Kukla's Korner Hockey
Here's another "thumb down", and I'm pointing this one at myself, and at my ongoing inability to understand the Tyler Myers trade rumours. I usually begin by wondering why the last-place Buffalo Sabres would want to move a 25-year-old former Calder Trophy-winning defenceman when he's one of the few players on the current roster who fits a rebuilding plan. There's an answer for that, of course. Myers hasn't come close to the level of play he showed in his rookie year.
Okay, then I'm left to wonder why there is such apparent interest in his services from teams that are trying to win the Stanley Cup. And that answer includes the theory that a change of scenery and a strong team around him will do Myers a world of good.
I wish I could say the Sabres would be nuts to deal him, or that his new team would be nuts to acquire him--all I can say is it'll be one or the other if Myers finds himself in a new uniform by March 2.
-Dave Hodge of TSN where you can read another "thumb down" to all involoved with Evander Kane.
from John Vogel of the Buffalo News,
One player Nolan definitely wants is defenseman Tyler Myers.
“He’s one of the bright spots on this team,” Nolan said in Bell Centre. “When you go through a rebuilding and restocking of the organization, some of the pieces you keep and you surround them. Tyler Myers is one of those guys you build your team around.
“Very rarely do you see a 6-foot-8 guy who can skate like a 5-foot-8 guy. He’s been tremendous for us all season long.”
Myers knows he’s a popular guy. His name comes up in nearly every conversation about trades. With less than a month until the March 2 trade deadline, there have been a lot more conversations.
“It’s been going on the entire year so I’ve gotten pretty used to it,” Myers said. “Just because it’s closer to the deadline, it’s not going to change anything for me.
“I’ve seen enough in the media to know that Tim’s not shopping me,” he said of Sabres General Manager Tim Murray, “but I think every player should understand for the right price I’m sure anything can happen. Until that time comes, if it ever comes, the focus is to play as well as I can for this team.”
from Mike Johnston of the Buffalo News,
With the March 2 NHL trade deadline fast approaching, Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray says the market might not be as busy as people think.
“It’s been quiet, to be frank. It’s been very, very quiet. We’re fairly close to the deadline and I didn’t expect it,” Murray told Buffalo radio station WGR 550 Wednesday. “I don’t expect every team to be active, but there usually are a small amount of teams that don’t wait for the deadline, that like to get it done before the deadline…It has, to me, been surprisingly quiet. People aren’t even kicking tires.”
The Sabres are currently dead last in the NHL standings and are expected to be sellers at the deadline. A number of Buffalo players’ names have been out there in trade rumours this season, including forwards Chris Stewart and Torrey Mitchell, plus defenceman Tyler Myers and pending UFA goalies Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth.
Murray said nothing is immanent on the trade front and that deals are more difficult to complete than many people think.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (January 26, 2015) --- The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team will suspend defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who missed today’s practice, for failure to report to the team on time following the NHL All-Star break.
“We anticipate Nikita joining the team at some point during this week’s western road trip,” said Sabres General Manager Tim Murray.
"We're going to get to the point on the ice, and we're closely approaching the point off the ice, where we're not going to be on anyone's no-trade list. "We want to be the place where people want to come because it's a fantastic off-ice experience. The fans here are second to none. The quality of life here is second to none. And on ice, is it going to be the place where people will come to win a championship? It starts with the Pegulas. Teams that win championships, it rarely happens with detached ownership. It has to mean something. The Pegulas are all-in. Everything they do is about winning a championship and changing a city. If we do one without the other, it's a failure."
-Ted Black, President of the Buffalo Sabres. Much more on the Sabres from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
The Sabres haven’t shown up much at all since they returned from Christmas and now their fans don’t have to show up for any more home games until Feb. 5. Even though the players clearly know the organizational mandate is to wince at every point acquired in the standings, they’re paid to perform. Cody Hodgson, with no goals in 16 games for his $4.25 million cap hit, is among those who may have missed that memo.
No one expected the Sabres to be a playoff team this year, the foolhardly proclamations of new captain Brian Gionta to the contrary. But 10 losses in a row? The expectation, especially when they were a decent 13-16-2, was for them to keep battling and working.
Maybe you push a 70-point season – which would be 18 more than last year – and you still probably finish in the bottom two. Maybe you still finish 30th and guarantee at least Jack Eichel if you don’t win the Connor McDavid lottery. But you’ve improved.
Instead, the Sabres have become historically inept. They’re a joke. A punchline. Most nights this team has little work ethic. They’re soft.
from John Vogl of hte Buffalo News,
Nolan knows the easiest person to change is the coach, though there are no signs the staff is on the way out for the rebuilding team.
"The old slogan in sports is the easiest guy to change is the coach," Nolan said. "That’s the easy way. I’ve seen it done lots of times, and is it the right thing to do? I’m not too sure, but that’s just the fact in our business.
"The one thing we are doing, we’re not quitting. We’re not coming here and worrying about that. I’m worrying about how we can get this thing turned around."
Nolan's biggest complaint with the Sabres, who are 1-12-1 in their last 14 games, is they aren't listening to his teaching.
"You take the horse to the well, and it’s up to him to bend over and drink it," Nolan said. "You can’t force someone to do something. You can ask him and ask him.
"People are not scoring, you’re not scoring for a reason. You’re not paying the price to score. You’re not getting the puck out along the boards. You’re not paying the price to get it out along the boards. Enough talking, we have to start doing."
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
I watched the Dominik Hasek retirement ceremony Tuesday night from the press box and when it ended quietly after around 20 minutes, I was left with a nagging question: That's it?
Still, I saw how genuinely happy Hasek was during his press conference earlier in the day and shook off the notion, turning attention to the game. I was just being grumpy, get-off-my-lawn guy and moved on. Or so I thought.
Then my Twitter feed started to blow up. And so did my replies. Not that Twitter can regularly be used as a focus group for opinions, but this time it sure snapped me back to reality.
Bottom line: That ceremony was flat-out lame.
Two long-time NHL observers I really respect were shaking their heads. One told me after the game, "That's the worst jersey retirement I've ever seen."
If you missed the ceremony, you can watch it here...
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Hasek was in good spirits Tuesday before his No. 39 sweater was raised to the rafters in First Niagara Center. The same man who once seemed larger than life was modest while meeting with the media. He said he was more nervous about making a pregame speech than he was before any game in his career.
Two weeks shy of his 50th birthday, and with salt in his hair gaining ground on pepper, Hasek has aged gracefully and made a smooth transition into a life after hockey. He was complex and often conflicted during his career but has since gained a greater appreciation for his time in Buffalo.
“I don’t think I ever get tired of hearing the sound of Sabres fans,” Hasek told the crowd. “It’s very humbling to be standing here tonight, looking up to the rafters and seeing the names of Gil Perreaault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert, Tim Horton, Danny Gare and Pat LaFontaine. It reminds me that Buffalo is truly a special place in the game of hockey. Knowing my name and my number will be in this group of hockey legends brings a smile to my face.”
Watch the full ceremony below...
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Vancouver Sun,
Dominik Hasek used to set up a puck machine, aim it to fire just under the cross-bar and lie down in the crease. With pucks coming as fast as they could fly, Hasek would kick one of his legs in the air with perfect timing and stop the shots.
The hockey world is full of similar stories of Hasek's unique training regimen, and there's a seemingly unending highlight reel of show-stopping saves he made during his NHL career.
Call him crazy, but also call him one of the best goaltenders in history.
"There was definitely a method to all of his madness," former NHL goaltender John Davidson said. "(He could) make saves you're not supposed to make. He was quick, but he knew how to read plays and he could find a way to get it done by twisting his body and rolling over. Whatever it took, he got it done."
A six-time Vezina Trophy winner as the top goaltender and two-time Hart Trophy winner as league MVP, Hasek was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. On Tuesday night the Buffalo Sabres, with whom he had his best years, will retire his No. 39 before their game against the Detroit Red Wings, with whom he won the Stanley Cup.
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