By Mike Harrington
The Sabres are off today, a concession to the new CBA that mandates far more time away from the ice than the old one. No way -- and I mean no way -- Lindy Ruff would have taken today off in the past. There are too many things to work on.
So the team is off to Boston later today and I'll be heading to the airport late this afternoon as well, with the next time on the ice coming at 11:30 a.m. Thursday for the morning skate in TD Garden. Still shaking my head about last night's 4-3 overtime loss to Toronto. Lots of little nuggets percolating in my mind:
---Jordan Leopold was standup after Matt Frattin's game-winning goal. Fair enough. But there's less than five seconds left. JUST TACKLE THE GUY. The same thing happened last March when the Sabres let Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog skate free and gave up a tying goal in the final second of regulation in an eventual shootout loss. Compare the plays. Jeez.
---First bad goal of the season against Ryan Miller. Turned out to be three bad goals in the same game. Can't happen. Read more about Miller's start to the season in Thursday's paper. Bruins fans will be waiting for him.
---Too many players already talking about how it was good to get a point. Leopold and Drew Stafford spewed that line. It's not. Not at home. Not against the Leafs, who had won once here in the last 13 trips.
---Lindy Ruff was unusually upbeat about things in his postgame presser. I think he's trying hard to cajole this team. Despite what Ruff said, I thought his defense corps was a trainwreck in much of this game in their own end. Christian Ehrhoff played nearly 29 minutes and was terrific but Tyler Myers is an absolute disaster right now ($12 million, anyone?) and Andrej Sekera didn't have a great night either, his pretty goal aside. Still too many giveaways, dropped coverages and goofy decisions.
---Neat factoid from the Sabres PR department: At 18 years, 258 days, Mikhail Grigorenko became the fifth-youngest player in Sabres history to score a goal. The four younger were Pierre Turgeon (18 years, 54 days on Oct. 21, 1987), Adam Creighton (18 years, 199 days on Dec. 18, 1983), Phil Housley (18 years, 221 days on Oct. 16, 1982) and Mike Moller (18 years, 243 days on Feb. 14, 1981).
---Loved what Mike Weber told me about assisting on Grigorenko's goal: "It was great for me to get a helper [on the first goal] for a guy who might be a star player in the league for a long time. I couldn’t be happier for the kid. He’s got a lot of great potential and, I mean, he’s 18 years old, so I think it’s fair to say we can jump off his back a little bit and let him develop and grow and is he going to be a special player for a lot of years for us.”
---Speaking of Weber, he gave the Sabres plenty of aggressiveness in his first game, even doing a great job challenging Mike Brown after the backside hit that KO'd Patrick Kaleta. (**WGR's Paul Hamilton astutely pointed out John Scott was on the ice at the time and didn't engage Brown. with Weber coming across the ice to do so. If Scott isn't fighting in that spot, why the heck is he even on the team?).
Here's a look at the bout:
taggedMike Weber | Mikhail Grigorenko | Ryan Miller | Toronto Maple Leafs