Chad Ruhwedel is home, laying low on doctor’s orders as his brain heals from a concussion he suffered on Sunday in Philadelphia.
The culprit of the concussion – Zac Rinaldo and his vicious hit – will miss the next four games, sidelined by the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety.
But the four game suspension didn’t sit well with Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan.
He thought it was rather light and believes the league needs to take a stronger stance on hits that target the head.
“Those types of hits have got to be out of our game,” Nolan said Tuesday morning before the Sabres faced the Detroit Red Wings at First Niagara Center. “You’re not talking injuries where you knock a guy out for a week or two weeks. It can knock his career right off the tracks. We all see what concussions do to some of our athletes after the fact. It’s a very serious thing, and I think we’ve got to take it a lot more serious than four games.”
Of course on the other side of the coin you have the Philadelphia Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren, who called the four-game suspension “harsh.”
Nolan thought that, in turn, was harsh and believes that the NHL needs to take a more serious look at punishment for head injuries.
“Unfortunately something serious has to happen before rules come into place,” Nolan said. “You just knock on wood that it doesn’t come to that. You’re talking someone’s head, where the brain can be permanently damaged. You’re not talking an elbow or finger or those types of things. I believe we have to take it a lot more serious.
“It’s frustrating because you’re talking about a person. You’re not talking about losing a player for four games. You’re talking about injuring a human being and it could be a permanent injury. … I think we have to suspend very stiffly and harshly. Those things you can avoid. You don’t have to hit somebody in a vulnerable position. You can sidestep. You don’t have to hit. It’s very frustrating.”
Sabres fans of course recall the suspensions issued to John Scott and Patrick Kaleta.
There just about two minutes left in the game when Zemgus Girgensons made a slick, and somewhat sick, move around Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. Girgensons then shot the puck cleanly into the net, bringing the Buffalo Sabres within a goal of the Red Wings.
Detroit would add an empty-netter to seal its 4-2 win over the Sabres at First Niagara Center. But Girgensons’ goal was a highlight reel effort in the loss.
“I know I’m capable of doing stuff like that,” Girgensons said. “I did that in juniors. I’ve done it a couple times here and it just comes down to confidence. It’s one thing in this league that plays a big role is confidence.”
It wasn’t just nifty one-on-one moves for Girgensons. He scored the first goal of the game on a tip in front of the net for his first career two-goal night. More important than goals for head coach Ted Nolan is the way the centerman is playing the game.
“One thing with Girgensons, he plays the game right,” Nolan said. “If there’s one thing our team could learn, is just to watch the way he plays all the time. Whether he scores two goals or not, he was by far our best player on the ice. Why? Because he plays the game right. He works both ends of the ice. He completes. He plays with passion and all those things that good players do. He was great tonight.”
His teammates were yelling “Ear-hoff” in the background. It’s the most common joke Sabres’ defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has heard since a puck off the stick of Scott Hartnell in Philadelphia sliced his right ear. Ehrhoff took 40 stitches.
Ehrhoff said there was no hearing loss.
But there were the photos.
Teammates Marcus Foligno and John Scott along with a member of the training staff took photos of Ehrhoff’s ear in various stages of repair. He then posted them on Twitter and the photos went viral.
“I’m not really surprised,” Ehrhoff said. “It’s just something that gets spread around pretty quickly. … I’ve gotten Ear-hoff as the most common one I think. When you have a situation like that the jokers come out pretty quick too.”