Suffice it to say this was the wrong draft weekend to head out to Boston to catch the Dispatch reunion show. I’m not mad at my decision, Boston is a great city and the show was absolutely killer. However, there were some major stirrings in the hockey world – both in and outside of Buffalo.
As the Robyn Regehr trade gets pounded into oblivion by the sports media, I want to offer my take on the other major transactions from draft weekend. My opinion, and many others have been cast regarding the Sabres trade. No need to rehash it.
One set of moves that outweighed anything else were the ones made by Philadelphia. By shipping Jeff Carter and Mike Richards to Columbus and Los Angeles, respectively, the Flyers really put a stamp on their goal for 2011-12. They needed cap space to sign Ilya Bryzgalov to a major deal (that they did) and they found it with two major cogs. Continue reading
As I have settled down from the game six loss I have decided that breaking up my thoughts may be better than one long, rant-riddled diatribe on what made my blood boil this afternoon.
First topic is Mike Richards. I know that the war of words started between he and Lindy Ruff. I didn’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with either party on their opinions, so I kind of just ignored it. After all, I had been viewing this series as house money either way.
To be fair to the “level-headed” Philly fans, Richards did not deserve a major for his elbow to Pat Kaleta. It should have been a two-minute penalty. However, I think that he might need to sit a game for his hit on Tim Connolly.
Reason being, it is the type of play that the NHL is trying to eliminate. Sorry for the canned reasoning but I couldn’t look at it differently. It was a nasty hit and the shot from the corner shows Richards’ hand up pretty high on Connolly’s back. By my math, having his hands high on Connolly, driving his head into the boards (from behind) and the injury that resulted from the hit makes this a rather cut and dry case.
Of course it seems that the most obvious offenses are the ones the NHL seems to overlook. Also overlooked are big-name players like Richards. Those two factors might work against the Sabres in this situation. If he isn’t suspended it won’t be the end of the world. I don’t think losing Richards would adversely affect the way the Flyers play the Sabres, and vice-versa.
If Richards plays a major role in a Philadelphia victory in-game seven, you may have a case for missing the mark on a suspension.
The Sabres and Flyers get their series started tonight and many members of the media see this as one of the most even series of the entire first round. I’m not so confident in the Sabres ability to get past Philly. I certainly believe that they have the tools capable of pulling the upset. Of course, there is a reason the Philly was the second best team in the NHL for most of the season.
Why buffalo will win:
Ryan Miller. He has vastly improved his play from the beginning of the year. I feel that a great deal of that has to do with his workload and his health. He has played his best hockey since Jhonas Enroth has come up from Portland. If his extra rest has given him an edge then the Sabres will be in good shape. Continue reading