Kukla's Korner

The Sabres Observer

Sabres, Oilers Can Prove A Point About Pride

The McEichel Bowl is upon us.

Buffalo is in Edmonton tonight as the two worst teams in the NHL meet in what is being hyped as a monumental game for both teams, for no other reason than finishing 30th in the standings guarantees you Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in the draft.

But for those who still don't get it, this isn't about the players on the ice.  There's a difference between not trying and not being good enough.  It's difficult not to cringe every time a reporter asks a guy like Josh Gorges or Ben Scrivens about the theory of throwing games.  Players will bite your head off and lecture about pride until they're blue in the face.  In the process, they'll even take a shot at fans who want them to lose.

Which leads to something interesting to look for tonight.  If these players are half as angry as they seem when questioned about tanking, should this not be their golden opportunity to throw it back in everyone's faces?

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  Tags: sabres+oilers+mcdavid

Sabres Should Avoid Richards

Mike Richards has been placed on waivers, and the 30th-place Sabres can have him if they want him.

As is pretty much the case lately when any recognizable player is on waivers, a number of Sabres fans openly campaign for him to be picked up.

Those rumblings are a bit louder today with a guy like Richards available.  I say "no thanks".

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  Tags: mike+richards+sabres

Staples: Oilers Likely Won’t Get McDavid OR Eichel

Well, I promised myself I wouldn't say anything more about yesterday's Puck Daddy piece praying to the hockey gods that Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel end up avoiding having to play for Buffalo or Edmonton.

I cringed at the anti-mainstream media blogging crowd grudgingly typing out 1000-word essays on why "The Sabres don't deserve McDavid because they had Gilbert Perreault" is a take hot enough to melt every towering snow drift in Buffalo.

Yet, here I am linking to a piece -- from an Edmonton Journal writer no less -- ripping it apart.

David Staples did criticize the article, but I'm actually calling it to your attention today for a totally different reason.  Analytics nerds have already told you this, but it's worth mentioning anyway.

The Oilers are a better team than the Sabres and will almost certainly finish higher than Buffalo in the standings.

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  Tags: mceichel, oilers+eichel, oilers+mcdavid, sabres+eichel, sabres+mcdavid

Sabres, Please Let This Be It

Someone please tell me this will be over soon.

I've stated in this space repeatedly that it would be much better for the Sabres to finish 30th than 20th this season. 

Like they always say -- be careful what you wish for.

Oh, I'm still on board.  All the way.  The thought of having one of the two best forwards in the NHL playing on my team for 15 years is beyond enticing.

But, I have to tell you, come this summer I'm so done with it.  No more rebuilding or tanking talk for me.  Because what I've been going through watching Sabres games these past two seasons is driving me off a cliff.

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  Tags: sabres+rebuild

One Year Later, Buffalo’s Offense Is Worse

If you thought the embarrassing level of ineffective offense displayed by the Buffalo Sabres in 2013-14 was as bad as it could get, you were mistaken.

Buffalo is in position to break its own record of futility.

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A New Draft Consolation Prize At Number Three?

Tell me if this is a player you'd like your team to get in the upcoming draft:

A big-bodied power winger with the ability to physically dominate, making him a prominent forechecking presence every night. Possesses good hands that can be used to make crisp passes or to let loose accurate, NHL-level shots; paired with his strength and skating ability, his skill set allows him to contribute offensively, as well as create space for teammates.

Sign me up.  How can we get that guy?

Well, ISS (International Scouting Services) Hockey just released its latest 2015 Top 30 Draft Rankings, and that description was taken right from the Elite Hockey Prospects page of the highest ranked player not named McDavid or Eichel.

Thanks to a strong showing for Canada in the World Juniors, he may have just replaced Noah Hanifin as the top consolation prize for the team slotted third in the McDavid/Eichel draft.  His name is Lawson Crouse.

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  Tags: "lawson+crouse", "noah+hanifin", nhl+draft+prospects

A Simple Trade Idea For Peter Chiarelli

Hey, Boston.  I hear you're trying to make a deal quickly to stop your ship from sinking.

Looking to get a forward who can score but don't want to mortgage the farm to get him?

Having some conversations with Tim Murray but not ready to pay his asking price for big man Chris Stewart?

If no deal for a stud sniper falls on your lap soon, I have a lower-scale solution for you.

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  Tags: bruins+trade+rumors, buffalo+sabres, chris+stewart+trade

Sabres, Wild Deny Enroth To Minny Rumors

There have apparently been some rumblings in league circles that the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild are discussing a possible trade that would send goaltender Jhonas Enroth to Minnesota.

Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman talked about the Enroth rumor last night, saying both teams are denying it.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, jhonas+enroth, minnesota+wild

Are Sabres Fans Up For A Playoff Run?

They did it again.

It took a shootout and recovery from blowing a 2-goal lead to do it, but the Sabres defeated Ottawa 5-4.  Buffalo is now 4 points behind 8th in the East.

That's 10 wins in 13 games, despite only having outshot their opponent in 2 of them.

Do we chalk another one up to puck luck?  There have been some games during this stretch where the Sabres were the recipients of good fortune (do you deserve to beat Calgary when you're outshot 45-19?), but last night's win was hard earned and well deserved.

Marcus Foligno and Brian Flynn each had a goal and an assist in this one.  Tyler Myers (1 assist, 31:09 TOI), Rasmus Ristolainen (1 goal, 25:24 TOI)  and Nikita Zadorov (4 hits, 2 blocked shots, 27:44 TOI) logged heavy minutes on the blue line.  Jhonas Enroth looked like he could use a game off yet still made enough saves -- including some big stops in the shootout -- to seal the victory.

As these wins keep piling up, you wonder when the word "playoffs" is going to creep into the conversation.

That time is just about here.  No matter what you think of your team, you can't ignore the standings.

The big question today isn't whether or not GM Tim Murray and the Sabres are up for an attempted run to the playoffs -- it's whether or not the fans are up for it.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres

Breaking Down Buffalo’s Recent Success

Today is the one-month anniversary of the beginning of an improbable streak by the Sabres that has seen them win nine of their last twelve games.

What follows is a statistical breakdown of this past month.  What some of these eye-opening numbers will show is that Buffalo will have to play much better hockey for this success to be sustainable.

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  Tags: sabres+win+streak

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

2014-15 NHL Reverse Standings

 

Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]

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