Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: Buffalo Sabres
NHL.com's "30 in 30" series focuses on the Buffalo Sabres today, with the team's top prospects, Anthony Stewart's presence and steps that need to be taken by both in-the-lineup players like Tyler Myers and top picks like Sam Reinhart faring significantly into the probability of the team turning itself around this upcoming season. The "hook" regarding today's articles comes in the form of surprising comments come from Sabres coach Ted Nolan and the aforementioned Stewart, who issue "We're not that far off" comments to NHL.com's Jon Lane:
Following what he called a "completely unacceptable" season, [Sabres GM Tim] Murray refused to buy into a five-year rebuild and accelerated the Sabres' reconstruction with the signing of five free agents on July 1.
"Probably the best couple of words I heard out of Tim's mouth was when he said 'five years,'" said Ted Nolan, who went 17-36-9 after taking over as interim coach and signed a three-year contract extension in March. "Who knows what's going to happen five years from now? I always, as a coach, just worry about now. My now is preparing this team to be the best we can. If we get the players like we did this summer, it could be a very short rebuild and we get to the point to where we're battling for what everybody wants, and that's the Stanley Cup."
From TSN's Bob McKenzie, it appears that David Booth and Ville Leino will have new employers next season:
Updated 2x at 9:19 PM: Paul did a helluva job of covering the "gist" of the GM's meetings, but here are some items that I noticed on Twitter and feel merit mentioning, starting with Craig Custance's chat with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman...
In Penguins and Maple Leafs news, from Sportsnet's Chris Johnston...
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Tags: brooks+orpik, bryan+murray, buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+bylsma, dave+nonis, david+poile, florida+panthers, gerard+gallant, james+neal, jason+spezza, jim+rutherford, jonathan+toews, marc+crawford, matt+niskanen, nashville+predators, ottawa+senators, patrick+kane, pittsburgh+penguins, ron+wilson, shea+weber, stan+bowman, tim+murray, tom+renney, toronto+maple+leafs
Unsettling news from the NHL:
Buffalo Sabres forward Zenon Konopka has been suspended for 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension is accompanied by mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment.
The player's contract expires with the conclusion of the 2013-14 season. The term of the suspension will be served at the beginning of any new contract.
The National Hockey League will have no further comment on this matter.
Well the NHLPA released an immediate...Rebuttal?
STATEMENT FROM ZENON KONOPKA
"I deeply regret that I have tested positive for a prohibited substance in violation of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. I accept full responsibility for this error. As a professional athlete I am responsible for what I put in my body, and I am to blame for this mistake.
George here...This probably makes me a bad person, but USA Today's Nate Scott reports that Sabres goon John Scott was taken down by a young Islander, 5'10" rookie Justin Johnson, and well, sometimes it's good to see a hockey player who doesn't respect hs opponents get his just desserts:
In his last rumor column of the 13-14 regular season, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch ponders the state of the NHL's search for Brendan Shanahan's successor, the coaching and managerial decisions facing the Canucks, Penguins, Leafs, Panthers and Hurricanes, and he wonders where Mike Cammalleri, Ryan Kesler and Martin Brodeur will end up, but sometimes the "lede story" is the one you go with:
[Tim Murray, the] Buffalo Sabres’ GM has hung the ‘For Sale’ sign outside the club’s office and he’s willing to move just about anybody as the off-season officially gets underway Monday for non-playoff teams.
Sources say Murray has been shopping RW Chris Stewart, D Christian Ehroff, C Luke Adam and RW Drew Stafford.
It doesn’t stop there, either. The Sabres will also listen to see what they can get for LW Marcus Foligno, LW Johan Larsson and D Chad Ruhwedel.
The last three are young players that are still considered prospects so it’s a little surprising Murray would be willing to move any of those guys given the club’s current state and direction.
“He’s just open for business,” said a league executive about Murray before the weekend. “He hasn’t drafted any of these current guys.”
Garrioch continues at length...
George here on the late shift. Regrettably, the NHL has gotten to the point where my job tends to involve scouring the internet for the night's controversial hit.
I sure wish players respected each other more, but as so many have pointed out, they're not coached to let up on hits or take responsibility for intent-to-injure plays--nor do "tough" players have any trouble whatsoever being signed by general managers who are looking for "toughness" at the expense of basic respect.
This evening, I saw a TSN video with the title, "How many games will the NHL suspend Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo for his hit on Sabres defenceman Chad Ruhwedel on Sunday? Dave Reid weighs in" and I could only shake my head.
Just like Radko Gudas' hit on Saturday USA Today's Mike Brehm reports that Gudas escaped supplemental discipline), we've got another case of someone leading with their elbow/forearm and targeting a player's head, but this is much more vicious, and as the game aired on NBCSN, Pro Hockey Talk's Ryan Dadoun posted a video of the incident (the nasty part starts at the 40-second mark):
As a Red Wings fan, I miss the crazy Czech terribly, but I also know the "crazy" part is accurate...So here's a 10-minute clip of the Buffalo Sabres inducting Dominik Hasek into the Sabres Hall of Fame, including giving the mad professor an actual sabre:
Here's hoping a Buffalo-area hospital doesn't hear someone on the phone at 1 AM saying, "Well, you know, I, I, I...I thought, maybe one time, maybe two, I could test it with my thumb, to see if it was sharp you know...You know...I, I, well I don't know, what do you know, it is sharp you know!"
And here's their tribute video to Hasek:
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's Hockey World mega-column's been chopped into 4 bite-size blog entries, and this week, he has a conversation with Nashville Predators GM David Poile, he suggests that the Oilers ought to draft Leon Draisaitl over Aaron Eklbad at the 2014 draft, and amongst his "This 'n' that" notes...
Ted Nolan will likely be getting a three-year contract from the Buffalo Sabres when they return from their Western Conference road swing, which earns a two-thumbs up from Drew Stafford. “He’s a great motivator; he’s extremely simple on his philosophies,” said Stafford, who has been in Buffalo for eight seasons. “He tells us, ‘Look what you get to do for a living … it’s a special opportunity, don’t take it for granted. Show up and compete for a couple of hours.”
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Tags: boston+bruins, buffalo+sabres, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, colorado+avalanche, craig+berube, dennis+seidenberg, detroit+red+wings, gustav+nyquist, patrick+roy, philadelphia+flyers, ted+nolan, ville+leino, wayne+simmonds
Buffalo Sabres forward Cory Conacher headed to the penalty box without a helmet, so the referees in Thursday's Oilers-Sabres game gave Conacher a certain enforcer named John Scott's helmet. Let's just say that it didn't fit:
Here are your final pre-trade-deadline waiver claims:
TSN's Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger chatted with the NHL Network's Rob Roe on Tuesday evening, and they made some surprising statements.
- According to both McKenzie and Dreger, John Tortorella's snub of Roberto Luongo in the Heritage Classic did in fact prompt Luongo's agent, Pat Brisson, to ask if he could speak to several NHL teams about moving his client;
- The gents also claim that the Canucks want to trade Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler independently of the Luongo situation, with Kesler willing to go to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit Anaheim and possibly other teams (but not the Rangers), and that the Canucks will hold out for the best offer, even if that means trading Kesler at another time;
- The New York Rangers are still considering re-signing Ryan Callahan, signing and trading him or just trading him;
- The Buffalo Sabres are at least considering moving Matt Moulson, perhaps to Los Angeles, but Calgary's Mike Camalleri is also another "goal-scoring winger" on the market, as might be Chris Stewart, but the Sabres in particular cannot carry any more salary in making trades;
- The Sabres may consider moving Christian Ehrhoff or Tyler Myers, and the Red Wings may be interested, specifically in Ehrhoff, but the Wings are in a "transition year," so Ken Holland has to decide whether he's willing to bite on the Sabres' price;
- And regarding Cammalleri, he, Moulson, Ales Hemsky and Thomas Vanek's futures are somewhat intertwined, with Hemsky and Cammalleri serving as the fall-back plans for the teams that don't land Kesler.
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun also penned a late-evening blog entry updating the Kesler situation, confirming that the Canucks feel no need to "settle" for anything less than their asking price:
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Tags: ales+hemsky, alex+edler, anaheim+ducks, buffalo+sabres, chris+stewart, christian+ehrhoff, detroit+red+wings, matt+moulson, mike+cammalleri, pat+brisson, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, roberto+luongo, ryan+callahan, ryan+kesler, tyler+myers, vancouver+canucks
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson leads us up to the trade deadline wondering whether the trade deadline will in fact play out as witnessing Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim attempt to strike back at the St. Louis Blues' preemptive roster-strenghtening strike in bringing Ryan Miller and Steve Ott into the fold:
Do the Kings have to get New York Islanders’ unrestricted free agent winger Thomas Vanek now, even if the whole world knows Vanek is going to sign in Minnesota, where he has a summer home? Or should they go for Matt Moulson, who played 29 games with L.A. after general manager Dean Lombardi signed him as a free agent out of Cornell University in 2006?
Do the Ducks, who have two first-round picks and two seconds this June and need a right-handed shooting defenceman, take a big swing at six-foot-eight Tyler Myers in Buffalo, even though his salary-cap hit is $5.5 million? They could offer somebody like forward Kyle Palmeiri, but would probably keep winger Emerson Etem and goalie Viktor Fasth.
Are the Sharks deep enough with the return of third-line winger Raffi Torres following knee surgery, No. 2 centre Logan Couture (hand operation), and rookie sensation winger Tomas Hertl (knee) skating again?
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Tags: anaheim+ducks, andrew+macdonald, buffalo+sabres, chris+phillips, christian+ehrhoff, dean+lombardi, kyle+palmieri, los+angeles+kings, matt+moulson, new+york+islanders, ryan+callahan, san+jose+sharks, thomas+vanek, tomas+hertl, tyler+myers
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch offers a smorgasbord of rumor news in his last pre-trade-deadline Sunday missive, but the best way to summarize his statements involves encapsulating the following and letting you read on from there:
TOP 5 SELLERS
- BUFFALO SABRES - GM Tim Murray made a huge move Friday by dealing goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues. He isn’t finished yet, he still has Matt Moulson and anyone else up for grabs.
- EDMONTON OILERS - Craig MacTavish has been trying to make moves all year and he’s made a couple of deals. He’d like to move forward Ales Hemsky and will retain salary. A lot of teams will try to make a bigger deal for winger Jordan Eberle.
- N.Y. ISLANDERS - Losing captain John Tavares to injury gives GM Garth Snow the green light to move left wing Thomas Vanek and defenceman Andy MacDonald. Vanek might be the most sought-after player and MacDonald won’t be far behind.
- NASHVILLE PREDATORS - This might be a bit of a surprise but they are a longshot to make the playoffs. A lot of teams have called about centre David Legwand. He may not be the only one to go. Wouldn’t be surprised to see many gone.
- CALGARY FLAMES - Interim GM Brian Burke hasn’t made any bold moves since he took over but you can expect him to be busy. The club would like to keep UFA Mike Cammalleri but it’s doubtful he’ll stay. There are options for buyers.
Garrioch goes from there, listing his top 5 buyers, discussing Markov to Edmonton(?), the Stars' situation, news from Long Island, New York City, San Jose, Calgary, etc...
And this is just me, but if Garth Snow wants a top prospect, a 1st rounder and a 2nd rounder for Thomas Vanek, I may have considered that before Vanek confirmed that he wanted to test the maret...But now that he embarrassed himself and the Austrian Olympic team by going out and getting blotto with some teammates prior to battling Slovenia, I wouldn't touch him with a ten-foot pole.
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Tags: ales+hemsky, andrew+macdonald, buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, craig+mactavish, david+legwand, edmonton+oilers, garth+snow, matt+moulson, mike+cammalleri, nashville+predators, new+york+islanders, thomas+vanek
For those of us who aren't glued to Twitter or the interweb, the Dan Girardi's re-signing with the New York Rangers and the Ott-and-Ryan Miller-for-Jaroslav-Halak-etc. trades were the first of perhaps a dozen or so meaningful moves that will result from literally thousands of trade rumors per actual transaction made...
But the Sportsnets, ESPNs and deadline-drama-loving fans are obviously hoping that Friday's transactions broke a dam's worth of inactivity ahead of what many of you are probably hoping will be a 35-to-45-transaction period of time between now and 3 PM EST next Wednesday, and both TSN's Bob McKenzie (on Twitter) and ESPN's Scott Burnside and Craig Custance suggested that we've not seen the last of Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray's pre-trade deadline moves...
The Edmonton Journal's "Hockey World" columns now hit the web as a set of blog entries, and Paul covered this week's first entry, which discusses the play of Los Angeles Kings goaltender Ben Scrivens. Overnight, Matheson posted a slate of "Short Shifts" and a "This 'n' That" entry, and the former offers bite-sized observations in the, "I was thinking that, too!" department...
An NHL pro scout, after watching the Buffalo Sabres, said: “Ryan Miller is about all they’ve got. He’s playing unreal.” So where do the Sabres send the goalie at the trade deadline? Are the New York Islanders on his list of teams he’d play for? Are the Nashville Predators, if Pekka Rinne is out for longer than they thought?
- I find it interesting that the NHL was dead-set against those 12-year contracts for players, making a term of eight years for their own free agents and seven years for another team’s players the maximum, but jumped for joy when Rogers came up with the same 12-year, $5.2-billion TV deal.
- Defenceman Shea Weber will have a visor on when he returns to the lineup. The hockey gods smiled on him when David Perron’s shot hit the Nashville Predators’ captain around his right eye. He escaped major injury. Why any D-man would ever go without a visor is a mystery to me, with all the errant pucks. Marc Staal also got lucky last year when Kimmo Timonen’s deflected shot nailed him.
- Tri-City Americans goalie Eric Comrie, Mike’s younger half-brother, has a routine at every stoppage where he comes to the bench and gets down on one knee, away from the other players, a la Tim Tebow. “It’s always the same place. I do some breathing exercises, trying to maintain my energy,” said Comrie.
It continues as well.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch must be doing triple time this weekend. He's offered all but "embedded" coverage of Daniel Alfredsson's return to Ottawa, but he still found the time to posit his weekly roundup of trade rumors, and he leads off with the suggestion that the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres may make another blockbuster trade:
Two league executives told the Sun that [New York Islanders GM Garth] Snow has been working the phones to see if he can get a goaltender to try to get the club back on track in the race for the post-seaason.
The ideal scenario: Convince Ryan Miller to waive his ‘no move’ clause and leave the Buffalo Sabres for a short-term stay in Long Island to help the club make the post-season.
Miller will find it a lot different with the Sabres under Ted Nolan. He is a players’ coach but he also likes things done his way. If they aren’t, he’ll come down hard on the offenders.
It may be in Miller’s best interests to move on. The Isles may be a longshot but they need to improve in net or it’ll be an even longer year and coach Jack Capuano is on the hotseat.
The NHL blew a call big time during the overtime period of the San Jose Sharks' 5-4 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, and as the hockey world runs on Twitter, those who stayed up late to watch the game took note of the missed goal that wasn't reviewed:
Over the last 36-or-so hours, hockey pundits have dedicated a significant amount of bandwidth to dissecting the Thomas Vanek-Matt Moulson trade, attempting to discern whether either player has a long-term future with their new respective employers, or whether the New York Islanders or Buffalo Sabres "won" the trade.
In an "Ask Matty" column, I believe that the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson offers the most honest--and blunt--assessment of the trade:
Q: What do you think about Buffalo trading Thomas Vanek now and not waiting until the trade deadline? (Jeff Lore)
A: Embattled Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier did nicely to get first- and second-round draft picks and Matt Moulson for essentially a rental player, and he can use Moulson at the trade deadline to maybe get another first-rounder because he, too, is an unrestricted free-agent. Moulson, who had John Tavares passing him the puck on Long Island, will find it a tad more difficult to score goals in Buffalo with nobody nearly as good as Tavares in the Sabres lineup. Vanek is a better sniper, but Moulson is a solid NHL winger who can fill the hole for now. It’s not a deep amateur draft, but if Buffalo can move Moulson, they could still have three first-rounders in June. Question I have: didn’t the Islanders need UFA goalie Ryan Miller from Buffalo more than Vanek? Evgeni Nabokov is a middling tender, at best.
Matheson continues while answering Oilers-related comments, and I just don't know whether Garth Snow can convince Vanek to remain an Islander long-term. As ESPN New York's Katie Strang suggested, Snow made a "gamble" in removing Islanders captian John Tavares' closest on-ice pal from the equation:
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's posted at least half of his weekly Hockey World articles on his blog page (I believe that he's still working on "Ask Matty" as I'm posting this, and I don't see any "Short Shifts" yet).
Especially given a) the fact that Don Cherry decided to suggest that John Scott and Cody McLeod require the sympathy of fans who don't understand "their role" or their obligation to "make a difference" and b) the endless suggestions that it's up to players and only players to police themselves when Sportsnet's John Shannon so wisely suggested that coaches, GM's and owners also share responsibility for employing players in "punishing" roles (we tend to forget that both players, coaches, GM's and owners are generally concerned about their team's well-being and competitive interests ahead of safe working environments)...
It's refreshing to hear now-NHL Department of Player Safety employee Rob Blake tell Matheson that there's a significant amount of push-back from teams when players are facing Sheriff Shanny's Wheel of Justice:
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Tags: buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, colorado+avalanche, department+of+player+safety, jiri+hudler, john+scott, magnus+paajarvi, matt+duchene, rob+blake, st.+louis+blues
The MetroWest Daily News's Dan Cagen points us toward a video in which we get to witness the latest suspension-worthy infraction from Buffalo Sabres forward John Scott, who very purposefully elbowed Boston Bruisn forward Loui Eriksson in the face:
Update #2: You know how a picture can say a thousand words? Try this one on for size:
How are the Edmonton Oilers reacting to their poor goaltending to start the season?
Bob McKenzie: Devan Dubnyk's sub-par performance on Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs does not have Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish pushing the panic button, but it does have him reaching for the telephone.
As early as Sunday, MacTavish has been working the phones and working them hard to determine the market for goaltenders. They are looking at every possibility, from Anaheim's Jonas Hiller to Buffalo's Ryan Miller to Brian Elliott in St. Louis to Michal Neuvirth in Washington and beyond.
Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.
In Case You Missed It
Toronto Maple Leafs at Philadelphia Flyers
After defeating the Montreal Canadiens last night the Maple Leafs traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers.
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Tags: anaheim+ducks, buffalo+sabres, colorado+avalanche, detroit+red+wings, jokerit, patrick+roy, pavel+datsyuk, phil+kessel, philadelphia+flyers, tomas+vokoun, toronto+maples+leafs
October is finally here! Pumpkin spice everything is returning everywhere and hockey is back! No lockout (other than the US Government) and NHL games that matter in October. Every morning here on Kukla's Korner (well the main page at least until my own little spot has been carved out and is ready) I will give you a recap as to the games that happened last night (in some cases while you were sleeping), some highlights on hockey news, and end with a line up as to who will be playing tonight.
In case you missed it
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Tags: anaheim+ducks, buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, colorado+avalanche, detroit+red+wings, edmonton+oilers, montreal+canadiens, nhl+recap, oilers+assistant+captains+2013-14, philadelphia+flyers, stanley+cup+banner+2013, tampa+bay+lightning+captain, toronto+maples+leafs, washington+captials, winnipeg+jets
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel has a disciplinary hearing scheduled for 4pm et Tuesday. The hearing will concern Kessel's participation in a brawl that erupted between the two Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres Sunday night.
Forward John Scott dropped his gloves and went after Kessel just seconds after a fight between Leafs forward Jamie Devane and the Sabres' Corey Tropp.
Kessel would not drop his gloves to fight Scott, but instead swung his stick twice at Scott. His actions resulted in both slashing and fighting penalties.
The 25-year-old Kessel received a match penalty for his retaliation on Scott, a ruling imposed for deliberate attempt to injure another player. The NHL Rulebook states that any player given a match penalty "shall be automatically suspended from further competition" until a ruling is handed down by the Commissioner.
added 9/24/13 at 8:40am,
Sorry for the misleading headline, the meeting is by phone.
The proprietor and I were sort of hoping for a nice, quiet Sunday night on KK, and that seemed to be the case until about 9:30, when the Maple Leafs and Bruins engaged in massive amounts of dumb and/or exciting fighting. Hockeyfights.com posted what may be the longest and most context-setting clip of the bouts (and you will all be shocked, of course, to find out that John Scott was chirping at the Leafs' bench before he tried to fight Phil Kessel, David Clarkson hopped off the bench and five minutes of adventures in knuckle-punching took place)...
And while the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby and Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk did a fine job of capturing the Leafs' post-game reaction, and the Olean Times-Herald's Bill Hoppe told the Sabres' side of the story (not-so-shockingly, neither team chose to make the principals in instigation and jumping off the bench, respectively, available to the media), Sportsnet's Chris Johnston noted that the incredibly high likelihood that prized free agent signing David Clarkson will be suspended for ten games makes the Leafs' cheek-to-cheek dance with the salary cap quite complicated:
Being at the Terry Pegula press conference yesterday, and seeing Sabres legends like Gilbert Perreault and Danny Gare on one side of the room and current icons like Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek on the other, underscored for me the meaning of keeping the past in your memories but putting it in the rear view mirror and forging ahead.
It’s kind of the same feeling I had when Scotty Bowman in 1981 traded away fan favorites Gare and Jim Shoenfield, when late owner Seymour H. Knox III gave his “Farewell, Old Friend” speech in 1996 during the emotional closing ceremonies at the Aud, and when Tom Golisano rescued the franchise from a near fatal bankruptcy eight years ago.
In the same way that the coronation of Golisano in 2003 brought closure to Sabres fans over the departure of beloved coach Ted Nolan, today’s first full day of the Terry Pegula era should expedite the permanent healing of the lasting wounds this town has felt over the free agency losses of Daniel Briere and Chris Drury.
It won’t, however, ease the pain of No Goal in 1999 or No “D” in Game 7 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals. There’s obviously only one cure for that, and the hope in Buffalo is that a diehard Sabres fan with $3 billion can administer it.
The last time there was a sports related press conference of this magnitude in Buffalo, it was a championship fever-fueled circus. Fans lined the streets to get a glimpse of the limo as it arrived. Even the governor showed up.
It was August 18, 1986, when Jim Kelly came to town. That week, renowned Sports Illustrated sportswriter Paul Zimmerman referred to Kelly as “Joe Namath with knees”.
25 years later, the son of said governor is now the governor himself, and Buffalo is still without a championship. But the excitement level today is off the charts, because Terry Pegula is bringing his money and passion for Sabres hockey to Buffalo.
He passed up opportunities to purchase other NHL teams. Keeping in tune with the style of Dr. Z, the New Boss is “Passionate Sabres fan with money”. And today, he finally speaks. Commissioner Gary Bettman will also be on hand.
What do you get when, during a stretch of three home games, your goaltender ends up with a 2.02 GAA and a .935 save percentage - and is named third star in one game and first star in another? If you’re the Sabres, you get zero points.
Thanks to uninspired losses to Toronto, St. Louis, and Washington, the hot streak is now a distant memory. Ryan Miller gave up exactly two goals in each of those three losses, but his team scored just two of their own in nine total periods of hockey.
As was mentioned here a week ago, the Sabres were en fuego because of a potent power play and the ability to win close games. But in their past three games, they lost a pair by 2-1 scores and went 1 for 9 on the power play.
This team has looked slow. Every time there’s a battle for the puck, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the other team will win it. The defense is having a tough time breaking cleanly out of the zone, and the forwards don’t have an answer for opponents that are clogging the shooting lanes by keeping all five skaters down low.
Thanks to the mediocrity that surrounds them in the standings, however, the Sabres are still in the thick of the playoff race. The Rangers and Hurricanes are on a combined skid of 5-12-3. Buffalo has three games left in their six-game home stand, and the next two are against the falling Thrashers and Senators. These opportunities won’t last forever.
Terry Pegula has officially been approved.
WGR has learned from a high ranking league source that the NHL Board of Governors have officially approved the sale of the franchise to billionaire Terry Pegula, just hours before the team’s game against the St. Louis Blues.
The announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday, February 22nd, where there is a press conference that is expected to take place.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said on Thursday that the board had been faxing in their votes to league offices for the approval process.
Tom Golisano, Larry Quinn and Dan DiPofi announced the team was being sold to Pegula a little over two weeks ago. The sale of the franchise is for $189 million dollars.
This one’s for all of you Detroit Red Wings fans that comprise a large portion of the KK readership.
There’s been plenty of debate in my town lately about the value of goaltending in the salary cap era. Specifically, does it make sense to keep a goalie (Two hints - I’m in Buffalo and his name rhymes with Hiller) who makes over $6 million per season when you could be spending those dollars at other positions? The Red Wings, time and time again, are brought up as Exhibit A.
A Sabres beat reporter went so far yesterday as to suggest that, since many NHL teams have come on board with Detroit’s low-cost goaltending model, it would be difficult for Buffalo to trade its franchise netminder for anything resembling decent value. With that in mind, and with humble apologies for descending to the level of dealing in hypotheticals, I hope you’ll chime in on this question which is based more on philosophy than reality (sorry, we don’t make up trade rumors here).
Imagine if Ken Holland received a phone call from the Sabres stating that new owner Terry Pegula, wanting to invest more cap money in his forwards, was making Ryan Miller available. As a fan of a team that’s enjoyed enormous success with cheaper goalies, how do you think your GM would respond? How would you want him to respond?
An American-born goaltender from Michigan has a career year, leads his team to the Northeast Division title, wins the Vezina Trophy, injures his hip early the following season and proceeds to stink up the joint. Sound familiar?
As you probably deduced, I’m referring to Tim Thomas.
While the numbers have been eye-popping for the Boston Bruins goaltender in his comeback season, the Sabres have a pretty talented goalie of their own who finds himself in a similar situation to where Thomas was a year ago.
And now, after a nightmarish performance by Ryan Miller Sunday against the New York Islanders, things here in Buffalo have gotten a little crazy. It’s amazing what one awful game in a 12-4-2 stretch will do to people.
A local radio station ran a poll on its website yesterday asking Sabres fans whether or not new ownership should move forward with Miller as their goaltender. Pundits are enlightening us with the notion that non-elites like Antti Niemi, Marc-Andre Fleury and Chris Osgood winning Stanley Cups somehow translates to Miller being expendable.
From The Buffalo News,
Pennsylvania billionaire Terry Pegula has started putting key pieces around him as he prepares to take over officially as owner of the Buffalo Sabres. A source confirmed this morning that Pegula has hired former Pittsburgh Penguins executive Ted Black as part of his management team.
Black’s official title and responsibilities have were not yet clear, but it appeared he would be one of Pegula’s top confidants as they begin structuring the front office. Pegula was still awaiting full approval for his purchase from the NHL board of governors, which is expected to be completed sometime next week.
Pegula has no comment this morning, spokesman Ben Bouma said. Black is expected to be heavily involved in all major decisions involving the future of Sabres’ management on all levels. Although it’s not clear, it’s conceivable he would eventually be named team president and oversee daily operations while reporting directly to Pegula.
Ryan Miller was in a cranky mood after Buffalo’s 7-6 overtime loss to the New York Islanders Sunday, and what followed was a verbal confrontation in the Buffalo dressing room between the franchise netminder and two reporters from the Buffalo News, John Vogl and Jerry Sullivan.
Vogl: Are you angry at the loss, what are you angry about?
Miller: I’m just frustrated, and to have you, I don’t understand where that line of questioning was going.
Sully: Maybe you’re starting to doubt yourself, maybe that’s what he’s getting at.
Miller: Maybe you should stop sticking up for him and let him talk.
The Sabres (Media Relations Coordinator) Chris Bandura then tried to end it.
Miller: No, I’ll hang in here and see where they’re going with this one.
Vogl: Are you more mad at the loss or more mad that you have to talk?
Miller: I’m just frustrated, I don’t get that one. Ask about the game.
Vogl: That was about the game.
Miller: I don’t know what you’re going with here John. I have no idea, I really don’t.
See below for a posting from Paul with Sullivan’s scathing article following the incident.
In their first game since Friday’s goonfest against Pittsburgh, the New York Islanders are in Buffalo today to take on a Sabres team that needs to win in order to end the day within three points of a playoff spot.
It’ll be interesting to see what condition emotionally the Islanders are in today, not far removed from back-to-back nights that featured a nice shootout win in Montreal and an unforgettable team bonding exercise against the Penguins.
The Sabres obviously won’t complain if New York’s balloon deflates and they come out flat, but it would be foolish to expect it. The Islanders, who have already beaten the Sabres twice in the past month, are a close-knit group that at last check still has a talented group of young forwards playing on a team with nothing to lose.
Buffalo’s game plan should center around shutting down John Tavares, who had a 4-point night on Friday and has tallied 3 goals, 3 assists, and 16 shots on goal in three games against the Sabres this season.
Ryan Miller will likely get his 31st consecutive start, and Patrick Kaleta is expected to return to the lineup from injury. The Sabres defeated the Islanders in their only day game played thus far this season, while New York is 3-3-0 in day games.
Before last night’s 3-2 overtime win in Florida, the Buffalo Sabres since last March had literally as many three-game winning streaks as they had ownership changes.
So perhaps you can understand why some Sabres fans were feeling a bit giddy after the victory, to the point of making the game-winning goal scorer a trending topic on Twitter.
Noone here is planning a Stanley Cup parade just yet, but there’s a newfound wave of optimism in the midst of a healthy 12-4-1 run that has Buffalo back in the playoff conversation.
While the successful power play has been a big part of the turnaround, there’s also been a steady improvement in the play of the defense, even during the streak itself. In the first eleven games of this run, Buffalo gave up more than three goals five times. In the past six games, it’s only happened once.
If new Sabres owner Terry Pegula didn’t have Drew Stafford on his short list of players not to be traded before the sale closing, you have to wonder how quickly he might have gotten on the phone with departing minority owner Larry Quinn last night.
Stafford had his third hat trick of the season, and the Sabres came out of nowhere in the third period to blitz the Tampa Bay Lightning for 5 goals in a 7-4 Buffalo win.
In his past 22 games, Stafford has racked up 17 goals. Wonderkid Steven Stamkos has “only” 14 during that period.
After a down year in 2009-10, frustrated Sabres fans couldn’t have wished the University of North Dakota product out of town fast enough. What ignited the turnaround?
Pegula tells Murphy that he’s excited about becoming the Sabres owner, and believes the team will have success.
“We’re gonna win the Stanley Cup. Then, you know what, we’re gonna win it again,” he told Murphy.
As a public service to numbers geeks and the attention span impaired, we now bring you a quick analysis of the Buffalo Sabres’ current 10-4-1 streak which has allowed them to close to within five points of a playoff spot:
Buffalo’s stellar record as of late can really be attributed to their power play (13-46, 28.2%) and their ability to win the close ones (5-1-1 in one-goal games). More numbers:
Leading scorers: Thomas Vanek (6-13-19), Jason Pominville (6-9-15), Drew Stafford (7-5-12), Tyler Ennis (3-7-10), Jochen Hecht (5-4-9).
Goaltending: Ryan Miller - started all 15 games, 2.71 GAA, .919 save percentage.
Special teams: Power play - 13-46 (28.2%); Penalty killing - 47-55 (85.5%).
Goal differential: In regulation - 47 goals for, 42 against; 5 on 5 - 36 goals for, 30 against.
Location, location, location: 4-2-0 at home, 6-2-1 away.
Against quality opposition: 6-2-0 vs. teams currently in playoff position.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: buffalo+sabres, drew+stafford, jason+pominville, jochen+hecht, ryan+miller, sabres+stats, sabres+streak, thomas+vanek, tyler+ennis, tyler+myers
Hockey Night In Canada’s Elliott Friedman reported on Tuesday that he was recently told that incoming Sabres owner Terry Pegula would like to keep both Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff “going forward”. He mentioned it again in today’s piece about the Sabres scouting department.
I asked Paul Kukla if he could find out from the respected CBC commentator how he knew about this. Friedman’s response to Paul was that he heard of Pegula’s intentions from a “trusted source” at the Board of Governors meeting in Raleigh during the All-Star break.
Another person to keep in mind is former Penguins GM Craig Patrick. Friedman was told that Pegula is interested in bringing on the former Penguins GM in some capacity, perhaps initially in a senior advisory role with the long term goal of him eventually becoming president of the club.
Whether Ruff wants to return as coach, move up to the front office, or test the free agent market is anyone’s guess. After yesterday’s practice he simply stated that he wanted to win a Stanley Cup in Buffalo. Regier has two years remaining on his contract and told the media today that he expects to still have his job in Buffalo next season.
From Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com,
On the Sabres front, Pegula has agreed to buy the team for $189 million ($175 million in cash and $14 million in assumed liabilities). It’s good news for Sabres fans because the dude has deep pockets (he’s worth around $4.7 billion). But I was also told yesterday it doesn’t mean he’s going to spend to the cap every year. He’s rich because he’s made smart business decisions in his life. Buffalo remains a small market no matter who owns the team.
more, including what GM Darcy Regier told LeBrun this morning, and more Sabres and NHL ownership talk with LeBrun and colleague Scott Burnside.
From the Buffalo Sabres,
BUFFALO, NY (February 1, 2011)—The Buffalo Sabres today announced that Tom Golisano has reached an agreement to sell the Buffalo Sabres and its related companies to Terry Pegula. The agreement, completed at 1 p.m. today, is subject to certain closing conditions including review and approval by the National Hockey League. It is expected the NHL review process will take several weeks to complete.
Tom Golisano and Larry Quinn will hold a press conference on Thursday at Noon in HSBC Arena. There will be no further comment until the press conference.
Terry Pegula will not be at Thursday’s press conference.
Things just keep getting more interesting in Buffalo in the midst of the pending sale of the team.
From Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News,
In the wake of today’s news that GM Darcy Regier received a two-year contract extension in the fall, it was natural to ask Lindy Ruff if he received the same treatment.
Ruff pulled a shocker after Tuesday’s practice in HSBC Arena when he revealed he also got an extension offer and turned it down. Understandably, Ruff wasn’t all that interested in the line of questioning so his answers were pretty cryptic when pressed by The News on the issue.
click here for the interview.
From The Buffalo News,
It appears the Buffalo Sabres will finally announce the sale of the team to Pennsylvania billionaire Terry Pegula on Thursday. No surprise there.
But here’s a stunning transaction they’ve never publicized: A contract extension was handed out some time last fall to embattled General Manager Darcy Regier, who was widely believed to be on his way out once Tom Golisano sold the franchise he purchased in 2003.
The News has learned Golisano gave Regier a two-year extension, a deal the team has never announced. The contract’s total value is believed between $2 million and $2.5 million.
from The Buffalo News,
RALEIGH, N.C. — Billionaire businessman Terry Pegula today is expected to take a major step toward buying the Buffalo Sabres when he meets with the NHL executive committee during All-Star Weekend. He will outline his plans to purchase the franchise for $175 million.
The presentation before the panel is considered one of the last hurdles he must clear before officially assuming ownership from Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano. Pegula is expected to be approved by the executive committee over the next several days before the purchase is voted upon by the full NHL board of governors in the next few weeks.
It was 20 years ago today that Buffalo lost a tough one, and by the narrowest of margins. The Calgary Flames came into town and beat the Sabres 5-4 at Memorial Auditorium. Rick Dudley was the Sabres head coach, and his assistant was a young and fiery up-and-comer named John Tortorella.
Sabres fans and media were questioning the toughness of Dale Hawerchuk and Pierre Turgeon and the worthiness of their $500,000 salaries. Buffalo media legend Ted Darling was in his final full season in the broadcast booth. There were captaincy issues as Mike Ramsey had just replaced Mike Foligno, who was traded to Toronto. The Sabres were an average team trodding along with 51 points near the end of January.
It so happens that there was another game that day, with a little bit more at stake, that was of interest to Buffalo fans, and for that matter people all over the world.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: buffalo+sabres, dale+hawerchuk, derek+roy, mike+foligno, mike+ramsey, no+goal, pierre+turgeon, rick+jeanneret, scott+norwood, super+bowl+xxv, ted+darling, tim+connolly
The Buffalo Sabres’ lack of sympathy for the misfortunes of the free falling Ottawa Senators should be in full display tonight at Scotiabank Place.
The streaking Sabres need every point they can get, and if that means figuratively kicking their already wounded division rival in the stomach on their way out the door towards the All-Star break, then so be it.
In their last 12 games, the Sabres are 8-3-1 while the Sens are 1-8-3. Ottawa will start Brian Elliott, who is winless in his last 10 starts, in goal tonight.
Still, it’s not like the Sabres don’t have issues of their own. They need to win this one just to get within four points of eighth place. The defense is still shaky. To be honest, not a whole lot of fans and media here are taking the streak too seriously.
via Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
One of the most interesting potential free agents this summer could be Lindy Ruff. That’s right; if the Buffalo Sabres don’t sign their longtime coach to an extension, Ruff goes on the market and, depending on what happens with Dallas Stars centre Brad Richards who is likely to re-sign with his club, he could be the most sought-after free agent in the summer of 2011.
Ruff, like his GM Darcy Regier, has been forced to operate with one hand tied behind his back working for the cost-conscious Sabres. There are a number of teams that aren’t happy with their coaching and Ruff could write his own ticket if he is set free. In fact, he may even want to consider declining an offer from Buffalo just to test the market, figuring there are teams that would be willing to pay him more than he’d get from the Sabres. Should Ruff leave Buffalo, a solid candidate to replace him is former Sabre and current Anaheim Ducks assistant coach Mike Foligno.
Sometimes it’s as simple as your best players being your best players.
The Sabres earned a big 4-2 win in Boston last night, and regardless of what the 3-stars voters had to say, this game was about Ryan Miller (38 saves) and Thomas Vanek (game-winning goal, assist) coming through when it mattered most.
On the subject of Miller, there have been rumblings in the local media that he should get a game off before the All-Star break. The talk after last night’s game was about whether or not Patrick Lalime or Jhonas Enroth should start the following night against the New York Islanders.
This is the same media that reminds us continuously that the Sabres as an organization don’t display enough desperation. Sitting a healthy Miller tonight, when the alternatives are a guy who hasn’t won a single game since Easter and a rookie struggling to be a .500 goalie in the AHL, wouldn’t exactly exemplify a sense of urgency.
That was a gutsy Buffalo win last night (2-1 in overtime) over division rival Montreal. There was a whole lot of hitting, yapping, pushing and shoving going on. Why we don’t see more of this nasty attitude from the Sabres is the subject of another conversation.
Having a threat like Mike Cammalleri off the ice for most of the game certainly made the task less formidable, but beggars can’t be choosers. And let’s not forget that Buffalo was missing its most potent point getter (Derek Roy, 35 points in 35 games) and goal scorer (Drew Stafford, 15 goals in 30 games). Stafford suffered a groin injury early, and it looks like he’s going to miss some time.
Great move by coach Lindy Ruff breaking up the Tyler Myers-Andrej Sekera pairing on the blue line. The 20-year old Calder Trophy winner seems better off with a stay at home veteran as his defense partner. Ruff felt that way during training camp when he originally played Shaone Morrisonn with Myers, but a poor start by the free agent acquisition put a damper in those plans. Let’s see if it sticks this time.
Big sigh of relief that Max Pacioretty is going to be OK after a scary moment when he took a slap shot to the chest. Forgive me if my heart rate shooting up from being terrified upon first seeing it was an overreaction, but it’s partly the fault of having a selective memory. Clint Malarchuk and Richard Zednik can attest to the fact that Buffalo can be a pretty risky place to play sometimes.
Things probably won’t be much more pleasant for the Sabres on Thursday when they play in Boston. Whatever they put in their pasta yesterday should be bottled up and brought with them on the trip.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: andrej+sekera, buffalo+sabres, chest+struck+by+hockey+puck, max+pacioretty, max+pacioretty, mike+cammalleri, montreal+canadiens, shaone+morrisonn, tyler+myers