Save for a few stitches above his left eye, Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian is fine after getting plummeted into the end boards Friday night in Columbus by Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner.
“My body is a little sore, a little bit of a scary moment there, but I feel good today,” Bogosian said after practice Saturday in HarborCenter.
“He’s got a pretty good goose egg above his eye there,” said coach Dan Bylsma. “Other than how he looks with the egg on his head and the pressure of putting his helmet on over it, he was fine.”
There will be no hearing for Jenner with the NHL Player Safety Department from the hit, although Jenner was given a five-minute major that was bizarrely called hooking. Immediately after the hit, all the Sabres on the ice converged on Jenner.
“We have to stick up for each other and it’s a nice feeling when guys do that for you,” Bogosian said. “They know that I would do that for them. It’s like a brotherhood in there. You’ve got to stick up for each other.”
A notable moment of the ensuing scrum was the way goaltender Robin Lehner engaged Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson and ripped his mask off while doing so, inviting anyone who wanted to take him on. No Blue Jackets obliged as Lehner unleashed a crazed death stare that quickly went viral.
“That should be one of those big heads to make for the fans to wear,” said a smiling Bylsma. “That look he gave. I think Rob Ray said it the best – ‘Don’t poke the angry bear.’ Yeah, that was the angry bear look.”
“You never really see a goalie go after guys like that but it’s a good feeling,” added Bogosian. “It goes right down from our top players that we’re bought into this, emotionally invested.”
While Bogosian will be able to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, fellow blueliner Cody Franson will not. Franson took a tough hit from Scott Hartnell and did not return to the game.
“At this point, we’re unsure what exactly we’re dealing with,” Bylsma said. “He’s suffering from some neck issues from the hit as well.”
Suburban Pittsburgh native Mike Weber, often a thorn in the Penguins’ side, will get back in the lineup in place of Franson.
Bylsma said Ryan O’Reilly was banged up Friday in Columbus, so the club’s No. 1 center took a maintenance day Saturday and stayed off the ice.
“I suspect he’ll play. You’re probably not going to be able to pick it out,” Bylsma said.
The Penguins used backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff for Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay, a key game in the Eastern Conference playoff race, because starter Marc-Andre Fleury became ill prior to faceoff. It’s not known whether Fleury, who has a 2.35 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in 42 games, will be to able to play here Sunday.
Zatkoff got the win in the Pens’ first meeting against Buffalo on Oct. 29, making a career-high 50 saves on 53 shots in a 4-3 Pittsburgh victory.