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.