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Lindy disappointed, players diplomatic about ruling on suspension

The Sabres are trying to get their minds set on playing the New Jersey Devils tonight in HSBC Arena but much of the chatter this morning remained centered on the Hjalmarsson-Pominville situation.

Coach Lindy Ruff was clearly unhappy by the two-game suspension given to the Chicago defenseman.

"It was exactly what I guessed," Ruff said. "I understand [the NHL's] feelings towards it. Personally I don't think it is (enough).

"If I had to play commissioner, I would have went more. Two games isn't a long time sitting in their case. They play a couple games this week and it's over in three days."

Ryan Miller was emphatic Tuesday that he wanted the league to send a message to change the culture of hitting. Speaking in more measured tones today, Miller was cautiously optimistic.

"The league evaluated it and it's good they did something about it," Miller said. "It does set some sort of a tone. It's some kind of discipline, a step towards making the players responsible for decisions they make on the ice. We'll see how it unfolds in the coming weeks and months, if guys are really going to pay attention to what they're doing on the ice. "

Craig Rivet said he was OK with the decision but was then asked if it was fair the suspension was the same as the two-game ban given to the Islanders James Wisniewski for his obscene gesture to Sean Avery on Monday.

"It comes down to a respect factor, not only to the guys you're playing against but the people who pay money to come to the game," Rivet said. "That was a poor decision on his part I'm sure he'd like to have back."

So what happens now? The Sabres and Hawks meet Saturday in Chicago in what will be Hjalmarsson's first game back.

"Each game has a new feeling to it," Rivet said. "I'm sure the next game is going to be heated. The most important part is to get the two points. We'll see what happens."

Miller seemed to strike a conciliatory tone.

"If I condone going after Hjalmarsson, I'm not changing the culture. We need to play good, clean hockey against him. Somebody can get in his face a little bit and make it tough on him all night, that's just playing hockey. If somebody can go make a clean play on him, that's playing hockey.

"I don't think we should go head-hunting. I don't think we should do something stupid. Just go play hard. The best thing we can do right now is establish our game and not get caught up in the trivial stuff, the side stuff. We've got bigger things going on. Worry about playing hockey the way we want to play. It's going to be an element of the hockey game I'm sure.

"People will be talking about it and there will be some emotion surrounding it but you're not going to condone a donnybrook and go old-school or whatever your guys are talking about. I'd like to think the game has evolved a little bit."

---Mike Harrington

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |