Ryan Miller got knocked again last night


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.

No hearing scheduled for Burmistrov after Bergeron headshot

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Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.

Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.

Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.

“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”

Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.

According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.


After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.