want a full-on brawl to develop?  Would I have wanted Kaleta to run Tim Thomas?  Or the usual suspects to charge Lucic whenever they could, late/dirty or not?  I might’ve had a positive visceral reaction to events like that at the time, but after the fact, I’d be a bit disappointed.  I like Tim Thomas, and I wouldn’t like to see him get hurt, even in retaliation for a stupid shot on a Sabre.

So, what happens next week when these two teams meet again, here?  There are a few scenarios:

  • Scenario One – The Sabres call up Kassian, roll out a line featuring Cody McCormick, Gaustad and BZK (backed by Regehr and Weber), and they brawl with whoever they are on the ice with, Neil/Drury game style.  EXTREMELY UNLIKELY.
  • Scenario Two – Cody McCormick fights Lucic, Kaleta hits him a few times.  Beyond that, a normal game.  MORE LIKELY.
  • Scenario Three – Gary Bettman or Colin Campbell attend the game, and the teams are on their best behavior.  SOMEWHAT LIKELY.

There is one wild card in this – a Sabres player truly running a Bruins player.  Maybe Myers bounces Horton’s head off the boards accidently with his elbow.  Maybe Kaleta does the usual Carubba worthy hit near the boards on a guy in an awkward position.  It might even be an accident, and have nothing to do with the recent history.  But that’s the one thing that will kick that next game into clownshoes territory.  Still, the most likely one is the ‘one fight and done’ thing.  ‘The next game’ is always a disappointment.

Miller is concussed, and Drew McIntyre will be the door opener for however long that lasts.  Jhonas Enroth is the man now, and it’s no easy stretch coming up, in Montreal tonight, home for NJ Wednesday, then another set of back to backs this weekend (Friday in Carolina, Saturday here for Phoenix).  You have to think Darcy and Lindy are hoping Miller is ready for the weekend but with a concussion, you just can’t know.  The team needs to pull together here and rally.