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We haven’t posted much so far this month of may, because as usual there hasn’t been a lot of post-worthy news. However, Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News tweets that Sabres newly-minted head coach Ron Rolston has decided to part ways with two assistants left over from the Lindy Ruff regime.
Source: James Patrick and Kevyn Adams have been fired. Teppo is staying. Darcy loves Teppo. Darcy and Patrick not best buds. #sabres
Via a press release from this team sent out early this morning:
Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier today announced that Ron Rolston has been named the head coach of the Sabres, after serving as the club’s interim head coach since Feb. 20.
Rolston, who is the 16th head coach in franchise history, guided the Sabres to a 15-11-5 record in the 31 games he served as interim head coach during the 2012-13 season. Prior to joining the Sabres in February, he was the head coach of the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (AHL). In his two seasons (2011-12, 2012-13) as coach of the Americans, Rolston compiled a 63-44-17 regular-season record.
Before joining the Americans as head coach in 2011, Rolstonspent seven seasons as head coach with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, where he became the first coach in U.S. history to lead the United States Under-18 team to three gold medals (2005, 2009, 2011) at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Under-18 Championship, adding a silver medal (2007) in his other appearance as head coach.
It’s not every day you see a young player for player swap in the NFL, but that’s exactly what the Buffalo Bills today when in a stunner, Buffalo sent starting inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for OLB Jerry Hughes.
#Bills have traded LB Kelvin Sheppard to @nflcolts in exchange for LB Jerry Hughes
Sheppard became a full-time starter for the Bills last year and his position with the Bills seemed secure when they released Nick Barnett this past offseason. Sheppard had 80 tackles for the Bills and two sacks last season, but struggled at times, particularly in pass coverage and was often on the sideline during pass situations.
The move was made at least in part when Sheppard became expendable following the selection of rookie Kiko Alonso in the second-round of the NFL draft this past Friday.
Hughes was a first-round pick (31 overall) of the Colts in 2010 but hasn’t done much in the league up until this point, though he did have a career-high four sacks last season. Surely Bills general manager Buddy Nix thinks Hughes’ skill set is better served for the hybrid 3-4 defense the team plans on running this year. Hughes is likely to compete to compete with Manny Lawson for playing time at outside linebacker this summer.
The trade may also indicate the Bills have another move in mind with their inside linebacking, with speculation sure to increase that the team may sign free agent Karlos Dansby, who visited one week ago.
The Bills have virtually nothing in terms of depth on the inside after Alonso and Nigel Bradham.
If this happened to be Ryan Miller’s final performance as a Buffalo Sabre, he went out in a blaze of glory. Miller was sensational Tuesday night, turning aside 40 shots as the Sabres knocked off the Eastern conference top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins for a second straight time, 4-2.
Miller gave up four goals at home to the New York Rangers last Friday and was pulled, much to the delight of the crowd. With just one year left on his contract and Jhonas Enroth looking like a guy ready for a shot at being the team’s top goalie, Miller could be traded this summer.
Miller wasn’t the only veteran with one year left on his deal playing with a ton of heart in Pittsburgh. Thomas Vanek scored two goals, including his 20th of the season and added an assist.
Vanek has 40 points this season in 37 games.
Steve Ott and Jochen Hecht also scored for Buffalo.
The Sabres conclude their season with a contest Friday at home against the New York Islanders.
For at least one night, Drew Stafford got to play hero. The often maligned winger scored the game’s lone shootout goal to earn the Buffalo Sabres an improbable 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins and keep their slim playoff hopes alive for another day.
Of course, the game itself paled in comparison to the significance surrounding it. The Bruins were the first sporting ticket in town in two day that’ve passed since the horrific tragedy at the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon that have so far taken three innocent lives and injured over 140 others. Emotion and patriotism sentiments were at a fever pitch before the game from everyone at the TD Garden, with a video tribute to Monday’s events and a stirring rendition of the national anthem performed by Rene Rancourt and passionately sung along with by the Boston fans.
Once the game started Buffalo never led until Stafford’s shootout wrister beat Anton Khudobin. Boston got on the board at 5:45 of the first when former Sabre Daniel Paille scored, before the Sabres tied the game with 1:40 left in the first on a power play goal by Thomas Vanek.
Boston took back control with Chris Kelly’s goal, the lone tally of the second period.
This will serve as the second portion to a post that I put up last week on the prospects of trading Ryan Miller
After exploring which teams may or may not make Ryan Miller’s no-trade list, I wanted to take things a step further and determine which teams may serve as suitors for the netminder. By doing so I wanted to determine which teams would have little interest in him as well.
As is well-known, Miller’s no-trade clause allows him to veto a trade to eight different teams. This may end up being a list that significantly handcuffs Darcy Regier but it could also serve as a list that does indeed limit options, but doesn’t prevent Regeir from effectively doing his job.
I decided to include the 11 different teams which Miller may veto a trade to on this list. I wanted to provide a comprehensive collection of the direction I’d assume each NHL club to take if approached about Ryan Miller.
Count the Rangers (Lundqvist) and Penguins(MAF) in a group of teams who would not provide themselves with a significant upgrade in acquiring Miller. Boston(Rask), Nashville(Rinne),Los Angeles (Quick), Vancouver(Schneider), Montreal(Price) and Detroit(Howard) are also on this list. Each of those seven teams have determined their goaltender of the future (and present) and wouldn’t provide their team with any sort of significant upgrade by bringing Miller into the fold.
Trade talk surrounding Ryan Miller has never been hotter as the Sabres begin to enter a rebuild and the potential to gain a handsome return for the former Vezina Winner. Acquiring valuable assets for the goaltender has become a hot topic as many question if he will return after his contract expires next summer.
What stands in the way of dealing Miller is his limited no-trade clause. Miller is able to provide a list of eight teams that he will veto a trade to, thus limiting Darcy Regier’s options. In addition, the impressive glut of quality goaltenders around the league could further limit trade partners for the Sabres.
I assume that Regier would try to avoid a similar situation to what played out with Jarome Iginla – steering the Flames towards a trade with Pittsburgh due to his no-trade clause – and simply obtain Miller’s list of eight prior to pulling the trigger on a deal. Providing the player latitude on where he wants to go will ultimately reduce the available return in a trade, Regier wouldn’t let that happen.
However, which teams might appear on that list may be difficult to determine.I figure there are three basic groupings of teams that you can pick teams from when considering the list of teams Miller wouldn’t accept a trade to. Keeping in mind that he is in more of a “win now” mode with an expiring contract, his specific interests may be geared towards perennial contenders and avoiding teams that are in the process of building.
I categorized teams as locks (teams which he will almost certainly veto) or bubble teams (teams that likely have a red flag or two). Any other team falls onto a list where he’d welcome a trade. Here’s a closer look:
There wasn’t going to be any controversy over fans booing in the Buffalo Sabres locker room following their embarrassingly lifeless 5-1 defeat to the Montreal Canadiens that all but knocked the team out of any realistic playoff contention.
“If it’s a shellacking, boo your head off,” Sabres forward Steve Ott said after the game. Ott raised eyebrows earlier this week when criticizing fans for booing the team during last Sunday’s game against the Devils; a contest Buffalo would go on to win. “I agree, I’d be doing it too from the bench. That’s not the issue. It’s the issue I had when it’s a 0-0 game or you’re up 2-1 and you have that great momentum with the young minds, I think that’s where I wish we could have atmosphere in the building and some extra energy, but tonight, rightfully so. That’s not even an issue.”
Effort, energy, ability any way you want to label it—the Sabres had very little at the First Niagara Center Thursday night. Montreal jumped on top of Buffalo by two goals in the first period and had the lead stretched to four after 40 minutes before coasting and sometimes even toying with the Sabres in a game the team simply had to win.
Sabres center Cody Hodgson wasn’t mincing words in the locker room.
That was an embarrassing loss,” Hodgson said. “They played a lot better than we did and we, collectively as a group, didn’t match it.”
With their most important game of the season on the line and in a hostile environment, the Buffalo Sabres couldn’t have picked a worse time to have their most deplorable period of hockey all year.
Thomas Vanek returned from an upper body injury after missing six games. Perhaps he came back too soon. Maybe his pairing with Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis was ill-conceived by interim head coach Ron Rolston. Any way you slice it, the combination was dreadful and cost Buffalo dearly in the second period as the Winnipeg Jets opened up the floodgates and would defeat the Sabres, 4-1 on a night the Sabres desperately needed two points.
The Vanek line was on the ice and made defensive mistakes on all three Winnipeg goals as the Jets took an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the second after a scoreless first period. The trio finished an embarrassing minus-four for the evening and is partially due to also missing out on numerous scoring chances in Winnipeg’s end.
Defensemen Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff weren’t much better, each going minus-three.
The explanation behind this loss was quite simple—Buffalo isn’t good enough to overcome the amount of turnovers and blown odd man rushes they committed throughout the evening. They also, perhaps for the first time, greatly missed recently traded Jason Pominville on the top line. Cody Hodgson and Steve Ott were complete offensive nonfactors skating with Nathan Gerbe, who for the time being is taking Pominville’s place.
If the Buffalo Sabres were supposed to be “losing out” the rest of the regular season after being sellers at the trade deadline to bolster their draft stock this morning, the memo failed to reach the players remaining in the locker room.
Ryan Miller was spectacular in net for Buffalo; making 37 saves throughout regulation and overtime before stopping all three New Jersey Devils shootout chances, allowing Nathan Gerbe’s tally to stand as the lone goal in a 3-2 Buffalo shootout victory Sunday evening at the First Niagara Center.
The win capped a perfect weekend for the Sabres, who’ve now won three in a row and have pulled within four points of a playoff in the Eastern conference with just nine games remaining to play. Of course, the squad still has to leapfrog three times to get there and with so few games remaining, have literally no margin for error. Realistically Buffalo will have to earn at least 14 points over their last nine to have a chance to qualify for the postseason.
Still, it’s testament to their resolve they’ve been able to put together a winning streak to even be in the picture after trading away Jordan Leopold, Robyn Regehr and team captain Jason Pominville over the past week or so with no immediate help coming back. They’ve also done it without leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who missed his sixth straight game last night with an upper body injury.
Thomas Vanek was hoping to return to the lineup tonight when the Buffalo Sabres face the Ottawa Senators, but head coach Ron Rolston confirmed this morning that the team’s leading scorer will miss his fifth consecutive game with an upper body injury.
Thomas Vanek will miss his 5th straight game tonight with an upper body injury.–^KS
When healthy Vanek has proven to be one of the better scorers in the league this season; racking up 16 goals and 17 assists in just 29 games. But tonight marks the eighth game he’s missed out of 38. Even despite the absence Vanek is tied for No. 24 in the league with points (33) and his 16 goals is good for a share of 12th best.
Skating in his place on the Sabres top line with Cody Hodgson and Steve Ott will be Nathan Gerbe. Gerbe has just seven points in 31 games this season and just one goal in his last 12 games.
The team didn’t practice lines at this morning’s skate but going by yesterday the other three lines will feature Tyler Ennis centering Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno, Luke Adam on a line with Kevin Porter and Brian Flynn while Jochen Hecht is between John Scott and Patrick Kaleta on the fourth line.
The team also confirmed Ryan Miller will get the start in net tonight. Puck drop is at 7:00pm.
While most of the return that Darcy Regier received at this year’s deadlines came in the form of draft picks, there were still a trio of trades made that will affect the Sabres moving forward.
The lone disappointment of the deadline might just be that more moves didn’t go down. Simply expecting a complete overhaul of the roster is rather unrealistic, but with players like Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller rumored to be on the block many expected today to end with more than just one player (not counting Regehr and Leopold) sent on to a new team.
Grading the moves isn’t appropriate in many ways because these are moves that have set up for the future. Unlike recent deadlines in which players were brought in to bolster the lineup, 2013 was a year in which the opposite was true. There was no Cody Hodgson acquisition to base an opinion off of, which does make things slightly difficult when considering that a majority of what was acquired may not pay off until this summer at the earliest.
Both the Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr trades were necessary moves that weren’t going to produce the type of immediate results that would come from a traditional hockey trade. Buffalo’s trade with St. Louis turned out to be a phenomenal exchange as Leopold’s production this season had dipped well below where it was the previous two seasons.
The Buffalo Sabres took part in this first practice today since trading team captain to Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild Wednesday. Taking Pominville’s place on the top line during their skate was Nathan Gerbe, who was paired with Cody Hogson and Steve Ott.
Sabres head coach Ron Rolston announced after practice that he wouldn’t be naming a new captain for the rest of the season, but added Ott as an assistant captain.
Other forward lines at practice consisted of Marcus Foligno skating with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford with Kevin Porter centering Luke Adam and Brian Flynn. Patrick Kaleta, John Scott and Jochen Hecht rounded out the fourth line.
Buffalo leading scorer Thomas Vanek didn’t skate with any lines but did do some skating. He’s missed the last four games with a muscle strain but is hoping to be on the ice tomorrow night when Buffalo hosts Ottawa.
Ville Leino remains out with an upper body injury. There’s a chance he could miss the rest of the season.
The Jason Pominville era in Buffalo has come to an end. According to numerous reports the Sabres captain, who’s been in the organization for 11 years was traded shortly before the NHL trade deadline to the afternoon to the Minnesota Wild.
The Sabres have received goaltender Matt Hackett and forward Johan Larsson in exchange for Pominville, and Gord Miller of TSN reports the Sabres will also send a fourth-round draft pick in 2014 to Minnesota while Buffalo receives a first-round pick this summer and second-rounder in 2014.
Despite heavy rumors after the deadline passed that had Drew Stafford and possibly Ryan Miller going to Washington, the Sabres confirmed that the Pominville deal was the only trade made by the team.
Pominville scored 10 goals and racked up 25 points in 37 games this season. He scored 30 goals last season while playing in all 82 games; the most goals he’s scored since netting 34 in 2006-07 in his second season in the league.
Pominville finishes his Buffalo career with 456 points, including 185 goals in 578 games. He’s tied with Miroslav Satan for No. 11 all-time in Sabres points scored.
In September 2008 the Sabres signed Pominville to a five-year, $26.5 million extension. In 2011 he became the sixteenth full-time captain in team history.
Pominville had one year remaining on his contract after this season that was to pay him $5.5 million, including $5.3 million counting against the salary cap.
If Tuesday night was really the last time the entire band will be together, they gave a signature performance before exiting stage right.
Huge underdogs against at Pittsburgh team that had won 14 consecutive games, the Buffalo Sabres hit the road and skated away with an incredibly impressive 4-1 victory before a stunned Penguins crowd expecting their team to move into a NHL all-time second place tie for consecutive victories.
Kevin Porter scored the first two goals of his Buffalo Sabres career, including a shorthanded tally that got the team on the board in the first period. Steve Ott and Cody Hodgson also scored.
Jason Pominville had a pair of assists for Buffalo and was on the ice for three of their four goals. There’s an abundance of speculation growing that it was the team captain’s final game with the team. If that turns out to be true, what a way for him to go out.
Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier today announced that the Sabres have signed free agent forward Tim Schaller to a two-year, entry-level contract.
Schaller (6′2″, 210 lbs., 11/16/90) recently finished his senior season at Providence College, recording 23 points (8+15) and 61 penalty minutes in 38 games in 2012-13. Serving as an assistant captain for the Friars, Schaller was named the 2013 Hockey East Defensive Forward of the Year and helped Providence reach the Hockey East semifinals in back-to-back seasons. Schaller finished his collegiate career having appeared in 131 games and totaling 68 points (29+39).
Prior to his career at Providence, the Merrimack, N.H. native played for the New England Huskies of the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL). As captain of the Huskies in 2008-09, Schaller appeared in 47 games and tallied 40 points (16+24).
The apparent fire sale for the Buffalo Sabres has continued Monday night. The Sabres traded defenseman Robyn Regehr to the Los Angeles Kings tonight for a pair of second-round picks. TSN’s Darren Dreger was the first to report the news.
The Los Angeles Kings have confirmed the trade on their official Twitter page, saying Regehr first needs to pass a physical to make the trade official. The second-round picks Buffalo will receive is one in 2014 and the other in 2015.
An unrestricted free agent when the season is over, Regehr had to waive his no trade clause to make the deal happen.
It’s a sudden change from earlier today at practice, when Regehr told reporters that he hadn’t waived his no trade clause to be traded at that time.
Since they were likely to lose Regehr after the season anyway, getting a pair of second-rounders was a pretty good score for general manager Darcy Regier.
Buffalo isn’t done trying to deal. Without not having enough details to make it concrete, I’d suggest keeping a close eye on team captain Jason Pominville over the next day and a half. I’ve heard rumblings that he could be headed to Detroit. We’ll see if that pans out.
Speculation that a forward could be move will have added speculation with news late tonight the team has recalled forward Luke Adam from Rochester.
Stay tuned. These next 36 or so may be the most exciting part of a largely disappointing season.
The math may not say so quite yet, but you can stick a fork in the Buffalo Sabres 2013 NHL campaign. They’re done.
In a situation where they absolutely couldn’t squander a point, Buffalo blew a third period lead against the worst team in the Eastern Conference and eventually gave away a critical point as they lost to the Florida Panthers in a shootout, 5-4 that has them four points out of eighth place with just 14 games remaining.
To get to eighth place the Sabres would also have to leapfrog four teams in the conference. You can forget about that. That’s because they look much more like a team that only has five teams below them in the league standings than a squad desperately fighting for the postseason.
Nathan Gerbe, Andrej Sekera, Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno scored for the Sabres, who left three out of a possible four points on the table in the Sunshine state over the past three days.
Stafford responded well to be a healthy scratch the past two games; scoring the goal and adding an assist while registering five shots on goal.
The Buffalo Sabres were dealt a blow to their dwindling playoff chances Tuesday night in Tampa, losing to the Lightning, 2-1 in a game that had head coach Ron Rolston searching for answers in the locker room afterward.
Of course, with just 16 games now remaining and five points out a postseason slot, every loss is critical.
It was a pair of Tampa stars that doomed the Sabres in what could be best described as a lackadaisical team effort. Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis scored the Lightning goals as Tampa built a 2-0 lead over two periods—a span of 40 minutes where the Sabres managed just seven shots on net at goaltender Mathieu Garon, who has struggled of late and has been pulled from his previous two starts.
St. Louis’ goal came with the both Robyn Regehr and Mike Weber in the penalty box for Buffalo. With the two-man advantage, St. Louis blasted a perfect one timer high over the shoulder of Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller at 8:15 for the game-winner.
Jordan Leopold scored Buffalo’s lone goal with just 3:08 left in the third on assists from Marcus Foligno and Brian Flynn, but the Sabres were unable to generate any serious chances to net the equalizer in the waning moments.
With the Buffalo Sabres riding a three-game winning streak, head coach Ron Rolston has decided not to make any lineup changes for this evening when Buffalo takes on Tampa. That means that Drew Stafford will be a healthy scratch for a second consecutive contest.
With the trade deadline just eight days away it’s obvious the organization has given up any hope of Stafford getting hot to showcase his ability for potential trade partners. At this point the hope must be that a team is willing to take on his salary (Stafford averages $4 million annually) and rid the Sabres of his cap burden. After showing so much promise two seasons ago with a 31-goal campaign in just 62 games Stafford scored just 20 in 80 contests last year and has been dreadful in this strike-shortened season; finding the net just four times in 31 games and producing just 11 points a minus-12 rating while spending a lot of his time in recent weeks on the third and fourth lines.
John Scott and Andrej Sekera are the other Sabres scratches for tonight, which means rookie defensemen Mark Pysyk stays in the lineup for at least another game.
Although Buffalo still has 16 games remaining tonight has the feel of a playoff contest. The Sabres are in twelfth place in the conference, but just three points out of eighth. Buffalo would be helped tonight not only with a win, but by a New York Rangers regulation loss at Philadelphia and Winnipeg beating Carolina on the road. Washington and the New York Islanders square off tonight and each club has one more point than Buffalo.
Since White doesn’t typically slap up nonsense on Twitter when it comes to factual stuff, I’ll assume his tweet to be accurate.
That means with Buffalo having 17 games left to play, they can only afford to let 10 potential points slip from their grasp. Currently the Sabres are a mere four points out of eighth place but are only currently in eleventh, meaning they’d have to leap frog at least three teams to be playing playoff hockey.
Of course, the trade deadline is April 3 and at this point we’re not sure if the team will be buyers or sellers. It seemed the latter was a lock earlier this week, but perhaps consecutive wins against Montreal and Toronto in the past three days could change Darcy Regier’s thinking.
It’s still unlikely the Buffalo Sabres will make the postseason, but boy was it ever a playoff atmosphere at the First Niagara Center tonight.
Steve Ott scored a shootout goal to open the sixth round of shots and Ryan Miller stopped former Sabre Clarke MacArthur seconds later to preserve a 5-4 win in a rowdy, spirited contest that saw Buffalo overcome a pair of two goal deficits and keep their playoff flame at least flickering.
It’s the second win after regulation time in roughly 48 hours for Buffalo, who now have 28 points in the Eastern Conference. The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers are tied for eighth place in the conference, but both lost this evening in regulation.
Don’t look now, but Buffalo is suddenly just four points out of a playoff spot with 17 games remaining.
“That was a really great battle by both teams…strong playoff atmosphere.” Ott told MSG’s Brian Duff after the game. “Hell of an atmosphere in that arena. It was goose bumps all the way through for sixty (minutes.)”
The Buffalo Sabres took to the ice this morning for their skate in preparation for tonight’s showdown with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the First Niagara Center at 7pm.
They’ll be facing the Leafs without the services of their leading scorer.
Thomas Vanek was absent from the skate and has been ruled out for tonight. He suffered what the team classifies a lower body injury after he was struck by a slap shot from Christian Ehrhoff during the second period of Tuesday night’s win at Montreal. Head coach Ron Rolston said it’s possible Vanek could return on Saturday.
Taking his place in the lineup will be enforcer John Scott, who’s been a healthy scratch the past three games.
Nathan Gerbe will be the odd forward out for a second consecutive contest. Gerbe has just one assist in his last six games after scoring three in a three-game stretch prior to the skid.