It's pretty clear Tyler Myers knew he was getting suspended for Monday's hit on Scott Gomez and that Lindy Ruff figured his big defenseman was in trouble with the long arm of the NHL law as well. But the Sabres didn't seem prepared for the news that Myers was going to be out for three games with just 12 left in the playoff race, starting tonight against Colorado and continuing through the team's crucial Southern trip to Florida and Tampa Bay.
"I was surprised, disappointed," Ruff said after today's optional morning skate in First Niagara Center. "I felt as a first-time offender, that was a little harsh."
"They made their decision. It is what it is," Myers said. "I knew it was going to be something. I just have to be smarter than that going into a situation like that. I never meant for him to get hurt. I wish him a quick recovery."
The Canadiens expect Gomez to miss at least the next three games, so that clearly played into the league's ruling. What has the Sabres agitated about the decision of NHL VP Brendan Shanahan is the fact Nathan Gerbe missed 10 games due to a concussion from a similar hit Dec. 7 by Philadelphia defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon that did not draw even draw a hearing, let alone a suspension. Review that sequence here, which was capped by Matt Ellis standing up for Gerbe with Bourdon. Clearly, the NBC crew in town that night thought it was a dicey hit.
Consistency seems to be the Sabres' big issue.
"I agree that it is," Ruff said. "One of our players can be basically in an identical situation and there was nothing. There's disappointment so we've got to get by that and get ready to win a game."
Myers said he can't let the suspension change the physical nature of his game.
"I don't want it to change the way I've been playing," he said. "Especially in the D-zone, I've wanted to be more of a physical presence. Obviously I need to be aware of guys' body position on the ice. On that hit, it's a position I can't put myself in."
Brayden McNabb has been called up from Rochester to replace Myers and Andrej Sekera (pneumonia) skated in a non-contact role this morning. Ruff said he could play this weekend.
Click below for the full audio from Myers and Ruff.