Kukla's Korner Hockey
Patrick Kane with his first, regula season hat trick.
Vladislav Namestnikov had a 'hatty' too for the Tampa Bay Lightning...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
A playoff spot was probably a little unrealistic this season for a rebuilding Buffalo Sabres team that’s definitely improving in many areas, just not in the standings.
So as the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaches, the Sabres will once again announce themselves as sellers.
"The approach is the same. We’re in 29th place. I do stress that we think we’ve improved greatly everywhere but in the standings," Sabres general manager Tim Murray said over the phone this week.
"This is the process. If I can acquire younger assets or future assets for some of our veterans, especially veterans on expiring contracts, I’m going to pursue that for sure."
That means pending unrestricted free agents will be in play, topped by the likes of winger Jamie McGinn, who could have value to a contender. Defenseman Mike Weber is a pending UFA who can add depth and toughness to a contending lineup....
But the biggest name I’ve heard from other teams that the Sabres would listen on is Tyler Ennis, who still has three more seasons left on his contract at a $4.6 million salary-cap hit.
read on with more topics...
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Last year’s 43rd game against the Buffalo Sabres sparked the Wild’s second-half turnaround and surge into the playoffs. In 82 games since Devan Dubnyk’s Jan. 15, 2015 debut, the Wild was 50-21-11 for 111 points, one point fewer than Washington and the Rangers for most in the NHL in that span.
The Wild better hope Tuesday’s 43rd game against the Sabres doesn’t trigger the opposite.
Facing the team with the second-fewest points in the NHL, the Wild spotted the Sabres a three-goal first-period lead and could not complete the uphill climb before falling 3-2 in just the latest disappointing home loss.
“The first period, the game was lost there right away,” center Erik Haula said. “That’s three games in a row now at home, and it’s unacceptable. It’s quite embarrassing.”
Also from Russo,
A week after missing out on Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher has his sights set on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin, multiple sources say.
The Wild is one of several teams having trade talks with Lightning GM Steve Yzerman. Other teams pursuing Drouin, according to league sources, include St. Louis, Anaheim, the Rangers, Islanders, Colorado, Winnipeg, Montreal and New Jersey.
The price for Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, is considered a young player of similar ilk. From the Wild, the Lightning has asked for defenseman Matt Dumba, sources say, a pending restricted free agent coming out of his entry-level contract.
Below, watch Mike Yeo post-game...
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Kane wanted out of Winnipeg last season and got his wish, leaving lots of bad feelings behind even though the pieces acquired for Kane and rearguard Zach Bogosian in the Feb. 11 trade by Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff – notably winger Drew Stafford and defenceman Tyler Myers – helped fuel Winnipeg’s charge to the post-season.
Kane scored 30 goals one season in a Jets uniform, but eventually he didn’t see Winnipeg as the place he wanted to be around the same time the hockey club decided it needed to move on. So what does he expect when he returns to play in a Buffalo Sabres uniform on Sunday?
“It was my first time being traded, so it will be a new experience for me going back and playing against a team I used to play for. It will be interesting and, uh, entertaining,” he said with a smile.
“I’ll probably be just as entertained as everyone else. I just have to wait to see what the entertainment is going to be. But I know there’s going to be a hockey game and I’ll be participating in that.”
True enough, and one between a Jets team that expected to be much further ahead of Buffalo in the standings than it is right now.
But there could well be a cringe factor, too, depending on how upset Winnipeg fans remain from Kane’s exit, how personally these Manitobans took this episode in their beloved team’s history.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The Pegulas now own two franchises going nowhere rather than just one. The Bills missed the playoffs for a 16th consecutive season with no end in sight. The Sabres entered Tuesday’s games in 26th place in the NHL. They were two points ahead of Anaheim, which had two games in hand and was one stop from the bottom.
OK, so the Sabres are in better shape now than they were two years ago. The same could be said about the Bills’ quarterback situation. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that neither could get much worse. Temporary improvement speaks to low standards more than it points to overall progress.
The cold truth: As it stands now, the Pegulas are in over their heads.
It sounds harsh, but my intention isn’t to tear down ownership while ignoring the Pegulas’ greater body of work. They single-handedly changed the landscape downtown. They pumped millions of dollars into our region, which boosted confidence among other investors and led them to do the same....
It’s all true but so is this: When it comes to owning professional sports franchises, they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s not their fault. Can you imagine a banker or lawyer – or sports columnist – trying to run a natural gas and oil company? The Pegulas had good intentions for both teams, but pro sports were foreign territory.
And now they need help.
from Joseph Popiolkowsk, Lou Michel and Tim Graham of the Buffalo News,
Evander Kane, a Buffalo Sabres left winger, is the subject of a sex offense investigation by Buffalo police for an incident that allegedly occurred Sunday morning in a downtown hotel room near First Niagara Center, three police sources have told The Buffalo News.
Kane has not been charged with any crime, and law enforcement officials would confirm only that there is an ongoing investigation by officers from the department’s Sex Offense Squad.
“We have an investigation ongoing,” a Buffalo police source said. “We are not naming the suspect, and we do not expect it to be resolved in the very near future.”
Another law enforcement source said the woman was having “memory issues.”
added 6:33pm, via Tim Graham tweets,
Statement from Sabres: "We take the allegation made today against Evander Kane very seriously. We are gathering facts ..."
... "been in touch with the NHL and Evander's representatives. Until we have more information we will not have any additional comment."
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
Here’s what you need to know about the Ducks’ 3-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night:
THE GAME IN 140 CHARACTERS OR FEWER
- It is becoming a well-worn script. A lot of can’t is in the Ducks’ game right now, especially in the offensive end. Goals remain scarce.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
“Well, I’ve got to believe it is but I don’t know. We try to not let it. And we talk about the positive things that you can do all the time. Quite frankly, when you’re best players aren’t your best players, you’re not going to win games. And that’s the bottom line. On a too consistent basis, our best players aren’t our best players.”
- Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, on whether the lack of offense is in their heads...
You wonder how much longer Ducks GM Bob Murray is able to stomach the utter lack of offense. But with so many unproductive players committed to long-term deals that other teams are probably unwilling to take on at this point, there isn’t a whole lot he can do in terms of a major trade. It means that the seat under Coach Bruce Boudreau could be heating up once again.
Watch the game highlights below...
added 8:52am, Bruce Boudreau post-game is below too...
"Personally, it's been OK, I'm not where I want to be yet, and our team is not where we want to be. I've got to be a lot better. There's a lot more I need to work on and get better at. I don't want to blame it on the fact that I'm adjusting to life and the pace and everything like that because I think I've adjusted pretty well. I need to be more consistent and play my best every time I touch the ice."
-Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres. Read more on Eichel from Joe McDonald of ESPN.
via John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Colaiacovo was still in the hospital when the Sabres left Bridgestone Arena.
"Carlo's doing OK," coach Dan Bylsma said. "He got the cross-check to the throat. He did go to the hospital, is there now. I guess they're saying he's got a dented trachea right now but OK.
"I don't think there was intent there to maliciously cross-check, but they kind of lose the puck, turn and his stick is right at that level and delivers a blow. When you look at it, it's a pretty stiff cross-check to Carlo's neck."
Two more videos below...
from Scott Burnside of ESPN.
Some frustrating times for the Buffalo Sabres, who are trying to hang with the playoff kids in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres dropped another close on Monday night, 2-1 to the St. Louis Blues, a game that was notable for a couple of reasons.
First, the Sabres are now winless (0-3-2) in their past five games. Unlike the past couple of seasons, though, the Sabres are keeping it close and have allowed just 12 goals over that stretch against quality opponents, including the Blues twice, the San Jose Sharks, and the Dallas Stars twice. The offense has gone soft, though, and the slide has coincided with a six-game goal drought for standout rookie Jack Eichel, who has just one assist during that span.
It's also worth noting that the Edmonton Oilers, without the services of No. 1 overall pick Connor McDavid, lost a tight one last night, too, in a 1-0 defeat by a very good Washington Capitals team. The Oilers have won just two of their past eight games and are last in the NHL. It's not too early to say that as Eichel goes, so go the Sabres, or to say the same about the Oilers and McDavid.
more on both teams from the ESPN hockey guys...
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