It’s Wednesday. This means it’s been two full days since the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ “line brawl” events that eventually resulted in many angry news articles, David Clarkson with an automatic 10-game suspension and Phil Kessel with a three-preseason-game suspension.
The Buffalo Sabres host the Columbus Blue Jackets in preseason action tonight at the First Niagara Center, and Sabres fans – it’s time to move on and start looking forward instead of looking back at Sunday’s brawl, time and time again.
I can almost hear people’s outrage now.
“But Kessel’s slashes were dirty and he should have penalized more!”
“Ughhhh, Clarkson. I can’t believe he left the bench for that.”
“But Rolston’s fine was so unfair!”
Okay, but in all reality – we’ve got bigger fish to fry, so to speak, and what’s happened has happened. There’s not much we can do to change the fact that Kessel only got three preseason games, or that Ron Rolston was fined for “player selection and team conduct” or similar terms. There are more important things coming up on the radar. While we – fans and players and media alike – won’t be quick to forget the events of Sunday’s brawl and the effects of it, there are certainly more important things to be focusing on right now.
Here, for instance, are four of those things.
1) First and foremost: tonight’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Okay, the Buffalo Sabres had a few days off to stew things over from Sunday. But now it’s time to get back to action and focus on the task at hand, which for the time being is tonight’s meeting.
2) The remainder of the preseason. Not only is there a game tonight, but the Buffalo Sabres also have one more preseason game, as the team visits the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. As we edge closer to the regular season, it’s time to focus on what’s coming.
3) Regular season! The NHL’s regular season is just over a week away, and the Buffalo Sabres open their season next Friday. While the events of the brawl – and the resulting actions – will probably come into play when the Sabres face the Leafs in the regular season, for the time being, it’s time to put those thoughts away and focus on beginning the season on the best note we possibly can.
4) Corey Tropp‘s health. Just before all the line brawl events began, Tropp dropped the gloves with Jamie Devane; at the end of the fight, he fell and hit his head seemingly hard on the ice. This raises some concerns, as Tropp had concussion issues two years ago. He missed almost all of last season with a knee injury, so this season is really his opportunity to pick things up, make an impact and get a chance at the NHL.
So: while it’s easy to sit and stew over what happened on Sunday – and as a result of it in terms of suspensions, news articles and such…. and it’s easy to get angry about all of it (trust me, I know!) – it’s time to move on. We can sit here and pout about how unfair it is, how this should have happened, or that… or we can move on and focus on the season that’s coming up.
The Buffalo Sabres simply can’t afford to let this be a distraction heading into the regular season, which begins in just over a week. Now is the time to focus on moving forward, uniting as a team and preparing for a solid (and hopefully very long… as in, until June) season.