Found January 20, 2013 on Queen City Sports:
Gettyimage.ashx_url_http_3a_2f_2fcache.gettyimages.com_2fxc_2f92604168.jpg_3fv_3d1_26c_3dewsasset_26k_3d2_26d_3d77bfba49ef878921cc759df4ebac47d02d021f02c5894183749cb7ea9160dbd696097de0152b7a3f
Pat Kaleta (#36) puts a hit on Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux during Buffalo’s 5-2 win over the Flyers. The message from the coaches and players in the Buffalo Sabres organization was the same throughout the offseason and during training camp: become a much tougher team to play against. Last season, much was made of the infamous Milan Lucic hit on Ryan Miller when no one on the Sabres truly came to the defense of their franchise goaltender. National and local pundits harshly criticized head coach Lindy Ruff and his players for them not doing anything about their star getting run over like that. A simple dropping of the gloves by an unlikely player on Sunday showed that the Sabres do, in fact, mean business when it comes to becoming more of a “sandpaper” team. After watching Flyers forward Scott Hartnell take a couple of, what the team viewed as, cheap shots on Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford took a run at Hartnell which lead to a fight between the two.  Stafford may not have gotten the absolute best of the Flyers grinder, who is much more experienced in fighting, but he sure enough held his own. Stafford coming to the aid of his teammates didn’t go unnoticed by his head coach or teammates. “What Staff did was awesome,” said Ruff. “Right away he addressed it; didn’t wait for somebody else. He did a great job.” New teammate Steve Ott, who the team acquired, along with John Scott, for this very reason back in July, said the he felt Stafford’s decision helped change the momentum of the game in their favor. “The team stepped up from what Staff did,” he said. Stafford said it’s just him living up to the new mentality of the team. He wanted to prove that everyone on the roster, no matter what their role on the team is, has to stand up for one another. “If another player on the other team is going to take liberties, and run around — I mean it really shouldn’t matter who it is — you got to stick in there for each other,” Stafford said. Ruff said that although it’s early in the season, what Stafford did is something that can bring the team closer together. Especially during a season as condensed as this. “Those are the types of things we talked about,” said Ruff. “We finished our year on a better note with that last year, but to start the year like that…” The Sabres are sure to have their toughness challenged more and more as the season progresses, and they continue to play the likes of Boston, New York Rangers, and Philadelphia. Though, if Sunday was any indication, they will be up for it.   *Photos courtesy Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images* The post Stafford’s Decision Proves Sabres Mean Business appeared first on Queen City Sports.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Leino misses Sabres season opener

Buffalo Sabres forward Ville Leino is missing the team's regular-season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers because of a lower body injury. Listed by the team as day to day, Leino missed practice Saturday a day after he was hurt in practice. Leino was well enough to join his teammates, coaches and Sabres owner Terry Pegula to greet fans in the First Niagara Center lobby...

Sabres GM Regier receives extension

The Buffalo Sabres are keeping Darcy Regier around as general manager. Team owner Terry Pegula announced Saturday that the Sabres have extended Regier's contract. Buffalo opens its lockout-shortened season Sunday at home against Philadelphia. Regier, entering his 16th season as Sabres general manager, has overseen a franchise that has reached the Eastern Conference finals four...

Drew Stafford vs. Scott Hartnell

These kinds of hits have to be banned from hockey. Buffalo forward Tyler Ennis is 157 pounds soaking wet, and Flyers forward Scott Hartnell is a bull at 210 pounds, and he buries Ennis from behind.  No penalty on the play. You have to give former Fighting Sioux forward Drew Stafford credit for answering the call. 

Breaking: Sabres Extend Contract Of GM Darcy Regier

To quote Terry Pegula, “Darcy ain’t going no where!” The Buffalo Sabres have announced that Darcy Regier has agreed to an extension to remain on as the team’s general manager. The news was announced during a press conference held by the Sabres this afternoon. Reiger is entering his 13th season as Sabres general manager, the longest tenured  GM in Sabres history. He’s also...

Vanek has 2 goals, 3 assists in win

A nine-month layoff, courtesy of the NHL lockout, wasn't long enough to disrupt the chemistry between the Buffalo Sabres' top two linemates, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Vanek scored twice and added three assists, and Pominville had three assists in leading the Sabres to a 5-2 season-opening win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon. ''Ah, they...

Vanek helps lead Sabres past Flyers

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Thomas Vanek hardly looked like a man who hadn't played NHL hockey in nine months. Vanek had five points (two goals, three assists) to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday in the First Niagara Center. Tyler Myers scored the winning goal with just over five minutes remaining and Cody Hodgson gave the Sabres some breathing...

The Tough Guy Misconception

Well, here we are. One game into the lockout-shortened season and there is already a misconception brewing about the boys in blue and gold: “This 2013 squad’s identity is TOUGHNESS!!!” After acquiring Steve Ott & John Scott in the off-season, Darcy & Co. did their part to add some grit to a team that many considered “soft.” Those additions to a team already populated...

Sabres 2, Maple Leafs 1

Ryan Miller stopped 34 shots to lead the Buffalo Sabres past the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Monday night. Miller lost his shutout bid when Nazem Kadri scored on the power play with 1:42 remaining, his second goal of the season. Toronto's Joffrey Lupul appeared to tie it seconds later with goalie Ben Scrivens on the bench, but the goal was disallowed. With Scrivens on the bench...

Flyers-Sabres Preview

Despite his team missing the playoffs for a third time in five seasons, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula maintained his faith in his current personnel - namely general manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff. Buffalo begins its quest to return to the postseason Sunday when it hosts the Philadelphia Flyers, who have ended the Sabres' attempts to reach the playoffs in each...

Sabres Defeat Maple Leafs 2-1: Immediate Reactions

(Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images) The Buffalo Sabres got their second win of the young season in as many days with a 2-1 win over host Toronto in the Maple Leafs’ home opener on Monday night.  The win moves Buffalo to 2-0 on the season. Buffalo’s top line once again shined as Cody Hodgson, Thomas Vanek, and Jason Pominville all got on the score sheet once again. Hodgson...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.