The Sabres official Twitter feed summed it up quite nicely. It only took 1:23 into the game for the Sabres to send the message that they failed to do the last time Buffalo and Boston took the ice. On the third shift of the game – and the first time Milan Lucic took the ice – Sabres coach countered with Paul Guastad. 18,000 people in First Niagara Center knew what was coming next.
Pete DeBoer may have returned to Florida to face the team that employed him last year. But the team he faced—this is a different group of guys. The Pete DeBoer led New Jersey Devils jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead against the Florida Panthers on Monday night. But instead of allowing the Devils to cruise to an easy victory in DeBoer’s homecoming, the Panthers roared back for a thrilling 4-3 win.
It’s not just the faces that are different in Florida. There’s a different attitude as well. There’s a different confidence level. There’s more character. There’s a different leadership level.
Should-be captain Stephen Weiss talked about slow start and the new mind-set in the locker room this year. “We decided it could go one of two ways either we get spanked or fight our way back into it,” Weiss told the Miami Herald. “We’re not going to quit. We weren’t happy with the way we played in the first but that doesn’t mean it was over. We pulled up our pants and changed things around.”
If you are to believe Weiss, the new outlook wasn’t just the result of playing the former coach either. “It’s got nothing to do with him at all,” Weiss stated when talking about DeBoer’s return. “…we had to push back, and we did. It’s a big win for us.” A quick look at the standings and it’s clear that the Southeast Division leading Panthers have been playing with newfound sense of confidence all season.
Weiss’ comments don’t tell the whole story though. Even though he said the DeBoer “stuff is out the window,” newcomer Kris Versteeg shared that there was a little more motivation for the new Panthers in the locker room. “The guys here last year really wanted to beat him bad so it was a great game by everyone,” the streaking Versteeg said. “We wanted to win for those guys.”
Disclaimer: We here at PHT are suckers for a good spin-o-rama. Sometimes we’ll see moves that are just filthy, nasty moves where the defenseman gets worked like a rented mule. Other times, the move is just so smooth, you wonder why the defenseman couldn’t keep up with the offensive player. Of course, then you watch the replay and realize the defenseman was just worked like the aforementioned rented mule.
Jeff Skinner gave us a spin-o-rama that falls into the latter category during the Hurricanes’ 4-2 victory over the Flyers. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to a effortless move and feel bad for the all-star defenseman that just got YouTube’d.
Semin did not appear at today’s morning skate and was not on the ice for the pregame warm-ups this evening. In fact, with recent benching and tonight’s healthy scratch, there’s talk around the league that Semin could be on the trade block. Yet if he’s not playing for Washington, he might not be the most desirable player on the open market.
“We’ve all read that he’s had his wrist slapped a few times, so it’s not that surprising,” a Nashville Predators scout said of the scratch. “He’s an extremely skilled player and Bruce is definitely sending a message to other people in the dressing room.”
The offensive outburst that started in the second period was a welcomed change for the struggling Capitals. Over the course of their last three games, they’ve only mustered a single goal in each of the last three games. It was a curious move to willingly scratch one of their most dynamic offensive players when they were so desperately looking for goals—but the move was more about effort and less about offensive production. Still, when the rest of the team proved they could score four goals in about 19 minutes for a victory, it made the Capitals coaching staff look like they pressed the right button.
We’ll see what is next for Semin and the Capitals. Washington continues their three-game homestand on Wednesday with a date with Winnipeg. Will Semin be in the lineup against the Jets? Here’s a better question: should he be in the lineup?
Watch: Crosby talks to Pierre McGuire after monster first period
After playing over seven minutes in his first period of hockey in 320 days, Sidney Crosby talks to Pierre McGuire about his first goal, first assist, and his fitness level. Because apparently, even after his dominating first period, the man doesn’t need an intermission break to catch his breath.
For those keeping track, he was on track for 186 goals and 372 points after the first period. After his “slow” second period, he’s only on track for 93 goals and 186 assists. Slacker.