As Greg Wyshynski points out over on Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres are set to get the Rivalry Night treatment on the NBC Sports Network tonight and it could very well be one of the NHL’s most underrated rivalries according to some. But at this point, outside of being in the same division, is it really that big of a rivalry?
Wyshynski thinks a spark or two is needed to potentially reignite the bad blood between the Bruins and the Sabres, something like Milan Lucic running over Ryan Miller showed that the potential is there. But Buffalo, who hasn’t been particularly relevant of late, just hasn’t drawn the Bruins attention like the Montreal Canadiens or Philadelphia Flyers. Also, the fans of Boston just don’t have a hatred for the city of Buffalo or the people in it, like they do for say cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Philly (or maybe thats just me).
So I agree that something is definitely needed to reignite this old blood feud and get it back to the days when guys like former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, used to drop the gloves against the Black and Gold every chance they got. “It was about looking over there and seeing which guys you’d have to worry about beating the crap out of you,” Ruff has said about his playing days vs the Bruins.
With all that said however, I still think more needs to happen then just fights or big hits. The Sabres need to get back to being a competitive team and organization. Its hard to get up for a game or team like Buffalo, they don’t have many big names and the ones they do have aren’t the flashiest of names or players. Add that to the fact that they haven’t been very successful recently and they don’t really have a physical presence outside of cheap shot artists Patrick Kaleta and Steve Ott and you have some uneventful evenings.
I should add Kaleta won’t even be in uniform tonight as he’s currently suspended for 10-games after throwing a Matt Cooke on Marc Savard-esque hit on Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Jackson and being the straight up player Kaleta is (NOT), he’s currently in the process of appealing the suspension. Thankfully Johnson wasn’t injured on the play and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to make his ruling on the appeal today or tomorrow. Even if Kaleta had been in the lineup he’s not a good enough villain to get a rivalry going.
Hey, I could be wrong and it wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe the Sabres and this rivalry get back on track tonight, but I’m just not going to bet the house on it.