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Category: Buffalo-Sabres

This Is Not A Playoff Push By The Buffalo Sabres

from Mike Harrnington of the Buffalo News,

Unless something wholly unexpected happens in the next few weeks, it's readily apparent this club isn't going to the playoffs for the eighth straight season.

Coach Phil Housley said Friday night his team played "soft" and no one in KeyBank Center would disagree. Called out by their coach after a putrid loss to the New York Rangers, the response the Sabres would offer was the overriding theme of Sunday's game in Prudential Center.

Well, the Sabres made it clear what they're made of.

Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Devils was hardly a disgraceful performance. The Sabres had a 35-24 advantage in shots on goal and had 21 more attempts. They had the puck a lot. They just didn't do enough with it. They didn't defend at key times either.

While the standings show the Sabres are six points out of a playoff spot with 24 games left, the reality paints a much harsher picture. It's widely known that it's two months and counting since the Sabres have won a measly two games in a row.

But get this: Since Jan. 1, the Sabres are 7-10-1 -- and tied with Ottawa for the fewest number of points in the Eastern Conference. Over that stretch, they're 22nd in the NHL in goals for (52) and 23rd in goals against (66).

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Hockey Topics Galore

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

- This just in: After consultation with Senator Kamala Harris’ office, the Kings have decided to trade Ilya Kovalchuk.

What on earth to make of that statement regarding playoff scheduling the Islanders released in a late Friday afternoon news dump, presumably in coordination with the NHL?

What league voluntarily calls attention to the fact the arena in which one of its franchises is playing 20 home games this year and could play all 41 for the next couple of seasons during the Belmont construction process, “does not qualify as an NHL major league facility?”...

- Would be no surprise if the Islanders, with a bushel-full of futures run by a man who always believes in the present (oh my, I am almost beginning to sound like Lou Lamoriello), are in on Artemi Panarin, Mark Stone and perhaps even Mike Hoffman.

Wonder if Lamoriello is up for a reunion with Kovalchuk, who has two years at $6.25 million remaining on the free agent contract he signed with the Kings last summer when management operated under the delusion the team would be a contender....

- If one needed greater evidence why the NHL should never expand in any way to allow four additional teams into the playoffs (or the play-ins), then the Sabres are The People’s Exhibit A.

Because if 10 teams from each conference made the playoffs, the Sabres, who have not won consecutive games in more than two months, would currently be a postseason team despite winning fewer than half their games (28 of 57) following Friday night’s embarrassing performance in losing to the Rangers....

more on each of the above topics plus a few more...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Evening Line- Sam Reinhart

Buffalo lost 6-5 to Carolina in OT, game highlights are below.


added 1:15pm on 2/8/19,


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Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sam+reinhart

Help Needed In Buffalo

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

It's time for the Sabres to take some drastic measures. Right now.

They are a broken team, probably lucky that they're only three points out of the playoffs. A quick winning streak can get them right where they want to be, but they haven't won as many as two games in a row in nearly two months.

Do you get the feeling some big run is coming soon? Me either.

The sad and stark realization in the rear-view mirror is the 10-game winning streak that stood the town on its ear in November really was, in fact, one of the luckiest runs in recent NHL history.

This corner has bucked that viewpoint for a long time. The thinking was you just can't win that many games with a rabbit's foot, even if nine of the victories were by a single goal and seven game after regulation. That many close wins in a row is a trend, a group of players understanding the moment and making big plays at the right times.

Welp, I was wrong. This team has gone soft before our very eyes.


Below, watch the highlights from Buffalo's 7-3 home loss to the Blackhawks.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink

What The Buffalo Sabres Need To Do

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

This is a franchise with a roster that features nine first-round draft choices, including six taken by the Sabres. It's Year Four for Jack Eichel, five years since Sam Reinhart was drafted, six years since Rasmus Ristolainen was taken. You have a career year going for Jeff Skinner, whom you assume would want to re-sign but nothing is certain in that area.

It's clearly incumbent on General Manager Jason Botterill to make some moves here. Shore up the defense. Shore up the second line. Get C.J. Smith back in the NHL and tell Phil Housley to stop using him on the fourth line. Is Alex Nylander ever going to contribute in the NHL? The Sabres have spent a whole season developing Tage Thompson in the NHL, a bizarre strategy, while their former No. 8 overall pick continues to lag in the AHL.

Sure seems like another example of Botterill de-emphasizing one of Tim Murray's players while pushing one of the guys he traded Ryan O'Reilly to get. In his defense, Nylander  has hardly been a world beater in the AHL but how much longer do we have to watch Vladimir Sobotka contribute almost nothing on a nightly basis before Botterill & Co. try somebody else?

One ridiculous argument you'll hear in response is "they can't win the Stanley Cup this year so why do anything?" News flash here: Only perhaps seven or eight of the 31 teams probably have a legit chance to win the Cup. Does that mean everyone else should just go into a shell and not try to improve?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Thatcher Demko The Star In Vancouver’s Win Over Buffalo

from Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet,

A single credit short of a psychology degree, Thatcher Demko was told that he is still undefeated in the National Hockey League. The goalie-academic then pivoted in the Vancouver Canucks’ dressing room and touched the faux wood panelling behind him.

“Knock on wood,” he said. “Hopefully I play a couple more.”

Ah, so the psychologist, the man of the brain, is superstitious?

“No, not anymore,” he said. “I was very superstitious in college. But not in pro.”

Well, whatever he’s got going for him worked magnificently on Friday night when the 22-year-old NHL rookie made 36 saves in his first start this season and was easily the best Canuck when Vancouver beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 despite being out-skated and outplayed.

Including his free one-game trial last March during a fact-finding mission from the minors, the former Boston College star is now 2-0 as an NHL goalie.


The game highlights are below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: thatcher+demko

Big Road Win For The Buffalo Sabres

from Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News,

Jack Eichel would not be denied. His Buffalo Sabres teammates felt the same way from puck drop Wednesday night in Scotiabank Saddledome.

With the puck on the blade of his stick and the game on the line, Eichel passed over a line change and skated slowly through the neutral zone. He then picked up his pace into the right faceoff circle and fired a wrist shot over David Rittich's shoulder.

That goal 1:10 into overtime gave the Sabres a 4-3 win over the Western Conference's top team, the Calgary Flames, and snapped a three-game losing streak. Eichel's 16th goal of the season drew Buffalo to within two points of the second wild-card playoff spot, but it meant so much more to all involved on the visitors' side.

After allowing seven goals two days earlier and winning only six of their previous 21 games, the Sabres realized the type of performance it will take for them to beat the NHL's best in the season's second half.

"We really had the mindset we were going to win no matter what," Eichel said. "When that’s going down the bench and the whole team is feeling that way it’s a good feeling. It definitely helps you."


Watch the game highlights below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Josh Gorges Announces His Retirement

TORONTO (JAN. 14, 2019) – Josh Gorges has announced his retirement today from the National Hockey League (NHL) following 13 seasons.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: josh+gorges

How Much Would You Pay Jeff Skinner?

from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic,

From Mark Stone and Matt Duchene to Artemi Panarin, Jeff Skinner and Wayne Simmonds, high-profile, pending UFAs have conversations looming ahead of the Feb. 25 trade deadline.

Sabres GM Jason Botterill and veteran agent Don Meehan of Newport Sports have traded messages this week trying to firm up when both sides can get going on Skinner, who is having a monster year after being acquired from Carolina....

“He’s an interesting case because he’s been previously inconsistent,’’ said one rival agent obviously not involved in it.

Skinner is on pace for his first 50-goal season after putting up 24 last year in Carolina. He had 37 goals two years ago after putting up 28 the year before that and 18 goals the season before that....

Funny what varying responses I got on Skinner from other agents around the league. One agent Tuesday suggested $8 million a year made sense. Another said $10-million plus.

Said yet another agent: “Pay him ahead of Evander Kane ($7 million) but behind Tyler Seguin ($9.85 million).’’

more (paid subscription) plus more on other UFAs...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jeff+skinner

A Health Update On Rick Jeanneret

BUFFALO, N.Y. (December 23, 2018) --- Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret, who was hospitalized at Buffalo General Medical Center last night, is resting and doing well. On behalf of Rick and his family, we’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. Rick looks forward to being back in the booth after the break.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rick+jeanneret

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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