Kukla's Korner Hockey
In our “Friday Faceoff,” ESPN.com NHL writer Scott Burnside (based in Atlanta) and Toronto Star columnist and frequent ESPN.com contributor Damien Cox (based in Toronto) duke it out over any given hockey topic. Let the games begin!
This week’s topic: Is this season’s outdoor game a good or bad thing?
Damien: Actually, it’s endeavour. Not that you were born here in Canada or anything. The outdoor event? Oh sure, great idea. Well, great old idea. Or just old idea. Look, if people want to sit in a Buffalo snowdrift and “watch” an NHL game from 300 feet away, God bless ‘em. But don’t tell me this game should count in the standings. It makes a mockery of the game. You’ll have guys out there in toques playing on crappy ice hoping to get the wind for the third period.
from the Buffalo News,
Rather than revisit the gory details of his departure, Briere elected to emphasize the glory days from his three-plus seasons in Buffalo.
“I’m not here, and it’s not my goal, to go blast the organization for the way they handled things,” Briere said after a workout in the Flyers’ practice facility. “They have a right to walk away from players just like we have a right to decide where we want to go. What I remember from Buffalo is a good time. I have some good memories. That’s all I’m hoping the fans can remember.”
fromm Terry Frei at ESPN,
When NBC broadcasts the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day from Ralph Wilson Stadium, the network and the league will be hoping to draw in both the sport’s fans and others intrigued by the outdoor setting—those who, a day earlier, would have had a 50-50 shot of identifying whether Sidney Crosby plays for Buffalo or Pittsburgh.
Whether they have tired of college football and decided to turn their backs on Michigan-Florida in the Capital One Bowl, or have any other reason, perhaps they’ll be fascinated and willing to give the game (and the sport) a shot.
From Mike Harrington at The Buffalo News,
“At times I wasn’t playing well and the other two guys were playing good,” Vanek said after practice Monday in the Amherst Pepsi Center. “Then maybe I had a few better games. Right now, we’re just finally playing all three on the same page, playing well at the same time and that makes a difference.”
Roy, in fact, is tied with Calgary’s Daymond Langkow for the best December plus-minus in the league at plus-10 and Vanek isn’t far behind at plus-7. Roy has 11 points in eight games this month, just three off the league lead.
“As a line, we’re getting to know each other and where we’ve got to be,” Roy said. “Team-wise, we’ve clamped down on things, we’re collapsing in the defensive zone, guys are blocking shots and Ryan [goaltender Ryan Miller] is making some great saves.”
Watch the NBC promo for the Winter Classic on January 1, 2008.
added 1:03pm, NBC Sports today announced that Bob Costas will host NBC’s broadcast coverage of the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Costas has a history broadcasting hockey, serving as the play-by-play commentator for the Syracuse Blazers of the old Eastern Hockey League in 1973-74 and also occasionally filling in for the late, great Dan Kelly on KMOX’s St. Louis Blues radiocasts in the last 70s and early 80s.
from Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
Traditionally, hockey players don’t go out and “win one for the owner”—at least not when he’s alive. But one can’t help thinking that Boston boss Jeremy Jacobs took great delight in his Bruins rolling over the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1, earlier this week….
Sources tell SI.com that Jacobs took some offense during the recent Board of Governors meetings in Pebble Beach, CA, when Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn was making an impassioned plea about opening up the game.
more and additional NHL bits…
from the Buffalo News,
Teppo Numminen returned to the ice with his Buffalo Sabres teammates today, and if things progress as expected, he could rejoin them in a game in a matter of weeks.
The defenseman surprisingly took part in today’s practice in HSBC Arena, less than three months after having open-heart surgery to correct a faulty valve. He took part in skating, passing and shooting drills.
Pat Hannigan, who played his first National Hockey League game for the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1959-60 season and then enjoyed a second career broadcasting Buffalo Sabres games, has died. He was 71.
But in Fort Erie, he was better known for his social justice efforts, helping refugees new to Canada through Casa el Norte, a safe house for newcomers.
More on Pat Hannigan’s life and career at Legends of Hockey
from the Buffalo News,
The Sabres’ reputation the past few seasons has been that of a smaller team built for speed.
But the game is tilting back toward bigger bodies and tighter checking, and the Sabres need to show they can adapt.
“It’s just an attitude more than anything,” goaltender Ryan Miller said. “Now we have to decide if we’re going to do it or not.
“We’ve got big enough guys in here. We’ve got a lot of guys that are 190, 200 pounds. You don’t have to be 6-[foot]-5 to make a play. If you’re going to stick around and battle, if you’re going to stay in your position, you’re going to be supported by the other players.”
via Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
The Kings came out hitting, and the Sabres responded poorly—much like they did against the Ducks. Buffalo took retaliatory penalties, which allowed L.A. to blow the game open. You can be sure other teams will look at the videos and adopt a hard-hitting approach whenever they match up against the Sabres.
It’s hard to believe this is the same team that came to the West Coast with wins in six of seven games. They play Saturday in San Jose, and if they get trounced again, it’ll be a sign that personnel will have to change—unless the Sabres want this to be a learning year for the young 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.
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