7:30 Tonight on OLN
Sabres don’t intend to back off
The Buffalo Sabres have been using their seventh defenseman much more frequently than they’d care to. Now they might need to plunge farther down the depth chart to find a player who hasn’t seen a solitary second of NHL ice time in the past 27 months.
Looks like the last thing Sabres coach Lindy Ruff would want to do on the road against the potent Carolina Hurricanes is expose his back end by opening up the offense tonight in Game Two of the Eastern Conference finals.
Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette recalled the scene from Saturday’s Game 1 with chagrin.
Referring to bad bounces and near misses in the one-goal loss to Buffalo in the opener of the Eastern Conference finals, he said:
“For instance, there was an opportunity where [the Sabres] were kind of stretched out, we threw it down to Mark Recchi, he threw one on his backhand through the defender, had Doug Weight on the back door.”
That sequence failed when Weight lost the handle on the puck. For the Canes to go deeper in the playoffs, the players will have to click more often.
Carolina winger Erik Cole took another notable step forward in his recovery from severe injury Sunday, joining his team’s 23-minute practice at the RBC Center. But as far as forgiving, or forgetting, that day appears to remain well off in the distance.
Cole rode an emotional roller-coaster during a news conference following the Hurricanes’ workout. He’s thrilled to be participating in contact practices after suffering a twice-fractured vertebrae when driven head-first into the boards in a March 4 game at Pittsburgh.
But thoughts of how the injury could have ended his career, rerouted his life, got Cole’s eyes to watering and brought his resentment for Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, an Amherst native, bubbling to the surface. It was Orpik who drove Cole into the boards, a hit that resulted in a three-game suspension.
Mayor Charles Meeker isn’t much for trash-talking, but he felt cocky enough today to wager three pounds of ’cue on the ’Canes.
In a midday phone chat with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Meeker wagered the pig against three pounds of Buffalo wings — the loser of the Hurricanes-Sabres series buys.