Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Vogl of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
“I want to play, definitely,” Afinogenov told The News on Saturday. “I want to help the team, but if they’re not using me, it’s probably no point for me to be here.
“Anything can happen. We’ll see. If they don’t want to use me here, they’re probably going to move me. I don’t know what’s going to happen right now.”
Afinogenov missed his 24th straight game when the Sabres lost, 2-0, to the New York Islanders. Most of those absences were due to a groin strain, and Afinogenov is still on the injured reserve list. The right winger, though, said he’s been ready to return since the middle of February.
“I was injured, but now I’m healthy,” Afinogenov said after a hard skate in Nassau Coliseum. “It’s like 10 days now. The doctors cleared me to play and stuff, but I’m not in the lineup. That’s why it’s frustrating for me, definitely.”
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Most observers are keeping their eyes on Connolly. The gifted, oft-injured playmaker will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The sides have been discussing a contract extension. If talks prove futile — or if juicy offers come Regier’s way — the Sabres may decide to deal Connolly for assets that would help them now and next season.
After Friday’s workout in the Islanders’ practice facility, Connolly firmly stated what he wants.
“The No. 1 option is to stay in Buffalo,” the center said. “Right now I don’t think about that too much. I think about how important these games are and how important it is to win hockey games right now and make the playoffs.”
from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog,
The fact that Sabres center Paul Gaustad avoided supplementary discipline from the NHL after delivering a controversial late-game hit that left center Ryan Getzlaf with a broken nose and facial cuts basically has the Ducks mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore.
“I’m not happy,” Ducks general manager Bob Murray said after Gaustad was in Buffalo’s lineup for Thursday night’s 2-1, shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C. “If we’re going to be suspended for blows to the head, then they have to look at the other teams when our guys get hit. This just astounds me that Gaustad is not getting something for this, because that was on purpose and deliberate.”...
Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior executive vice president of hockey operations, Murray said, “told me they looked at it and they didn’t feel it was worth anything. They felt he hit him with his helmet. I don’t care if he hits him with his helmet, his elbow. Whatever it is, we’re supposed to be protecting our players from hits to the head.”
more and if you missed the hit, watch it below…
via John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
A loss will still put the Buffalo Sabres out of an Eastern Conference playoff position, but at least they’ll try to avoid that with an experienced goaltender in the crease. The flu that felled Patrick Lalime on Wednesday dissipated today, and Lalime will be in the nets tonight when the Sabres face the Carolina Hurricanes in RBC Center. “Better, a little bit stronger,” said Lalime of how he feels.
Lindy Ruff informed the media this morning that Patrick Lalime is demonstrating flu symptoms, and there’s no certainty he can play tomorrow night. In that scenario, Mike Harrington at Sabres Edge explains the problem:
If Lalime can’t go, rookie Jhonas Enroth would get his first NHL start. Lalime will travel with the team today but if he can’t dress, the Sabres don’t have another healthy goalie in their system to back up Enroth because Adam Dennis and John DeCaro are both injured at Portland.
Wow. Nightmare scenario.
via Dan Wood of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
The Ducks were none too happy with a hit by Gaustad in the final 15 seconds that left center Ryan Getzlaf with a broken nose and a nasty facial cut.
“That’s one that’s going to be looked at very closely because Gaustad left his feet and hit him with a shoulder, blindsided him,” Carlyle said. “It may look like he (Gaustad) got hurt on it. Look at the replay. He’s in the air after he hits him (Getzlaf). So it was one of those that we’re going to have to take a look at.”
While Gaustad received no penalty, the NHL could choose to impose supplementary discipline.
Getzlaf, still bleeding and clutching a towel to his face long after the game ended, said he “was fine.”
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
In terms of truth, I’d rather swallow whatever drivel A-Rod is selling than the garble generated near the NHL trade deadline. The only thing planted between an overage of gossip and a shortage of substance is an exaggeration of facts. But every now and again, a juicy hockey rumor actually makes sense.
That brings us to the latest “Tim Connolly is headed for [insert team]” chatter making the rounds in recent weeks. This one had the pending unrestricted free agent going to Columbus, where the Blue Jackets have been clamoring for a center of Connolly’s ilk.
And why not?
Connolly alongside Rick Nash would be frightening with the big winger manning the left side and the right-handed center wheeling and dealing the way he can when healthy.
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
Necessity has dictated that Ruff turn his team’s fortunes over to backup Patrick Lalime, who inherited the starter’s job when Ryan Miller sprained his ankle against the Rangers on Saturday.
Ruff says he’s confident. He has faith in Lalime’s ability to hold the fort. Of course, he has no choice.
“Patty knows he’s playing,” Ruff said. “We’ve got a lot of trust that he’s going to play well for us, and I think he’s got a lot of trust that the team is going to play well in front of him.”
It’s hard for a backup to develop a rhythm when he plays once every two weeks. Ruff expects Lalime, 34, to find a rhythm quickly. Last year in Chicago, Lalime played more than expected because of injuries and went 16-12-2.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Miller is out of the lineup indefinitely after suffering a left ankle sprain during the Sabres’ 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday.
“It’s stiff and it’s tender,” Miller said after limping to his locker stall in HSBC Arena. “These are things you have to kind of feel out. There’s no timetable, really. It’s your comfort level….
The injury happened 1:54 into the third period. Miller went behind the net to retrieve a New York dump-in, and Scott Gomez chased the puck. As Miller played it around the boards, Gomez crashed into the netminder’s right leg, simultaneously twisting the opposite ankle….
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff didn’t hide his anger for Gomez.
“I don’t think there’s any secret it was deliberate,” Ruff said. “He knew what he was doing.”
more and watch the video of the play below…
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Thomas Vanek is back doing some light exercise but the Buffalo Sabres’ leading scorer says returning in 3-4 weeks from his fractured jaw may be an overly optimistic timetable.
“I hope that I haven’t lost too much of my fitness but we’ll see about that once I start skating again,” Vanek wrote in a diary entry posted on his official Web site for fans in his native Austria. “The doctors said that I would miss at least four weeks altogether but it also could be five to six weeks. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
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.
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