Maybe every other team around the NHL secretly hates Ryan Miller. Maybe other teams really think Buffalo is so soft that they could do it again. Maybe Miller's just unlucky.
For whatever reason, last night against Nashville was Groundhog Day, but this time
Bill Murray the Sabres figured out how to do it right.
In the second period of last night's game, Jordin Tootoo saw an opportunity to rattle Miller by driving hard into the crease, but Tootoo must have forgotten that he doesn't actually have the talent or skating ability to pull that off and the result was a hard collision from a leaping Tootoo right into Miller's face.
Buffalo's response was swift and violent, with Miller earning two points for the takedown and getting some good shots in on Tootoo's face with the glove hand. Paul Gaustad also lept right in an started throwing punches at whomever he could find on the bottom of the pile. Christian Ehrhoff and Matt Ellis were involved in the scrum as well, and Marc-Andre Gragnani was dancing off to the side with his chosen partner.
The result? A five minute major for charging and a game misconduct for Tootoo, and a four minute double minor to Gaustad for roughing. Gaustad also received a game misconduct for threatening Nashville goalie Anders Lindback with retaliation, which apparently was a preemptive penalty. And for the record, Goose got a whole lot of stick taps for his teammates while being escorted off the ice.
Check out the video of the incident here:
More thoughts on the hit and Lindy Ruff's response after the break.
Let's hear from Lindy Ruff first:
Obviously, Lindy is not happy, and with good reason. If Tootoo doesn't receive a suspension, it would effectively mean you can run a goaltender any time, any place as long as you said you were sorry. However, I don't see how there's any way he avoids suspension here because, unlike with Lucic, Miller was firmly planted in his crease this time. Yes, Christian Ehrhoff gave him a small push, but it's pretty clear that Tootoo could have done more to get out of the way than try to jump over a 6'1'' goalie. The goalie has to have some part of the ice he can call his own, and the crease is where most of the NHL blogger Illuminati believe Shanny will draw the line.
Now let's get to the Sabres response, which I don't think could have been much better this time around. I have absolutely no problem with Miller throwing gloved punches at Tootoo's face; if players are going to be running him every game then he's got a right to defend himself. (And besides, it's not like punches thrown with the glove still on are going to seriously hurt anybody.) If that were Tim Thomas, people would be applauding the fact that he's so tough and always stands up for himself, but because it's a guy who whines and weighs 170 pounds, you're going to get your fair share of haters out there. Personally, I loved it.
Paul Gaustad, too, backed up his words from two weeks ago when he said that the Sabres pathetic response to the Lucic hit "would never happen again." Gaustad almost got into a fight with the referee to get after Tootoo once they finally separated from the pile, and I loved his promise of retaliation to Lindback, even though he received a game misconduct for it. Fans clamor for the days of old-school hockey where problems were solved on the ice, and that's it right there.
Most importantly, however, was the fact that Buffalo won the game. Yes, they didn't look quite as dominant after the hit, but they still made it out with 2 points. And for a team that was 1-4-1 in its previous 6 games, it was nice to come out with the actual victory as opposed to the moral one this time.
What do you think about the Sabres response to this hit by Tootoo on Miller? Was it good enough? Do you wish they would have done more or less? Does the hit deserve a suspension? Let us hear it in the comments.