After being scratched and called out by coach Ted Nolan, Buffalo winger Chris Stewart told media they could ask Brandon Prust and Milan Lucic if they think he's, "soft." On Thursday, Stewart scrapped with Calgary Flames tough guy Brandon Bollig.
Amid rumors that Chris Stewart and the Buffalo Sabres are in their last days together, it appears the big bodied forward and coach Ted Nolan aren’t seeing eye-to-eye.
On Tuesday, the 27-year-old forward was scratched for the Sabres game against the Los Angeles Kings. When asked about removing Stewart from the lineup, Nolan said the Sabres winger hasn’t been playing the way the team needs, and that, “he’s a big, powerful forward, but powerful forwards can’t be playing a soft game.”
Stewart, who avoided media on the day he was scratched, spoke on Wednesday and you could say he took exception to the comments of his coach.
“I don’t think I’m a soft player,” Stewart told media on Wednesday. “You can ask (Brandon) Prust, you can ask (Milan) Lucic how soft I am.”
Stewart, of course, is referring to bouts he had earlier this season with the Canadiens’ Prust and Bruins’ Lucic. The fights, two solid tilts with players known for their pugilistic prowess, came nearly a month apart, and maybe Stewart knew exactly what his coach wanted to see when he returned to the lineup on Thursday night.
Back in the lineup on Thursday as the Calgary Flames strolled into Buffalo to take on the Sabres, Stewart and Flames tough guy Brandon Bollig dropped the gloves midway through the second period:
The fight was the most notable part of Stewart’s night, however, as he remains on pace for the worst campaign of his seven NHL seasons. With only three goals and four points in 28 games, Stewart is a far cry from the near 30-goal scorer he was earlier in his career.
Stewart’s performance won’t help in getting him moved out of Buffalo, but something will have to give if the relationship between Nolan and Stewart is strained going forward.