Since the turn of the century, the Buffalo Sabres have had their fare share of heavy weights. Rob Ray, Andrew Peters and John Scott are names that come to mind as they have been exceptional fighters during their time. In no particular order, I will now take a look at Buffalo’s top enforcers and their best Sabres moment, in my opinion, in the new century.
Although John Scott has only appeared in 34 games with the Sabres, he has made his name a well known one. One of the most feared players in hockey, Scott recorded 69 PIMS in his first season with the Sabres. Re-signing earlier this offseason, Scott will get to be the Sabres enforcer for at least one more season. Best Sabre moment: Dominating fight vs. Shawn Thornton
Drafted 34th overall in the 1998 NHL draft, Andrew Peters was one of the best fighters in Sabres history. In five years with the blue and gold, Peters recorded 557 PIMs in just 229 games. The 6’4”, 247 LB Peters had a number of memorable fights, but one sticks out in my mind as his best. Best Sabre moment: Fight vs. goalie Ray Emery, and his infamous golf swing, as the Sabres dominated the Leafs near the conclusion of the season.
Mair spent the bulk of his career in Buffalo. In 7 seasons with the Sabres, Mair amassed 701 penalty minutes. Undersized in most of his fights, Mair was fearless and never afraid to drop the mitts with anyone. He was fairly offensive for a tough guy as well. Best Sabre moment: Role in the Buffalo/Ottawa brawl as Mair landed many punches against Spezza.
Eric Boulton spent the first 4 years of his career with Buffalo. Boulton recorded 511 PIMs during his time with the Sabres. He was never afraid to go toe to toe with some of the league’s toughest players. Best Sabre moment: In his rookie season, Boulton took on tough guy Bob Probert. It was a long, spirited affair until Boulton eventually got the takedown.
The 6’4”, 212 LB Gaustad was a monster during his time with the Sabres. Gaustad could fight, hit, score and had one of the league’s best winning percentages in the faceoff circle. In the 2007-08 season, Gaustad recorded a career high 36 points. In 7 seasons with the Sabres, Gaustad recorded 585 PIMs. Best moment: Although it did not result in a win, Gaustad had a spirited fight against Milan Lucic, the first rematch since Lucic ran goaltender Ryan Miller.
Drafted in the 6th round in the 04 draft, fan favorite Patrick Kaleta has spent his entire career with the Sabres, and has been an absolute beast. Although he is a little undersized, Kaleta is fearless as he blocks shots, loves to hit and will drop the gloves with some of the league’s toughest characters. Kaleta has a career 501 PIMs in 301 games. Best Sabre moment: Dominating fight vs. Derek Dorsett.
In 2010-11, Cody McCormick had one of the best seasons a fighter can have, recording 142 PIMs and an astounding 20 points. Although McCormick has been hampered by injuries the past couple of seasons, there is no questioning his skill when it comes to fighting. McCormick will not back down from a fight and is one of the toughest customers around. Best Sabre moment: McCormick destroyed Mike Commodore in a fight.
Probably the best fighter the Sabres have ever had, Rob Ray was a feisty player. For not being the biggest player on the ice, Ray wouldn’t back down from anyone. He spent all but 18 games of his career with the Sabres, compiling 3189 PIMs in just under 900 games. As nasty as Ray was on the ice, he was a tremendous leader off the ice. Best Sabre moment: No doubt, the fan beating. Ray landed close to 15 big rights to a fan who jumped in front of the Sabres bench.