(Bulldog) Sabres Defending One Another
Fans have been mostly universal in their praise of the Sabres for defending one another so far this season. Some examples for you.
Drew Stafford fighting Scott Hartnell in the opener after Hartnell hit Tyler Ennis from behind.
Patrick Kalets punching Phil Kessel in the back of the head a half a dozen times after Kessel ran into Ryan Miller.
Mike Weber chasing down Mike Brown after a hit from behind on Kaleta.
The exception to the praise would be what we watched Tyler Myers do, or actually, not do, after Drayson Bowman ran Nathan Gerbe from behind. Myers skated up and tapped the Hurricanes player on the shinguard and got shredded for it.
Which brings us to last night. The Sabres are reeling late in the 2nd having watched the Bruins score 3 straight goals. Milan Lucic hits Alexander Sulzer from behind. It's not the filthiest hit by any means, but it is clearly from behind and Sulzer stays down, likely in an effort to make sure a penalty is going to be called. A penalty is called and eventually another call on Chara is made before the whistle and the Sabres end up with a 2 man advantage that helps them get off the mat with a power play goal. Buffalo scores another shortly after to tie the game after 2 periods.
None of that happens if some Sabres player challenges Lucic after the hit on Sulzer. I know all about picking your spots and down by 2 reeling in Boston isn't the best spot and maybe that's obvious to most fans. You need the power play goal to try and get back into it. Any coach or player would tell you that all day long.
You know what I think? I think if the Sabres don't score on that power play I'm spending my day fielding dozens of phone calls about how the Sabres were scared of Lucic again and this team is still soft and oh my god would they please fire Ruff and Regier already.
It's a little like how football fans feel about their coach deciding whether or not to go for it on 4th down or not. With no regard to analytics, we want the coach to be aggressive until it doesn't work and then we think he's crazy and irresponsible and sending messages to his defense and blah blah blah blah.
Last night in Boston the Sabres ignored the questionable hit, got the benefit of another penalty being called on the Bruins and got back in the game because of it. Let's all try and remember that the next time a Sabres player doesn't jump an opposing player and they don't score on the ensuing power play and they lose.
Or just forget about this and enjoy whatever narrative you like about how tough the Sabres are or are not. Last night I think they get marks for being tough in the fighting sense, tough in that they battled back in a game that looked lost, and smart for knowing when to try and right a wrong.