Nathan Gerbe's season debut didn't go as well as he might have liked.
The Sabres' forward returned to Buffalo's lineup on Thursday after spending the offseason recovering from spinal surgery, but the debut of the shortest player in the National Hockey League didn't come without incident.
Tempers flared when Carolina Hurricanes winger Drayson Bowman slammed the 5'5" skater into the boards from behind when Gerbe was unable to defend himself from the impact. Gerbe, who notched 25 points last season, suffered neck and back injuries for which he underwent procedures to correct this past summer from a very similar hit in 2011.
After the whistle, an understandably heated Gerbe raced to the scrum but was bizarrely manhandled by a referee who pushed the forward into the glass by forcefully grabbing his jersey. You can very well bet that the official won't be pulling the same move on Zdeno Chara anytime soon.
Bowman was whistled for boarding and sent to the box.
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