In what’s becoming the hottest trend of the 2011-12 NHL season, Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller got bumped again — this time by Ottawa rookie Colin Greening:
It seems the constant contact Miller absorbs is weighing on the Sabres. I mean, this latest incident was pretty innocuous: Greening’s hardly a goon (he went to Cornell! He’s a Quill and Dagger member!), the contact was minor (at best) and it occurred at the end of Ottawa’s 3-2 victory (so it’s not like the hit was born out of frustration, or Greening trying to “send a message.”)
There’s also the fact Christian Ehrhoff jumped to Miller’s defense.
Now look, it’s not like this was the first fight of Ehrhoff’s career. The 29-year-old German fought Doug Weight back in 2009 and the immortal Ole-Kristian Tollefsen in 2007, so pugilistic waters have been charted.
It’s just that…it’s Christian Ehrhoff. He’s an offensive defenseman, a power-play specialist, a guy that’s fought twice in 530 career games. It’s not his role to fight, nor is he especially adept at it — so let’s assume his reaction was a response to larger-scale, season-long issues affecting the Sabres (and Miller) as opposed to the individual incident of Greening’s bump.
You can look at this one of two ways:
1) It’s a good sign for Buffalo that anybody — even Ehrhoff — is willing to jump in and protect the goalie. That certainly wasn’t the case when Milan Lucic ran Miller.
2) It’s a bad sign for Buffalo, because Ehrhoff ain’t a deterrent. Sure, Ehrhoff did the right thing (much like Paul Gaustad did in the rematch with Boston), but flailing punches and some wrestling aren’t going to prevent the next guy from making contact with Miller.
BREAKING: Ben Bishop reportedly traded to L.A. Kings
Huge game in the Atlantic Division on Sunday night when the Florida Panthers host the Ottawa Senators in a classic four-point game.
The Senators enter the night tied with Boston for second place in the division with 70 points and four points ahead of the Panthers. Florida will be turning back to James Reimer for the start as he gets the call for the third time in the past four games as Roberto Luongo takes a back seat for the moment.
On Sunday, Luongo told George Richards of the Miami Herald that is the way it should be at the moment.
“Right now I don’t deserve to be playing,” Luongo told Richards. “That’s the bottom line. For me, everything is about the team and us winning games. James Reimer gives us a better chance to win every night than I am. Until I figure my [game] out this is the way it should go I think.”
Luongo has surrendered at least three goals in eight of his past 10 appearances, while Reimer is carrying a .927 save percentage in the month of February.
— Louis Domingue will start for the Arizona Coyotes when they host the Buffalo Sabres. No word yet from the Sabres on their starting goalie, but the team did call up Linus Ullmark from the AHL before the game.