Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
You can’t help but wonder if Regier and Ruff are inching closer to the door with every loss the Sabres suffer down the stretch. Something needs to give. That much was obvious after watching the Sabres mope through the final 25 minutes Friday night in a 6-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Have the players quit on their coach?...
Regier has two seasons remaining on his contract. Ruff is signed through next season. They are the longest-tenured GM-coach combination in the NHL. Quinn reiterated Friday night that his first instinct is to keep both, but he wanted to wait until the offseason. He’ll huddle with Golisano before making a final decision.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
The Sabres are just 1-4-1 in the last six games, an ugly number in itself. It’s even more hideous when the Sabres look at what the slump has done to their spot in the Eastern Conference.
On March 7, prior to the collapse, the Sabres were in every postseason conversation. They were tied with Carolina for ninth place with 73 points. Florida, Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers had 74. Only one more point and the Sabres were in sixth place.
Now? Sixth place seems further than Siberia. Heck, eighth place may as well be England.
The 10th-place Sabres are five points out of a playoff spot and seven back of sixth. They have 11 games left, starting tonight with a visit to the Rangers in Madison Square Garden.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
They figured once Ottawa broke a 2-2 tie in the final period Tuesday, a loss was inevitable.
“We haven’t dealt well with some adversity in games. I think guys got scared,” Ruff said Wednesday while replaying the 4-2 defeat to Ottawa. “They saw a loss coming again, and we got on our heels, and it’s tough to pull out of that.”
It’s little surprise the Sabres folded in the third period of a tie game. They are among the NHL’s worst in that situation.
The Sabres have been tied entering the final period 14 times. They have earned points in just six, a percentage of .429. The only teams below them are Colorado (.412) and the New York Islanders (.400), who happen to be dead last in their respective conferences.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Following what has to rank as one of the more bizarre defeats of his 12 years as coach, Ruff aired out his team after it took nine mostly-foolish penalties to turn a two-goal lead into a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.
“The message [from Ruff] we can’t really talk about right here,” said defenseman Henrik Tallinder. “It was not really good words.”
When Ruff emerged to meet the media, he lasted three questions and exactly 54 seconds. But his words were crystal clear.
“Very disappointed. Embarrassed,” Ruff said when asked how exasperated he was with this group. “I’m embarrassed for our fans, embarrassed for the way we played the last 40 minutes. It’s not acceptable this time of year.”
Tomas Vokoun of the Panthers with a great glove save on Thomas Vanek of the Sabres. Buffalo did defeat Florida 3-1.
From Steve Gorten at the Sun-Sentinel:
Winger Richard Zednik skated on the ice at HSBC Arena this morning for the first time since he skated off it Feb. 10 of last year covering his neck with his glove in fear for his life. Zednik’s carotid artery was accidentally slashed by teammate Olli Jokinen’s skate in the third period of a game against the Sabres that night.
Zednik said one of the surgeons who performed surgery on him that night invited him over to her house for dinner last night. He went and they reminisced about the incident and that night.
Here are some of his thoughts after this morning’s skate on what it was like on the ice:
“I was trying not to think about it. I want to just focus on hockey.”
Zednik was the first Panther on the ice this morning and skated toward the boards near where the incident happened, but he said that was simply coincidental.
“I’m not going back. I’m looking forward. I’m not trying to go back. What happened, happened. I’ve already passed that. I don’t want to go back and think about what could have happened.”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Early in last night’s third period, before either team had scored, Tim Thomas left his crease, scurried behind his net, and played the puck. As he turned to skate back into position, Columbus forward Jiri Novotny barreled into the Bruins goalie’s chest with so much force that his mask flew off.
Thomas’s nontraditional headgear (he calls it a “mage,” being that it’s half-mask, half-cage) clattered to the ice, the chin cup and the strap that holds it in place snapping off. Thomas went to the bench for repairs, but when the strap couldn’t be snapped back into place, he had to settle for Manny Fernandez’s mask - an in-game switch that any netminder would find uncomfortable.
“You can ask any goalie,” Thomas said. “It’s not fun to use anybody else’s stuff. You’re used to your own. But whatever. That’s hockey. Fortunately, Manny must have a fairly large head, too. With most goalies, I couldn’t fit their mask on.”
In a game in which the Bruins felt they couldn’t catch any breaks, Columbus scored the winning goal with Thomas wearing Fernandez’s mask.
continue for more on the game…
TSN is reporting that Phoenix goalie Mikael Tellqvist has been traded to Buffalo for a 4th round draft pick. No other info on the the deal, but we’ll post it a.s.a.p.
Update 12:21pm ET: TSN now has a link for more info.
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, Tim Connolly signs 2 year extension with the Buffalo Sabres for $4.5 per year for a total of $9 million.
Link will be added as soon as it’s available.
Update 10:51am ET: Link at TSN now available.
There has been talk this morning the Sabres are still negotiating a new contract for Tim Connolly. Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News feels he will be moved…
My previous suggestion that the Sabres re-sign him was based on him returning at the right price and having a healthy lineup around him get into the playoffs. Apparently, he doesn’t want to come back for less. The banged-up Sabres could miss the postseason even if they keep him, so why keep him?
Columbus and Vancouver are interested in Connolly, but Chicago appears to have an inside track. The Blackhawks are looking for a No. 2 center and would be willing to include defenseman James Wisniewski in a package with the Sabres. The two teams were talking Tuesday.
added 9:39am, via Darren Dreger of TSN,
Sources tell TSN the Buffalo Sabres have tabled a two-year contract extension at better than $4 million per season to keep forward Tim Connolly in Buffalo.
Although the offer is considered to be strong, it may not be quite good enough to get the deal done without further negotiations.
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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