BOSTON -- Ryan Miller wanted to make one thing clear after Buffalo's 6-2 loss to Boston.
"I just stuck around because I just want to say what a piece of expletive I think Milan Lucic is."
Strong words. But Miller thinks he's entitled.
With the Sabres up 1-0 and less than seven minutes left in the first period, Lucic got a breakaway and skated for the Buffalo net. Miller came out of his crease to challenge the Bruins winger and managed to poke the puck away. Lucic didn't hesitate; he knew the goalie could be hit and delivered a monster blow that knocked Miller on his butt and the helmet off his head. The netminder swiped angrily at Lucic's knees from where he sat on the ice and a scrum ensued, but the officials eventually killed the action with a charging penalty on Lucic.
Miller's outrage was not sated by the whistle.
"Fifty pounds on me, and he runs at me like that. It's unbelievble," he said in the visitor's locker room. "Everyone in this city sees him as big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he played. That was gutless. Gutless, piece of expletive."
Things didn't get better for the Sabres after Boston's penalty. Though the Bruins didn't appear to gain momentum immediately after the collision, Buffalo didn't either. The Sabres couldn't add to their lead and Boston opened things up in the second period, ripping Miller with three unanswered goals.
He was pulled before the third period.
All Miller could do -- from the sounds of his single soundbite -- was sit and stew. And there's plenty to think about. The Sabres netminder, the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner, has been mired in a slump, with five losses now in his last six games. Did the numbers fan the fire of his postgame response?
Maybe. But it won't change them.
The Bruins have three players headed to the IIHF Hockey World Championship, which begin this weekend in Russia.
Brad Marchand was invited to play for Team Canada early on in the process, coming off his 37-goal season for the Bruins. Last week the Czech Republic added 19-year-old right wing David Pastrnak to their squad with plans to skate on a line with the Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec.
And Frank Vatrano -- who scored a total of 44 goals between Boston and Providence in this, his first full professional season -- was added to the Team USA roster this week. Vatrano, 22, confirmed it on his own Twitter account on Tuesday night prior to hopping on a flight bound for Russia:
Torey Krug played for Team USA last season, but was unavailable this time around after undergoing right shoulder surgery just a couple of weeks ago that will have him sidelined until late October.
Vatrano is one of four Massachusetts players on this year's version of Team USA. The others are Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon, Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin and Devils D-man David Warsofsky.
Both Marchand and Pastrnak previously suited up for their countries in the World Junior championships, and Vatrano played in the U.S. National Team Development Program prior to playing college hockey at the University of Massachusetts. Vatrano also previously represented the U.S. at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic, where he helped Team USA claim the gold medal.
The IIHF Men's World Championships will start Friday and run until May 22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. It features featuring many of the NHL players that aren’t participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Ahead of the expansion draft, teams may look to get something in return for players they’d otherwise lose for nothing.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving a warm May the Fourth Be With You to everybody out there.
*Mike Francesa has declared sports radio war on former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, and it’s getting ugly folks.
*A humbled Bruce Boudreau, who really didn’t need to be humbled given what a nice man he is, will have a long line of NHL suitors interested in his services.
*The Northeastern University hockey team has gone to some extremes with their pregame wrestling matches.
*Pro Hockey Talk asks the question: if there’s an expansion draft, which goaltender should the Penguins protect given what’s going on in their playoff series?
*A really nice gesture within the PHT morning skate with Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper going to bat for a Lightning beat reporter that finds himself out of a job.
*Max Domi had a very memorable rookie season even if it didn’t end with any serious consideration for the Calder Trophy.
*The Nashville Predators got a little better this week with the decision to kick Mike Ribeiro up into the press box.
*For something completely different: these Han Solo uniform jerseys for the Durham Bulls’ Star Wars Night are the freakin’ truth.