Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres can finish the season with 93 points. The New York Rangers, in possession of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, can finish with 95.
It doesn’t take Will Hunting to do the math and surmise the Sabres need the Rangers to lose at least once. An analysis of the schedule concludes that is possible. New York’s final three games are against playoff teams, so the Sabres may get help.
First, they have to help themselves.
The Sabres’ chances of making the playoffs go up with every game they win. If they win the final four, it leaves their competitors with little room for error.
The final week of the regular season starts tonight, and it merely kicks off with the defending Stanley Cup champs. The Detroit Red Wings visit HSBC Arena, looking to sweep the two-game season series with the Sabres.
I guess my one question is, do the Sabres just pull a tank job from here on out or do they actually go down fighting?
As soon as Vanek peeled off last night, I said (to my empty living room): “(Pansy) play.” Either dump it down low, or sack up and and go to the net, drawing defenders with you.
But like so many other plays last night (and all year) he peeled off, took the easy way out, and got burned.
It was a cruel end to a tease of a game and a tease of a season.
-Kevin of BfloBlog.
from Stu Hackel of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
When it comes to hockey’s greatest April Fool’s prankster, however, no one ever topped Paul Wieland, back when he was the director of communications for the Buffalo Sabres. “This was Paul’s favorite holiday,” says Gerry Helper, who is now the Predators’ senior vice president for communicaitons but who got into hockey when Weiland hired him as an assistant 30 years ago. “He told me I was going to write all the releases except one, and that was the April 1 release. He did that every year.
And they were great. The best might have been in the one he composed in the 1970s that was, as press releases were back in the olden days, mailed out in actual envelopes with stamps and delivered by the postal service. This one announced that the Sabres were exploring a new technology that would allow N.H.L. games to be played on plastic ice. This, Wieland wrote, was going to change the game. No more costly refrigeration operations, no more water usage, no more Zambonis.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The difference was obvious in practice Tuesday as the Buffalo Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers. The Sabres were smiling and loose, calm and confident, during a short workout. They were together. They found what had been missing for most of the season: life.
It’s amazing how three straight victories, including wins on back-to-back nights for the first time all year, can quickly improve the collective psyche of a team. If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought the Sabres rattled off 10 straight and were surging toward the Eastern Conference title.
“It can only help,” goaltender Ryan Miller said. “We’ve been uptight, and look where it’s gotten us. We’ve come to the rink feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve come to the rink holding our heads low a few times. It hasn’t gotten us anywhere. We’ve put together a good run, and we’ve had some good victories. We should feel good about it.”
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
(Patrick) Kaleta was injured just three minutes into the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout victory over Montreal. Kaleta was playing the puck along the wall in the Buffalo zone when Maxim Lapierre hit him in the back and drove the winger headfirst into the boards.
Lapierre was given a two-minute boarding penalty. Kaleta played a few more shifts before retiring to the dressing room.
“Their doctors deemed him to have a concussion,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “That’s disappointing. When a player’s got his back turned, it’s disappointing. He took a tough blow there. You hope that it’s dealt with.
“That’s serious. Head injuries are serious. It’s been a big topic. It’s been talked a lot about. He was defenseless on the play. I don’t like it. I don’t think we should like it. I think the players need to respect each other a little more….”
From Herb Zurkowsky at The Montreal Gazette:
When Lindy Ruff was named the 15th head coach in Buffalo Sabres’ history in July 1997, Alain Vigneault was coaching the Canadiens.
Today, 11 seasons later, Ruff remains behind the Sabres’ bench. But during that time, the Canadiens have been coached by Michel Therrien, Claude Julien, Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau and Gainey again. And there’ll likely be someone new next season.
“I keep saying I’ve been lucky,” Ruff, 49, said prior to Saturday night’s game against Montreal at the Bell Centre. “We’ve had a couple of changes in ownership, and I’ve been lucky enough to make it through the transition.”
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
With the Sabres having missed the playoffs last season and in danger of doing it again, no one knows the importance of reaching the post-season this time around more than Sabres coach Lindy Ruff.
It means increased revenues. It means more demand for season tickets. And it means keeping the Sabres relevant in a city where the Bills have become Boss once again.
“It is extremely important we make the playoffs,” Ruff said during a phone interview last night. “We are sometimes the heartbeat of the city and have been, given that the Bills haven’t made the playoffs (since Jan. 8, 2000).
“We NEED to make it.”...
The Sabres needed a huge third-period comeback Wednesday to defeat the Florida Panthers 5-3, a turnaround that Ruff feels could ignite his team on a much-needed winning streak.
“I think those types of periods can give you momentum,” Ruff said. “And so does having Ryan Miller back.”
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Not going to get into the whole thing about what happened tonight, anyone who watched or looked at the scoresheet can figure that out. This was a devastating loss for the Panthers, although the wings in the locker room smelled so good a few guys seemed to get over it real quick.
And I’ve never seen the scratched players escape a postgame locker room as fast as tonight’s trio of guys did. And I sure don’t blame them.
Speaking of blame, coach Pete DeBoer had plenty for goalie Tomas Vokoun, even though a couple of those goals were flukey. But the one that tied it sure wasn’t.
continued and watch the game highlights below…
added 3/26/09 at 8:21am, Watch the Horton hit on Afinogenov below too…
from Bucky Gleason at Sabres Edge,
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was candid today when facing questions about all the criticism he’s been getting and scrutiny he’s been under over the past several weeks. Ruff expected as much and acknowledged that it comes with the territory.
“When you’re not playing well, they’ll point at the coach,” Ruff said. “I think it’s fair. We’ve had some players who haven’t performed to where we want, and that’s my responsibility. I don’t think there’s any ducking that.”
continued and watch the post-practice interview with Ruff below…
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.
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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