The Sabres finally played a good game against a team that is in the playoff race, unlike games against Carolina and Philadelphia, but somehow I'm more disappointed after this game. The two points was huge for the Sabres but the loss of Ryan Miller is the real story. There is no sense telling you about the game because at this point you should know exactly what happened. Instead we'll talk only about the Miller Injury.
Intentional or Not?
That is the question that everyone was asking after the game last night. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Scott Gomez could have avoided the hit and didn't. We are kidding ourselves if we think that any hockey player would have avoided that collision. It's easy to point fingers when it's Miller who was down. My guess is that we would have a different take on it if say... Connolly took out Lundqvist.
I don't think Gomez made any attempt to avoid the collision but don't think that he intentionally tried to injure Ryan Miller either. The problem is that the Sabres are now without their franchise Goalie and they couldn't even get a two minute penalty called on the Rangers. In fact the Rangers were already on a power play and they scored on a Lalime just seconds after he entered the game. It doesn't really matter now but I thought the goal was kicked in.
Sabres Reaction or Lack of Reaction
Most of the talk on the blogs and on the Sabres Shootout centered around the Sabres lack of reaction to Gomez hitting Miller. There wasn't an immediate reaction because I don't think anyone seen what happened. The first chance they got they went at Gomez and a scuffle ensued.
The problem I have is that it was Tim Connolly that went after Gomez. Why is Tim Connolly the one who went after him while Patrick Kaleta was laying on his back holding on to Markus Naslund with his legs? Sure Kaleta drew a penalty with his holding antics but while he was laying on his back the Sabres most talented offensive player, who has a history of head related injuries, was sticking up for his Goalie who was earlier given a cheap shot by a $7 million player (Scott Gomez...added for clarification because who would pay Gomez $7 million) .
I may be way off base but this is not a situation where you should criticize the whole team. The team responded the best way they knew how. The guys who are supposed to respond, i.e. Patrick Kaleta, were too busy playing footsie with Markus Naslund while the finesse players were taking care of business.
Is Jochen back in Form?
This is the question for the ages. Even before Hecht scored the goal to put the Sabres up 4-1, I thought...wow Hecht is playing a really good game tonight. He seemed to finish checks, he was making good plays, he was even battling in the corners. Hecht was at one time the Sabres best two-way forward and with Miller out of the lineup he will be important down the stretch for the Sabres.
Great job keeping the game thread going. We had over 200 comments for only the third time ever and coolman and myself were not here. Thanks to everyone who contributed, hope to see you next game.
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We have been calling for Patrick Lalime to get a start and now he will have his chance. Ryan Miller is out with a high ankle sprain and the Patrick Lalime era in Buffalo will begin on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.