BUFFALO -- Oh, to be Rob Ray last night.
The former Senators/Sabres tough guy had the best seat in the house when all hell broke loose in the second period at the HSBC Arena.
Sens coach Bryan Murray was incensed with Lindy Ruff after the Buffalo bench boss sent out tough guys Andrew Peters, Adam Mair and Patrick Kaleta after Ottawa's Chris Neil knocked Buffalo's Chris Drury out of the game with an unpenalized shoulder check.
Peters went after Ottawa's Dany Heatley, mauling him around the head, and Mair jumped Jason Spezza. While that was happening, Senators goaltender Ray Emery skated down to the Buffalo blue line and fought with Sabres goaltender Martin Biron.
After knocking down Biron, Emery had to take on Peters.
Murray leaped up onto the boards to scream at Ruff, who raced down from his spot behind the bench and almost went down in a heap as he reached the buffer between the two benches.
Ray, working the Sabres telecast as the man at ice level, was caught in the middle.
There was a lot of finger pointing with Murray doing a good job of maintaining his balance on top of the boards.
Ray, with a stunned look on his face, had to cover his microphone to keep the Buffalo TV broadcast from becoming X-rated.
Ray was no choir boy in racking up 3,200 penalty minutes in his career, but judging from the look on his face, even he was a little shocked by what he was hearing.
HEAR AND THERE: Former 67's star Brian Campbell was one of the few guys who didn't fight last night. He's had his share. He had his first fight in the pros Tuesday night when Philadelphia Flyers forward R.J. Umberger finally avenged that big hit Campbell gave him in the playoffs last year. "I had to see if I still had it in me," joked the 27-year-old Campbell yesterday. "I used to fight in junior ... one a year. But one was in pre-season, so I don't know if that counts ... In their draft year (in junior), guys would always be trying to pad their PIMs. They'd be getting 10-minute misconducts at the end of games. I had 12 minutes for the year." Campbell played 305 games in the NHL before having to drop his mitts ... Senators D Wade Redden has really seen his offensive production fall off since the all-star break. He's had just a goal and an assist in nine games since then. That pales in comparison to the two goals and 12 assists he had in 16 games going into the all-star break.
THE BUZZ: Coaches like their players to go to the net and that's what Ottawa's Patrick Eaves did in the first period. What did he get for his trouble? A shot off the foot by linemate Christoph Schubert, who only has the heaviest shot on the team ... Kaleta, the former Peterborough Petes agitator who made his NHL debut last night, made a big impression at training camp. He was running around creaming his teammates, including forward Thomas Vanek, during a practice that was open the public and was supposed to be low key. Ruff had to speak to him to dial it down. "That's a true story. He looks to hit hard and he looks to hurt people," said Ruff.
REVELATIONS: After watching Ruff jawing with Murray last night, I couldn't help but think of how one former contemporary of Ruff's described him as a player: "Rough (Ruff) at home and Lindy on the road." ... Kaleta became the third Western New Yorker to play for the Sabres. The others: Peter Ciavaglia (five games) and Scott Thomas (39), both in the early '90s. Kaleta is from Angola, N.Y., and was scrambling to come up with about 100 tickets for last night's game to accommodate friends and family. There goes the raise he got with his callup. Those friends and family got to watch him sit in the penalty box after he got a misconduct in the second period circus.
SPECULATIONS: Maybe it was a bit of homer scorekeeping, but the Sabres outhit the Senators 13-6 in the first period ... Spotted in deep conversation in the press box in the first intermission: Sabres GM Darcy Regier and Washington's Larry Carriere ... Well, Emery's return didn't last that long, huh? Twenty-five minutes and 13 seconds and he was sitting again, kicked out for leaving the crease on his way to picking up two fighting majors on the same shift. Good on him, though. He didn't back down from Peters, despite giving up two inches and 45 lbs.
LEMME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT: Spezza takes his share of shots for being soft, but he made a nice play in the first, jumping down to be first man in the corner, pushing a Sabres D off the puck and setting up a chance for Neil ... It was a tough situation for Gerber having to go into the game like that, but he didn't look good on Clarke Macarthur's goal to make it 4-3, losing the puck at his feet.
JUST WONDERING: Does Biron read the scouting reports? Or the papers for that matter? Emery is known as a guy not shy to drop the gloves and he made short work of Biron.
PARTING SHOT: Former Senators captain Randy Cunneyworth is doing a great job developing players with the Sabres' American Hockey League farm team in Rochester. The Sabres keep losing guys to injury and guys keep coming up to replace them, the latest being Kaleta. Ruff was asked yesterday if he thought Cunneyworth was ripe for a job in the NHL. "I hope not here," quipped Ruff.