Kukla's Korner

The Sabres Observer

Sabreland Ready For Regier To Roll The Dice

Based on all of those lectures from Darcy Regier about how shrewd drafting and offseason trading are where the foundation of a championship team is built, the window of opportunity for him to steer the ship in the direction of a Stanley Cup is officially wide open as of today.

Regier proved, during the inaugural offseason of the art of the possible, that he’s capable of making waves with his hockey team when unconstrained by a boss who trembled at the mere thought of multi-year contracts.  Despite the fact things didn’t play out during the season the way the Sabres GM had hoped, the time has come for him to step up to the table and try again.

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Will Team-Sponsored Radio Work In Buffalo?

Sabres Advantageously Using Media, Both New And Old

At the risk of dating myself, I can still remember the anger I felt as a youngster when then-Sabres GM Scotty Bowman traded fan favorites Jim Schoenfeld and Danny Gare to Detroit.  It was a monster 7-player deal that brought a feisty 21-year-old forward named Mike Foligno to Buffalo.

“Schony” and “Tickets” were beloved in this town.  What was the revered coaching legend whom the Knox brothers had lured from Les Habitants thinking?  I was so upset that I literally wanted to ask him myself.  I attacked the yellow pages (OK to laugh here if you’re under 25) and hurriedly started searching.  Geez, is it under ‘B’ for Buffalo or Bowman? Or is it ‘S’ for Sabres or Scotty? 

My amused father stopped me and said, “You can’t just call and talk to him, David.  He’s on the inside.  Only the important TV and newspaper people get to speak to someone famous like him.”

Fast forward many years later, to this past Monday to be exact, and I’m having beer and pizza with the current president of the Buffalo Sabres as we’re rapping about the direction of the club.  I’m picking his brain about the upcoming draft.  He’s breaking team news to me that even the important TV and newspaper people haven’t been told.  The sports world is a much different place.

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Source: Myers Had Knee Surgery 3 Weeks Ago

You haven’t heard about this from the mainstream media, and Sabres President Ted Black bristled when I asked him about it at last night’s Sabres New Media Summit, but I have it on very good authority that Tyler Myers underwent knee surgery at a local medical facility on May 23rd.

The Sabres star defenseman was hampered for most or all of this past season by a lingering knee problem that felt worse in some games than others.

Myers was told following the surgery that the source of the discomfort was found and cleaned up. 

There’s no reason to believe that this amounted to more than a minor procedure, and it’s anticipated that Myers will be 100% ready to go for training camp.

Myers had 8 goals and 15 assists in 55 games in a 2011-12 season marred by injuries and inconsistent play.  He had surgery to repair a broken wrist in November, and suffered a foot injury blocking a shot against Toronto in early April.

Twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

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Ray Replaces Neale As Sabres Color Analyst

From the Sabres,

BUFFALO, N.Y. (June 11, 2012)—- Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black today announced a slate of changes to Buffalo Sabres broadcasts for the 2012-13 season. Among the major changes will be the addition of Rob Ray to the broadcast booth as the full-time color analyst and the creation of a new Sabres radio show, hosted by Kevin Sylvester, which will air daily beginning with its debut on June 18.

Ray, an eight-year veteran of the Sabres broadcast team, enters his first stint as a full-time color commentator and will provide analysis for all 82 games in the 2012-13 season. He joins Foster Hewitt Award winner and Sabres Hall-of-Famer Rick Jeanneret in the booth as Jeanneret, currently the longest-tenured broadcaster in hockey, embarks on his 41st season behind the microphone. After limiting the number of games he called last season, Jeanneret has signed a new, multi-year contract and will increase the number of games he will call in 2012-13.

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Warren Buffett Wants You To Pay For Online News

From Warren Buffett, in a letter to publishers and editors of Berkshire Hathaway’s daily newspapers:

We must rethink the industry’s initial response to the Internet.  The original instinct of newspapers then was to offer free in digital form what they were charging for in print.  This is an unsustainable model and certain of our papers are already making progress in moving to something that makes more sense.


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Leino: Season Was A Battle

From the Buffalo News,

Ville Leino was nearly invisible with a hockey stick in his hand. Off the ice, however, he was the Sabres’ straightest shooter.

Leino candidly and honestly delivered opinions on any subject that came up this season. The switch from left wing to center? Hated it. The crowd in Buffalo? Too quiet. The atmosphere in the dressing room? Not fun enough. Games early in the season? Sometimes it’s tough to get excited for them.

So, as he said farewell to a forgettable season, it was no surprise Leino came clean about his first year in Buffalo.


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Report: Ruff And Regier Will Return

via The Wall Street Journal website courtesy of the Associated Press,

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Sabres president Ted Black says the team is already looking ahead on how to rebound from this year’s disappointing finish. And he adds those plans include moving forward with both general manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff.

As difficult as it was on the franchise to miss the playoffs, Black told The Associated Press by phone that there’s “no time to wallow in misery.” He says the team will continue the aggressive approach in adding players it established last offseason, its first under new owner Terry Pegula.

Black cleared up any questions regarding Regier and Ruff’s futures by saying they will be back. Both have been criticized in the media this past week after the Sabres, and their high-priced payroll, finished ninth in the Eastern Conference standings.

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Ryan Miller Critics, Where Is Your Focus?

After a rough weekend for the Sabres, when so many aspects of the team’s performance were worthy of scrutiny, the local sports talk radio station spent about 99% of its airtime yesterday talking about the backup goaltender.

Sportswriters pounced on another opportunity to trash Ryan Miller, and antagonist fans with an unconditional disdain for the franchise netminder ate it right up, other factors of equal or greater concern be damned.

Is it unworthy of discussion that Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville failed to register a shot on goal in a must win game on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre?

Is it unimportant that the Pens and Leafs went a combined 3 for 5 on the power play while Buffalo put up a goose egg given the same number of chances?

Did anyone raise their eyebrows at Cody Hodgson being pointless and a -4 over these two monumental games?

Nope, nary a word about any of this.  Many fans, writers, and radio pros seemed overcome with a state of tunnel vision where all that mattered was what happened in the blue ice.  For a group of people that keeps telling us that goaltending isn’t as important anymore, they sure spend a lot of time obsessing about it.

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Ryan Miller Unplugged

From Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, a piece that’s gotten Ryan Miller both good and bad reviews in Buffalo today…

The goalie always gets heat. ... I don’t blame fans or media for talking about hockey; it is fun to be passionate about the game. I try not to pay attention because, unless you have played goalie in the NHL, I don’t think anyone can understand what it is like to stand in there and be one of us, to put yourself out there every night. This year, a lot of opinion I normally avoid or ignore was dragged into the locker room by the media, and I took it hard. But I kept working and searching for my comfort level. I finally remembered I love to play and I am not doing it for what people outside the locker think about me. I’m doing it because I love hockey and I love to win. I love making saves and being on a team. I love the challenge.


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Help Wanted From Slumping Sabre

It’s time for some Sabres trivia.  Which of the following players, over his past 30 games, has scored the fewest points: Ville Leino, Thomas Vanek, Tyler Myers, Derek Roy or Drew Stafford?

Give yourself a stick tap if you said Vanek.

Buffalo’s most talented and highest paid forward is slumping.  The Sabres are on an 11-3-3 surge that has elevated them into the playoff hunt, but Vanek has only managed to put up 6 points in that span.

Going back a bit further, here are the numbers over the past 30 games for Sabres forwards who are on the team in large part due to their scoring ability:

Pominville   11-10-21
Stafford   7-9-16
Roy   7-8-15
Ennis   7-8-15
Leino   4-10-14
Vanek   5-8-13
Gerbe   2-9-11
Boyes   3-5-8

Not only does Vanek have fewer points in his last 30 games than Ville Leino, he also has less than defensemen Tyler Myers (6-9-15) and Christian Ehrhoff (3-11-14).

Ryan Miller has been a big part of the Sabres resurgence, but it’s a lot to ask of him to continue giving up fewer than 2 goals per game.  Whether he’s playing hurt or just lacking confidence, the sooner the better for Vanek’s return to excellence.  Tonight’s important contest in Winnipeg, which could result in Buffalo catapulting to eighth place in the East, wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

Follow me on twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

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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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