Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray is no different than most GMs in that he looks around the NHL and sees examples of what he wants his team to become, most notably the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings....
How do you approach the buildup to the NHL Trade Deadline, because I'd imagine it become an exciting time for you? I'm sure you're a wanted guy and lots of people are calling to see who they can pick off of your team for their playoff run.
"Right. Right. It's kind of like last year, same thinking. We go down and have our pro meetings and we get ready for between now and the trade deadline. If we can make good deals that are beneficial to the future of this franchise we are going to do that. I don't want to certainly tear the team apart even though we're picking third overall as of today, but I've had a talk with people in my organization, ownership and including a player like Brian Gionta, that we're not going to let pending UFAs leave for nothing. We do have to continue to build this; we're not there. No one can be happy with the record we have and I don't blame them, but we are where we are. It is a rebuild. It wasn't a retool. It wasn't a quick fix. It's a rebuild so that we can be good for a long time. That's the mindset. In saying that we signed Brian Gionta, we traded for Josh Gorges, so we were still able to acquire good players, but we have to be able to acquire good players going forward if we're going to fix this fairly quickly."
read on for four more questions and answers...
His remark starts around the :25 second mark.
Fighting in hockey is a lot harder than it looks. With that said, most fighters don’t find it so difficult that rather than punching their opponent they accidently punch themselves like Patrick Kaleta did against Jared Cowen.
“The American League guys came up from Rochester and you get a chance. You don’t hope to do OK. You’ve got to give something more, especially when you’re depleted the way we are. They didn’t play like they wanted to stay here.”
-Ted Nolan, head coach of the Buffalo Sabres after a 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. More from Nolan and the game by Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
“I can’t even figure out why goals don’t count, so I’m certainly not going to comment on that,” said Claude Julien when first asked about the Matt Bartkowski hit on Brian Gionta in the first period. “First of all, [Eriksson] doesn’t hit him, he barely touches his glove.
“It’s kind of a flash screen is what we call it and he’s in position. I guess it’s another non-goal that I’m sure we’ll hear should’ve been a good goal later on. But it’s what we keep going through.”
Watch the no-goal below, scroll to the :19 second mark...
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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