The Sabres tried to put the Paul Gaustad trash-talking story to bed today in advance of tonight's game against the New York Rangers, with Gaustad contradicting Montreal media accounts of the game by saying Max Pacioretty actually started the gabfest after Patrick Kaleta's empty-net goal.
(Be sure to go back to my earlier post from today to see what the whole thing is about and video from the Canadiens' postgame interviews.)
What had been reported was that Gaustad said, "Where's Chara?" at Pacioretty, a reference to the vicious, neck-breaking hit Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara dropped on the Montreal forward last season. The Canadiens then responded by asking Gaustad something along the lines of "Where's Lucic", a reference to Gaustad not jumping in when Ryan Miller got bowled over in Boston in November.
Gaustad said today his diss was in response to Pacioretty's initial chirp.
"I'm just going to address it for the last time today," Gaustad said. "It's something where Pacioretty said something to me, I said something back along the same lines and the guy that kind of brought it up in the media [Montreal's Mathieu Darche] wasn't even involved with it. For Darche to bring it up in the media, in my opinion is stuff on the ice stays on the ice. I don't want to blow it out of proportion. You have to have thick skin in the NHL. I'm fine with it. Just move on."
The Sabres are understandably unhappy Montreal players kept the chirping going to their beat writers after losing to Buffalo at home for the third time this season.
"I could give you one situation every night [where there is trash-talking]," said coach Lindy Ruff. "For them to go public that I thought was ridiculous on their part. They were looking for something to talk about or feel good about after that game and they're barking up the wrong tree if you ask me."
Gaustad plays with noted gabber Patrick Kaleta and joked this morning they feel bad for linemate Brad Boyes having to deal with some of the brushfires those two cause on the ice.
"Trash talking is a part of the game. It gets guys off their game," Gaustad said. "You just have to be careful of not letting guys get under your skin. It's a passionate game. They played hard, we played hard. I thought it was a fun game last night."
As for tonight's game, Ruff said Thomas Vanek will undergo more evaluation this afternoon. Another forward whom Ruff didn't name is sick and Zack Kassian was seen in the building and seems likely to play tonight. Ruff would not commit to putting Luke Adam back in the lineup.
Hear Gaustad's interview and a quick clip from Ruff below, with Ruff's initial comments pertaining to his thoughts on the high-flying Rangers.