Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The National Hockey League plans to play host to another outdoor game on New Year’s Day 2008. The host team has yet to be determined, but this time the game is not expected to be held in Canada. Detroit, Buffalo and Pittsburgh are three of the interested teams. The 2007-08 NHL schedule is not expected to be finalized until mid-July.
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
Sabres general manager Darcy Regier is confident he and coach Lindy Ruff will be back in Buffalo next season. Co-captains Chris Drury’s and Daniel Briere’s futures with the team are less certain.
“Both of us expect to be back,” Regier said Monday, referring to himself and Ruff, whose contracts expired after this season. “There’s been work that’s been positive and I don’t expect any changes going forward. We’ll get there at some point.”
What’s yet to been determined is the Sabres’ plans in attempting to re-sign Briere and Drury, both eligible to become unrestricted free agents July 1.
from Bob DiCesare of the Buffalo News,
Owner Tom Golisano says the only way the Buffalo Sabres can max out on the salary cap and break even on next season’s bottom line would be by advancing to the second round of the playoffs. OK. And the problem is?
This is no time for Golisano and the rest of the front office to scream “Retreat!” If anything, this is when the suits upstairs should start playing, in hockey lingo, a little out of character, show some gumption, reward Sabres boosters for their fanatical loyalty, finish the darn job. And if it costs the franchise a little more money than desired, if it has the front office squirming over the risks, well, it has only itself to blame.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The Senators did a number on the soft Sabres and proved to be the better team because they were more physical. But if the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals were any indication, Buffalo wouldn’t have stood a chance against an Anaheim team that beats up its opponents en route to beating them.
Reaching the conference finals in consecutive years is impressive, but it has become increasingly clear the Sabres need at least one bruiser on defense, maybe two, and a couple of more bangers on their top three lines. Teams loaded with speed and skill can get through the regular season because talent will carry them through. It’s different in the playoffs, where checking is tighter and officials are less likely to make calls that could determine the outcome.
from Jerry Sullivan at the Buffalo News,
This won’t go over well with Sabres fans — particularly the die-hards who can’t bring themselves to take the flags off their cars. But if I were a betting man, I’d wager that neither Chris Drury nor Daniel Briere will be playing hockey for Buffalo next season.
My suspicions were heightened by the news that the Sabres won’t be able to spend up to the NHL salary cap next season. The cap is expected to rise from $44 million to at least $48 million. Judging from the comments by owner Tom Golisano, there’s a greater chance that the Sabres will spend less in payroll next year than in the season just past.
from the Buffalo News,
“Would it be considered a success,” Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano asked, “when you have a team that sells out every game and sells out all the suites but would lose money unless they were in the playoffs? That’s a thing an organization like the Buffalo Sabres must be aware of.
“If they move the salary cap up and we go with it, there’s a good possibility we would lose money unless we reached the second round of the playoffs. That’s an unhealthy situation.”
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The only thing less impressive than Maxim Afinogenov’s postseason was his nonchalance about getting knocked out in the conference finals. The Sabres winger basically brushed off losing to Ottawa in five games and suggested he was satisfied with the Presidents’ Trophy.
“I think we had a good run,” Afinogenov said. “Yeah, we lost, but I think we fight until the end. The whole team was exciting. It was a good season anyway.”
Yawn. Is this a guy the Sabres want on their team while they’re trying to keep co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere? Afinogenov is a seductive talent, an electrifying player who puts people in the seats.
Buffalo Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn dropped by the WGR studios on Wednesday afternoon to chat with Mike Schopp and The Bulldog on a number of topics surrounding the organziation….
He expressed concern over the fact that the NHL salary cap may reach $48 million this year. Quinn feels it’s counterproductive to the original plan of the cap during the lockout.
more on the Sabres… Another management type concerned about the cap, the one the owners agreed upon!!!
Regular KK readers may recall another team doing the same about a month or so ago, but it has been a long week and I can’t recall who it was.
from the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Daniel Briere has heard the rumors that he’s heading to Nashville, Philadelphia or Montreal, ready to cash in once free agency opens in July.
Not so fast, the Buffalo Sabres co-captain said Monday, after he and his teammates cleaned out their lockers.
“My first, my probably biggest wish right now would be to be a part of this team,” Briere said. “The Sabres, if they’re interested, they’re going to have the first chance. They’re going to have the best chance. And if that doesn’t work out, then we’ll start looking at different options.”
from the Ottawa Citizen,
Drury said part of the pain on Saturday was the knowledge that faces were going to change in the next few months.
“Yeah, it certainly is,” he said.
“We’re not going to be a group anymore. After nine months, that is hard to take.
“And even teams that win, you know, like Carolina (in 2006), there are always changes, new faces. We know there are going to be changes here, and it’s hard because you do build friendships and you battle with guys
“Ultimately I guess that’s just the job we do and that’s sports.”
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org