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Miller upset by NHL ruling on Richards

Calls by the Sabres for a suspension of Flyers captain Mike Richards went unheeded. There will be no disciplinary action taken by the NHL after Richards checked Tim Connolly into the boards from behind in Game Six, sidelining Connolly for the remainder of the afternoon and making him unavailable for Game Seven tonight in Philadelphia.

"I'm pretty upset. It's still upsetting," said Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. "The guy who's complained the most about how we were getting away with murder has delivered two of the dirtiest hits in the series, a blatant elbow to the face (of Patrick Kaleta), which is something the league said they were going to try and take away, and driving Tim Connolly head-first into the boards. It wasn't just a hit it was a push. It was blatant.

"I don't know. I don't know where to go with this one because at the same time, it's a tough game. It's rough," Miller added. "You know Richards wants to win. It's not lost on me that he's a hard competitor. But I just think it was reckless. I'm just kind of irritated he's talking about how we're getting away with stuff when, I mean, both sides are pushing here. It's more annoying than anything to hear that come out of a good player's mouth."

Richards dismissed the Sabres' complaints as just playoff talk.

"Some teams don't like you playing as hard as you do, but you have had success playing that way," the Flyers' captain said. "There are a lot of things that go into a long playoff series, especially when you play seven games where you have people, players, and coaches trying to take pressures off some of their players.

"I don't mind taking the heat and taking pressure off people because I know that is my job. Some things are right to the heart when people say things, but at the same time I know the 22 guys in this dressing room are confident in the things I do on the ice."

"People say things in the hockey community about me too, which is fine, but the only thing I care about are the people in this dressing room and in the organization."

As to Miller calling the hit "mass murder," Richard replied.

"That is the tough thing. My dad taught me to play the game hard. There are a lot of things said by the hockey community, but the people I know are the people in this dressing room and my family and my friends. They know what type of person and player I am.

"I can't control what other people say, but I do know that the people in the dressing room and my family and friends respect me and like the way I play."

Richards would not go over the play itself.

"I don't want to comment too much on it other than it happens fast," he said. "I don't know, it just happens fast. I don't want to say too much where things are going to get written and said. It is obviously unfortunate."

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff basically excused himself from further discussion on the issue.

"I just let the league deal with that," he said.

* * *

Neither Patrick Kaleta nor Mike Grier participated in Monday's brief workout at HSBC Arena. Kaleta's absence was curious in that Philly's Danny Briere said after Game Six that he drew extra motivation from a comment a Sabre made to him on the ice. The player was later identified as Kaleta and the comments reportedly involved Briere's divorce. Ruff said discretion is a topic that comes up within the team. He also questioned whether Briere contrived the tale.

"We've talked about that," Ruff said. "I think sometimes players on the other team make stuff up, too. They want to make up a real nice story. Vanek could come out today and say that 'Well, somebody said something to me on the ice and that really got me fired up.' Would you guys eat that up? Probably. That's all Thomas has to say, 'Well, they got me fired up because Versteeg was cross-checking me the first game. That fired me up.' I don't buy half that stuff. If they lost you wouldn't hear that story and if you win you hear the story. Those are good ones."

* * *

What does it take for the Sabres to hold a lead? They frittered away two-goal advantages the last two games, earning a split out of a sweep situation.

"You can break it down different ways," Ruff said. "We took a penalty in this game (Six) when we had the lead. They've got good offense. You're not going -- and we haven't been able to even during the regular season -- stymie their offense. They've got three good lines of talented forwards. We're trying to limit the high-quality stuff but you're going to give up some opportunities.

Center Jochen Hecht, sidelined since suffering what's believed to be a concussion March 29 against Toronto, skated with the team Monday.

"Have I received clearance (to play)? No. Not yet," Hecht said. But that doesn't mean he's ruled out for tonight.

As for his conditioning, Hecht said he's been skating hard for nine days and "I feel pretty good out there. I feel better every day. It's a lot easier to play the game than sit and watch."

Ruff had no comment on the status of Hecht or Andrej Sekera, who also skated.

* * *

What if? Thomas Vanek was clearly offside before launching the shot that missed the net and resulted in an odd-man break for the Flyers that led to the winning goal by Ville Leino.

Game Six was a blockbuster on local television, with a 24 rating and a 52 share. That's the team's highest in four years -- since recording a 26. 8/5 7 on May 19, 2007, in the deciding Game Five against Ottawa. It's estimated slightly more than 180,000 local households had Sunday's game on during the overtime.

* * *

Briere's locker room speech before the third period has received a lot of play. One Flyer it didn't motivate was Leino, who scored the winner.

"I don't really listen that much always," he said. "I'm in my own little world out there, but I remember he was giving a speech out there. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't really listen to it. I'm sure it was good."


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