Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Buffalo Sabres discuss the tragic plane crash in Clarence as they prepare for tonight’s game.
The Sabres will also be observing a moment of silence to respect those lost in the tragedy of Flight 3407 prior to tonight’s game vs. San Jose.
From David Pollak at Mercury News:
A very sad day here in Western New York, but there will be hockey tonight.
Several Sabres players live in Clarence Center, the suburban-rural area where the commuter flight from Newark crashed and they talked about the experience. Defenseman Teppo Numminen heard both the sound of the plane coming down and the noise from the impact. He and his wife opened the shade on the bedroom window and could see the flames and the red sky. Goalie Patrick Lalime lived even closer. Former Shark Craig Rivet lived nearby, but far enough away that he and his family weren’t aware of the 10:20 p.m. crash until they woke up this morning.
continued… with more on the Sharks
BUFFALO, NY (February 8, 2009)—- Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier today announced that Thomas Vanek fractured his jaw when he was hit in the face with a puck during last night’s game vs. Ottawa. Vanek had successful surgery on his jaw today in Buffalo, and will be sidelined for at least 3-4 weeks.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
But unless some ridiculous offer comes their way, the Sabres shouldn’t do anything at the deadline other than plan for the future. Doing nothing shouldn’t be a chore for Regier, who has been ripped royally for doing exactly that. This year, though, doing nothing makes the most sense.
The Sabres have their core players locked into long-term contracts. If they can land a good player who will be under contract for the next several years, fine. Otherwise, dumping dead weight or hefty salaries should be the goal. And that, alone, is a tall order because of the salary cap.
From Eric Duhatschek in the Globe & Mail:
“People ask me about fighting and I really don’t know sometimes what I want,” said Regier. “I believe that things are going to happen over time, where I don’t think society is always going to accept (fighting).
“I see it in Canada now. There was a poll about fighting (conducted by the Harris-Decima firm, in which 54 per cent of Canadians surveyed favoured a unilateral ban on fighting, while 40 per cent wanted to retain the status quo). If you go back 10 years, I don’t think those numbers would be anywhere close to where they are right now.
“So I think it’s going to be more of a statement of the position of society – and I’m talking about true hockey fans, and their culture.”
From Pierre LeBrun at ESPN (h/t to Sabres Insider):
Coach Lindy Ruff was more blunt: The trap is back.
“Most teams now have four, five guys back,” Ruff said. “It’s a 1-4 now. They’re lining up, a five-man group in the neutral zone.”
So the Sabres also felt the need to tighten up. But hey, let’s not get carried away here. The Sabres remain a skilled and entertaining team, underlined most recently by a 10-2 drubbing of the Edmonton Oilers. But if there’s an overwhelming reason for Buffalo’s turnaround, it is that Ruff has finally gotten through to his players about defensive awareness after pounding them with the message since training camp.
from the CP via the Sporting News,
Lindy Ruff figures there’s no way to put together this kind of streak without a little good fortune.
As the longest-tenured man in a volatile profession, the Buffalo Sabres coach doesn’t get surprised when he hears that another member of the fraternity has lost his job. It’s something he’s seen happen time and again.
There have been 137 coaching changes in the NHL since Ruff was hired by the Sabres in July 1997, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. While that number alone is staggering, consider the anecdotal evidence - Craig Hartsburg has now lost three NHL head coaching jobs over that period.
All the while, Ruff keeps plugging away with the Sabres.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We can’t help but harp back to the Edmonton angle. Not only would the Oilers not have Penner on their hands right now if the Sabres had not matched, but they would have an elite forward to play with star winger Ales Hemsky, something the local Edmonton media has pointed out as a major issue with right now.
For as much heat as former Oilers GM/now team president Kevin Lowe got around the league in the summer of 2007, give him credit on this point—he was right about Vanek being worth the money.
more and some Pogge talk too…
from Kevin of BfloBlog,
Via press release, the Sabres confirmed what their schedule has shown for some time - that the next four Sabres games will not be televised.
“Out of our 82-game schedule, the MSG Network has broadcast rights to 70, and the Versus Network has rights to a maximum of eight,” said Larry Quinn, Buffalo’s minority owner/managing partner. “As such, we needed to select four games to be radio only. We chose these west coast games due to their late starts.”
Very clever, LQ. It’s MSG’s fault! But you were the one who negotiated the deal with MSG in the first place. You negotiated away the four road games. No city in America draws higher ratings for hockey than Buffalo, but we surely wouldn’t stay up past 10:00 to watch our team, right?
(I’m sure it has nothing to do with cost though…)
But not to fear, we at least get them on the radio, right?
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen will be sidelined indefinitely after undergoing minor surgery this morning for a small fracture of the jaw.
Numminen was injured in the first minute of the second period Saturday night in HSBC Arena when he was struck flush in the face with the puck after a shot by Carolina defenseman Tom Gleason. Numminen returned to play eight more shifts in the second period but did not play in the third.
“He’s going to be out for a period of time,” coach Lindy Ruff said today following practice in the Amherst Pepsi Center. “We don’t know exactly how long but it’s weeks versus days. ... It’s a fracture that had to be fixed. He feels good but it’s just kind of a freak accident.”
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