The Sabres Observer
Entries with the tag: buffalo sabres
I get that Sabres fans love what they've seen from Jack Eichel this season -- count me in that group -- but some of the reaction over the phenom not getting serious consideration for the Calder Trophy has reached ridiculous levels.
It's been pretty clear for most of the season, at least since Connor McDavid's injury, that Artemi Panarin has been the frontrunner for top rookie. Against a tidal wave of scrutiny from a portion of Buffalonian twitter followers, I took the bold step on a few occasions of merely bringing this up. Many writers and broadcasters near the top of the media totem pole have felt the same way. And king of them all Bob McKenzie last night said he surveyed 21 NHL GM's and got 18 votes for Panarin, 2 for McDavid and 1 for Dylan Larkin.
Between that nugget and a twitter poll of hockey fans showing Eichel not listed in the top 4, you'd think from the response here that Buffalo is on the short end of the biggest conspiracy since No Goal.
Folks, it's OK to love Eichel AND be simultaneously and humbly appreciative that there are some other very, very good candidates out there as well. There's no law against that.
And, to be perfectly honest, most of those other rookies are more deserving.
From Howard Simon of WGR-550,
The Sabres are 18-13-7 in the second half of the season. That's 43 points in 38 games. If you project that over an 82 game season, it comes out to 92 points which, if you were wondering, would have the Sabres in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division today and in a playoff spot.
This doesn't mean General Manager Tim Murray doesn't have work to do. He still needs to improve the offense by bringing in another scoring winger for one of the top two lines and another top four defenseman would be nice too.
Are you happy with the progress of the rebuild, Sabres fans?
Buffalo (17-22-4) is on pace for 72 points, which would be 18 more than last season.
But 18 points better than one of the worst teams in NHL history isn't really as much as it seems. I was hoping for a bit more. If you've watched this group game after game for half a season, it should be pretty apparent why the jump hasn't been bigger.
Hey, Boston. I hear you're trying to make a deal quickly to stop your ship from sinking.
Looking to get a forward who can score but don't want to mortgage the farm to get him?
Having some conversations with Tim Murray but not ready to pay his asking price for big man Chris Stewart?
If no deal for a stud sniper falls on your lap soon, I have a lower-scale solution for you.
There have apparently been some rumblings in league circles that the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild are discussing a possible trade that would send goaltender Jhonas Enroth to Minnesota.
Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman talked about the Enroth rumor last night, saying both teams are denying it.
They did it again.
It took a shootout and recovery from blowing a 2-goal lead to do it, but the Sabres defeated Ottawa 5-4. Buffalo is now 4 points behind 8th in the East.
That's 10 wins in 13 games, despite only having outshot their opponent in 2 of them.
Do we chalk another one up to puck luck? There have been some games during this stretch where the Sabres were the recipients of good fortune (do you deserve to beat Calgary when you're outshot 45-19?), but last night's win was hard earned and well deserved.
Marcus Foligno and Brian Flynn each had a goal and an assist in this one. Tyler Myers (1 assist, 31:09 TOI), Rasmus Ristolainen (1 goal, 25:24 TOI) and Nikita Zadorov (4 hits, 2 blocked shots, 27:44 TOI) logged heavy minutes on the blue line. Jhonas Enroth looked like he could use a game off yet still made enough saves -- including some big stops in the shootout -- to seal the victory.
As these wins keep piling up, you wonder when the word "playoffs" is going to creep into the conversation.
That time is just about here. No matter what you think of your team, you can't ignore the standings.
The big question today isn't whether or not GM Tim Murray and the Sabres are up for an attempted run to the playoffs -- it's whether or not the fans are up for it.
Based on reports coming from Sabres practice this morning, it looks like Nikita Zadorov will be staying with Buffalo and not joining Russia for the World Junior Championship.
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.
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 Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Based on where the Sabres sit in the standings, they are looking up, way up. But so are their prospects for success. And the best part of it for a guy like Murray, who has made a living on identifying young talent, is that the canvas is relatively blank. After they bought out Ville Leino and Christian Ehrhoff this summer, the only big-money, long-term contracts that remain on the books belong to Cody Hodgson, Tyler Myers and Matt Moulson. They have a very good stable of young prospects – defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov were both rated among the top 10 NHL prospects in Future Watch 2014 and center Mikhail Grigorenko made the top 50 – and at the trade deadline they picked up a rising prospect in Hudson Fasching. They have an owner who has been willing to spend, but that has been more of a curse than a blessing in Buffalo of late.
Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic have known Claude Lemieux's son Brendan since he sat in the Stanley Cup as a three-month-old baby in 1996. Brendan's dad remains good friends with Roy and Sakic to this day.
Lemieux (left wing with 27 goals, 26 assists and 53 points for the OHL's Barrie Colts last season) had made it clear Colorado was his first choice, and it seemed like a great fit.
So why did the Avalanche not take the 6'1" 209 lb. truculent forward at number 23, even though many had him rated as a first-round talent in this year's draft?
The answer is Conner Bleackley.
This morning on Buffalo radio, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press referred to Tyler Myers as a franchise defenseman with "a really appealing contract."
Those of you outside of Sabres Nation may not realize how many Buffalo fans had a good chuckle when they heard that one.
This is the same defenseman who has needed to spend occasional games in the press box to clear his head. And that's the same contract that was unappealing enough to some to put Myers on the list of compliance buyout candidates.
Tim Murray has put the Sabres hockey community on notice that he isn't messing around. Turning over a quarter of your roster in one day will usually do that.
The Buffalo GM added Brian Gionta and Andrej Meszaros, brought back Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick, and traded a future draft pick for Josh Gorges. He also signed restricted free agent Marcus Foligno, hefty raise and all.
Two things really stood out after all of these moves yesterday, and both are reasons for Sabres fans to get excited about what's ahead for this franchise.
Jay Grossman, who represents Latvian forward Kaspars Daugavins, told me today his client wants back in the NHL and confirmed that the Sabres are amongst his options.
Daugavins has 18 goals and 44 points in 44 games with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss Elite League this season, and was a member of the Latvian Olympic team coached by Ted Nolan.
The reports you've been reading linking the Sabres as a possible destination for Jaromir Jagr are not true.