After another tuff loss, Ryan Miller could have gone home early.
He could have gone home to his wife:
But he decided to stick around and call out Boston’s resident ringer of the cathedral bells, Milan Lucic, who, earlier in the game, came a-careening into Miller like Billy Joel after a couple Long Island Iced Teas. Now, as the dust settles, Miller is out indefinitely with a concussion while Lucic is probably getting the good cop/bad cop treatment from detectives Shanahan and Blake (you know which one is which).
A lot of cranks in the “mainstream, left-wing hockey blog “media”” have come down hard on the Sabres for not sticking up for their team’s most important player. I don’t like the idea of letting an American hero get steamrolled by a Canadian, on Veteran’s Day weekend, no less, but let’s take a moment to consider what all happened.
First off, I was pretty surprised that Paul Gaustad, one of Buffalo’s bigger, tuffer dudes, did not begin hurling down blow upon blow at Lucic. He was on the ice and lassoed Quasi Modo into the boards, but did little more than say ‘Hold on a second, buster!’ I chalked this one up to a mature, ‘Hey, let’s not go crazy here and negate what might be a lengthy powerplay’ moment. It was, after all, still the first period of a close, divisional game.
After the referees chose to assess Lucic with a two-minute interference penalty and nothing more, one could sense the negatively-charged caca-ions hitting the low-pressure fecal-front: a shitstorm was brewing. A storm of the century.
But before the Sabres could begin their anemic powerplay, the refs spent a solid two or three minutes jack-jawin’ at the benches, ostensibly warning both teams against any needless horsing off or excessive rowdiness. While I am all for avoiding the Vince MacMahon-inspired spectacle of last season’s Penguins/Islanders match, this game needed some outlet- an extended powerplay, a scuffle, a big hit, etc. The officials probably warned both sides that the next transgressor would be dealt with severely, which seems like a pretty assbackwards way of dealing with things. Buffalo spent the next two periods aimlessly skating around the rink trying to find where their balls went while Boston continually kicked the Sabres’ sandcastle over and hit on their girlfriend right there in front of them.
As mentioned earlier, nobody went after Lucic or any other Bruins, really. Buffalo didn’t attempt to match up their resident heavy Cody “the Body” McCormick against their new-found bete noir nor did they take liberties with Boston’s goalkeeper. They failed to bounce back in anyway- mounting nothing offensively or physically. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that they have five games to go against the Bruins yet. But hockey is not Mousetrap! or some kind of Rube Goldberg device. The Sabres should have done something. As Okonkwo says in Things Fall Apart: ““If a man comes into my hut and defecates on the floor, what do I do? Do I shut my eyes? No! I take a stick and break his head. That is what a man does.”
As for the Bruins, this kind of play will only come back to hurt them. I know, ‘What kind of play? scoring six goals? winning the Stanley Cup?’ Well, sure, aggressive, hard-hitting hockey peppered with a well-balanced and talented offense is going to take a team places. But beating up on the wrong guys, willy-nilly…
If you want to say any player can “hit the goalie cuz he’s not in the crease”, imagine if Buffalo’s Tyler Myers had crushed Team USA backup goaltender Timothy Thomas. And if you want to show that you’re tuff, don’t check the fucking goalie.
This is also the same team that still has Marc Savard on its roster, the same team that lost Nathan Horton for most of the Stanley Cup final. In short, the Bruins have felt the pain of losing players due to questionable and outright dirty hits. Doing things like running a team’s franchise player, (the fucking goalie), is only going to result in “retribution” in the form of pusillanimous and unprincipled hockey from opponents, a style of play which can come back to haunt you- and not in the good, Ghost Dad-kind of way, either.
This whole fiasco was summed up by a few moments that have gone relatively unnoticed in the amateur underground reactionary hockey-blog community. Once it was settled that the Bruins had sufficiently held the Sabres down, giving them countless titty-twisters, purple-nurples, nuggies, and even the dreaded rear admiral, Boston had its tuffguy/Dropkick Murphys roadie Shawn Thornton out to handle… Nathan Gerbe.
Gerbe Baby is 65-inches tall, folks. Even though there was no way in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks that Lil’ Man was gonna fight the Brohammer, he didn’t completely shy away from the colorful language or nasty glares. Perhaps he picked up a thing or two while running with Bill Sikes’ gang. It certainly looked like Gerbe should have skated away and told an adult, though. But just as Buffalo ought to not have Nathan Gerbe fighting its battles, so, too, should the Bruins pick on someone their own size.
As was widely expected,there will be no supplemental discipline. 48 hours later, Lucic continues to push the Sabres around, saying:
“At first, I was skating as hard as I could after the puck and I looked up and he was still in his net. And when I looked down at the puck, I was continuing on and the next thing I look up and he’s coming out full speed at me. Obviously it was a hard collision and I did everything I could just to brace myself. Like he said, I have 50 pounds on him. So that’s probably why he might’ve got the worst of it. Even if you look at the video, I was cringing after the play, too, because I was winded, because it was such a hard collision. He got a good piece of me as well and that’s pretty much it.” [Imbecilic phrases italicized for emphasis]
This explanation comes straight out of an incident of domestic violence on Cops. ‘So I’m standin’ there, mindin’ my shit in the yard with Travis, he’ll tell you, too, and then, just, like, out of nowhere, she comes at me with somethin’ in ‘er hand. Screamin’ “I’m gonna kill you!” So I get out the way, you know, and, uh, I guess I mighta pushed her down or she tripped or something. She scratched me right good, though.’
Just further proof that Lucic is hardly cut from the badass cloth, as he won’t even admit ‘Yeah, I ran into their goalie. It’s hockey. Deal with it.’