Kukla's Korner

The Sabres Observer

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.

Continue Reading »

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Sabres Sign Brayden McNabb

From the Sabres,

BUFFALO, NY (May 18, 2011) – Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier announced today the Sabres have signed defenseman Brayden McNabb to a three-year entry level contract. McNabb was a third-round selection (66th overall) by the Sabres in the 2009 Entry Draft.

“Brayden is a big kid with great offensive abilities, and he’s continued to improve every year in Kootenay,” said Regier. “His outstanding performance in the WHL Playoffs was just another positive sign in his development, and we are thrilled to now have him under contract for the next three years.”

McNabb (6’5”, 216 lbs., 1/21/1991, shoots left) just finished his fourth full season with the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League, and is headed to the Memorial Cup Championship that begins this weekend in Mississauga, Ont. McNabb’s 27 points led all Canadian Hockey League defenseman in the postseason, and his 24 assists were more than any other CHL defenseman’s total points.

A native of Davidson, Saskatchewan, McNabb was tied for second overall in WHL Playoff scoring, and had a 12-game point streak from April 3-May 10 where he scored 21 points (2+19). He also posted a league-best plus-23 rating in the Ice’s 19 playoff games.

The 20-year-old McNabb improved his regular season point total for the third year in a row, finishing second among WHL blueliners with 72 points (21+51) in 59 games. In four full seasons with Kootenay from 2007-11, McNabb had 176 points (50+126) in 258 games, along with 419 PIMs.

Twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

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Source: Sabres Owner Purchasing Rochester AHL Club

via WGRZ,

BUFFALO, NY - Multiple sources have confirmed to 2-On-Your-Side that Sabres Owner Terry Pegula is in the final stages of purchasing the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.

We’re told that negotiations have intensified over the past couple of weeks, and that the deal has either reached, or is close to reaching its conclusion.

The Sabres would offer no confirmation, but did reaffirm that they are “looking at all aspects of the organization, including the AHL affiliation long and short term.”

It was three years ago that the Sabres broke ties with Rochester as the parent club of the AHL team and reached an agreement with the Portland Pirates.  But many Sabres and Amerks fans lamented the breakup, as Rochester’s close proximity to Buffalo enhanced the regionalization of the Sabres franchise.

 

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Barnaby Arrested For Domestic Violence

Via WIVB.com,

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - Former Buffalo Sabre Matthew Barnaby was arrested Friday night, charged with domestic violence.

Amherst Police responded to a location at 6:15 p.m. and found serious damage to property. The location is being kept private to protect two female victims, who police say were not injured.

The former right winger was arrested and charged with second degree criminal contempt, harassment, second degree criminal trespass, and second degree criminal mischief. Police say after leaving the location, he made angry phone calls, and Barnaby has also been charged with aggravated harassment via a cell phone.

Barnaby, who turned 38 just over a week ago, will spend Friday night in jail and be arraigned Saturday morning in Amherst Town Court. He played for the Sabres from 1992-1999.

Twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

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Mr. Regier, You Now Have The Floor

The inaugural offseason of the art of the possible is under way.  And while Sabres owner Terry Pegula and President Ted Black continue to dazzle this town with their fan friendly attitude and media accessibility, much of the fate of what their public image will look like down the road will soon be out of their own hands.

Six weeks from today, we’ll begin to see to what level things have changed with Darcy Regier and his hockey department in Buffalo - for real.  That’s when Minnesota will host the NHL draft, an event that over the years has produced some deals that altered the fortunes of a few franchises.  And by deals I’m not talking about drafting Sidney Crosby.

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Did The Buffalo Series Cost Flyers In Second Round?

From CSNPhilly.com,

So what was it about the Sabres series that wore the Flyers down so much?

Too many times against Buffalo, the Flyers fell into early two-goal deficits and were forced to climb out of seemingly insurmountable holes. There are positives to be said for never quitting, but there’s also an emotional and physical toll that repeatedly getting into such situations can take.

“I think that the Buffalo series may have taken more out of us than a normal seven-game series,” Sean O’Donnell said. “They are physically and emotionally exhausting, there was a lot of ups and downs there. We came back a lot, I think looking back on that seven-game series, it seemed more like a nine- or 10-game series.”

They looked more like they’d been bruised and beaten up in a pair of series against high-caliber competition, not just a single series against a No. 7 seed. When they finally faced off against Boston, they looked like a shell of the team they were back in December and January, and lacked fire, jump and the desperation coach Peter Laviolette speaks so highly of.

more, including quotes from Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, and GM Paul Holmgren.

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Is Ryan Miller An Untouchable?

From Mike Schopp of WGR-550,

Once again, many of the big-name goaltenders are nowhere to be found by Round 2 of the NHL playoffs. One listener tells me that of the top 18 goalies ranked by salary-cap hit, only two (Luongo and Thomas) are still playing. Their teams were 1-2 in the regular season in goal differential, which tells us that they have good goaltending for sure but also a lot more.

There’s no knowing whether or not Vancouver or Boston would be in the same position—one game away from home ice in the conference finals—with lesser goalies. But it’s certainly possible. The last team to win the Stanley Cup whose strength was goaltending was the 2003 New Jersey Devils.

Now we come to the Sabres, about whom so many people say that their strength is goaltending that I might as well just call it a fact. Their goaltending is hardly stupendous, but if goaltending isn’t their strength then I don’t know what is. No other element of the team had much of a playoff series, I know that much.

More and more fans seem to have bought into my position from years back, that signing Ryan Miller long-term was not the brightest way to build the team. Now, some of those fans are ready to trade Miller and have that amount to a similarly paid player at another position.

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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.

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

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