Panthers' head coach Bob Boughner remembers Buffalo fondly

February 1, 2018

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Florida head coach Bob Boughner was a player that Ted Nolan loved. The former Sabre head coach went into John Muckler’s office and convinced him to bring the tough defenseman to Buffalo. That was in 1996 and as it turned out, it was Florida that traded him here. Boughner played 2.5 seasons in Buffalo accumulating 177 games. In 1998, he was claimed in the expansion draft by Nashville. Boughner appreciated what Nolan did for him, “He stuck his foot out for me and brought me in here and he gave me that first chance which I’ll always be thankful for.”

When Boughner arrived, he had never played in the NHL, but he had put in five years in the minors. The defenseman was back here in November as a head coach and Boughner enjoyed it, “It’s always great coming back here. There are a lot of special memories for me, you know still going by where the Aud used to be and coming into here, I mean somebody asked me what the name of the rink was and I keep saying ‘The Marine Midland,’ but I loved it, I loved playing here.”

When Boughner was here he played with some of the biggest characters in Sabres history, Rob Ray, Brad May and Matt Barnaby. Boughner just laughed thinking back to it, “There was never a dull moment, I mean we gave the fans a pretty good atmosphere to come and watch and I know there wasn’t a lot of teams that liked playing us, but we battled hard. We were younger guys back then and we had an identity, that’s for sure.”

Boughner conceded that Ray and Barnaby were some of the best trash talkers in the National Hockey League.

There were some good memories with that group that including winning the Eastern Division in 1997. That was also the year that Derek Plante scored in overtime during game seven to eliminate Ottawa. Boughner looked back fondly at those teams, “Some of the memories are closing the Aud and taking down the banners and come in here and put the banners back up, I mean that was special.

“For me I always remember my first game in Boston and coming back here and playing in the Aud, but we went on some good playoff runs, plus the 5-on-5 brawls against Philly every time we played them, so you don’t see that anymore.”

Boughner’s Panthers are 5th in the Atlantic Division, nine points in front of Buffalo.

Florida has lost three of four games and four out of six.

Roberto Luongo has missed 21 games due to a lower body injury. Luongo’s backup, James Reimer has been out two games with a lower body problem. That’s left Harri Sateri. Sateri is from Finland and was a 2008 fourth round pick of San Jose. The 28-year-old’s only NHL action has been the five games this season with Florida. He’s 1-3-0 with a 3.75 goals against and .899 save percentage.

Former Sabre Jamie McGinn missed the last game in Long Island with an upper body injury. In 44 games McGinn has six goals and eight assists for 14 points.

Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Panthers with 48 points in 48 games. Huberdeau has eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in his last 14 games.

In their last 17 games against Buffalo, Florida is 13-3-1.

Vincent Trocheck has three goals and six assists for nine points in seven games.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog at 6:00 for the pregame, live from 716 when you’ll hear more from Boughner as well as Phil Housley and Chad Johnson.