Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller doesn’t fight often.
In fact, the former Vezina Trophy winner had only dropped the gloves once or twice over the course of his eight-year NHL career. But in Sunday’s preseason game a line brawl between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres prompted Miller to fight fellow netminder Jonathan Bernier.
The scrap started when Buffalo’s giant enforcer John Scott went looking for a fight. The Sabres were mad that Toronto’s Jamie Devane had picked a fight with the much-smaller Corey Tropp, so they wanted to give it right back to the Leafs.
When the referee dropped the puck, Scott went after the smaller Phil Kessel — who is not much of a fighter himself. Kessel didn’t want to get involved, so instead of squaring up to fight he swung his stick at Scott a few times.
“It was pretty stupid, right? He said he was going to jump me,” Kessel said. “What are you going to do? He’s a big boy, so if he’s coming after me, what are you going to do?”
This prompted players from both teams to rush in, and Jonathan Bernier came skating down the ice to fight Buffalo Sabres star Ryan Miller.
“I just asked him if he wanted to go, and obviously I don’t think he seemed that he actually wanted to go, but that’s the way it goes,” Bernier said. “It’s a hockey game, but you get hyper in energy and I wanted to defend my teammates.”
Miller got in a few shots, Bernier got in quite a few more, and overall it was a fairly lackluster affair on both sides.
Ryan Miller seemed to have a sense of humor about the incident. After the game he took to Twitter to made a well-timed Anchorman reference.
— Ryan Miller (@RyanMiller3039) September 23, 2013
The fight wasn’t enough to inspire the Buffalo Sabres against the Leafs. The team lost 5-3, its first regulation defeat of the preseason.