Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
News alert: The Sabres have a poor reputation among players. It has become increasingly evident that the only way to get quality veterans into Buffalo is to force them here through trades. It’s an unpleasant way to survive.
Forget the woe-is-Buffalo excuse. Everybody knows this is a passionate hockey town, but the word has spread about the organization’s business practices. The Sabres are known more for their commitment to the bottom line than their commitment to winning. To players, it might as well be Edmonton.
From Phil Coffey at NHL.com:
The Buffalo Sabres acquired veteran defenseman Craig Rivet from the San Jose Sharks on Friday.
The Sharks sent the 33-year-old veteran and a seventh-round selection in the 2010 Entry Draft to the Sabres in exchange for second-round selections in the 2009 and 2010 Drafts.
Rivet will help the Sabres replace Dmitri Kalinin, who signed with the New York Rangers on Thursday.
Update 5:10pm ET: Comment from Sabres GM Darcy Regier, via press release—
“We are very excited to add such a quality veteran player to our roster. He is a great character player that will provide our club added leadership and experience.”
from the CP,
We’re still working and have been on the phone this morning and will continue to work,” Regier said Wednesday, a day after signing Patrick Lalime to a two-year, US$2-million contract to back up starter Ryan Miller. “We’re still exploring, really looking for a defenceman, so I remain hopeful.”
What encourages Regier is that rather than reaching out to players’ agents, as he did Tuesday when the NHL’s free agency period opened, agents are now calling him.
“That for me is positive news,” Regier said. “It tells me that players are looking at it and saying, ‘Hey, Buffalo would be a nice place to play.’ It tells me that it’s a possibility.”
more on the Sabres…
The Buffalo Sabres have signed goaltender Patrick Lalime to a two-year deal, Sportsnet has learned.
The deal is believed to be for $2 million.
*thanks to a KK reader for the link
The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed forward Paul Gaustad to a four-year, $9.2 million contract.
Gaustad will earn $1.7 million in the first year of the deal, and $2.5 million per year for the remaining three years.
via John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
NHL free agency begins in a matter of hours, but the Buffalo Sabres’ main focus is re-signing a player with a year left on his contract. General Manager Darcy Regier said today the team has begun preliminary contract talks with goaltender Ryan Miller.
“It’s early, but anytime we have conversations in that area it’s good,” Regier said.
from John Vogl of Buffalo News,
“We’ll be above the midpoint,” Regier said. “How far above, we’ll wait and see. We have some room, not a lot of room.”
The midpoint is $48.7 million, so expect the Sabres to spend about $50 million. That gives them more than $10 million to play with. Some will go toward their five restricted free agents: Paul Gaustad, Daniel Paille, Steve Bernier, Clarke MacArthur and Mark Mancari. The Sabres also are interested in extending the contracts of goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Jason Pominville.
But if there’s an unrestricted free agent the Sabres want, they have the ability to pay for him.
So, who’s out there that fits the Sabres’ needs on the blue line and in goal? Orpik might top the list. The 6- foot-2, 219-pounder is the physical presence the Sabres lack. It helps that he grew up in East Amherst, where his family still lives.
from Ryan Dixon of the Hockey News,
For all the hardware Dominik Hasek is taking with him as he exits crease left, the one thing I wish he’d leave behind is his nickname.
In an era where made-up monikers rarely go beyond adding a few letters to a player’s last name, ‘The Dominator’ stood out as a truly original, apt handle.
Hasek could bend, baffle, distract and infuriate at every turn. But it was his ability to utterly dominate a game that defines his career.
From Bob DiCesare at the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres recently were honored as the NHL’s “Professional Sports Team of the Year” in Sports Business Journal’s annual awards. They were cited for increasing their season ticket base from about 5,800 to 14,800 since the lockout, with a waiting list of 6,000. They were hailed for maintaining reasonable ticket costs, instituting variable single-game pricing and enhancing the attractiveness of their product to sponsors.
Who can quibble with any of those distinctions? Outside of some dubious hockey personnel decisions, the franchise has done right by its fans and given Sabres hockey a local presence unequaled since the team’s nascent years. The recognition is well-deserved.
My gripe is with a stand-alone quote that appears with the SBJ story. Under the headline, “What People Are Saying,” comes this bold-typed snippet from John Cimperman of Cenergy Communications: “The fact that they have turned Buffalo from a football town into a hockey town is well recognized.”
From the Buffalo Sabres:
The Portland Pirates announced today a new, long-term affiliation agreement with the Buffalo Sabres effective with the 2008-2009 AHL season. The announcement was made by Pirates Managing Owner/CEO Brian Petrovek, Pirates Chairman/Governor Lyman Bullard, Sabres’ Managing Partner Larry Quinn, and Sabres’ General Manager Darcy Regier.
The Anaheim Ducks made the decision to sever its ties with the Pirates earlier this month for reasons of wanting their AHL team in closer proximity.
Looking at the map, I’d have to say Buffalo didn’t share the same concern.
Update 2:47pm ET: And as a commenter just pointed out… the Portland Pirates play in Maine. More coffee for me! Let me kill that map…
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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