Boston Bruins fans at TD Garden tonight will get a visit from the late, great Rodney Dangerfield.
Well, not literally, even though the kids would enjoy the zombie show, but figuratively as the king of the one liners lives through one of his most well known quips, and if history tells us anything about what happens when the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres get together, the ice will be red and the penalty box seldom empty.
“I went to a fight the other night and a Hockey game broke out.”
That night is tonight, though both teams are downplaying the offseason moves that brought a more physical presense to the Sabres lineup after dealing with the Beantown Brawlers last season.
In primary focus is the Milan Lucic incident last season in Buffalo, when the Bruins winger clobbered Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller when Miller left the crease to handle a loose puck. Lucic steamrolled Miller, causing a melee in the ice…
…so when the Sabres went out this offseason and got the gigantic and physical enforcer John Scott and goon Steve Ott, it was assumed that it was in direct response to the Sabres being pushed around by the bullies from Boston – something that Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff scoffs at.
“It had nothing to do with the Bruins.” said Ruff in response to bringing in a couple of mugger types, “It was just overall team toughness, make us a grittier team.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien echoed Ruff’s sentiments. “I have no problem with anything. It’s their choice to build a team any way they want.” but then Julien went on to qualify his statement, and it sounded suspiciously like a warning.
“Speculation is speculation as far as I’m concerned, and that’s all it is until something happens. We’ve played our style of game forever and we don’t plan on changing that. There’s nothing, as far as I’m concerned, to be worried about.”
For certain, the Sabres are not going to attack the Bruins with food – though it wouldn’t be a first at a Bruins game….
During the shootout in Boston’s 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night, a linked-meat product – still in the bun – was thrown onto the ice just as Bruin’s young center Tyler Seguin approached the goal for the initial shot…
..the offending sausage slid right in between Seguin and Devils’ goalie Johan Hedberg and Seguin dodged it and scored the goal, but it was waved off by the referees as fan interference. He nailed the retry and Teammate Brad Marchand later netted the game winner, but the talk was all about “Weinergate”.
“That’s a first,” Seguin said. “I’m still not sure what it was. Maybe a hot dog.”
Fortunately, Seguin was more concerned about winning the game than his hunger.
The Bruins have been one of the leagues dominant teams thus far and are undefeated in regulation and looking to start 5-0-0 at home for the first time in 22 years when they lace ‘em up against their bitter, struggling rivals from Niagra.
“We’ve played some pretty good hockey so far,” coach Claude Julien said. “And the games that weren’t quite as good as we should have been, we found a way to win. And to be a good team you’ve got to be able to do that.”
Perhaps after all of the fighting and bad blood that will be on display tonight, the players can meet in at mid-ice and offer each other some fellowship and good tidings over a feast of hot dogs…
…or maybe share one during the game. Hey, this is TD Garden and on a night where the comedic spirit of the man who got no respect roams the aisles, it would be easy to find the humor in that.