Kukla's Korner Hockey
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…
From the Buffalo Sabres:
It was a day that many people will never forget. And now the Buffalo Sabres want to find out why it was so special to you.
As the summer months roll on, the Sabres are producing a DVD to commemorate last January’s Winter Classic. The New Year’s Day match-up featured the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins playing outdoors in front of a capacity crowd of more than 71,000 hearty fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY.
A featured section of that DVD will be “My Classic Stories,” a collection of fan stories from the day told by the actual individuals who experienced them. The six most compelling entries, as chosen by Sabres staff, will be videotaped by Sabres production crew and used in the Winter Classic DVD that will be released prior to the start of the 2008-09 season.
Enteries must be received by June 20th. More information below.
From the National Post,
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, recently appointed to the NHL rules committee, said he will enter discussions about smaller goaltending equipment with an open mind.
“You have to walk a fine line,” Miller told the Buffalo News. “They’ve already trimmed it down once. I suffered for it from breaking my thumb (during the 2005-06 season). That situation wasn’t well thought out. They had dimensions and said, ‘Here, this should work.’ ”
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Simply, the Sabres aren’t going anywhere regardless of whether Golisano decides to cash in on his investment. And that remains a possibility.
Who could blame the guy?
Even conservative estimates show potential profits surpassing $50 million if the team is sold. Golisano expressed concerns about the NHL’s future if the salary cap continues rising. He would get the biggest bang from a sale after pulling the team from bankruptcy and assuming the risk. Quinn would stand to make a good buck. Presumably, Chief Operating Officer Dan DiPofi would get a slice, too.
If it were me, sorry, but I’d be selling.
From Jim Kelly at Sportsnet.ca,
4) Is there an NHL team that looks dumber or cheaper than the Buffalo Sabres right now?
Former Sabre Danny Briere, who practically begged the Sabres to give him a reasonable contract offer last season, is leading the league in playoff scoring and is a big reason that the Flyers still have a chance to go from worst to first in a single season. The Sabres made it clear they had no interest in signing Briere (though for the record they did make a token effort hours before free agency opened, an effort that reminded many of their “attempt” to re-sign Ted Nolan as coach a decade earlier).
more… observations gleaned from this year’s playoffs
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
I miss the big hit that sets the tone for a series, like Brian Campbell on R. J. Umberger two years ago, reminding you that playoff hockey is a whole different animal.
I miss the simple, reassuring rhythm of games being played every other day.
I miss the Goo Goo Dolls singing “Better Days” on the Jumbotron to get things going before the games.
I miss the Sabres flags popping up on cars, like flowers blooming in spring.
I miss playoff beards.
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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