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Playoff Fights have Already Begun

One of the best parts of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for any fan is being able to watch NHL greats drop the gloves and take on tough demeanors that you don’t see in the regular season — even in the NHL. This year though fans are getting a taste of the fights to come a little early, as players use the media to take shots at each other, before the first round has even begun.

Brooks Laich, forward for the Washington Capitals, probably had no idea he had just started a war when he told the Washington Post on Wednesday that he was guaranteeing his team a playoff berth. When he said, “I have a belief we’re going to be in the playoffs and that’s it. I don’t want to discuss any scenario that we’re not,” he probably just thought he was being supportive and believing in his team. But, in order for the Capitals to move into the playoffs, it would mean that the Buffalo Sabres do not; and that’s perhaps why Buffalo’s goaltender, Ryan Miller, took Laich’s remark so personally.

Shortly after Laich made his remarks, Miller had thoughts of his own to share, telling the Buffalo News, “We’re not playing against him and I don’t think he’s Mark Messier,” this of course, referring to Messier’s famous Cup-win guarantee in 1994. The difference between the two scenarios is that when Messier made the guarantee, it was for everything; and this is really pretty meaningless, and probably was just Laich showing faith in his team. Miller continued on to say, “So I think he’s searching for a spark for his team. They should be desperate right now, too, so I just think they’re looking for little things.” Miller even went on further to say that Laich’s comments could actually hurt the Caps, when “guys don’t react well to that.”

The mind games are certainly going — at least from the Sabres’ end. The other difference might be that when Messier made the guarantee, he followed through on it. Fans will have to wait to see if this one pans out the same way.

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