The Sabres Observer
This wasn't expected at all.
After defeating the team with the most points in the NHL last night, the Sabres have incredibly won 6 of their last 7 games. The day their head coach had to apologize for comparing their level of play to that of a peewee team is a distant memory.
Granted, the Lightning were a bit tired on the end of a back-to-back, but that's a moot point in this developing conflict in Buffalo between fans who want to see their team win the most possible games now, and those who have visions of wunderkinds dancing in their heads.
From Howard Simon of WGR-550,
What in the name of winning hockey is going on with the Sabres? How do you explain a team that was 3-13-2, winning 5 of its last 6 games? In short, they have a hot line, a very good, young defense pairing and a hot goalie.
Forbes has released its latest list of NHL franchise values, and Terry Pegula has reason to be pleased.
From Bill Hoppe of Olean Times Herald,
“He was a big reason why we were the last Canadian team to win,” Ennis said. “He was really nice to us young kids who were all intimidated because he was such a good head coach in the NHL, and we didn’t know what to expect.”
"By 2001, the [Sabres] had changed and I had to ask for a trade. It turned out to be the best decision of my career because I went to Detroit and was able to win the Cup." - Dominik Hasek 11/14/14
As I sat down to write this, I realized that many of the Sabres faithful are too young to remember seeing Dominik Hasek in his prime in Buffalo.
With that in mind, I'm going to sum up in a nutshell what it was like to be a Sabres fan when Hasek was at his peak.
It's as simple as this: When the Sabres would score first to take a 1-0 lead, you were about 95% confident that your team was going to get at least a point that night. Only a couple of unlucky deflections could alter that fate. He was that good.
While you were watching the Bills game last night, the Sabres were getting dominated yet again, but there's something pretty good to take from this one.
Minnesota won the game 6-3, but that wasn't the fault of young Buffalo defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov. Both were impressive as a duo playing top-line minutes, and you can only wonder how much buzz these two could have generated this season had they been playing on a good team.
On the surface, it's easy to see why there would be chatter about a possible Tyler Myers trade to Dallas.
Myers had his best season under Lindy Ruff, the big forward was born in Texas, and the Stars are severely lacking in right-handed defensemen -- Alex Goligoski is the only one in their top-6. Ruff lamented about the lack of a righty yesterday.
And today, Dallas GM Jim Nill cleared up some cap room by trading Sergei Gonchar to Montreal.
But that certainly doesn't mean anything is imminent.
As a matter of fact, there's reason to believe that Detroit has a lot more interest in acquiring Myers than Dallas does.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]