6 Biggest Goons In Buffalo Sabres’ History
Buffalo Sabres: 6 Biggest Goons In Team's History
The Buffalo Sabres are not usually associated with having the biggest or best fighters in the history of the NHL. But throughout the history of the team, there have been plenty of players who have added a little grit to the Sabres' game and brought the fans to their feet at the same time. The Sabres have done their best to try and go toe-to-toe with the toughest teams in the league, but Buffalo has always managed to come up a little short when it came to the truly heavy hitters in the world of ice hockey fighting.
The fans in Buffalo have developed a strong relationship with their NHL franchise, and along with that emotional attachment comes a fond recollection of the players who would put it all on the line just to try and give the Sabres an added toughness that the team needed to compete. In the end, the guys that would come just to fight were called “goons.” In some NHL cities, the word “goon” has come to mean a player that earns his paycheck doing something that no other player wants to do. In Buffalo, the goon has become a player that usually has the biggest heart and the heaviest hands.
6. Dave Schultz
Dave Schultz could be considered the first famous goon in the history of the NHL. He started his career with the Philadelphia Flyers, where he pounded his way to two Stanley Cup victories. The very first time the Flyers won the Stanley Cup, was in a series against the Buffalo Sabres at the end of the 1974-75 season.
Schultz moved on to play with the Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins before finishing his career, oddly enough, with the Sabres. Schultz only played two seasons in Buffalo, but he makes this list because he remains the most famous goon that the Sabres have ever had.
5. Matthew Barnaby
It's almost not fair to call Matthew Barnaby a goon, because he spent most of his career perfecting his skills as a pest. But unlike other pests who made a living aggravating the opposition and drawing them into penalties while hiding behind the team’s big guys, Barnaby had no problems dropping the gloves and going at it. He was very much like Muhammad Ali in that he would persistently taunt his fighting opponent with callous remarks and strange facial expressions. Barnaby was on the ice for one reason, and that reason was to cause the opposition problems. He had no problem fulfilling his duties.
4. Andrew Peters
If you were to meet Andrew Peters on the street, you would think that he was anything but a professional hockey goon. Peters was, and is, a really nice guy that loves to meet new people and works hard as an alumni ambassador for the Buffalo Sabres. But when Peters was on the ice, his job was to pound the opposition’s big fighter and get his team riled up. Peters was not a good skater and he had no ability whatsoever to put the puck in the net. His only skill was fighting, but he managed to turn that one skill into a career that made him one of the most beloved goons in Sabres’ history.
3. John Scott
When Lindy Ruff and Ron Rolston coached the Buffalo Sabres, it was no secret why John Scott was on the ice. Scott was put on the ice to beat up the opponent and put a fire under the Sabres. But when Ted Nolan came to town, Scott stopped fighting. The Toronto Maple Leafs in particular have been working hard to get Scott to drop the gloves, but he refuses to go.
Scott will never be a scoring machine, but Nolan is desperately trying to find a role for the big guy on the Sabres’ roster that does not involve the word “goon.”
2. Larry Playfair
From 1978-85, defenseman Larry Playfair roamed the Buffalo Sabres’ blue line. His job was to play defense, and he was not bad at performing his defensive duties. But the thing that caused other players to take notice of Playfair was his fierce ability to fight. The Sabres would refuse to refer to Playfair as a goon, because he was a starting defenseman in the lineup. But when things got ugly and the Sabres needed to show that they were not going to be pushed around, they would always send Playfair onto the ice and he would set the opposition straight.
1. Rob Ray
There are plenty of Buffalo Sabres alumni who command respect no matter where they go in Western New York. But few alumni are more revered by fans that Rob Ray. His charitable work within the community, which he started in his playing days and continues to this day, has made him a legend with the fans in Buffalo. Ray’s ability to execute his duties as the team’s enforcer with no apprehension and no apologies earned him a measure of respect that he retains to this day. He is loved by the fans and he remains a stalwart of the Buffalo community.