Buffalo (WKBW) The Sabres lost Sunday's Game Six in heartbreaking overtime fashion. But they also lost a key player after a vicious hit from behind took out Sabres Centerman Tim Connolly. Now there is controversy as the Sabres call for a suspension on the man who hit him, and the NHL simply says "no."
Midway through the second period, Mike Richards pushed Buffalo's Tim Connolly headfirst into the boards. Connolly immediately fell to the ice, and would leave the game. Richards was assessed a two minute penalty for boarding. The hit knocked Connolly out of the game, the series, and possibly the year.
"I'm pretty upset. The guy who was complaining the most about us getting away with murder has been responsible for two of the dirtiest hits this series," Goaltender Ryan Miller said Monday.
"It's a lack of respect for another player on the ice. It's from behind, it's headfirst. That's a tough play. We lost a good player," Head Coach Lindy Ruff said after Game 6 Sunday.
The NHL has chosen not to suspend Richards for the hit and offered no further comment, despite the league's new policy against hits to the head and from behind.
"It wasn't just a hit, it was a push. It was blatant. It's not lost on me that he's a tough competitor, but I think that was reckless," Miller said.
Richards, the Flyers captain, was also responsible for an elbow to the head of Patrick Kaleta in Game 4. The play cost the Flyers a major penalty, but no suspension.
"We as players can't control suspensions or penalties. He'll be in and so be it, we've got to focus on our game," Thomas Vanek said.
In Connolly's absence, the Sabres may turn to center Derek Roy, who has been out since December with a torn quad tendon. Ruff said the decision on Roy will be made before Game 7.