LALIME SLATED TO START, OLYMPIANS RETURN
Monday, 03.1.2010 / 3:06 PM ET / News
By Erin Pollina - Sabres.com
Patrick Lalime confirmed that he will be starting in Tuesday’s contest against Crosby and the Penguins, while Miller will take a much needed break on the bench.
After playing six games in the Winter Olympics – including Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Team Canada – Miller along with Head Coach Lindy Ruff are set to fly directly from Vancouver to Pittsburgh to meet the team on Tuesday.
With the extra workload and travel put on the goaltender, Lalime said he was given the nod to start in Buffalo’s final match-up with the Pens this season. The theme may not be an uncommon one during the month of March, as the team prepares to play 16 games in 30 days – including eight games on the road.
“I haven’t really talked to Lindy or anything but we’ll just go one day at a time and whenever they tell me to go I’ll be ready,” Lalime said.
The remaining Sabres’ Olympians were also trying to get prepared Monday afternoon. Andrej Sekera, Henrik Tallinder and Jochen Hecht returned to the ice following their respective stints in the Winter Games. Toni Lydman was also at practice, but did not participate in the skate.
“[Pittsburgh] has a lot of Olympians on their team too… hopefully they celebrate a little too much,” Hecht joked. “But we can’t count on that. They’re professionals and are going to come out strong.”
“We expect a very loud building of course and they are probably going to do some [celebration] with the Gold medal,” Lalime added. “For us, it doesn’t change anything. We have to focus on our job and we just want to play as we call it an ugly road game…silence the crowd.”
The chatter circling Miller, however, was one topic that could not be quieted.
As each Olympian recounted their experience in the tournament, the questions inevitably turned to their goaltender’s play.
“He became a little bit of a rock star out there… everybody knew him, and every TV you watched he was on,” Tallinder said. “He had an unbelievable Olympics. I hope he can bring that to our team obviously. But he’s always been that good. We just hope he can bring that little bit extra to the final stretch of the season.”
“He was the backbone of their team… he did everything we expected out of him and I have a lot of respect,” Hecht said. “We know he can play. When he is on top of his game he can steal some games.
“He’s done that for us in the past and I think he can do it here again.”