By Allan Muir
“Yeah, [Ruff] wants to be a big shot, and that’s not the best play to do,” a fired-up Brad Marchand told NESN. “That’s pretty disrespectful. If he wants to be like that, that’s fine."
In most cases, Marchand would have every right to be redlining. Calling a late timeout, especially in a blowout, especially in the other team's barn, is a serious breach of the code.
At least, it would be if Boston coach Claude Julien hadn't forced Ruff's hand.
The Sabres left Jason Pominville, Jochen Hecht and five-point man Thomas Vanek on the ice for the draw after Pominville's late goal made it 7-4. As the home coach, Julien has the right of last change. He countered with Lane MacDermid, a player whose efforts had been so highly regarded throughout the course of the evening that he'd been rewarded with just over four minutes-worth of ice time.
Not much recourse for Ruff there.
"When I saw MacDermid was with one of our skill players, I didn't want anything to happen," Ruff told NESN. "That's all it was."
After the breather, Ruff sent John Scott -- who had mopped the ice with Shawn Thornton earlier in the contest -- over the boards to even the arms race. Amazingly, the final ticks came off the clock without further incident.
It was a clown move by Julien. His team had just been embarrassed on its own ice by a club that had lost four straight. He wanted to send one last message and he got called on it. Can't blame Ruff for protecting his players.