Kukla's Korner

The Sabres Observer

Goaltending Matchup Won’t End Miller Debate

With two elite netminders battling it out in the Stanley Cup Finals, I’d like to think that maybe the cheap-goaltending-is-better silliness is going to get a well-deserved reprieve.

That’s not likely to happen in Buffalo in the foreseeable future, however, thanks in large part to the storied 15-game NHL career of Jhonas Enroth.

Brian Koziol of WGR-550 sanely wrote today that Ryan Miller is still the answer in Buffalo, although his piece that touched on the ubiquitous debate concerning the Sabres franchise goaltender wasn’t without its share of pure gold:

“While I think it’s insane to be able to have any clear judgment on Enroth’s success in the NHL, there were plenty of people who called into the postgame show during the playoffs and other WGR talk shows about why Lindy Ruff didn’t play Enroth and rotate “the hot goalie” as Peter Laviolette did with the Flyers.”

There you have it, folks.  Ruff should be ashamed of himself for not adhering to that innovative goaltending carousel-riding strategy that helped carry the Philadelphia Flyers through the playoffs.

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Ted Nolan Wants To Coach Again

From The Moncton Times & Transcript,

Nolan makes it clear he wants to coach again some day and it doesn’t matter whether it’s the NHL or major junior.

“I definitely miss coaching,” he said. “I really miss teaching the game, watching the players improve and develop their skills, and taking a group of individuals in training camp and seeing them gel together as a team over the course of the season.”

“I remember the way [Moncton Wildcats owner Robert Irving] approached me to come to Moncton and wanted me to be part of the organization. I do want to coach again. I want to go to an organization where they really want me to be part of it. You wait around and hopefully that opportunity comes.”

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Drew Stafford Has A New Contract

via Sabres tweet,

The #Sabres have signed forward Drew Stafford to a multi-year deal. Check back with Sabres.com later today for more details.

Details not available yet, but Buffalo successfully avoids having the forward go to salary arbitration. 

Stafford this past season: 31 goals, 21 assists, 52 points in 62 games played.  11 of his goals were on the power play and he was a +13.

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Pominville Says Recovery On Schedule

Sabres forward Jason Pominville appeared on Canada’s RDS television last night and declared that his recovery from a severely cut tendon in his leg is on schedule.

Pominville sat down with a panel that included former NHL coaches and players Mario Tremblay, Michel Bergeron and Denis Gauthier.

You can check out the interview here, although you won’t get too much out of it unless you understand French.

Read on for a rundown of what Pominville revealed to the panel…

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Sabres Fire Assistant Coach

Via WGR-550,

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) —WGR Sports Radio 550 has learned that Lindy Ruff has released Associate Coach Brian McCutcheon from his staff.

Sources say McCutcheon is in limbo right now. If the Sabres wind up buying the Rochester Amerks, McCutcheon could have a role there. If that doesn’t happen, he may just be released.

The top two candidates to replace McCutcheon are former Sabres Captain Mike Foligno who’s an assistant in Anaheim and local product Kevyn Adams who’s been given more responsibility in each of the last two seasons on Ruff’s staff.

McCutcheon joined Ruff’s staff in 2000 after three years as Head Coach of the Amerks where he was 128-82-9 winning two Western Conference titles.

Before the Amerks, he was coach of the Columbus Chill of the ECHL.

McCutcheon played and coached at Cornell. He coached the Big Red from 1987-1995.

The Sabres have yet to comment.

Twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

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Teppo Sees Success For Winnipeg This Time

From John Vogl of The Buffalo News,

It didn’t take Teppo Numminen long to realize what made folks in Winnipeg tick, what made it possible for them to get through those long winters in the middle of Canada.

“Hockey is their passion,” Numminen, who spent eight NHL seasons in Winnipeg, said Tuesday. “That’s where I started [in 1988]. I was 20 when I came, leaving home far away, leaving Finland, but I just felt right at home and welcomed. It was great to see the passion and support for the team.”

The passion—and the NHL—is back.

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Jeanneret’s Career Headed For O-O-Overtime

Most Buffalo fans love him and many outsiders can do without him, but nonetheless he’s coming back with a lighter workload this season.

Sabres play-by-play legend Rick Jeanneret, the longest tenured broadcaster in hockey, will only be calling around 10-15 road games during the 2011-12 regular season because the long road trips have been wearing on him.

Harry Neale, who has been doing Sabres color commentary for four years, will also work a reduced schedule.

Having never been 68 years old before, I can’t speak for how exhausting it is for someone the same age as my father to be on the road for 40-50 games in 8-9 months.  But to be honest, in the big picture it doesn’t even matter.  Sabres fans in general would be perfectly happy with having Jeanneret do only home games, if that’s what it would take for him not to retire.  He also has unwavering support from team management. 

In a nutshell, the man seemingly has the job for life.  Discussing his new schedule arrangement on the radio this morning, Jeanneret sounded invigorated by new ownership and grateful for the fact that the team is being so accommodating to him.

How badly do folks here want him to prolong his career?  A sports talk show caller today said that Buffalo fans would rather have Jeanneret call road games from his living room in front of a television than to have to endure listening to a different broadcaster.

He wasn’t joking, and he was probably right.

Twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

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Sabres Agree To Terms With Marcus Foligno

From the Sabres,

BUFFALO, NY (May 25, 2011) – Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier announced today that forward Marcus Foligno has agreed to terms on a three-year entry level contract. Foligno was selected by Buffalo in the fourth-round (104th overall) of the 2009 Entry Draft.

“Marcus is a proven leader and someone that we believe will fit in very well within our organization,” said Regier. “As Buffalo fans will remember from his play in the World Juniors, Marcus is a great mix of size and skill.” 

A native of Buffalo, NY, Foligno (6’3”, 222 lbs., 8/10/1991, shoots left) played four seasons of junior hockey with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League and was the team’s captain in 2010-11. Despite playing in just 47 games this season, Foligno posted career highs in goals (23), assists (36) and points (59), and was named to the OHL’s Second All-Star Team at left wing. Foligno’s 92 PIMs led all Wolves forwards, and he contributed 11 power play goals. In the OHL’s annual coaches poll, Foligno was selected as the Eastern Conference’s Best Body Checker, and finished third in voting for Hardest Shot.

Foligno also won a silver medal with Canada at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, picking up four points (2+2) in Canada’s seven games.

The son of former Sabre Mike Foligno, Marcus scored 139 points (54+85) and collected 382 PIMs in 245 career games with Sudbury.

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Rapture Means Being Robbed Of Future Hockey Memories

So I guess this is it, folks.  Just a few more hours until the end of the world, and more importantly the end of hockey season.

The rapture coming tonight means this hockey aficionado is being deprived of some special moments down the road that would’ve been great to witness. 

It’s sad I won’t get to see Gary Bettman handing the Stanley Cup to Thomas Vanek.  Although seeing that too often he thinks pass first, Vanek probably would’ve just handed it to Derek Roy anyway.

I’ll miss the chance to see the NHL once again without the instigator rule, which means I won’t have the opportunity to bet the over/under on how many days it will take before ineffective players like Matt Cooke and Jarkko Ruutu are playing in the AHL.

I’ll never have the feeling of my hair standing up from watching the crowd reaction at the MTS Centre as the reincarnation of the Winnipeg Jets takes the ice for the home opener.

But hey, it’s not all bad.  At least I’ll never again have to hear Mike Milbury tell all of us how dumb it is to give up on young players too soon.  And I sure won’t miss that sick feeling that I still have from hearing Doc Emrick refer to Lecavalier, St. Louis and Gagne as “The French Connection”.

I have a few more, but time is short.  I’m making my first Sabres season ticket payment today and I think their office closes in an hour.  Hug a puckhead that you love, my hockey brethren, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

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Starry-Eyed Source Of Silly Philly “Whispers” Revealed

It’s that time of year again, folks.  The Flyers are about ready to partake in their annual spinning of the goaltending wheel of misfortune.

We have quite the group of qualified candidates to take a turn on the Orange and Black goalie carousel in 2011-12.  Tomas Vokoun, Ilya Bryzgalov, Niklas Backstrom, step right up.  You’re all on Broad Street’s radar.

Then of course we have Ryan Miller, Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Brodeur… wait, huh?

It’s no joke, and someone much more legitimate than an anonymous hockey blogger or basement dwelling rumormonger is apparently responsible for suggesting these marquee names.

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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.

 

 

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

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