'Gilmour did the right thing – he went after Varada. Going low to take the knee, well, that wasn't nice, but what do you do when a guy has tried to knee your goalie's head into the cheap seats? Invite him for tea?'
'I witnessed one of the most flagrant cheap shots in the history of the National Hockey League Friday night. The problem is that I'm not sure whether it was Vaclav Varada's knee to the head of Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore or Doug Gilmour's attempt to perform major surgery on Varada's knees without benefit of anaesthesia.'
Playing without 3 of their regular defensemen, the Buffalo Sabres still put up an wall in front starting backup goalie Bob Essensa Saturday night in New Jersey. The only problem was that the New Jersey Devils still found a couple of cracks in the wall during powerplays and were able to defeat the Sabres 3-1 despite getting off only 11 shots on goal.
'The two-time defending Eastern Conference champs beat Buffalo, 3-1, on the strength of a pair of power-play goals and a brick-wall outing by goalie Martin Brodeur. The loss was spectacularly frustrating for the Sabres, who played their best defensive game of the season despite the absence of injured defensemen Rhett Warrener, Richard Smehlik and Dmitri Kalinin, and suspended checking forward Vaclav Varada.'
'"Their two physical players were out of the game. Maybe if we were all in, maybe the other guys could have played hockey and we could have taken care of it," said Boulton, who also faulted the officials for losing control of the game early. "It was just a rough game. That's what hockey's about. Sometimes it gets a little out of hand, but it's the refs' job to keep it intact."'
'Team stats showed that the Devils had 18 missed shots, but they played well enough defensively to keep it close until the "A" line came through yet another time.'
'Buffalo (5-5-1-1) used Essensa in goal for only the second time this season. His first appearance of the season was an overtime loss to the Rangers in the Sabres' third game of the season.'
'The Devils beat Buffalo at the Meadowlands last night, 3-1, but they weren't exactly doing a victory dance in the locker room afterward. Their offensive slump continued. They got just 11 shots on goal, the team's lowest total since it moved to New Jersey in 1982.'
'Buffalo tied the score on the first shot of the second, when J.P. Dumont stole a point pass from Ken Daneyko in the Sabre zone and raced off on a breakaway. Pausing to check behind him and finding no one near, Dumont proceeded to fire his second of the season over Martin Brodeur's glove at 1:42.'
'The Devils, who averaged 31 shots on goal through the first seven games, had just five through the first two periods. Things weren't much better in the third period as they took just two shots through 16 minutes. The Sabres' offense wasn't much to brag about, either.'
'"The proof is in the picture. Usually you see guys try and jump over. I think everybody knows the character of everybody else in the league. You know when it's an accident out there and you respect their personality. Everybody knows his personality."'
'The New Jersey Devils did almost nothing against the Buffalo Sabres on offense, and got away with it.'
'"I'd rather shoot 12 and win than 36 and lose," New Jersey defenseman Brian Rafalski said.'
'The suspension will cost Gilmour $9,757.73 in salary and Varada loses $3,951.89 with the money going to the Players Emergency Assistance Fund. Both will sit out games Saturday night and be eligible to return to their teams for games Tuesday.'
'It could have been more, especially for Gilmour, who skated full speed and kneed Varada in the left corner of Montreal's zone in retaliation to a hit on goaltender Jose Theodore.'