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Fight night in Buffalo: Just who could challenge Milan Lucic?

Nov 23, 2011, 10:05 AM EDT

Ryan Miller, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara AP

Buffalo’s newest public enemy #1 in Milan Lucic hits the ice tonight with a lot of Sabres fans and even some within the organization thinking payback is on the way. After all, the Sabres have had over a week and a half to stew about Lucic running over Ryan Miller and not answering the bell to stick up for their now injured goalie.

So if there is to be a fight (or a few) tonight to get retribution on Lucic, just who in the world on Buffalo is going to do the deed? The Sabres don’t have a tried and true goon fighter but they do have a handful of guys that could duel with their personal devil if they so choose.

If you want to put even money on one guy going for it it’s Paul Gaustad. Gaustad was highly critical of the team and himself for not getting after Lucic when they had the chance to and with the amount of pride Gaustad has, there’s almost no way he can let Lucic go without doing something tonight.

If Gaustad doesn’t get to him first, Cody McCormick would be another solid choice to drop the gloves with Lucic. McCormick isn’t one afraid to drop the gloves if need be and the Sabres certainly seem like they need to do something with Lucic. (Update: That would be if Cody McCormick wasn’t injured of course. Which he is. Our bad, folks.)

Failing that, Patrick Kaleta is the last hope there and he’s more of a pest than a fighter and seeing him challenge Lucic might do more to fire up the Bruins than anything else. If Kaleta does anything in this game at all, it’ll be attempting to run over Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask as a different sort of retribution.

No matter what happens, the Bruins say they’ll be ready for it, Lucic in particular expects it. Either way, Brendan Shanahan has spoken with both clubs and will be monitoring things from New York City. If there’s going to be a throw down tonight, the teams better not be stupid about it.

  1. govtminion - Nov 23, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Gaustad. Even if not at Lucic directly, he has to do something tonight- a fight, a big goal, a run at Thomas, something. After his comments (which were spot-on) before, he’ll look like a tool if he doesn’t follow his own advice and do something to stand up for Miller, even if it is a week and a half late.

  2. bobwsc - Nov 23, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    a run at Thomas seems likely; he’s always so far out in front anyway. whoever runs at Thomas better be prepared for the Pain Sponge to do a little housecleaning as a countermeasure to Buffalo’s countermeasure.

    • govtminion - Nov 23, 2011 at 10:23 AM

      If I’ve learned anything from the past few years of watching the Bruins, it’s that the most likely person to get revenge for a run on Thomas is… well, Thomas. Remember his near-fight in the Winter Classic a couple of years ago? That’s a goalie that takes care of himself.

      …not that he’d turn down help from Lucic, Chara, Boychuk, Thornton, Marchand… that really is a brutal lineup, isn’t it?

  3. nhlbruins90 - Nov 23, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    I believe the Buffalo Bills need to step up to the plate here. Otherwise …

  4. 8man - Nov 23, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    I think too much is being made of this. It’s quite possible the Sabres and Bruins might just both concentrate on trying to win a hockey game.

    If anything happens, I’d expect it to happen early or very late. Such as when Lucic lines up for the first time and hears, “Wanna go?” Buffalo does have the option of last change, so…..

    Either way, both of these teams are playoff caliber. It’ll be a fun game to watch. Ahh, the Adams Division is back.

  5. boston25rocketman - Nov 23, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    I can’t help but wonder if the game will break down like the Bruins last couple games against the Dallas Stars, players on both sides making runs at each other and the ice falling apart into full brawling mayhem.

  6. rabidbillsfan - Nov 23, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    I could honestly see a Goose, Kaleta, McCormick, Regehr, Ehrhoff line. McCormick should Challenge Lucic, and then with the other three big bodies out there, just throw their weight around. Goose and Kaleta can score, Regehr is one of the hardest hitting defenseman i’ve seen, and Ehrhoff can help set up a play or score himself. If this team does mix it up, they need to follow it up with either some more big hits, or a goal, anything less will just fuel the B’s in the end.

  7. wez99 - Nov 23, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    Kaleta only as a pest? Right now he the best fighter on the sabres, mccormik is injured, and gaustad not a good fighter, kaleta wrecks ppl in fights, but did someone actually say boychuk and Marchand? I guess ppl are also forgetting about regehr? He will be out there against the lucic line, it’s gonna be great

    • spiffy53 - Nov 23, 2011 at 11:28 AM

      if Kaleta is the Sabres best fighter, you guys are in trouble. “kalea wrecks ppl in fights” really? kidding right? kaleta trolls around trying to go with anyone smaller than himself or goes after non fighters. generally, he looks like a tough guy, but has the ferocity of a figure skater.

  8. billyhoyle4real - Nov 23, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    I’d run Tim Thomas every time he plays the puck. Take whatever suspension gets handed down and make a point to the league that this is the new NHL under Sheriff Shanahan’s jurisdiction.

  9. cliverush - Nov 23, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    Mc Quade is a beast of a fighter as well. The Sabres would be better of just trying to play hockey and score goals. Why would anyone stick up for a cry baby like Miller? The man should have kept his crybaby mouth shut after the game.

  10. odj810 - Nov 23, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    If buffalo is smart they will send regher or gaustad out to fight lucic his first shift on the ice. He will oblige. Then get on to try and winning the hockey game. Theres no way there going to try and go toe to toe with the bruins in a game of physicality because they will lose badly.

  11. wez99 - Nov 23, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Kaleta lures ppl all the time in fights, he uses it as a way to get a pp for his team, when he fights he is always taking on the goon or grinder on other team, if you saying they smaller than kaleta you gotta go watch some hockey, that’s his job, and when he fights, he fights

    • spiffy53 - Nov 23, 2011 at 3:14 PM

      he never takes on a goon. absolutely untrue. his opponents have been the likes of Luke Schenn, Derek Dorsett, matin hanzil, thornburn, ondrus, ott, downie and asham. no goons what-so-ever. anytime he actually fights someone bigger is after he cheapshots an opposing player (Ryan O’Byrne almost killed him-but alas, he was saved again by the ref) and does not have the chance to skate away and hide behind the ref trying to look tough. well, tonight is his opportunity to shine and show us all how tough he really is.

  12. gallyhatch - Nov 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    According to Twitter reports, Mike Milbury referred to the Thornton / Cooke retribution fight (for the Savard hit) as about “as satisfying as a wet fart”.

    I expect the same tonight. Someone will throw down w/ Lucic, Lucic will oblige, they will each get 5 minute majors. With both teams being in the hunt, I doubt anyone wants to risk suspensions.

    That being said, I’m pumped for a regular season matchup between the Bruins & Sabres, & I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for this matchup.

  13. scotch679 - Nov 23, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    If the Sabres want to go toe to toe, I say bring it on. If they want to zero in on Looch, bring it on. If they want a piece of Tommy bring it on ( he will do what it takes without the tears) . This type of game has the Bruin’s name written all over it. If Buffalo thinks getting revenge now for something they should have acted on last time they played, then they have already lost the fight. Now it’s damned if you do or damned if you don’t. Respect has already been lost by not manning up when the incident happened. The Buffalo Sabres are in a hard place now, to see what they will do tonight makes this game a must see match.

  14. donfocker89 - Nov 23, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    This game would be interesting if Happy Gilmore had made the team.

  15. carol6645 - Nov 23, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    This could be a double whammy great nite for hockey! Buffalo annihilates Boston-a special gift for Ryan-and the Penguins play their most exciting game this year.
    Maybe Asham can find a nice Blues player to ko just to top it off practicing for the Bruins game coming up!

    WELL! I CAN DREAM! Dreams do come TRUE and there are Unicorns and Santa Clause right? 😉

  16. carol6645 - Nov 24, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    Where are you nhlbruins90? You are hilarious, aren’t you?
    Go pens! Go Sabres! Go somewhere!
    Maybe I’ll transform into a Boston Teddy Bear (in 1012) jk

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