Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Three months after nobody wanted him, with the NHL trade deadline approaching, Kane’s value has reached an all-time high. He’s performing like the dominant player Tim Murray envisioned when he traded for him two years ago. Rest assured several teams would take him off the Sabres’ hands before Wednesday....
The disparity between the Sabres’ demands and bids they receive is likely too wide to complete a deal, but you never know. Murray holds Kane in high regard after making him the central figure in the blockbuster to acquire him from Winnipeg. But it also would be a disservice to the Sabres for him to overvalue Kane without considering all variables.
Murray should listen to offers. Wayne Gretzky was traded in 1988 after leading the Oilers to their fourth Stanley Cup in five years. It’s not as if Kane is untouchable. The same is true for any player, including Jack Eichel. If Murray can improve his team for the foreseeable future, he should pull the trigger. It makes for a tricky situation.
Kane has scored 21 goals over the past 36 games, including 20 at even strength. He’s been one of the NHL’s best forwards in recent months. Effort is not an issue. The guy plays hard even when he’s not playing well. Kane’s simple style and knack for finding soft spots in defensive coverage complements Eichel and fills a need.
“It’s surprising, they have a lot of great players over there and a good team. You just see, I guess, a lot of bad bounces. I haven’t watched them too much, but to see them that low in the standings, it’s surprising. I think those years happen. I don’t know enough of what’s going on. It’s unfortunate for them.”
-Ryan O'Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres on his former team, the Coiorado Avalanche. Terry Frei of the Denver Post has more from O'Reilly.
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Of his altercation with Lehner, which occurred after the goalie hooked Burrows, who responded with a shove, the veteran Canuck said: “I didn’t think it was that much. I know there’s an unwritten rule that you don’t fight a goalie. I was kind of backing up in a defensive position, asking what he was doing. He looked pretty angry; he’s a big man. Then he gave me a good shot, and then I saw a six-foot-five defenceman charging at me, not looking too happy.”
more on Vanvouver's 4-2 win over Buffalo...
from Brayton J. Wilson of WGR 550,
"I still think there's a little bit of a wait and see attitude [in Buffalo]," ESPN's Craig Custance said with Howard Simon and Jeremy White on Friday morning. "I'm not sure if anyone is sure of what direction the Sabres are going to go. They're in the same position as a lot of teams are, especially in the [Eastern Conference]. You wanna give your team as much of a chance heading into the deadline to actually make a little bit of a run and make things interesting."
Perhaps the most intriguing name the Sabres have on the trading block is forward Evander Kane.
Kane, 25, has set himself up to put up some productive numbers by the season's end. In 43 games this season, Kane already has 16 goals and is on pace to finish the season with 26 goals.
While the Sabres acquired Kane from the Winnipeg Jets two years ago, his name has been on the trade market for quite some time now.
"His name has been out there for quite some time," TSN's Darren Dreger said with Andrew Peters and Martin Biron on The Instigators on Friday. "It depends on when you get to [Sabres general manager] Tim Murray as to whether or not he's legitimately in play. I think that applies right now."
Kane has one year remaining on his contract after this season, and carries an average annual value of $5.25 million.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Tim Murray and Terry Pegula stood in the press box and said the puck went in. Ryan O’Reilly, Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Ristolainen crowded around a TV outside the dressing room and watched the puck hop across the goal line. Buffalo’s coaches looked at numerous angles from their office and saw multiple pucks go in.
The Sabres know what the replays showed. What they knew and what they could prove were two different things.
The only conclusive evidence was they lost a game they felt they won and went into the All-Star break feeling angry and cheated.
“Frustrating more than anything that the game’s not decided by the players,” center Jack Eichel said after Thursday’s crazy 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars.
Watch the play below...
Possibly the save of the year too. The save was in OT and the video also contains the game winning OT goal by Buffalo.
Below, Carey Price made two key saves near the end of regulation to force OT.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
The Leafs are already in a playoff spot -- and with so many games in hand they're likely the second-best team in the Atlantic Division. The Sabres hit town off a solid win over Dallas but still last in the division.
Asking Babcock how surprised he was to have accelerated past the Sabres made him recoil after the morning skate.
"I never said that, you just said that right?" Babcock said. "Sometimes when you ask those questions then the next thing that comes out in the media is like I said that. Just so we know, I did not say that."
The room broke up because Babcock made sure to emphasize each of the last four words. He then proceeded to explain himself further.
"To tell you the truth, I don't spend a whole lot of time concerning myself on the other teams. We're building our own product here. We have a lot of work to do. I tried to say that yesterday. I told our players the same thing. We're 41 games in. Let's just try to get better every day. We do that, we have a chance to be a good team moving ahead. That's what we're trying to do."
Now obviously, the biggest thing in the Leafs favor is they tanked for half a season (Garrett Sparks in goal, anyone?) and were lucky enough to win the draft lottery to take Auston Matthews. The Sabres put together two of the worst seasons back-to-back in recent NHL history and didn't get the little ping pong ball bounce either time.
Jack Eichel is a terrific young player. But he's no Matthews. No shame in that. But it's the reality.
Gave up 3 goals in a little over 9 minutes in the 2nd period.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Maybe in their minds, the Rangers were partying the night away shirtless in Miami at the Bieber Bash.
Yeah, that must be it.
Because, honestly, there is no acceptable explanation for the Blueshirts’ collective forfeiture of Tuesday’s match against the 28th-overall club from Buffalo at the Garden by the afterthought score of 4-1.
They stayed on the stool, threw in the towel, pleaded nolo contendre. They couldn’t make a play, wouldn’t or couldn’t move their feet, couldn’t complete a pass, couldn’t construct more than a shift or two of coherence.
And the thing is, a game like this just a couple of weeks removed from separate yet almost equally odious performances in drubbings by the Penguins and Wild is enough to make you question the underpinnings, if not the validity, of this 26-13-1 enterprise.
The game highlights are below...
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Jack Eichel, all of 20 years old, has clearly had enough with the morose brand of hockey this team is playing almost every game.
After a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in TD Garden that wasn't nearly as close as the score might say, a red-faced Eichel went berserk. He fired some pieces of equipment into his duffel bag, pounded others on his locker seat and drove the bag hard into the rubberized floor at one point.
There were also some choice four-letter words spliced into the outburst of Eichel, who stormed out of the room without speaking to reporters even as a team PR official inquired if he would do so. Normal media practice in such spots might be to skewer a player -- especially such a young one -- for forsaking his league-mandated obligations, win or lose.
But this case is an exception. This is the face of the franchise clearly reaching his breaking point after a loss to his hometown team. And his actions spoke louder than any quote he could give reporters on this day.
Told about Eichel's tantrum, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma nodded over the anger described.
"I think every one of us should be," Bylsma said. "We know the situation we're in and we know how desperate we are at this point in the season to win hockey games. We should all find that desperation, that urgency and that anger."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org