One. More. Game.
Some of you stopped watching months ago. Some of you will stop watching after tomorrow. Some of you, like me, will continue on by watching the NHL playoffs. Personally, I will be rooting for the St. Louis Blues, hoping to see Steve Ott and Ryan Miller raise the Cup (and earn the Sabres an extra first round pick in 2 months).
As for today’s game, watching the Sabres play in Boston against the Bruins is almost always an exercise in aggravation. The Sabres had somehow split the season series entering the game, but dropped this one 4-1.
In the final 3 minutes of the first period, Rasmus Ristolainen and Christian Ehrhoff were both caught napping on a pair of Bruins goals. Ehrhoff may be one of, if not, the Sabres best defensemen, but he has clearly checked out of this season. His play has been lackluster since the trade deadline. As for Ristolainen, I have not been impressed with his play since being recalled to Buffalo. He still needs another season in the AHL. I am confident that he will blossom into a solid NHL starter, but he is not ready right now.
After the first period, the joke that is NHL officiating for most Sabres-Bruins games in Boston took over. Milan Lucic took a meaningless shot at Matt D’Agostini, then moment later knocked him to the ice while D’Agostini had his back turned to him. Sorry folks, but Lucic is scum, and is soft as marshmallows despite his size. I immediately thought back to the video of him crying and whining outside of a Vancouver bar because a random patron picked on him, and he couldn’t handle it.
Shortly after this, John Scott attempted to intervene. Not only did the refs fly in like lightning to make sure nothing happened to their precious Lucic, but Zdeno Chara had to defend his buddy and flew in. Somehow, Chara did not get a third-man-in penalty. Amidst of all this, Lucic skated away like a wimp. Later on in the game, Chara again had to intervene when his pal Lucic was getting jawed at by Scott.
In the third period, Jake McCabe showed us a glimpse of what we might expect in the future. As Daniel Paille took a puck along the board and turned to skate up the ice, McCabe stood him up at the blueline, knocking Paille backwards and flat on his back. It was a clean hit, and Paille was visibly shaken, and did not appear to know where he was. The poor officiating decided to give McCabe a 5 minute penalty for the hit, despite its cleanliness.
A scrum ensued after the hit, which provided one of the highlights of the game – Gregory Campbell standing with his fist cocked, and John Scott calmly reaching from the bench to hold Campbell’s fist. As an aside, ever since Scott and Phil Kessel got into a preseason altercation, the NHL has been diligent in neutering/neutralizing Scott. We have seen him tossed off the ice for simply being on it, among other idiotic moments.
Lastly, current Sabres starting goaltender Matt Hackett was stretchered off the ice, after getting his leg twisted by Torey Krug. First Miller was traded, then we lost Jhonas Enroth, then Michal Neuvirth, then Nathan Lieuwen, and now Hackett all to injuries. I have never seen anything like this. I am not sure on the stat, but Connor Knapp coming in to finish the game made him something like the 50th player that the Sabres have used this season. This does not even include former Sabres video scout Ryan Vinz riding the pine as a backup for a game, or Andrey Makarov.
One. More. Game.