Buffalo Sabres Come Up Small Against The Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres fans were up in arms after their starting goaltender Ryan Miller collided with Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic a little more than a week ago. The result was Miller being put on the injured list with a concussion.
After the incident Sabres fans and players alike were embarrassed by the teams lack of response to what many felt was a despicable act predicated by Lucic.
Despite a call for action by the good people of Buffalo, NHL chief disciplinarian Brendan Shannahan rightly deemed the incident unworthy of a suspension, which once again caused Sabres fans to protest loudly.
Whether you agreed with Shannahan’s decision or not, one thing was clear, everybody agreed that the Buffalo Sabres’ players did next to nothing in response to the collision, which had Sabres fans shaking their heads, while rival NHL players and fans were laughing at the Sabres hockey club.
Many Sabres players vowed that things would be different the next time these two teams faced each other (which I am sure scared the beans out of the Bruins), setting up an interesting match up when Buffalo and Boston went to war on Wednesday night in front of nearly 19,000 screaming Sabres fans in Buffalo.
Buffalo started the contest on the right foot when Sabres forward Paul Gaustad (who was ashamed at his lack of action after the Miller incident) set out to make it right by dropping the gloves against Lucic. Not one to back down from a physical challenge, Lucic willingly obliged Gaustad, proceeding to pummel Gaustad in the process.
You gotta give Gaustad credit for dropping the gloves with a player like Lucic, that said, Clearly, whatever Gaustad was attempting to accomplish by fighting Lucic missed the mark, as Lucic walked away unscathed, while Gaustad and the Sabres took it on the chin…again!
In retrospect, when you consider the size advantage the Bruins roster holds over the Sabres any thoughts of entering into a brawl with the Bruins would seem ill advised, but the Sabres just couldn’t resist and chose to attempt to prove they were up to the task.
Of course, all of the Sabres attempts at intimidating the Bruins amounted to an epic fail. Gaustad, Corey Tropp, Robyn Regher and Drew Stafford, all attempted to engage with the Bruins via fighting and/or roughing, all of them got fed a steady diet of knuckles; none of them intimidated the Bruins roster one iota.
Maybe it was the players the Sabres chose to go to battle with (Lucic, Andrew Ferrence and Zdeno Chara), maybe it was the fact that the Bruins are known as one of the NHL’s tougher squads, or perhaps it was the simple fact that what was done to Miller was already done, but there had to be more than a few chuckles from NHL fans when the Sabres lost the game (Boston pulled out a 4-3 shootout victory in this one), the fights and a little more pride along the way.
Like many games which involve a measure of retribution, the much anticipated contest between the Sabres and Bruins failed to impress, at least where the retribution part of the game came into play.
Sure, the Sabres tried to intimidate the Bruins, but they would have been better off letting the scoreboard do the talking in this one. If the Sabres had elected to use their speed and skill they could have sent a message to Boston in the form of a win against the hated Bruins. Instead Buffalo chose to mess with the Bull and got the horns, just as Miller did when he attempted to stand with Lucic instead of getting out of the way.
That said, Wednesday nights match between the Sabres and Bruins was actually an entertaining game, as both teams traded punches and goals throughout the contest, culminating in a 4-3 shootout victory for the Bruins, who have now won ten games in a row.
Sorry Buffalo fans, whatever your expectations were, the Sabres fell well short. Then again, when you consider the Sabres overall accomplishments (or lackthereof), another epic fail is hardly a surprise, is it?
Until next time,