BROSSARD – The Habs will be out for revenge on Wednesday night.
Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers is ready to make his return to action on Wednesday after serving a three-game suspension for a hit from behind on Scott Gomez last Monday. Still sidelined with an upper-body injury stemming from the incident, Gomez won’t be in the lineup in Buffalo, although his teammates will be ready to get a little retribution on his behalf – they’re just planning to keep their gloves on in the process.
“I think the league has sent the message,” stressed Randy Cunneyworth of Brendan Shanahan’s decision to suspend the 6-foot-8 blue-liner. “If he’s going back for the puck, I think we would approach it like any other player going back. There’s a time and a place for that. He’s paid his fine and that’s a situation I think he was regretful about. Honestly, he’s a young player, he got involved, he got angry and went out there and played a little too hard against a defenseless player who had his back turned. I think there’s a good lesson there.”
For the Habs, the best revenge – both for the Myers incident and the 3-2 overtime loss – will be to hit the Sabres where it really hurts.
“We’re just looking to compete against them, get the win and maybe spoil their chances at the playoffs,” explained the Canadiens coach of the ninth-place Sabres. “Again, that’s not our sole intention. Our sole intention is to play a solid hockey game, play within our system and play hard.”
Given his position on retribution, it’s unlikely Cunneyworth will be following Devils head coach Peter DeBoer’s lead in determining his starting lineup on Wednesday. Instead of lining up stars like Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk to start Monday’s game against the Rangers, DeBoer instead chose to give enforcers Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton and Ryan Carter the nod. John Tortorella replied by starting three tough guys of his own in Brandon Prust, Mike Rupp and Stu Bickel. The result: three fights off the opening faceoff three seconds into the game.
“It’s surprising; you don’t see that every day. But that’s old school hockey,” offered Brad Staubitz, who has already dropped the gloves 13 times this season. “Those are two pretty honest, competitive coaches and they were gun-slinging and had it out that way. You see the way the game is changing where they’re talking about taking fighting out of it, I don’t know if we’re going to see that too often but it’s an exciting part of hockey.”
Never one to shy away from a fight, Staubitz will be ready to square off if necessary on Wednesday, although he’s not expecting to put his scrapping skills to use quite as early as the Devils and Rangers.
“[Myers] knows it was a cheap shot – he got suspended,” explained Staubitz. “We’ll pay attention to it but we also have to pay attention to winning the game. We can’t get sidetracked.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
Words from the room
Rapid fire - Mar. 20, 2012
Brad Staubitz claimed off waivers