With new additions John Scott and Steve Ott, the Buffalo Sabres are a tougher team than the one that was embarrassed early last season when Boston’s Milan Lucic ran over Ryan Miller without suffering any consequences.
But the Sabres have also lost four straight heading into tonight’s game against the Bruins at TD Garden.
As such, head coach Lindy Ruff is more concerned with his team getting a victory than proving it’s not afraid of the big, bad B’s.
“You try to win the puck battles and the territorial battles,” Ruff said today, per the Buffalo News. “We have to win a game. Not coming out of here with points is not being successful. In a short season we need points. We’ve answered the physical challenge. We’ve been there for each other from day one in this. We play a gritty style, a hitting style. We have to win games.”
Ruff also noted that the Sabres have already played the Bruins since the Lucic incident, and that Paul Gaustad dropped the gloves with the menacing Boston winger.
Still, don’t be surprised if there’s a scrap or two tonight. When Scott signed with the Sabres this summer, he promised nobody would get away with running Miller again.
Plus, if Scott can convince Lucic to go — and what’s Lucic going to say? No? — that would be a nice trade-off for the Sabres.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.