(WGR 550) – Buffalo Sabres goalie Aaron Dell is likely going to be hearing from the NHL's Department of Player Safety for his hit on Ottawa Senators All-Star forward Drake Batherson on Tuesday.
Senators head coach D.J. Smith said Batherson is out long-term with an ankle injury. Smith called the play ridiculous, and stated that Dell has a history of doing things like this.
The amazing part is the shoddy NHL officiating didn’t even call a penalty on the hit. Dell, of course, was frustrated, because he was hung out to dry by his teammates and three goals had just been scored by Ottawa in 2:55.
“I was trying to buy some time for my defenseman, and I stepped into his lane," Dell said of the hit following Tuesday's 5-0 loss. "I hope he’s alright, as I wasn’t trying to hurt anybody.”
Dell only felt worse when he found out the severity of Batherson’s injury.
“That sucks," he said. "I really didn’t want to hurt anybody, and I really hope he’s alright.”
Austin Watson and Brady Tkachuk made sure they made contact with Dell every chance they got, and, of course, there was the trash talk.
“They said they were going to be all over me all night, and they were,” Dell said.
When Dell spoke to the media, he said he hadn’t seen the hit, so he didn’t want to say what he may or may not hear from the league.
For the first 12 or 13 minutes of Tuesday's game, the Sabres were doing pretty well. They produced scoring chances and looked like they were ready to play.
Jeff Skinner had a breakaway and did collect the rebound to score, but the whistle blew for an injured player before the puck entered the net.
Casey Mittelstadt made his return to the lineup on Tuesday and put on a nifty move to get in on Senators goalie Matt Murray, but hit the post.
Tage Thompson had a wide-open net for a one-timer from the left circle on the power play, but Peyton Krebs put the pass too close to his body and he couldn’t get a good piece of the puck.
They killed off an early penalty with two nice blocked shots by Zemgus Girgensons and Mattias Samuelsson, but an old problem cropped up again.
Ottawa scored three goals in 2:55 and that was it. Buffalo was listless from that point forward.
“We had plenty of chances. We had a goal where the whistle was blown early, so we could’ve had a couple early and then the game got away from us in a three-minute span," said Sabres head coach Don Granato following the loss.
“It was the way we didn’t respond is an indicator, to me, that we didn’t have a strong enough foundation going into the game for compete. We had very little response from the compete level, we didn’t have enough pucks to the net, didn’t have enough drive to the net.”
The word compete was never coming up in the beginning of the season. There were plenty of losses, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort. That word is coming up way too much lately, and is why they gave up 91 shots to Ottawa in two games.
Somehow, Buffalo split those games.
Murray took the second period off, as there were no serious scoring chances on him. He did have to make some nice saves in the third period, but it was a pretty easy shutout for a goalie that has struggled mightily for two years.
The Sabres come back home for a couple of practices before a game in Arizona on Saturday. against the Coyotes