Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Eric Duhatchek at the Globe & Mail,
This time around, the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Buffalo Sabres and that too represents an intriguing match-up - although with a 1 p.m. Eastern starting time, it is hard to imagine them fitting in what could be a great legends game beforehand, what with Mario Lemieux and Paul Coffey available on the Penguins’ side and a reunited French Connection leading the way for Buffalo. Nor can anyone underestimate the value of getting Sidney Crosby involved in the project, along with the rest of his exciting, emerging Penguins’ team. Even if the event doesn’t strike a chord, the presence of Sid The Kid will
more… (*the date of the game is Jan 1, 2008)
Lindy Ruff knows what’s on the tops of the minds of Sabre fans, and, yes, life without Chris Drury and Daniel Briere will be a change for him as well.
“We’re going to miss qualities that both those players brought to our team, but the past couple weeks of players being around, they’ve already gone past that,” Ruff said Wednesday morning on The Howard Simon Show. “The players realize the opportunity that lies there with added responsibility and added ice time.”
The first name Ruff mentioned was oft-injured forward Tim Connolly, who returned for the playoff run in the 2006-07 campaign.
from the Buffalo News,
While the Sabres will be minus a captain when they report to HSBC Arena for physicals on Thursday, they sound genuinely comfortable with who they are already.
“There’s that small bit of uncertainty surrounding the captaincy position,” Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said, “but I don’t think anybody around here should be worried about it.
“We have a young group, and we might even get younger this year, but I think the core group of guys has seen enough and been around long enough to understand what to expect and to know what kind of attitude you need to have.”
from the Buffalo News,
In the bewildering aftermath of co-captains Daniel Briere and Chris Drury bolting the Buffalo Sabres, the front office proclaimed it had learned a lesson about dealing with players entering unrestricted free agency.
The Sabres have three players who could hit the open market after this season, and General Manager Darcy Regier said it would be a summer priority to work on re-signing defensemen Brian Campbell and Dmitri Kalinin and forward Jochen Hecht.
Regier said he has had “some very general conversations” with the players’ respective agents. He added there was “no real timeline” to get extensions signed.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Several NHL officials said today that the game between the Penguins and Sabres on Jan. 1, 2008 will be played at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL’s Bills. In a made-for-television event—the game will air nationally on NBC—the Penguins and Sabres will skate on an outdoor rink in front of what the NHL hopes will prove the largest audience ever to watch an NHL game in the United States.
Neither the league nor NBC would officially confirm the tentatively titled “Ice Bowl,” which is scheduled to be played at 1 p.m.
WKBW in Buffalo also reported this earlier today…
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
It will be interesting to see how Vanek and Derek Roy, both still young players, respond after signing new long-term contracts. Those kinds of contracts bring added pressure to produce, and both were vital to the club’s attack last season. With Briere and Drury gone, they’ll have to perform at the same high level.
I don’t expect the Sabres to be better than last season, but I don’t see them falling off the playoff map, either.
more on the Sabres…
from the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres lost less than 1 percent of their season-ticket holders from last season, and they have a waiting list of about 8,000 names.
The team now expects to sell out all its home games before the start of the regular season.
And the general public — those unwilling to put down a $100-per-seat deposit to land a spot on the season-ticket waiting list — may be shut out completely from the most popular games, including the four games with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The Sabres also could have established the market price for their own players rather than have the league do it for them. How? You get Drury and Briere signed in the $5 million range, acceptable for both players. You reference their contracts while aggressively pursuing Vanek long before he hits the market. It would have been the Sabres’ contribution to cost certainty.
At the very least, Buffalo would have had options before getting Vanek’s seven- year contract worth $50 million forced halfway down their esophagus. Who would have blamed them, with Drury and Briere locked up, for walking away and taking four first-round picks from Edmonton? Certainly not me.
For a team quick to blame others for jacking up salaries, the Sabres did a pretty good job themselves.
from Wes Goldstein of CBS Sportsline,
The first-place Buffalo Sabres lost two of their best players, and the Stanley Cup finalist Ottawa Senators fired their general manager and will have a new coach, but both teams will look a lot like this year, which should be enough to separate them from the division pack.
Early returns make Toronto look to be the best of the Northeast also-rans, which isn’t difficult since the Canadiens and the Bruins seem to be selling only hope these days.
read on for the grades of the teams in the Northeast…
from Inside The Panthers,
News that Nathan Horton’s contract was used as a comparable by the Buffalo Sabres in working up a contract proposal for center Derek Roy borders on the amazing. Ultimately, Roy was given the same six-year, $24 million package Horton got.
Let’s see who turns out to have the better career. The betting here is it’s Horton.
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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