Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
If the Senators can pry a guy out of Buffalo to play alongside Jason Spezza, Matt Moulson should be their second choice.
Their primary focus needs to be on Steve Ott.
The 31-year old Sabres captain is tough, he fights, he's gritty and, we are told, an "old school" type of leader.
He's versatile, comfortable as a winger or centre. He's good in the faceoff circles. He's defensively responsible, and has a decent touch around the net.
from Neil Greenberg of Capitals Insider,
During even-strength, Washington netminders have stopped 1,369 of the 1,485 shots they have faced (0.922 save percentage). Miller has posted a 0.928 save percentage in those same circumstances. So if Miller gave the same performance for Washington as he did in Buffalo for all their previous games, the Capitals would have seen one fewer even-strength goal against every four games.
On the penalty kill, Washington netminders posted a 0.888 save percentage while Miller provided Buffalo with 0.905. That difference would be one goal against every 17 games.
The net result? If Miller plays the same percentage of games in Washington as he has for Buffalo we can expect him to start 18 of the 26 remaining games. That would mean between four and six fewer goals against – perhaps a win or two more than the current crop of Capitals’ netminders. But at what cost?
Buffalo is not going to give Miller away, so assets would have to be sacrificed. Considering Buffalo is in rebuilding mode, that would likely include a draft pick and/or a prospect. And it would have to include moving a couple of roster players. According to Capgeek, Washington can add a contract with an average annual value of just $199,469. Ryan Miller carries a cap hit of $6,250,000, meaning others would have to go. With the blueline corp thin in terms of talent I would expect one of the goalies and a forward. But which ones?
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
- There has been so much focus on Matt Moulson that you forget the Buffalo Sabres have a long list of pending UFAs, and another forward generating lots of interest is Steve Ott.
"Perhaps more than Moulson," said one NHL team executive on Tuesday.
Ott is the kind of grinding center that playoff-bound teams would love to add and it sounds like he’s going to be moved before March 5.
- ...So I suspect any moves you see the Canucks make from here on in will have a bigger-picture feel, the organization realizing it is no longer among the elite clubs in the league after knocking at the door for a half decade, understanding that it needs to inject more youth into its lineup to remain on the right track.
So, forget any trades for a rental player to help get a few more wins this season. While the Canucks still hope to get healthy and win a round or two this season, management's focus between now and the March 5 trade deadline, but probably especially in the offseason will be move some veteran bodies out the door and get a bit younger. It's the smart thing to do.
The Sedin twins aren't going anywhere, but I would surmise that next to them over the next year, almost any other veteran player could be moved if it's a deal that makes sense for the Canucks.
more on the Canucks and other topics too...
via the Situation Room Blog,
At 9:35 of the third period in the Oilers/Sabres game, the Situation Room initiated a video review because the puck entered the Edmonton net. The referee informed the Situation Room that he was in the process of blowing his whistle to stop play before the puck crossed the goal line. According to Rule 78.5, apparent goals shall be disallowed "when the Referee deems the play has been stopped, even if he had not physically had the opportunity to stop play by blowing his whistle." This is not a reviewable play therefore the referee's call on the ice stands - no goal Buffalo.
from John Vogl of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
Matt Moulson, one of the Sabres' top scorers and trade subjects, is likely out until after the Olympic break with an upper-body injury.
"He took a pretty good bang last night, so it looks possibly that he’ll be out till after the Olympic break," Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon. "I think we only have four or five games left, so it could be in the last part of it, but more than likely after the Olympic break."
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
... first a look at an unnecessary high hit from Buffalo defenseman Mike Weber on Nicklas Backstrom that came in the final minute of regulation.
Backstrom is in the neutral zone and circles back toward the Capitals’ bench for a line change when Weber sticks his right elbow out and clips the center in the head. It’s a dangerous hit under any circumstances and also eerily familiar to when Rene Bourque elbowed Backstrom back in January 2012 – a play that sidelined Washington’s top center for 40 games with a concussion.
Backstrom took one more shift in the game, in overtime, and spoke with reporters afterward. The 26-year-old pivot is one of the more soft-spoken players on the team, but when he’s upset it comes across rather clearly and that was the case in the visitors’ dressing room at First Niagara Arena.
“I was going for a change, that’s the only thing I know,” Backstrom said. “You saw the hit yourself, make your own judgment if it belongs in this league or not.”
more and watch the hit below...
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
As speculation intensifies over the future of Ryan Miller, there’s one thing that’s clear to me: it makes more sense for new Sabres GM Tim Murray to trade him sooner than later. The closer we get to the NHL’s March 5 trade deadline, the better the chance Buffalo gets pennies (or maybe not even a single penny) on the dollar for the franchise’s most important player of the past decade. And the potential for that happening should keep Murray awake 24/7 until Miller is an ex-Sabre.
Let’s get to the “we knows” pertinent to Miller’s situation: We know there are GMs who prefer to act well in advance of the deadline and head off the temptation to get in a bidding war against (a) their counterparts; and (b) the clock itself. We know the goaltender market is a buyer’s market at present. And we know Miller is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year.
Do any of those factors suggest to you that Murray would be best served to bide his time and let the trade partners come to him? They shouldn’t.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
You watch Ville Leino play and too often nothing happens. It’s like that night after night. It’s obviously too much money to pay for a whole lot of nothing. It’s really almost hard to believe.
Is Leino the worst free agent signing in Buffalo sports history? He’s easily the Sabres’ version of Derrick Dockery, the big lineman who ended up making about $19 million from the Bills before they released him in 2009 after just two years of the seven-year, $49 million colossus he signed in 2007.
The six-year, $27-million contract Leino signed on July 1, 2011 is a cautionary tale for the Sabres and, frankly, for all NHL teams. He essentially hit the big payday because of one decent season, one strong playoff run and one key overtime goal.
Daren Millard, Greg Millen and Mark Spector of Sportsnet discuss if the Buffalo Sabres will keep or trade Matt Moulson by the trade deadline.
If they do move him, the panel discusses a few options for his destination.
Buffalo TV showed an overhead replay of the goal and which made it look like the puck never went in the net.
But this view shows the twine on the top of the net bulges, so looks like a good goal to me, which it was.
added 9:21pm, Watch the goal from the overhead below...
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.
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