The Sabres Observer
From Bill McGraw of the Detroit Free Press,
With the Detroit Red Wings’ storied history, two NHL owners, some of the world’s top amateur teams, a few dozen indoor rinks and legions of avid fans, metro Detroit easily can back up its self-anointed nickname of Hockeytown.
But at the other end of Lake Erie, Buffalo has done something that will make any Hockeytown resident envious: It just opened a 19-story building that is devoted to amateur hockey. Experts say it’s unique in North America.
It’s called HarborCenter, a nearly $200-million waterfront edifice with 650,000 square feet of space that includes two rinks — on the building’s sixth floor — a hockey academy, training center and parking garage.
Some Sabres observations the day after watching a game in a section of First Niagara Center that was infested with Bruins fans (although I will say they were a friendly and polite group):
- The Sabres can put a spin on it and say they played better last night in their 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins, but comparing their performance to the Toronto game is setting the bar pretty low. Getting outshot 37-15 against any NHL team, including a Boston club that's fighting it right now and trying to find their game, doesn't entitle Buffalo to play the moral victory card.
from Travis Yost of TSN.ca,
The Sabres appear to be a lock for the upcoming draft lottery. And despite other poor performances around the league, it’s growing increasingly difficult to see them finishing anywhere other than dead last – although Carolina is winless and two points behind Buffalo. Few will accuse them of outright tanking, but the organization has certainly done an excellent job of stripping away most of the talent at the NHL-level, using this year to develop a litany of younger players. The team might not be actively trying to lose, but the roster has been carefully assembled to the point where it’s going to be almost impossible for Ted Nolan’s lineup to sustain any kind of success, even over short periods of time. It’s a rebuild, by the harshest of designs.
Follow the standings from the bottom to see which teams are in the hunt for Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and other young future stars in what is regarded as a stacked draft class in 2015.
Teams are sorted by total points lost. So, a team with 40 points in 50 games will have a PL of 60 (60 out of a possible 100 points not earned).
These standings will be updated frequently and can be accessed through a link on the Sabres Observer page.
PA - Points available
PPL - Percentage of points lost
PL - Points lost
Lottery Odds % (worst to 5th-worst): 20.0, 13.5, 11.5, 9.5, 8.5
With so many pending unrestricted free agents on a losing Buffalo team, it was only a matter of time before trade rumors began popping up.
This one comes from the best of the best in reporting.
It's only three games into what is expected to be a long season for the Sabres, but Ted Nolan's emotions may already be boiling over.
“That was like an NHL team playing a Pee Wee team,” the coach told the media following Buffalo's embarrassing 5-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. The remarks have already made headlines all over the place.
A few writers I know who were in the room told me that they had never seen Nolan as upset as he was tonight. After what transpired last season, that's a telling observation.
While the NHL has overall done a pretty good job cleaning up its act, thuggery is apparently still alive and well in the AHL.
Below is video (courtesy of sabresprospects.com) of a brawl last night between Rochester and Adirondack, which shows Flames forward Trevor Gillies slamming Amerks forward William Carrier's head to the ice during a fight. Things escalated to the point where even slick forward Mikhail Grigorenko, who had a goal earlier in the game, got involved in the fisticuffs.
It didn't get Gillies a match penalty, but it did get him trending on twitter in Canada.
It's time for my annual NHL predictions.
Below is a summary of where I think teams will finish in the 2014-15 season.
If you read the list, I promise to never clog your twitter feed with news that the performance of so-and-so ruined my fantasy team. #HintHint
OK, sure, it's all supposed to be about what's best for the organization and not what's fair or not fair to the individual player.
But if anyone has shown in Sabres training camp that he's turned over a new leaf and is now deserving of a chance to prove himself as an everyday NHL player, it's Mikhail Grigorenko.
The 2012 1st-round selection has been put through the ringer more than enough, much of it admittedly his own fault. But it's quite possible that we're witnessing his slow departure from hockey purgatory into a realm where he is an important part of Buffalo's rebuild.
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]