Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier announced today the Sabres have agreed to terms on a six-year deal with restricted free agent center Derek Roy. Terms were not disclosed. Roy was scheduled for NHL arbitration today in Toronto.
“Derek is a solid young player who will only continue to improve,” said Regier. “He will play an increased role for our club, and we look forward to having such a quality player in our organization for many years to come.”
added 10:53am, from the CP via TSN,
The Buffalo Sabres have avoided salary arbitration with Derek Roy, re-signing the forward to a US$24-million, six-year deal.
from the Buffalo News,
“I feel like I can help the team in a lot of ways and be a positive influence on the ice and in the community,” Peca said. “With Chris Drury gone, I see myself helping in key defensive situations, key faceoff situations and with leadership.
“I wouldn’t feel I need to be [the captain]. My role and expectations wouldn’t change regardless of that. There’s a lot of good, young, developing leadership on that team.”
Peca said he has some attractive options. The New York Rangers are believed to be in pursuit. Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette, who had Peca with the New York Islanders, called frequently before the Hurricanes swung a deal with the Rangers to bring back Matt Cullen.
“I’m still hoping Buffalo will be in the mix,” Peca said. “I hope that the organization sees me as a guy that can come in and help. I’ve been telling people every day out in the community that Buffalo is my first choice if it’s an option.”
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
News: NHL Board of Governors chairman Jeremy Jacobs says the Sabres need to raise ticket prices.
View: Yeah, that should be an easy sell, eh? The Clouseau-esque management in Buffalo bumbled away the team’s two top forwards to free agency shortly after failing to live up to high expectations in the playoffs. That’s the perfect time to ask the fans to dig a little deeper.
Thing is Jacobs, who doubles as the owner of Buffalo’s divisional rivals in Boston, is right. There’s still a waiting list for season tickets in Buffalo, and the team has built considerable goodwill over the past couple seasons. A minor price bump on top of what currently rank as the lowest prices in the league would be unlikely to eat away at that, and four bucks a ticket would generate an extra $3 million that could be used toward player procurement in the future.
read on plus more news and views…
added 12:06pm, Adam Proteau of the Hockey News on the comments from Jacobs,
This man deserves a spot on Last Comic Standing. He’s been jacking up the cost of Bruins tickets for decades, and look what’s happened to them. If I were Sabres owner Thomas Golisano, I’d be doing the opposite of whatever Jacobs says.
read more from Adam…
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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.
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