Let's start with the big story of the week...the potential sale of the Buffalo Sabres. This is so much of a non-story that I wasn't even going to comment on it. I decided that because it had become big news throughout the hockey world that I needed to get my thoughts out in the public.
Why do I think this is a non-story? Because it's not breaking news by any stretch of the imagination. Tom Golisano has publicly stated that he was not in this for the long haul. His intention when he bought the Buffalo Sabres was to make sure the team stayed in Buffalo and he accomplished that goal. In addition, this story came out in May and the report this week from Jim Kelley should not even be a story. It's never a good sign when the writer of the original story has to write another one defending himself.
Is it possible that Tom Golisano is trying to sell the team? Of course it is and beyond that it's probably likely. Could Jim Balsille be the person he is negotiating with to sell the team? Once again, of course it's possible. The bottom line in this whole story is that Golisano and Quinn are not interested in moving the team and further still, the NHL is not interested in moving the team. Do you think it was an accident that the NHL chose Buffalo to hold the first Winter Classic? It wasn't an accident, Buffalo is great hockey market and the league wants a team here.
The bigger story this week is the alleged comments that one of the referees made to Ryan Miller in the Sabres 4-3 victory in Pittsburgh on Monday night.
“It was just about the referee, a brief conversation I had with the ref that was a little surprising to me,” Miller said. “He told me to ‘go [bleep] myself’ because I was just asking a question. I was just kind of joking around [to Ruff], saying, ‘Maybe that kind of started what got the bench minor going.’
“To be honest, I was respectful. I asked him a question and he told me maybe I should ‘go [bleep] myself.’ ”
If Miller is telling the truth, and I see no reason why he wouldn't, this is big news. There is no room in sports for officials to verbally abuse players. There is no doubt in my mind that this type of thing happens all the time but finally a player made it public.
This is a story that is not going away quickly, it will linger for a couple of days because people want to know what the leagues response will be. It's interesting that this comes just about a week after the Sean Avery suspension for comments in reference to ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert.
I'll be keeping a close eye on this story to see what if anything is done about it. If it proves to be a true story the league will have to do something.