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The Sabres Observer

Miller Proving Critics Wrong, Again

Hard to believe, but its been almost three weeks since Ryan Miller gave up seven goals to the Islanders in that dreadful game that stirred up some emotions and spirited debate in Buffalo.

The smarter fans and media wanted to see the reigning Vezina Trophy winner have a game off.  The crazy ones wanted to have a discussion about trading him.

Since then, all Miller has done over seven consecutive games is compile a 1.85 GAA and .944 save percentage.  He allowed two goals or less in all of those games, and was selected as one of the three stars in five of them. 

His performance in last night’s 3-2 win, against an injury depleted New York Rangers team, amounted to highway robbery.

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Tales Of Three Teams

From David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail,

Luckily for the Sabres, their new owner, Terry Pegula, was given the NHL governors’ stamp of approval just in time for the league’s trade deadline on Monday. This turned the Sabres from sellers into buyers just in time to get Brad Boyes, keep Tim Connolly and stay in the hunt.

There might even be good news about the Thrashers, although it’s not entirely clear. A couple of groups agreed to zip their lips so they can look through the team’s books with an eye to buying Atlanta Spirit, the company that owns the Thrashers, the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and the Philips Arena.

Finally, if you like slow torture that never ends, the Phoenix Business Journal has the latest in the never-ending stories of the always-shaky Phoenix Coyotes/Glendale bond deal.


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Ruff Talks Boyes, Connolly, Goaltending

From WGR-550,

“I think we’re getting a creative offensive player that a couple years ago scored 30 and 40 goals. He can complement our offense and play 17, 18 minutes a game.”  Ruff named Boyes one of his top six forwards and he will play a big role on the power play as well.  “We’d like to use him in the slot area. We can use him on the unit with two lefties and use him on the slot or in front of the net like Vanek.”

Lindy Ruff also touched on the Sabres’ strategy before the NHL Trading Deadline and the decision to keep Tim Connolly.  “With the situation with Derek Roy not having our #1 center, without filling that hole with another player, we feel with Tim we can maintain the pace we are going at.”

more, including why Ruff thinks the Sabres have been better on the road than at home, when Ryan Miller will get his next game off, and an injury update on Derek Roy.

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Sabres Done Dealing

There won’t be any more deals announced by the Sabres today.

Their trade deadline prize, Brad Boyes, is expected to play on the wing on Tim Connolly’s line tomorrow night against the Rangers.

While the Boyes move is a good one for this team, it’s unfortunate that Buffalo was unable to land a capable defenseman.  Loose defensive play has been a major issue for the Sabres this season, although there was marked improvement during their recent six-game homestand.

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Some Quick Hits Re: Brad Boyes

As advertised, it’s buying time in Buffalo.  The Sabres gave up a 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft to acquire Brad Boyes (RW) from the St. Louis Blues.

Boyes has 12 goals and 29 assists for 41 points in 62 games this season.  He’s already the Sabres second leading scorer and has been on a good run with 3 goals and 19 assists in his last 24 games.

With Drew Stafford and Jason Pominville already on the right side, it will be interesting to see where he is slotted in the Buffalo lineup.  Sabres GM Darcy Regier could be picturing the 24th overall pick in 2000 as a center in Buffalo.

Boyes has one year remaining on a contract that has a salary and cap hit of $4 million in 2011-12.

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Repeat After Me, Buffalo: Responsible Spending

Just because your new in-laws gift you with a pile of money doesn’t mean you foolishly go on a binge and overspend it.  Sorry, but in regards to the Bruce Garrioch article stating that the Sabres “are a player” for Brad Richards or Paul Stastny, I’m just not buying it.

Did Garrioch spend more than a minute thinking this through, or did he just naively reach his own conclusions based on public knowledge that new owner Terry Pegula has given GM Darcy Regier the green light to buy?  One thing for sure is that his piece was based on personal speculation and not insider information.  Any reporter who has dealt with the Sabres tight-lipped front office in the past decade can attest to that.

With three more years and $20 million left on his contract, Stastny would command a higher salary than Ryan Miller.  And as great a player as Richards is, Regier has already made it pretty clear that he’s not interested in rentals.  Personally, based on the limitations of the current Sabres roster, I’m totally on board with that mentality.

During the big day tomorrow, Regier will be looking to add to his club through what he himself referred to as “responsible spending”.  Just to be clear, that doesn’t mean being limited to the Bob Corkum echelon of contracts.  It’s all about value investing, which is a simple cap-friendly concept that Regier will have a much greater opportunity to implement now that he has more purchasing power.

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Trade Deadline Reporting 2011 - Rumors, Insiders and Pretenders

(A year ago, I wrote a piece on false rumor reporting in the blog/twitter era.  Since then, some phonies have been weeded out of the interwebs and some haven’t.  Below is a modified and modernized version of the article for 2011.)

It may not be Monday yet, but our wild ride aboard the information overload speed train has already begun.  An inundation of data in a high tech world may force Internet Armageddon upon us.  If the brainiacs who helped us avoid the Y2K disaster over a decade ago can be found, then someone might want to try and round them up. 

Credible and respected hockey insiders, who we feverishly turn to for an endless supply of minute by minute trade deadline blog and twitter updates, are back at it again.

Unfortunately, thanks to the lack of barriers to entry into cyber reporting, so are the phony rumor mongering wannabees.

Welcome to hockey journalism in the post-web 2.0 world, where any half-literate dreamer, armed with only a keyboard and a seventh grade knowledge of spelling and sentence structure, can piggyback public updates from their favorite beat writers and disseminate them as scoops from “inside sources” to thousands of information-starved hockey fans.

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The Role Of Objectivity In The Media

From Mike Schopp of WGR-550,

I entered talk radio in 1998 with the understanding that disassociating from my so-called “favorite teams” was necessary and important. No more rooting. I guess sports talk listeners like it when the people they turn to for opinions about sports have no preferences.

Gradually, and thankfully, we figured out that this makes no sense at all.

Are we really all supposed to act in the media like we don’t care whether our teams win? Putting any emotional attachments with teams or fans aside, we should admit that winning teams are good for our business. More people listen when the teams are good. The print media establishment is, I think, way more uptight about this than radio. Those guys are really objective compared with us.


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Vanek Excited About New Ownership

From Thomas Vanek’s blog:

“He (owner Terry Pegula) really is the best thing that could have happened to the club and the fans, you simply can’t put it any other way. He’s got some grand plans, but at the same time he’s very down to earth. He believes in what he says and makes a very honest impression. Also, he simply adores his family and it’s important to him that there’s a new and closer family-spirit among the team-members, too. I think it’s great that he’s throwing a big party on Thursday to get to know not only the players and personnel but also their families. I’m sure that the whole team will get even closer now. “

I can’t really say too much about the two new management guys. But Ted Black and (Ken) Sawyer were responsible for getting the Penguins out of bankruptcy and back to being a contender, even winning a Stanley Cup. Why shouldn’t they repeat that feat with our club? We’re not as beaten down as the Penguins were back then. Buffalo also isn’t such a bad place to live, especially as a hockey player….. I’m sure our new management will convey this message to any possible new player.  There’s a new spirit in town and the future starts now. And I’m really looking forward to it.


Special thanks to Jeremy White of WGR-550 for this.

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As A New Chapter Begins, Another Ends

Being at the Terry Pegula press conference yesterday, and seeing Sabres legends like Gilbert Perreault and Danny Gare on one side of the room and current icons like Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek on the other, underscored for me the meaning of keeping the past in your memories but putting it in the rear view mirror and forging ahead.

It’s kind of the same feeling I had when Scotty Bowman in 1981 traded away fan favorites Gare and Jim Shoenfield, when late owner Seymour H. Knox III gave his “Farewell, Old Friend” speech in 1996 during the emotional closing ceremonies at the Aud, and when Tom Golisano rescued the franchise from a near fatal bankruptcy eight years ago.

In the same way that the coronation of Golisano in 2003 brought closure to Sabres fans over the departure of beloved coach Ted Nolan, today’s first full day of the Terry Pegula era should expedite the permanent healing of the lasting wounds this town has felt over the free agency losses of Daniel Briere and Chris Drury. 

It won’t, however, ease the pain of No Goal in 1999 or No “D” in Game 7 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals.  There’s obviously only one cure for that, and the hope in Buffalo is that a diehard Sabres fan with $3 billion can administer it.

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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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