Buffalo Sabres Sending Early Message


So last night I went to watch a fight and a hockey game broke out- lame joke I know sorry I had to. But perhaps it was fitting what took place between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs after the UFC fight at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night, the player’s were just paying tribute to MMA. I had the great pleasure of being in attendance during last night’s Sabres/Leafs fight.  Ok yes there was a hockey game mixed in there, too, but no one really remembers that.

In the words of Ryan Miller

Whenever the Sabres take on the Leafs the games almost never disappoint. Between Saturday night’s 15 round shootout and last night’s line and goalie brawl it was an exciting weekend of hockey. Whether it’s been Patrick Kaleta, Steve Ott or John Scott the Sabres are sending a message early. If you’re looking for a fight the Buffalo Sabres will be happy to oblige.

Two years removed from the Milan Lucic/ Ryan Miller incident, the Sabres are finally proving that you don’t mess with the boys in blue and gold and get away with it. Last night’s affair was the perfect example of how the new look Buffalo Sabres won’t be taking any crap this season.

Let me break down what happened last night for y’all just in case you missed anything.

On the Sabres third goal- scored by Jamie McBainMarcus Foligno was hit awkwardly into the boards and appeared to injure his shoulder. As McBain and other teammates celebrated, Cody Hodgson skated over to make sure his new linemate was okay as Foligno skated off the ice holding his shoulder. Now a scary moment. Corey Tropp likely upset over the Foligno injury or just wanting to spark his team, challenging Jamie Devane to a fight. Tropp was upset and came out slinging but was out of his league and Devane easily threw him to the ice, only problem is Tropp’s head smacked against the ice and he was knocked out. His head hit the ice so hard his upper body bounced back up the linesman caught him and held him immediately calling for the trainer. Tropp laid in the ice for a few moments with blood leaking from his head and needed the help of his teammates to get off the ice. For a few moments the entire ACC was silent, the woman sitting beside me couldn’t bear to watch as Tropp left a nice puddle of blood behind.

For whatever dumb reason, Randy Carlyle decided to put Phil Kessel on the ice for the next shift and John Scott immediately went

Sep 22, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Linesman Derek Nansen (70) tries to break up a fight between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Buffalo 5-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

and started talking smack with the Leafs sniper. From that moment you could just sense there was trouble brewing. As soon as the puck was dropped, Scott dropped his mitts and made a bee line for Kessel who decided he would do his best Canadian lumberjack impression and take a whack at Scott as other Leafs rushed to tackle the Sabres giant. As Scott was tangled with two other Leafs’ Kessel decided to take another whack at the big man and that when everything broke out. Everyone on the ice grabbed a partner and started throwing punches, even Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier challenged Ryan Miller to a fight and the Sabres goaltender willingly obliged despite getting beaten. Despite the beating Miller took, he held his ground, stood up for his teammates and didn’t turn down a fight- I don’t know if I’ve ever been so proud of the Sabres netminder. The entire ACC was on their feet and screaming during the fight and it may have been the most amazing hockey game I’ve ever witnessed.

Now a lot of people are saying it was cowardly or weak for Scott to go after Kessel, but I’m giving him a stick tap for doing so. The Sabres were being run out of the arena, the Leafs decided they were going to add to their misery by throwing cheap shots and Tropp had just been knocked out cold in a pool of blood. So what does Carlyle do? He sends out Kessel’s line against the Scott line, which is ridiculous since the Leafs had the last change. The Sabres had to do something to make a statement, and Scott didn’t care who he had to do it with so kudos to him for not backing down.

Yes the goal is to win hockey games, but since the Sabres may not be doing much of that this season and they’ll be one of the youngest teams in the league it’s important they don’t get bullied on the ice. The Sabres are going to have lots of rookies playing throughout this season and making sure they don’t get hurt, aren’t afraid and are able to play their game is key if the Sabres want to go through a successful rebuild.

The Sabres are showing early on that they won’t be shoved around this season, even if it takes a line brawl including two netminders to do so. Man I can’t wait for the first Leafs and Sabres game that actually matter during the regular season. Do you like the message the Sabres are sending early on?