BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres held an optional skate at the First Niagara Center ice on Sunday morning after arriving in Buffalo just a handful of hours earlier after a road tilt on Long Island.
Robyn Regher and Tyler Myers were among the Buffalo skaters taking part in that skate, and it appears Ryan Miller will get the start in net as Jhonas Enroth was the goaltender on the ice for the morning walk through.
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was in the middle of controversy in the last meeting with the Bruins in Boston after calling a timeout late in the third period while up by three goals in a contentious game. Brad Marchand called the move to put John Scott on the ice in the final seconds "disrespectful" after the game was over. Scott had already had a one-sided tilt with Shawn Thornton and thrown a few elbows at the heads of Bruins players.
With all that in mind as Buffalo and Boston ready for the divisional rematch on Sunday night, the longtime Sabres coach said he's expecting a response from a proud bunch of Bruins players.
"I think the expectation is that a storm might be coming (with the Bruins) tonight," said Ruff.
That storm might consist of more Bruins-like defense along with the kind of swaggering, physical hockey that the Black and Gold are know for. But Ruff's assumption that the 7-1-1 Bruins will have some sort of response for the upstart Sabres should be completely accurate.
The hard-nosed Regehr looks to be returning to the lineup for the Sabres in Sunday night's collision course with the Bruins, and he similarly expects an unkind game from the Black and Gold after embarrassing them on home ice in Boston.
"Being the opponent that it is tonight in Boston I'm sure it's going to be a physical and an emotional game," said Regehr. "I don't think they've played for a number of days with their game postponed, so they were sitting here waiting for us. So we need to make sure that we're ready to play the way we know we can.
"Matching their start will be very important because I'm expecting a very big start from them."
There's little doubt the start, middle and end will all be important to the Bruins entering the Sabres' barn on Sunday night.
CHICAGO – Don Sweeney said the Bruins knew and expected they were going to lose one of three players in the NHL expansion draft, and it’s pretty clear it was going to be Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller or Colin Miller leaving the team. The B’s took Kevan Miller out of the equation by leaving him on the protection list after a strong season while also playing some of his best hockey in the playoffs.
That left McQuaid and Miller with each of the two D-men standing an equal chance of getting selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, and the 24-year-old puck-moving Miller going to Vegas for the time being. It remains to be seen if Miller sticks with the Golden Knights, or if there is an eventual plan to flip him elsewhere like perhaps an interested party in Toronto.
Sweeney said the Bruins didn’t want to lose a player with potential like Miller, but it’s also true that he would have been stuck behind younger, better D-men on the depth chart with Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as better right-handed options.
“It was an interesting process to go through. It was hard at times because you felt like other teams were able to find deals to keep their team together while you felt vulnerable in that regard,” said Sweeney at the B’s team hotel in Chicago during a Thursday availability with the media. “You knew you were going to lose a good player. You knew they had targeted three players on our team that we felt they would target, and unfortunately we’re losing a good, young player.
“We thought highly of Colin. He was part of a big trade for us and we wish him well moving forward. We thank for him doing his part with the organization. We lost a good player.”
Clearly, the Bruins lost a defenseman with skills and youth on his side, but it’s also a young guy that hasn’t put it all together yet while never posting more than 16 points in each of his two seasons with the Black and Gold. Perhaps he will put together the offensive package at his next landing spot after showing flashes in Boston over the last two years, but that unknown factor while no longer being considered a prospect is the reason he didn’t find himself on the protected D list along with Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.
The Bruins released their schedule for the 2017-18 season Thursday, with their campaign beginning at TD Garden on Oct. 5 against the Predators.
Two things stand out in Boston’s schedule. Eleven of their final 15 games are on the road, and they don’t play the Canadiens until mid-January.
Then, when the B’s and Habs do finally meet, they play three times in an eight-day span. The rivals face each other Jan. 13 in Montreal, Jan. 17 in Boston and Jan. 20 in Montreal. The Bruins’ final regular-season meeting with the Habs is March 3.
To see the full schedule, click here.