The Sabres Observer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From Bruce Garrioch,
“If you stuck a pin in a map and circled every area within 90 minutes of downtown Detroit, that’s where we’re trying to draw from,” [Wings’ senior VP/alternate governor Jim] Devellano said.
“What has worked for us is marketing pretty hard into western Ontario. Big time. Windsor, Chatham, London, St. Thomas, Sarnia. We’ve marketed big into Ontario, and with the Canadian dollar now strong, it has helped.”
“We’ve made sure that people in western Ontario understand there is an availability of tickets. That has helped. We’re actually up a fair amount with the Red Wings. We haven’t been too bad, but I can’t tell you the last four years haven’t been a tough sell because they have been.”
The Wings/Tigers didn’t just dream up the strategy, they’ve seen it work elsewhere and borrowed the idea. All they had to do was study the success of the Buffalo Sabres and Bills.
more , including much more from Devellano.
via blog post by Budd Bailey of The Buffalo News,
I remember Scotty Bowman talking about a player who had many more goals than assists. He looked at the scoring line for the season, which was 34-18 (goals and assists), and said something like, “He may win the Cy Young Award with a stat like that.”
The winner of the NHL’s Cy Young Award for 2010-11, then, is Michael Grabner of the Islanders. He didn’t score all of his goals against the Sabres, although it might have seemed that way. And Drew Stafford of the Sabres wasn’t far behind:
Name – Team – Goals – Assists – Diff.
Michael Grabner – N.Y. Islanders – 34 – 18 – 16
Brian Gionta – Montreal – 29 – 17 – 12
Ryan Jones – Edmonton – 18 – 7 – 11
Scottie Upshall – Columbus – 22 – 12 – 10
Drew Stafford – Buffalo – 31 – 21 – 10
Brenden Morrow – Dallas – 33 – 23 – 10
Nikolay Zherdev – Philadelphia – 16 – 6 - 10
David Jones – Colorado – 27 – 18 – 9
Matt Moulson – N.Y. Islanders – 31 – 22 – 9
Ryan Kesler – Vancouver – 41 – 32 - 9
Bailey’s post also includes a link to a page, courtesy of the Hockey Abstract blog, with the list of all-time leaders. See if you can guess who is at the top.
From The Buffalo News,
The Sabres have called a news conference for 11 a.m. today to announce a contract extension for coach Lindy Ruff, a source told The Buffalo News.
Sabres owner Terry Pegula, General Manager Darcy Regier and Ruff are expected to be an attendance. Ruff’s contract expired at the end of the season, and bringing him back was one of Pegula’s top priorities going into the offseason. Reaching an agreement was considered a formality.
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: email@example.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]