Two teams on the edge of playoff contention played an OT thriller on Thursday night, as the Carolina Hurricanes won on the road against the Sabres, 6-5, in a game that was extremely fun to watch for anyone not aligned with Buffalo.
This was Buffalo’s eighth time in ten games giving up four goals or more, and this home loss in particular—coming against a team they’re directly battling for a wild card spot—would have been especially annoying for its players. Sam Reinhart, one of the Sabres’ top forwards, let it out as much as a repressed hockey player can in his postgame remarks:
“Too many mistakes. We can’t expect to win hockey games, 6-5, 7-6,” Reinhart said. “We need more from our goalies and we need it from the start of hockey games. It’s frustrating.”
He went on to subtly call out more than just the goaltenders, adding, “We need more fight from the start from a lot of people in this room,” while also saying that the team’s talented offensive players need to do more work on the defensive end.
But it was the goalie comments that got the most play Thursday night, because hockey players give so few interesting quotes that saying anything original to reporters is like dropping a $100 bill in Times Square, but also partially because they didn’t make a whole lot of sense. The Sabres have certainly had a goals-against problem of late, and the puck-stopping duo of Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark haven’t exactly helped back there, but a lot of the blame lies with the poor defense of the skaters in front of them. The Hurricanes had several wide-open tap-ins that came out of lazy Buffalo blunders during their win on Thursday, and particularly in a loss against the Blackhawks last Friday, it felt like Chicago could force turnovers and get odd-man rushes at will. It was definitely a controversial move by Reinhart to call out the goalies specifically, when the team’s faults lie with many different players.
Upon realizing that he said something interesting, Reinhart clarified and apologized. Using the phrase “lost in translation”—apparently from Canadian?—multiple times, Reinhart backtracked on Friday and claimed he misspoke when talking about the goalies. Instead of “We need more from our goalies,” Reinhart says he meant to say, “We need more for our goalies,” referring to himself and his fellow forwards. He also made sure to call himself “boring,” because that’s an obligatory self-descriptor when you play hockey for a living and don’t want everyone to hate you.
I’m inclined to believe Reinhart, since “for our goalies” definitely makes a lot more sense in context. Hopefully he’s learned his lesson and will give no answers other than, “We just need to, you know, play our game and execute,” for the rest of the season.