Tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers may have been the biggest joke of the season. The Buffalo Sabres failed to show up for the majority of the game, the Flyers may be the dirtiest team in the NHL and they always get away with it and worst of all the Sabres lost, failing to get a much needed 2 points.
Before I get into the horrible, dirty hits by the Flyers and the horrible officiating- we’ll talk about the actual game first.
Considering the Flyers came into this game having played last night and the Sabres have been off since Thursday, it was a horrible start for the Sabres who
needed to jump on a tired Flyers bunch early on. Instead it was the Flyers who jumped on the Sabres forcing Ryan Miller to make three big saves in the first two minutes of the game. Then Robyn Regehr took the first of 10 Sabres penalties, and the defence went MIA allowing Simon Gagne to score on a clear cut breakaway that just squeaked past Miller. Very weak goal by Miller, especially after making 3 big saves, but where the heck was the Sabres defence on this play?
Sabres then jumped on a power play and as we’ve learned from watching this team that is not good news. Another defencive gaff allows a 2 on 1 which Max Talbot makes no mistake wiring it past a sprawled out Miller. Although Miller didn’t have the greatest game allowing 3 goals on 28 shots, the defence was no where to be found tonight and it proved costly. A goaltender can only do so much without needing some help and Miller needs help, with how poor the defence of this team is and poorly they play there is very little chance Ryan Miller will be returning when his contract is up.
On a positive note Brian Flynn scored his 2nd NHL goal tonight and the all Rochester American line of Marcus Foligno, Flynn and Kevin Porter was by far the best line for the Sabres tonight. Using their speed and size to generate chances and push the opposition back on their heels.
While skating down the right hand side Tyler Ennis lead the Sabres into the Flyers zone where he stopped in his tracks and turned when he ran into 2 Flyers players. As Ennis turned to protect the puck Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds elbowed Ennis in the back (the numbers) and Ennis went head first into the boards. Ennis was clearly injured on the ice and was helped off with blood dripping from his face. Simmonds was not given a penalty on the play but dropped the gloves with Mike Weber who was standing up for Ennis. Get this Weber was given a 2 minute instigator penalty, 5 minutes for fighting and a 10 minute game misconduct while Simmonds was just given 5 for fighting. The explanation on the Simmonds hit was the ref believed Simmonds just pushed Ennis into the boards- I’m calling bull on that one. That was the hardest “push” I have ever seen, Simmonds had time to back off the hit but instead drilled Ennis into the boards from behind. This hit was more of an intent to injure than the Patrick Kaleta hit on Brad Richards- yet because it’s just Ennis there is no call on the play, an absolute joke!
Things then got a little rough between the Sabres and Flyers as John Scott was sent out on the ice and was mixing it up with Zac Rinaldo and was given a 10 minute misconduct before the puck dropped for the face-off. On his way out Scott skated by the bench and challenged the Flyers players. Steve Ott also got involved towards the end of the first period.
Perhaps the worst call all night was a penalty to Zac Rinaldo, a charging call with a 10 minute misconduct attached to the end of it despite him missing his check. Rinaldo did leave his feet on the play but fully missed Weber, horrible call by the officials.
Late in the third period Luke Schenn laid a brutal hit out on Nathan Gerbe. Schenn’s hit on Gerbe was worse than the hit on Ennis, in the sense the Schenn had tons of time to lay up on the hit or flat out not hit Gerbe from behind after he had passed the puck. Schenn was penalized for boarding. Both Schenn and Simmonds should be suspended for their hits on Ennis and Gerbe but will not be suspended- heck I’m not even sure they’ll get a call from Shanahan as the Flyers rarely get disciplined for thier “questionable hits.”
One last note about the Flyers and their “tough guys,” as previously mentioned both Scott and Ott called out the Flyers to fight and own up for the hit on Ennis and surprisingly enough no one took them up on their offer- instead they’d rather go after the two shortest players on the Sabres while their backs are turned.
This game was bad on all levels for the Sabres and Flyers- who aren’t playing much better than the 29th place Buffalo Sabres. Tonight may have been one of the worst games I’ve seen the Sabres play all season, at one point in the 2nd period the Flyers were litterally skating circles around them and Miller had to come up big to keep the Sabres down 3-1. There was no heart, passion or effort displayed by this team tonight- they need to be better. At this rate Sabres fans are glad it’s only a 48 game season as watching this for a full 82 game season would be classified as insane.