The issue of Sabres fans being far from enamored with the squad was discussed in this article last week, but it came up again today after practice. The folks in HSBC Arena booed the home team Wednesday for its lackluster performance through 58 minutes against Montreal.
"Fans have every right to feel whichever way they feel," defenseman Steve Montador said. "I think they’ve seen us play at a high level, and when we don’t bring that to the game, they’re going to let us know that. That’s OK.
"I truly love our fans. They’re as passionate as any fans in this league. There’s been a lot of good teams here, and I know they want a championship as bad as we do. We’re going to do our best to bring that."
A lingering problem with the Sabres is the locals' treatment of Patrick Lalime during a loss to Minnesota two weeks ago.
"My issue … with the fans is they singled out one player," Montador said. "I’ve played in basically every market this league has to offer, and our fans are as passionate as any fans in the league. I think when we played Minnesota with Patty, they could have shown some compassion because Patty’s our hardest-working player every day on the ice. There’s a couple tough bounces that game, and I think there could have been a little bit of compassion that could have been shown.
"Having said that, if the team’s not playing the way they’ve seen us play and want us to play, then you can boo the whole team, you can boo the coaches and all that. I was just a little upset they had singled out one player."
Montador, by the way, was praised by coach Lindy Ruff today for his effort since getting benched four times between Jan. 27 and March 2.
"This last stretch of games he’s been one of our better defensemen," Ruff said. "He’s made great outlet plays. He’s been an outlet for passes when we’re exiting the zone. He’s made good decisions in the offensive zone.
"When things were going bad a lot of bad things were happening, goals were being scored. His turnaround, you’ve got to give him a lot of credit. He’s played a smart brand of hockey, and his puck possession has been very good."