I know the default response to Gaustad fighting Lucic was “shoulda done it 10 days ago,” and that’s true. But Gaustad messed up at the time. He didn’t stand up for his teammate.

How many of us have moments in our life where we wish we had acted differently in a certain circumstance? All of us? Of course.

In the end, it’s better late than never. His punishment for not doing it immediately was spending all those nights sitting on the fact that he was going to have to fight Lucic. And that’s no small punishment.

It still took stones to answer that bell (no matter how long it took to do it), and he did.

And yes, he lost the fight. But the point isn’t about hurting Lucic. It’s not about him, and it’s not about Boston. It’s about demonstrating to your teammates in the dressing room that, no matter how badly this is going to hurt, I have your back when someone takes a shot at you. Your teammates are your brothers.

Maybe it’s not a good sign that it didn’t happen immediately, but whatever – what would it have said if it didn’t happen at all? If that game had passed without any push back from the Sabres, with no hint that they remember the previous game? That’s a whole other level of not giving a damn about each other.

I’m sure the anti-fighting crowd saw it as meaningless, as something that didn’t affect the game, and they may be right. But it’s November, and it’s a long season. Hockey is a tough sport, and it’s a hell of a lot easier when you battle through the schedule as a team. You need each other.

So see the Gaustad/Lucic fight as you want, but understand: he had to do that. And he did.

Going forward, that was good for him, and good for the Sabres.

Comments (7)

  1. How about the scrum later in the game? To me it was mindboggling that Gaustad emerged out of that scrum with his gloves on! In fact, he pretty much handled it the exact same way as the Miller incident. So what did he learn and what changed in his attitude during the ten days he had to think about the last game? Nothing.

    So on a personal level for Gaustad he still hasn’t shown (showed? Silly english language) any significant change and furthermore he told the bruins that they can still take runs at the sabres the way he handled Marchands hit on Gerbe ans the scrum that followed.

  2. Gaustad after the game said he respected Lucic for dropping the gloves because he didn’t have to. How nervous must have he been when the crowd cheered after Ruff put him out there? Had to have been a long skate.

  3. I wanted to point out how Gaustad disappeared after the scrum. His game changed once he realized no one has his back. Mcquaid went at him multiple times and he had no response. I understand that isn’t his style but how does he lay down after the first period? Buffalo built this game up and had the opportunity to make a statement and didn’t.

    Jason, where do you stand on fixing your hair prior to throwing punches at another man? Did Gaustad obtain a tactical advantage with that move?

  4. So true about Guastad showing up last night. What a miserable day that is: knowing you have to drop the gloves with tough SOB like Lucic – not when you’re fired up with genuine anger, but when you have to do it out of obligation. That is a tough, tough job. As you say, doesn’t matter whether he won or lost, just that he showed up.

    Same deal for the scrum. Guastad took the required run at Marchand, then ended up on the bottom of the pile. Not exactly the best place to be in that mess, but at least he was there.

    Even though fighting can bring out the worst in hockey, it also shows the best side of hockey tough guys. Gaustad did what he had to. Lucic could have driven the Sabres nuts by not fighting, but he gave Gaustad his chance. Regehr and Chara have their obligatory scrap during the scrum. Both Chara and Lucic pulling up rather than trying to land one last haymaker when the other guy is down.

    • You’re right, giving Gaustad his chance was the most noble thing I’ve seen Lucic do. Awesome stuff.

  5. And for a different perspective…

    As a Bruins fan who has watched Lucic play since the day he arrived in Boston, the one thing that struck me about the fight was how brutally efficient Lucic was. When he was younger, his fights were mostly about establishing himself, or occasionally to stir up the crowd and/or teammates. In recent years, as Lucic has fought less and less, they’ve changed to “protect my teammate” or “you have really, REALLY pissed me off” fights.Most often these days, a fighting Lucic is a furious Lucic.

    This fight, however, was, for lack of a better word, workmanlike. And I can’t recall Lucic ever being workmanlike in such a situation. It was just


    like a blacksmith pounding on molten metal, then declaring his job done and tossing his hammer aside. In a way, it was more frightening than Angry Lucic.

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