Kukla's Korner

The Sabres Observer

Come September, Give Eichel Some Space

Sitting a few rows behind the Gold Team bench at last night's scrimmage, I could see Jack Eichel say something to his coaches and teammates as he was huffing and puffing while skating off the ice after another rough shift.

He had just lost two puck battles to Jean Dupuy and been knocked to the ice two other times from hard hits, all in a matter of 90 seconds.

Without being a master lip reader, the look on Eichel's flushed face and his body language made it apparent he was muttering something along the lines of "I just don't have it tonight".

After the media tours, corporate event speeches, filmed fitting sessions at athletic headgear stores, emotional visits with children at Roswell Park, hula-hooping demonstrations at Larkin Square, and all the while still looking like an electric ball of energy at development camp the entire week leading up to this climactic event, it's completely understandable that Eichel hit a wall.

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Sabres 30 Watch - Part 5: Goalies

I've taken the liberty of reviewing 30 players -- free agents and others possibly available to acquire via trade -- for Sabres fans to watch this offseason.

Some of them are on the list because I think they'd be a good fit in Buffalo, and others made it simply due to insider reports and the latest buzz from the hockey world.

In Parts 1, 2,3 and 4 we went over defensemen. left-wingers, right-wingers and centers.

Today, in our final segment, let's take a look at goalies.

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  Tags: sabres+trade+rumors

Sabres 30 Watch - Part 4: Centers

I've taken the liberty of reviewing 30 players -- free agents and others possibly available to acquire via trade -- for Sabres fans to watch this offseason.

Some of them are on the list because I think they'd be a good fit in Buffalo, and others made it simply due to insider reports and the latest buzz from the hockey world.

In Parts 1, 2 and 3, we went over defensemen, left-wingers and right-wingers.

Today, let's take a look at centers.

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  Tags: sabres+trade+rumors

Could the Blackhawks be the biggest team in Chicago?

This post is brought to you by Cathy Lee.

It’s been one of the most exciting NHL seasons ever, and now, with the Chicago Blackhawks taking home the Stanley Cup this month, the future could be even better for the northern team.

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  Tags: betting+sports

Sabres 30 Watch - Part 3: Right-Wingers

I've taken the liberty of reviewing 30 players -- free agents and others possibly available to acquire via trade -- for Sabres fans to watch this offseason.

Some of them are on the list because I think they'd be a good fit in Buffalo, and others made it simply due to insider reports and the latest buzz from the hockey world.

In Parts 1 and 2, we went over defensemen and left-wingers.

Today, let's take a look at right-wingers.

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  Tags: sabres+trade+rumors

Sabres 30 Watch - Part 2: Left-Wingers

I've taken the liberty of reviewing 30 players -- free agents and others possibly available to acquire via trade -- for Sabres fans to watch this offseason.

Some of them are on the list because I think they'd be a good fit in Buffalo, and others made it simply due to insider reports and the latest buzz from the hockey world.

In Part 1, we went over a list of defensemen.

Today, let's take a look at left-wingers.

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  Tags: sabres+free+agency, sabres+trade+rumors

Sabres 30 Watch - Part 1: Defensemen

Two years of misery finally in the rearview mirror, and the Sabres roster tear-down is complete.

Buffalo has almost $30M in cap space to fill for the first season of the Jack Eichel era, so It's time to have fun and start shopping.

I've taken the liberty of reviewing 30 hand-selected players -- free agents and others possibly available to acquire via trade -- for Sabres fans to watch this offseason.

Many of them are on the list due to being the big names coming from the latest buzz around the hockey world, and others made it because I think they'd be a good fit in Buffalo.

In today's first installment, let's look at defensemen.

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  Tags: sabres+free+agents, sabres+trade+rumors

Bylsma Will Hopefully Be New And Improved

Before reading any further, give an honest answer to this question: Do you want a coach who trusts his best players to use their abilities, think less on the ice and just read and react, or would you prefer a sophisticated system requiring them to process a lot of information on the fly?

If you chose the first option, perhaps you can understand my one big concern about Dan Bylsma.

When the Sabres announced the hiring of their new head coach yesterday, did they introduce a man with an unchanged mentality from when he lost a frustrated locker room in Pittsburgh, or someone who has progressed with the times and changed for the better?

Is Bylsma going to let promising youngsters like Jack Eichel, Rasmus Ristolainen and Zemgus Girgensons use their natural talent to help them find their maximum upside, or will he overthink the game and drag his players into an abyss of analysis paralysis?

He's not going to make Eichel play a dump-and-chase game, right?

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  Tags: bylsma+sabres+systems

Report: Bylsma Deal With Sabres Is “Imminent”

It's the worst kept secret in Buffalo, but Dan Bylsma is apparently going to be the next head coach of the Sabres.

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Babcock Courtship Was Just Bad Timing

One of my guilty television addictions is "Shark Tank" ("Dragons' Den" in Canada), a show where successful and insanely wealthy investors hear pitches from ambitious entrepreneurs seeking funding to take their companies to another level.

In many cases, the business owners are told they have a bright future ahead but aren't big enough -- not enough sales -- to get an investment just yet.

That's metaphorically what happened when Mike Babcock spurned the Sabres yesterday.

Many in Buffalo, from fans and media to apparently even some in the Sabres organization, are flabbergasted at The Coveted One choosing a Toronto franchise in turmoil. The methods and negotiating tactics of the former Detroit coach have certainly come under fire as well.

Babcock departing the Red Wings has instantly reignited a Sabres - Leafs rivalry that hasn't been the same since the Rob Ray vs. Tie Domi days. Yesterday, fans and writers from both cities were sparring on social media over which team will sooner be a contender.

And while this writer predicts Buffalo in a landslide, this is a time for Sabres fans to humbly and patiently accept a sobering reality.

Toronto is Toronto, and Buffalo is Buffalo. You know where this is going.

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  Tags: babcock+toronto+buffalo

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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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