It’s safe to say San Jose’s had Friday’s date with the Blues circled on the calendar for a long time.
After Dan Boyle tersely addressed his grudge with Maxim Lapierre — saying he wasn’t willing to shake hands and make amends for Lapierre’s hit from behind in early October — Sharks tough guy Mike Brown said the Blues forward should be willing to fight tonight.
“Me, personally, I would own up to it if I did something like that,” Brown told CSN Bay Area. “I can’t speak for everyone else… The type of player I am, I’m ready to answer the bell if it was the other way around.
“I can’t tell you what he’s feeling.”
The hit was one of the uglier ones of the campaign, concussing Boyle and forcing him to miss seven games. Lapierre served a five-game suspension for the incident and has both apologized and exchanged texts with Boyle, but said the back-and-forth did nothing to mend fences.
“I called him for a few days and he didn’t answer,” Lapierre told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “After that, I texted him and we explained what we were thinking, both sides and I can’t say he’s happy with it.
“But this is what it is.”
Lapierre said he’s “ready to face the music,” tonight in San Jose and, based on his history, will probably drop the gloves with someone. He fought a career-high seven times in his last full season (2011-12, with Vancouver) and fought San Jose’s Andrew Desjardins in response to the Boyle hit last game.
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On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.
Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.
The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.
There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.
Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.
As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.
The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.
In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.
Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.
He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.