|Shawn Thornton undergoing evaluation, update expected Friday||02.01.13 at 12:35 am ET|
Thornton was handed a rare beating in a bout with Buffalo’s John Scott three minutes into a 7-4 loss to the Sabres Thursday night at TD Garden.
After serving his five-minute fighting major in the penalty box, Thornton skated across the ice and immediately to the Bruins dressing room. He did not return.
“We’ll know more [Friday],” Julien said immediately after the game. “He’s being evaluated, until we get a definite answer, nothing more.”
Julien said Thornton’s loss in the fight had little to do with his team’s defenseless loss to the Sabres, a game in which they allowed seven goals in the final two periods.
“I mean you know that’s just part of the game, and you know Scott did his job that his job for them and Shawn did his job for us,” Julien said. “And those things happen you win some you lose some. But at the same time I don’t think it deflated our team. We were in the lead 3-1 there half way through the second so it didn’t do anything in that way. I think again you know, we keep looking for other reasons than the one I gave you guys ‘ we were just terrible defensively. And you know the other part is – give them credit they played a really good game tonight. And I’m not saying that just to say, they really did play a good solid game tonight and they were the better team at the end of the night.”
“I think it’s what happens, it’s a square-off between the two tough guys in the building,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “Somebody said they were talking in warm-ups, I didn’t really anticipate what was going to happen. I think John has provided us some team toughness, and it’s spilled off onto other guys. He did a nice job for us and I thought the rest of the game was just a hard fought game.”
As for the Bruins’ players, they reacted in different ways to the Thornton loss.
“He’s been a great team guy here for the last six years, and he takes a lot of pride in what he does, sticking up for himself and his teammates,” Milan Lucic said. “He’s a great team guy, and he’s an important person to this hockey club. It was unfortunate that he missed the rest of the game after that, but knowing him, he’s a tough guy and he’ll try to get back as soon as he can.”
“I wasn’t too sure if Thorty was gonna fight him, but that’s the type of guy he is, make sure no one else had to do the job and you know, did it,” added Tyler Seguin. “I came in and saw him, he looked like he was doing fine.
“Obviously Thorty can fight and he’s a tough guy, but you’ve still got to look at that Scott guy, he’s not a small guy and Thorty has a ton of passion, and will do anything it takes for this team. Whether it’s fighting a giant just to get the boys going, win or lose, that’s what he’s gonna do.”
|Brad Marchand: ‘Big shot’ Lindy Ruff ‘pretty disrespectful’ for calling late timeout||01.31.13 at 10:29 pm ET|
Brad Marchand wasn’t amused when Sabres coach Lindy Ruff called a timeout with 14 seconds remaining in a 7-4 Sabres win over the Bruins. Ruff told reporters after the game that the timeout was called because Bruins’ enforcer Lane MacDermid was on the ice against Buffalo’s skill players, but Marchand said he got the sense that Ruff may have been called it to pour salt on the wound of Boston’s loss.
“He wants to be a big shot, and not the best play to do,” Marchand said after the game. “Pretty disrespectful. If he wants to be like that, that’s fine. We just have to move on.”
Claude Julien was more diplomatic in addressing the timeout, though he insisted that the Bruins didn’t give Ruff any reason to call it.
“I don’t know why he took it,” Julien said. “I really don’t know, but he’s entitled to it, so I just played along with it. He might have though that something was going to happen, which it wasn’t, but that’s probably for him to answer. I don’t know.”
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|Injured Lindy Ruff won’t coach Sabres Wednesday||02.08.12 at 12:48 pm ET|
BUFFALO — The Sabres’ will be without an important piece Wednesday night against the Bruins, and it isn’t anyone who shows up on the stat sheet.
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, who broke three ribs earlier this week in a collision with defenseman Jordan Leopold, will not be behind the bench when the teams meet Wednesday at First Niagara center. In place of Ruff, assistant coach James Patrick will call the shots from behind the Buffalo bench.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said the hit shows the potential danger that coaches face in practices, and said that coaches wearing helmets would be logical, though he wouldn’t want to wear one.
“I guess it just goes to show there is a risk in our job as well as those players have, especially in practice,” Julien said. “I’ve had a few collisions with players. It happens. That’s why you’ve got to be ready all the time. When you see it, you can brace yourself, but when you don’t, it can be a tough fall. We don’t have that much protection underneath that sweat suit, except for the extra weight we carry.”
The Sabres will also be without forward Thomas Vanek, who is dealing with an upper-body injury. Vanek participated in Wednesday’s morning skate, but Patrick said after the skate that Vanek would not play.
|Lindy Ruff: Lack of response ‘won’t happen again’||11.23.11 at 3:22 pm ET|
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff told reporters after Wednesday’s morning skate that the Sabres are more focused on playing a “hard game” than on providing an overdue response to Milan Lucic‘s hit on goaltender Ryan Miller earlier this month.
Asked if retaliation was on the Sabres’ minds, Ruff replied, “I don’t think [NHL disciplinarian Brendan] Shanahan would like to hear that.”
Though Ruff was brief with his answers, he did indicate that if something similar were to happen, he would expect more of a response from his team. Lucic hit Miller in the first period on Nov. 12, leaving the goaltender with a concussion.
“I’ll answer the question one more time,” Ruff said. “We were disappointed in our response, and that won’t happen again.”
The Bruins have won nine games in a row, and now have as many points (24) as the Sabres. With both teams two points behind the Maple Leafs and focused on moving up, Ruff steered away from talk of retaliation and said he’s more concerned with his team coming out hard.
“We have to play a real hard game,” he said. “That would be the message tonight.”
|Vanek to be game-time decision||04.21.10 at 2:09 pm ET|
Injured Sabres forward Thomas Vanek participated in Buffalo’s morning skate prior to Game 4 against the Bruins at TD Garden on Wednesday night. Vanek was injured in Game 2 at HSBC Arena after taking a slash to his right knee from Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk and sliding into the end boards. He has been seen wearing a boot on his left leg, and coach Lindy Ruff has not given any significant updates on his leading scorer’s status or availability. Vanek told reporters Tuesday that he would try to play in Game 4 and Ruff said on Wednesday that he would be a game-time decision.
“That will be a game-time decision on whether he plays. We’re just trying to get him a little extra ice time to see what he looks like,” Ruff said.
Vanek was not available to the media but was overheard talking to an assistant coach on the bench saying “I just don’t want to do anything to make it worse” shortly after the Sabres’ workout had ended.
Ruff also said that forward Matt Ellis would not play on Wednesday after suffering a broken nose and just generally being banged up after a second-period Boychuk hit in Game 3. Cody McCormick was recalled from AHL Portland and will skate in Game 4.
“Because he is playing very well. He is a guy that has played 16-20 minutes a game down there [Portland],” Ruff said. “He is a big body that can get to the front of the net. I think he can win battles down low. Without [Jochen] Hecht, without Vanek, without some bigger bodies, some of the battles have gone the other way and I think a big guy that will be able to win some battles will be important for us. He is thought very highly of by Portland, and if we can get 16-17 minutes out of him, I think he will be able to bring us a lot tonight.”
That would be a lot of minutes considering that Ellis averaged 10:13 in Game 1 and 2 before Boychuk’s hit limited him to sporadic minutes for the rest of Game 3. McCormick is a veteran of 190 NHL games, all with Colorado from 2003-09, and signed with the Sabres last summer and spent the entire season with the Pirates. He recorded 12 goals and 17 assists with Portland and a team-high 168 penalty minutes. For his NHL career, the forward has 30 points and 250 penalty minutes.
It will be interesting to see exactly what type of role Ruff has McCormick play Wednesday evening, either as an agitator to get under the Bruins’ collective skin or more as a forward to win battles in front of the net.
|Sabres staring down the barrel||04.20.10 at 2:59 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Sabres took to the ice at Ristuccia Arena on Tuesday looking for a bit of a rebound day after taking two consecutive tough losses to the Bruins in their quarterfinal Stanley Cup playoff series. Boston leads 2 to 1 heading into Wednesday’s Game 4 and the Sabres know that they need to start finishing chances, either on the power play or in front of the net, if the can hold the Bruins off and return to Buffalo for Game 5 with the series tied.
“It is not a must win, no. It is a must play well though. Must compete hard and must play hard,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.
All registered healthy Sabres took part in Tuesday’s practice with the notable exception of Matt Ellis, who took a hit from the Bruins’ Johnny Boychuk in the second period of Game 3 that busted the forwards nose and sent him wobbling to the bench. Ruff said he gave Ellis a maintenance day on Tuesday and is pretty sure that the wing will be able to play in Game 4 but if he is not the Sabres would have to call a player up from AHL Portland.
“It is playoff hockey,” forward Matt Ellis said. “Obviously things have been pretty tight and there are things at the end of each night where you take a look at and reevaluate. We did that today and will be ready to go tomorrow.”
Part of Buffalo’s woes have been the inability to finish, the great oxymoron in this series as those issues have typically been associated with the Bruins throughout the year. Ruff was asked about how Paul Gaustad (12 goals, 10 assists through regular season, minus-two and four penalty minutes in the playoffs) has been in creating screens in front of the net, a place where Buffalo will have to look to score goals without their top threat Thomas Vanek.
“One area where we must remain strong is try to hold the front. Try to hold that area and try to get those second opportunities and that is where he has to use his big body,” Ruff said. “To be honest, no. I think he can play bigger, he can be stronger and I think that if you asked him he would say the same thing.”
But with no goals through 12 power play chances and only six goals through three games, Ruff knows that everybody on the team will have to step up. No single player is immune from criticism as long as the Sabres trail Boston in the series.
“I think any time you are down in a series, it applies to everybody,” Ruff said. “Don’t finish the game and wish you did something.”
– Ruff said there is no update on Vanek and at this point he will probably keep mum until Vanek shows up on the ice and he is forced to answer questions on the forwards health. He was seen in a walking boot in Wilmington and said that he has not given up on playing in Game 4. Jochen Hecht, who had finger surgery late in the season, did not skate either and was seen leaving Ristuccia with a cast on his hand.
On the Bruins end of things, the team seems loose and know that they are playing within Julien’s system and that if they compete the results will take care of themselves. All normal skaters participated in the practice and forward Marc Savard was worked out by trainer John Whitesides before the team workout.
Here is the Sabres practice participation by sweater color:
White: Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford, Tim Connolly
Red: Jason Pominville, Derek Roy, Tim Kennedy
Grey: Paul Gaustad, Michael Grier, Raffi Torres
Yellow: Patrick Kaleta, Adam Mair, Chris Butler
Defensemen: Steve Montador, Toni Lydman, Tyler Myers, Henrik Tallinder, Andrej Sekera, Craig Rivet
Goaltenders: Patrick Lalime, Ryan Miller
|Chara and his pest||04.19.10 at 2:01 pm ET|
There is no doubt that the Bruins captain Zdeno Chara can be a dominating player. He logs big minutes, neutralizes big forwards and, in the case of Game 2 against the Sabres, scores big goals. Everything about Chara is big. So, how do you stop that dominating force of nature especially when he is one of the key players in a playoff series?
By putting the smallest guy you can find on him, of course.
On the Buffalo roster that would be rookie Tyler Ennis. The 5-foot-9 forward gives a solid foot to the 6-foot-9 Chara but he is exactly the type of player that gives the towering Slovak blue liner problems — small and especially quick.
“You look at Boston, they got a big game out of Chara, he is one of their special players,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We can’t let that happen again. He will try to make it happen, but we can’t. Maybe we will put Ennis on him and make sure that he doesn’t do it again.”
Is the task daunting for a rookie playing his 13th career NHL game, which includes three of the playoff variety (counting Game 3 on Monday night)? Probably a little more than Ennis lets on.
“It has been fun. He is a really good player and a big guy and a strong player,” Ennis said. “Myself, I have been trying to use my speed and just battle really hard. He is a lot stronger than I am and stuff and I just need to know when to use my speed and other stuff.”
Ennis got a rough hello from Chara in Game 2 when the defenseman checked Ennis hard, depositing him in the Sabres bench. Yet, Ennis has some pretty specific training when it comes to handling guys the size of Chara as he has gone through the minors as both teammates and opponents.
“I think he really is a unique player.I have never really seen a player like that big and that mobile and offensive and can shut you down,” Ennis said of Myers. “I played with [Myers] in the World Juniors and stuff and played against him in the Western League so it has helped getting used to that long reach and getting used to really tall players with long reach like that.”
The scouting report on Chara is the same for Myers — the quicker, the more of a nuisance.
“I find it with the smaller, really shiftier guys are the hardest to handle for me,” Myers said. “[Ennis] can really turn on a dime. It is really more containment for me than being physical. I don’t try to kill him in practice. But, a guy like that is very similar to [Martin] St. Louis — very shifty, very skilled. With those smaller skilled guys I think I contain more.”
The comparison to St. Louis may prove to be apt. The 20-year-old Ennis was named the American Hockey League Rookie of the Year after putting up 65 points (23 goals, 42 assists) in 69 games with the Portland Pirates this season. He was also selected to the AHL All-Rookie Team. He was recalled on March 27 and played 10 regular-season games with the Sabres with three goals and six assists. He is effectively taking the spot of injured Buffalo forward Jochen Hecht (21 goals, 21 assists in regular season) who will be out indefinitely after having finger surgery last week.
In other Monday morning news, Sabres forward Drew Stafford is expected to return to the lineup and participated in the morning skate at TD Garden. Stafford missed the first two games of the series with the a concussion sustained in the second-to-last game of the regular season.
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