Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
“I need Thomas to play like he’s a $900,000 player because it seemed to do pretty good last year,” Ruff said with a laugh after this morning’s practice in HSBC Arena. “That’s my analogy. Just because you’re making more money doesn’t mean you have to change as a player. My expectations of him don’t change.”...
“If he can be consistent with last year, that would be a darn good year for Thomas,” Ruff said. “Is it realistic to think he can go from 25 [goals] to 44 to 70-something? I don’t think so. But if we can keep him in that consistent area and have him be that 40- to 50-goal scorer, that would be pretty good.”
from the Buffalo News,
At some point this week, perhaps as soon as this morning, Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff will address his captain.
Ruff rotated the “C” throughout the team’s six preseason games, but only one player wore it twice, underscoring Ruff’s long-held affinity for the underappreciated Jochen Hecht. O kapitan, mein kapitan?
When the Sabres open the regular season Friday against the New York Islanders in HSBC Arena, the versatile German forward could be just the third captain in club history from the Eastern Hemisphere (after Alexander Mogilny and Miroslav Satan).
from the Toronto Star,
According to sources, the Buffalo Sabres will announce today that analyst Harry Neale is leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs’ regional broadcasts to join them.
Neale’s spot on the Leafs’ regional broadcasts, seen on Rogers Sportsnet, TSN and Leafs TV, will be taken by Greg Millen….
Though the 70-year-old analyst will continue to work for Hockey Night In Canada, he won’t be calling as many Toronto games as he has in the past.
from the Buffalo News,
Buffalo Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn said he wasn’t the only one surprised when TV and radio analyst Jim Lorentz decided to retire Tuesday.
“It sounds like he was, too,” Quinn said Tuesday night from New York City. “It happens to a lot of athletes before the start of a season. You look in the mirror and say, ‘I can’t go anymore.’ It happened to Jim. I don’t think Jim knew really until it was time to get on a plane back to Buffalo.”
Quinn said he believed Lorentz remains at his summer home in Newfoundland, where he enjoys fishing after the season ends. Quinn added that Lorentz telephoned before the preseason games began to say he wouldn’t be there at the start. He called again Monday to say he was retiring because he had enough of the traveling after 43 years as a player and broadcaster.
from the Buffalo News,
Twelve hours before he was to check in at the Cleveland Clinic for open-heart surgery, Teppo Numminen was quite afraid.
“There’s fear, that’s for sure,” the Buffalo Sabres defenseman said Wednesday from his Cleveland hotel room. He was to report to the internationally renowned cardiac hospital at 5 this morning to have a valve repaired….
The operation isn’t being done so that he can keep playing hockey. The 39-year-old Finn admitted his condition could be fatal if not addressed quickly.
“Whether I played again or not, the odds turn against you at one point, and I guess they would have turned soon,” Numminen said. “They can’t say if it’s going to be two months or two years, but something happens and then you’re in trouble. Then it’s too late.”
Don Baizley, Numminen’s agent and friend of 20 years, said, “This has been pretty traumatic. It is open-heart surgery. It’s serious business.”
update 6:28pm, from the AP via TSN,
“Teppo Numminen’s surgery was a success and there were no complications,” Sabres doctor William Hartrich said after speaking to the doctor who performed the surgery at The Cleveland Clinic. “Teppo is resting comfortably and will remain in the hospital for the next several days.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
In 15 years of watching the Bettman administration at work, the hockey world has learned that these fellows love to dabble.
They’ve dabbled in an unbalanced schedule, but now appear set to change back. They’ve dabbled in third jerseys and uniform “systems” and streamlining goalie equipment. They’ve dabbled in glowing TV pucks and neutral-site games and regular-season contests in Europe, not to mention the World Cup and the Winter Olympics, never fully committing to any of them….
Oh yes, and they’ve dabbled, curiously, in playing their games outdoors….
That the NHL will try to make this happen in a lakeside city that offers a winter climate that’s both unpredictable and often violently inhospitable is one interesting part of the equation.
That it’s willing to essentially undermine the competitive legitimacy of its own product by permitting such a novelty event to go forward is another.
from the Buffalo News,
Maxim Afinogenov is a terrible liar. The Buffalo Sabres winger was asked about the secret injury he suffered last spring in the playoffs.
“What do you mean in the playoffs?” Afinogenov replied with the awkward indignation of a nervous child standing next to a broken vase. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Unbeknownst to the devious Russian, his coach already had told the tale….
“Max, while warming up playing soccer in the playoffs, flipped over backwards and hit his head on the concrete before Game Three in Long Island,” Ruff said, “and I don’t think he was right for a little while after that.”
Afinogenov bonked his head early in the first round, and, in Ruff’s opinion, the injury hampered the speedster’s play well into the second round.
Empty Netters tries to find out what happened to all the tickets for the Winter Classic.
From WBEN in Buffalo,
The Buffalo Sabres outdoor game at Ralph Wilson Stadium—officially called AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic New Year’s Day- sold out 74,000 tickets in under 1 hour Tuesday morning.
The game, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, began offering tickets at 10:00 am at the Bills Ticket Office outside the stadium and online at Ticketmaster.com. None were available by 10:40 am
It is not known how many tickets went to individual buyers and how many went to brokers, but there are indications that the secondary market is already skyrocketing. There were no limits on the number of tickets any individual could buy, and immediately after the sell out tickets were being offered on E-bay, at typical prices of $2,000 for six, or roughly $300 each.
Ryan Miller particpated in an NHL tele-conference today…
Q. Obviously you went through this before, and what advice will you give to your teammates about playing an outdoor game, particularly with regard to how do you prepare for the cold?
RYAN MILLER: The hype, you just kind of focus on playing the hockey game. What I experienced at Michigan State was how everyone went out there and no matter if they were a veteran, everyone was kind of acting like a rookie, just try and go out and go a million miles an hour.
I think that the best thing to do is just play your game and take in the experience, because it is a great chance to showcase hockey, and looking forward to it.
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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