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.

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings

Preseason stats: Five goalies with good numbers, five goalies with…not

Anders Nilsson
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Yeah, yeah, it’s a small sample size and it’s just the preseason, but here are some goaltending stats anyway.

Five goalies with good numbers

Anders Nilsson, Edmonton — zero goals on 53 shots. His solid play a likely factor in the decision to waive Ben Scrivens, who actually wasn’t that bad in the preseason (4 goals on 56 shots).

Martin Jones, San Jose — three goals on 100 shots. The Sharks are rolling the dice on a couple of cheap goalies. Jones and Alex Stalock have a combined cap hit of just $4.6 million.

Jacob Markstom, Vancouver — three goals on 79 shots. Can he finally get over the NHL hump? If so, he could make it a real competition with Ryan Miller.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus — five goals on 122 shots. The Blue Jackets have scored a ton of goals in the preseason, but there remain questions about their blue line. Bobrovsky has the ability to make a so-so defense look good.

Anton Khudobin, Anaheim — two goals on 67 shots. A good early sign for the Ducks, who have Frederik Andersen in the starting role and want to give young John Gibson more time to develop in the AHL.

Five goalies with bad numbers

Thomas Greiss, Islanders — 14 goals on 94 shots. Has to be a bit of concern in Brooklyn. The Isles got below-average backup play last season from Chad Johnson. They wanted to fix that with the Greiss signing.

Robin Lehner, Buffalo — 11 goals on 95 shots. Tim Murray paid a hefty price to get the 24-year-old out of Ottawa. With the aforementioned Johnson in the backup role, the goaltending story is worth watching.

Jeff Zatkoff, Pittsburgh — 11 goals on 74 shots. Granted, Marc-Andre Fleury and Matthew Murray weren’t particularly sharp either. The Penguins conceded 28 goals in eight games.

Kari Lehtonen, Dallas — 15 goals on 84 shots. For a Stars team that desperately needs better goaltending, that has to be worrying. Antti Niemi wasn’t a whole lot better either, allowing eight goals on 65 shots. Fair question to ask — how many of all those goals were attributable to poor defensive play?

Pekka Rinne, Nashville — 12 goals on 91 shots. Has earned the benefit of the doubt, but thought we’d point it out anyway.