Lindy Ruff

Today’s war of words: Lindy Ruff vs. Mike Richards


It seems like everyone’s got something to say in the series between Buffalo and Philadelphia. Ryan Miller has been busy chirping not only the media but his old friend and teammate Daniel Briere. Briere has been saving his shots for the officials after a Game 4 loss to Buffalo. Now you can add Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and Flyers captain Mike Richards to the list of combative speakers.

Earlier today, Ruff spoke out to the media and blew up about how the Flyers were upset about the five-minute major given to captain Mike Richards for elbowing Patrick Kaleta and Ruff is frankly tired of hearing about.

Given that Lindy Ruff strikes us as the sort of guy that doesn’t have a high tolerance for complaining in the first place, hearing him snap off today doesn’t surprise us in the least.

“I just feel that they’re doing a lot of whining,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said at his Thursday press conference. “They’re really doing a lot of whining.

“I didn’t hear any whining when they had 10 power plays in Philly, and I didn’t hear any whining when the power plays in the first game were lopsided. But all of a sudden there’s all this whining about, ‘We’re getting away with murder.’

“That’s a bunch of crap. That’s for the media. That’s for the officials to read. That’s, ‘Here, let’s get the next call.’ That’s a bunch of crap. Let’s just play.”

Simmer down now big Lindy, Mike Richards had a few words of his own he wanted to get off his chest about what you said. Consider hostilities to be elevated between these two.

“That’s fine, that’s fine, we’re focused on tomorrow night,” Richards said of Ruff’s remark. “He seems to have a way with the media.

“He does this, I think, every time they’re in the playoffs. We’re just focused on tomorrow night, getting a good start and getting our licks in on some of their good players and not worry about the other stuff.”

Shots fired and shots returned.

The craziest part of all this is that both sides have a point. Everyone is politicking to get things to go their way and in this series, both teams have been running afoul of the rules a lot. The Sabres have been hit for 30 penalties so far in the playoffs, tied with Anaheim for most in the playoffs. Philadelphia isn’t too far behind them with 28 penalties of their own.

The problem for Philly has been they’ve been poor at converting on the power play scoring just 9.5% of the time while the Sabres have had a lot more success comparatively scoring on 15.8% of their power plays. Those marks aren’t outstanding given the sample size of games in the playoffs, but they’ve been giving each other enough opportunities to score while up a man (or two) that both sides should probably just shut up and play.

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

You can watch all three goals in the video above.

It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.

Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

John Tortorella

Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

(He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.