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Buffalo Sabres

Could Buffalo be Considered as a World Cup of Hockey Host?

Posted on September 15, 2014 by Chris Ostrander

SabresThe World Cup of Hockey will be returning. After a ten-year absence, the tournament will officially return in 2016. Per Pierre LeBrun’s report, it’s simply a matter of ironing out the final details of the agreement before making a formal announcement.

Re-instituting the World Cup could mean any number of things with some wondering if it means the league is bracing for a divorce from Olympic participation. Further, the timing of the tournament itself will likely fall prior to the regular season, which should ensure full participation of the world’s best players.

One advantage this tournament gives the league is greater control over the product being produced. Hand-picked venues avoid the time zone constraints created by many Olympic host cities (a primary concern regarding the next two Winter Games). The 2004 event saw games played in Toronto, Montreal, St. Paul, Helsinki, Stockholm, Cologne and Prague. Most of those venues also served the 1996 World Cup.

The 2016 event offers the league and the event’s organizers an chance to showcase another group of cities around the world and I have to wonder if Buffalo earns consideration as a host city.

It’s no secret that Terry Pegula, Ted Black and company have taken many steps to become the league’s darlings. They’ve already earned the adoration of USA Hockey and have likely cemented their place as the favorite for any future US bid for the World Junior Championships. HARBORCENTER will host the next two NHL Draft Combines and I wouldn’t be surprised if First Niagara Center winds up with the 2016 Draft as well. Ownership of the Bills could potentially lead to availability at The Ralph (or a shiny new football stadium) for an outdoor game and future developments for the betterment of the game in Western New York shouldn’t be ruled out.

Could Buffalo be Considered as a World Cup of Hockey Host? – continue reading…

Sabres Sign Ennis For Five Years

Posted on July 17, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresThe Buffalo Sabres resumed spending on Wednesday while maintaining what they feel will be their core, signing restricted free agent forward Tyler Ennis to a five-year deal.  While the team didn’t acknowledge terms, various reports state it’s for five years and $23 million—an annual average of about $4.6 million.

As things stand Ennis becomes the second-highest paid forward on the team.  Matt Moulson rejoined the Sabres a few weeks ago for $25 million over five years.

Ennis scored a career-high 21 goals last season and was second on the team with 43 points in 80 games.  He’s consistently been one of the Sabres top scorers, ranking in the top five in each of the past four seasons.

While Ennis has predominately played center during his time in Buffalo, he could be seeing an increase in playing time on the wing over the next few seasons.  The Sabres are building around an influx of young centers that include Sam Reinhart, Zegmus Girgensons and possibly Mikhail Grigorenko.

Luke Adam is now the lone Sabres unsigned restricted free agent.

My Take: At first glance, a five year deal for Ennis seems a lot. Him being among the teams best paid forwards is fairly symbolic of why this team’s on-ice product has been dreary over the past few seasons.  Having said that, this contract doesn’t prohibit Buffalo from anything in future years.  Perhaps playing with a big-time prospect like Sam Reinhart and/or spending considerable time alongside Moulson will elevate Ennis to bigger things.

Plus, his contract isn’t too large to make him untradeable in future years if general manager Tim Murray concludes the cupboard is full at forward and wants to move Ennis for something in return.

Neuvirth’s 51 Saves Not Enough In Sabres Loss

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresDespite being traded to worst team in the National Hockey League, Michael Neuvirth was excited to come to the Buffalo Sabres if for no other reason than having an opportunity to showcase his skills and earn more extensive playing time.

He’s getting more than he bargained for.

In his second start since being traded from Washington for Jaroslav Halak, Neuvirth was pummeled with pucks in Carolina.  Forget the 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes, which for most Sabres fans these days represents good news as the lock on the league’s fewest points continues to tighten.  Neuvrith surrendered three of the goals, which on a normal night doesn’t exactly exemplify a quality start.  However, when you allow three goals while facing 51 shots, including 40 in the last two periods alone it’s one helluva a job.

For those keeping score that’s 95 shots Neuvrith’s faced in just two Buffalo starts.  His 51 saves Thursday in Carolina is the most by a Sabres goaltender since Dominik Hasek stopped 55 against the New York Rangers in 1995.

Neuvirth’s 51 Saves Not Enough In Sabres Loss – continue reading…

Sabres Stewart May Be Done For Season

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresIt looks like Chris Stewart’s season with the Buffalo Sabres will be even shorter than anticipated.  It’s being reported the forward will miss the next three to five weeks with a high ankle sprain and with only a little over a month remaining in the season, there’s a good chance his 2013-14 campaign is over.

Sabres head coach Ted Nolan confirmed the news following Tuesday morning’s team skate, saying he “doesn’t look good right now.”

Stewart came over as part of the trade that sent Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis.  He didn’t register a point in his two games with Buffalo, but looked good in the contest at Tampa and had several quality scoring chances before injuring his ankle in the third period after running into Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback.

At 26 years old Stewart still has a year left on his contract and could be an interesting watch this summer.  On one hand Stewart could provide leadership and proven ability to a young team that’s almost certain to get younger between now and next season.  Stewart had 15 goals in 58 games with the Blues and has scored 115 goals in 379 career games. Assuming he’s still on the roster next season Stewart is almost sure to be a top six forward.

On the other hand, he could become trade bait over the summer.  With a reasonable cap hit of just over $4 million for next season Stewart could fetch value for Sabres general manager Tim Murray at the trade table and particularly near draft time.

The Stewart-less Sabres are home tonight to host the Nashville Predators.

Kane Scores In Buffalo Return

Posted on March 9, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresThe Buffalo Sabres may be the worst team in the NHL, but they gave the defending Stanley Cup champs all they could handle Sunday at the First Niagara Center. In the end, however, it was a familiar result for Buffalo as they were on the wrong end of a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Patrick Kane’s homecoming.

The South Buffalo native played in front of his hometown crowd for the first time since October 2010 and with the stands filled with family and fans, didn’t disappoint. Kane recovered a loose puck in the Sabres zone early in the first period, skated around Chad Ruhwedel and buried a perfect wrist shot that went through Ruhwedel’s legs and over goaltender Jhonas Enroth in the upper right corner of the net just 3:12 into the game.

Jonathan Toews scored the game-winner for the Hawks early in the third period at 1:34 after spinning away from Sabres defensemen Jamie McBain.

Drew Stafford scored Buffalo’s lone goal on assists from Cory Conacher and Drew Stafford at 9:11 of the first period.  Conacher made his Sabres debut.

Kane Scores In Buffalo Return – continue reading…

Enroth, Myers Shine In 3-1 Win At Tampa

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresEarlier Thursday the Buffalo Sabres announced that former goaltending great Dominik Hasek will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame later this month. Perhaps current Sabres netminder Jhonas Enroth was paying homage, because he put on a Hall worthy performance of his own in the Sunshine state.

Enroth made 43 saves, including many of the spectacular variety to help the Sabres steal a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning despite being outshout, 44-21.

Tyler Myers, Marcus Foligno and Cody Hodgson provided the Sabres offensive ammunition as Buffalo improved to 3-1 since the Olympic break—a remarkable feat considering Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick have all been sent packing over the past six days.

With Miller gone Enroth has the first chance of his career to stake claim as Buffalo’s long-term answer in net, and he continues to pass the eye test. Since the Olympic break Enroth is 3-1 with a 2.50 goals against average and .931 save percentage. He’s had at least 29 saves in four straight starts.

“As many shots as he had and a handful being point blank shots and point blank saves,” Sabres Myers said. “He kept us in it the whole game and we wouldn’t have won without him.”

Despite the lopsided shots on net disadvantage , Enroth was no one-man show for the Sabres.

Enroth, Myers Shine In 3-1 Win At Tampa – continue reading…

Sabres To Induct Hasek Into Hall

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Buffalo Sabres Press Release

HasekThe Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame Selection Committee  announced the induction of Dominik Hasek into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame. Hasek, one of the most prolific goaltenders in NHL history, will be officially inducted as the 42nd member of the Sabres Hall of Fame in a ceremony on March 29, prior to the team’s home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at First Niagara Center.

Hasek, who was originally acquired by the Sabres from the Chicago Blackhawks on Aug. 7, 1992, remains as one of the most decorated goaltenders in team and league history, appearing in a total of 491 games for the Blue and Gold over a span of nine seasons from 1992-2001.  While backstopping the Sabres, he became the first goaltender in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy twice (1997 & 1998), while also capturing six Vezina Trophies (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999 & 2001) as well as the Wiliam M. Jennings Trophy (1994 & 2001) and the Lester B. Pearson Award twice (1997 & 1998).

During his time in Buffalo, Hasek held numerous franchise records and, upon his departure from the Sabres, owned the records for most all-time games played (491), wins (234), shutouts (55) and lowest career goals-against average (2.22).  Hasek appeared in a career-high 72 games for the club in the 1997-98 season, setting a team record with 13 shutouts, only to follow that up with a career-best 1.87 GAA, .937 save percentage and a Stanley Cup Final berth in 1998-99.

After his time with the Sabres, he spent a total of four seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, where he earned a pair of Stanley Cup championships (2002 & 2008) and also suited up for the Ottawa Senators during the 2005-06 season.

Sabres To Induct Hasek Into Hall – continue reading…

Deadline Solidifies Foundation For Sabres Rebuild

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Chris Ostrander

HudsonIt may have taken a late flurry, but Tim Murray put his stamp on the organization with a firm, aggressive series of trades around the 2014 trade deadline.

He got started early by sending Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis on Friday and threw his hat in the ring with one of the earlier trades on Wednesday. Murray shipped Brayden McNabb, two second round picks and Jonathan Parker to Los Angeles for Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers.

Murray’s punctuated his first deadline with two 11th hour deals involving three of this pending UFAs that ensured previous investments would continue to pay dividends. After finding a dance partner to take Matt Moulson (and Cody McCormick), Murray managed to flip Jaroslav Halak for a younger goaltender with term.

It was a productive deadline that provides the framework for the way Murray will shape the roster through the 2014 and 15 drafts. Two drafts that will see the Sabres make four (possibly five) first round selections.

Buffalo holds additional picks throughout the 2014 and 2015 second round and despite shipping two of them to Los Angeles along with McNabb, Murray came out even after pulling two second round picks in exchange for Moulson. I thought he put it well when he said the team was helped more by the two forwards acquired from LA.

Deadline Solidifies Foundation For Sabres Rebuild – continue reading…

Scotty Bowman Showcase Returns April 9

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Buffalo Sabres Press Release

Scotty Bowman ShowcaseThe Buffalo Sabres today announced that the 10th Annual Scotty Bowman Showcase will take place on Wednesday, April 9th at First Niagara Center. The 2014 Scotty Bowman Showcase consists of three all-star hockey games between players from Buffalo, NY and their rivals from Rochester, NY. Admission for the games is $5.

The first game will begin at 6 p.m. with high school juniors from the two cities facing off against one another for the Tim Horton Memorial Cup. In 2013, the Buffalo juniors won the second annual Tim Horton Memorial Cup.

The next game will take place at 7:30 p.m. between high school seniors from each city. The winner of the second game will be awarded the Scotty Bowman Cup. This award and the event are named after the legendary Scotty Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history. Bowman will be in attendance to present the Bowman Cup to the victorious senior team. The Rochester seniors won last year’s Bowman Cup, improving to 3-6 in the event’s nine-year history.

The third game will feature players from Buffalo and Rochester who play prep school or junior hockey, either locally or elsewhere. The junior and senior-year high school-aged players will face off for the Rick Martin Memorial Cup at 9 p.m. All three games will consist of two 22-minute halves.

Scotty Bowman Showcase Returns April 9 – continue reading…

Sabres Trade Moulson, McCormick, Halak

Posted on March 5, 2014 by Patrick Moran

MoulsonBuffalo Sabres fans knew it wasn’t a matter of if but where he was going. In the waning minutes before the NHL trade deadline Wednesday afternoon, the Sabres finally traded forward Matt Moulson, along with Cody McCormick to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for TorreyMitchell and second-round picks in 2014 and 2016.

Buffalo also traded goaltender Jaroslav Halak and a 2015 third-round pick to the Washington Capitals in exchange for goaltender Michael Neuvirth and defensemen Rostislav Klesla.

John Vogl of the Buffalo News was the first to report the news on both. The trades weren’t announced until after the deadline had passed.

Moulson scored 11 goals in 44 games for Buffalo after coming over from the New York Islanders along a first and second round draft pick for Thomas Vanek on October 27. He was/still is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

The end result shows the Sabres looking brilliant by dealing Vanek, who entered 2013-14 on the final year of his deal with no chance of re-signing with Buffalo beyond this season. Essentially the Sabres ended up with Moulson for a half-season plus a first-round pick and three second-rounders for a contract-expiring Vanek.

Vanek was dealt by the Islanders today to Montreal for a second-round pick and a prospect. I’d imagine Islander fans are calling for Garth Snow’s head right now.

Sabres Trade Moulson, McCormick, Halak – continue reading…

Sabres Deal McNabb, Picks To Kings For Prospects

Posted on March 5, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Brayden McNabbAccording to reports, the Buffalo Sabres have traded defensemen Brayden McNabb along with two second-round draft picks and Jonathan Parker to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for prospects Hudson Fasching and Nicholas Deslaurier.

Fasching, 18, is the biggest name in this deal. He’s currently playing college hockey at the University of Minnesota, where he’s scored 12 goals and 27 points in 31 games this year.  A fourth-round pick of the Kings in 2013, Fasching is a big winger at six-feet-two and 218 pounds.

He also played for Team USA this year at the World Juniors, where he had two goals and an assist in 3 games.  Here’s a bio of his USA junior career.  If you want to know about his character, Kris Barker ( posted a link to this ESPN story from 2011 that’s well worth the read.

Deslaurier, a defensemen  who has been converting to forward, was the Kings third-round draft pick in 2009. In his third year in the Kings minor league system, Deslaurier has 18 goals and 39 points in 60 games with the AHL Manchester Monarchs this season.

Here’s more information about Deslaurier, written last September courtesy of SB Nation.

McNabb, 23 was the 66th pick of the Sabres in the 2009 draft. The defensemen has played in 37 NHL games in parts of the past two seasons with the Sabres, scoring a goal and adding seven assists. McNabb is regarded as one of the Sabres best prospects, but the team has solid depth when it comes to talented young defensemen in the system.

McNabb has seven goals and 22 assists in 38 games for Rochester this season.

The two second-rounder the Sabres surrendered in the trade were the same Buffalo acquired when trading Robyn Regehr to LA last year–on each in 2014 and ’15.

Sabres Deal McNabb, Picks To Kings For Prospects – continue reading…

Sabres Claim Conacher Off Waivers

Posted on March 5, 2014 by Patrick Moran

ConacherThe Buffalo Sabres have claimed Ottawa Senators forward Cory Conacher off waivers.  Of course, Conacher has strong local ties as he once starred for the Canisius College hockey team.

Conacher, 24, went undrafted but earned his way onto the Tampa Bay roster in 2012-13 and scored 24 points in 35 games.  He was traded to Ottawa in exchange for goaltender Ben Bishop last April and at the time of the deal was the second leading rookie scorer in the NHL.

He finished sixth last season in Calder Cup voting, given annual to the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.

Conacher struggled with Ottawa, particularly this season as he scored just four goals and had 20 points in 60 games with the club before being placed on waivers yesterday.

He has 15 goals and 49 points in 107 games, including four game-winning goals. With Ottawa he had 25 points in 72 games.

Sabres Claim Conacher Off Waivers – continue reading…

Ruff Picks Up 600th Win Against Sabres

Posted on March 3, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresThe Buffalo Sabres saw their three-game winning streak end in Dallas on Monday night, falling to the Stars, 3-2 in entertaining fashion.

Does anyone really care?

With so much going on with the Sabres these days, a game result is almost the furthest thing from any fan’s mind. The big news is that for at least Monday, the team didn’t make any roster moves.

That’s not likely to be the case for Tuesday and Wednesday, which is deadline day. It’s almost a certainty that Matt Moulson will be dealt and there’s a growing list of names generating plenty of buzz, a list that includes Christian Ehrhoff, Henrik Tallinder and newly acquired goaltender Jaroslav Halak along with forward Chris Stewart.

If there is a positive to take away from the game itself Monday, it’s the play of Jhonas Enroth.  The Sabres netminder was the best player on the ice in making 36 saves against the Stars, many of them superb ones at that. He was rewarded accordingly with the game’s first star.  That’s consecutive games of Enroth being mostly spectacular between the pipes, giving at least some fans and more importantly the organization some hope that he can develop into a reliable No. 1 goalie now that Ryan Miller is departed.

Ruff Picks Up 600th Win Against Sabres – continue reading…

Opinion: LaFontaine’s Departure Shouldn’t Alter Direction

Posted on March 2, 2014 by Chris Ostrander

Pat LOnly the Sabres could find a way to overshadow the news that they had traded their franchise goaltender.

News of Pat LaFontaine’s resignation came less than 24 hours after Ryan Miller and Steve Ott had been traded to St. Louis and managed to throw Sabres Nation into a tizzy. As the news broke fans and media alike scrambled to find an explanation for the decision with the Sabres’ news conference earlier today offering little clarity on the proceedings.

Ted Black confirming that LaFontaine’s departure was known for a few days prior Friday’s trade indicates that whatever discord existed had been brewing for some time. Exactly what the genesis of the divorce was is what’s being so hotly speculated.

Some indicate that LaFontaine was lobbying for retaining Miller and trying to re-sign him with the decision to trade him leading him to step down. Others are jumping to the conclusion that LaFontaine was leaned on to resign or else be fired by those in management. It’s also being suggested that perhaps Tim Murray isn’t planning on extending Ted Nolan and that LaFontaine was going down with Nolan and the ship.

Opinion: LaFontaine’s Departure Shouldn’t Alter Direction – continue reading…

Sabres Tank Job Continues With Oilers

Posted on February 3, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresIt was Tankapolooza Monday over at the First Niagara Center.

In a “battle” between the two worst teams in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres proved they belong exactly where they currently stand—in the league cellar after losing to the second-worst Edmonton Oilers, 3-2.  The regulation “loss” dropped the Sabres six points behind the Oilers in the race for the fewest points in the league.

When it comes to tanking this season, Buffalo has no equal. The Sabres not only lost but did so without earning a point despite ringing a season high 44 shots at backup goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.

Perhaps the referee was the biggest Sabres fan in attendance.  Marcus Foligno appeared to tie the game at 3-3 around the midpoint of the third period but despite replays showing the puck never frozen and Foligno poking in a rebound before the whistle blew, the goal was reviewed and disallowed as the referee intended to stop play before the puck found its way over the goal line.

For the record, complain if you want but based on the rule, the call was correct.

Sabres Tank Job Continues With Oilers – continue reading…

Sabres Humiliated In Colorado

Posted on February 1, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresWhile the Buffalo Sabres have become accustomed to losing hockey games this year in every way possible, it’s been rare for them to look severely overmatched.  That was the case, however on Saturday afternoon as the Colorado Avalanche flat-out had Ted Nolan and company looking like they were in well over their heads.

The Avs literally seemed to do whatever they wanted to Buffalo at home and by the time it was over the Sabres left the ice on the wrong end of an embarrassing 7-1 loss. It was the most goals Buffalo has allowed this season.

Last year Colorado finished second from last in the league standings.  This year after pummeling the Sabres they sit at 35-14-5 and are becoming one of the league’s best teams.  Given the talent discrepancy between the clubs Buffalo can only pray for results in the same ballpark.

Colorado is lead by 2013 overall draft pick Nathan MacKinnon, who had a goal and three points.  The Avs led after one period 3-0 and were up 5-1 by the end of the second. At that point Nolan mercifully gave Ryan Miller the final 20 minutes off.

Sabres captain Steve Ott said the team embarrassed their talented goaltender by offering him no help.

Sabres Humiliated In Colorado – continue reading…

Girgensons Leads Sabres Past Phoenix

Posted on January 30, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresRyan Miller has been good against most teams throughout his formidable NHL career.  He saves his very best for the Phoenix Coyotes, and Thursday evening was no exception.

Miller stopped 38 of 40 shots and the Buffalo Sabres got a go-ahead shorthanded goal from rookie Zegmus Girgensons early in the third period as the Sabres hung on to defeat Phoenix, 3-2.

It’s their fourth straight victory in Arizona against the Coyotes.  As usual that’s largely because of Miller, who’s now 6-0 lifetime against Phoenix, even though his career 0.98 goals against average and .966 save percentage got “inflated” on Thursday.

Buffalo took the lead for good just 1:52 in the third when Girgensons poked the puck away from Phoenix defensemen Keith Yandle in front of their net and poked the puck past Thomas Greiss.

Tyler Ennis scored his 12th goal of the season in the first period and Steve Ott his eight on the power play in the second.

The Sabres were playing their third game in four nights and had lost seven of their eight entering tonight.

Buffalo remains out west to face Colorado on Saturday before returning home against Edmonton Monday in a game that can have a significant impact in the NHL standings.   Buffalo has the fewest points in the league but currently trails Edmonton by just four points.

Sabres Weber Could Be Facing Suspension

Posted on January 29, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresThere’s a good chance Buffalo Sabres defensemen Mike Weber could be hearing from the NHL disciplinary office today.

Early in the second period last night Weber hit Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson with what’s clearly an elbow to the head near the Sabres net. To make matters worse, there’s no way Weber can justify in any way, shape or form that he was attempting to play the puck since it’s nowhere around Johansson.

It wasn’t even Weber’s lone cheap shot of the game.

He struck again in the third period in the game’s final minute of regulation when he delivered his second dirty elbow, this time to Nick Backstrom as the Washington player was skating to the bench (again away from the puck) for a shift change.

A suspension could and should be coming Weber’s way as his miserable season continues.   Weber has just two assists in 38 games this season and carries a minus-28 rating, second-worst in the NHL by one to Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov.

The way Weber has played coupled with the pair of dirty hits, there’s probably a contingent of Sabres fans hoping Brendan Shanahan will suspend him for the team’s final 30 games instead of the 2-5 he’s more likely to receive.

Here’s a link detailing both of Weber’s dastardly deeds.

Hodgson Scores Two But Sabres Fall In OT

Posted on January 28, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresBlanked from the score sheet the previous two times the teams met, Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin busted out Tuesday night at the First Niagara Center, scoring two goals and adding two assists including setting up the game-winner in overtime as Washington defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 5-4 in an intense, action-packed affair.

Exactly one minute into extra time Ovechkin set up Mike Green, who buried the puck past Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth. It was Green’s second goal of the night.

On January 9 following a stellar effort in net but little support from his teammates in a 2-1 loss to Florida, a frustrated Enroth told reporters in the locker room that “it’s hard to win with this team.”  In the three games since his comments Enroth has allowed 13 goals in three starts.  It’s safe to say lately he’s become part of the problem.  Although Enroth has played very well until recently, the team is just 1-11-4 with him in net.

Ovechkin scored both his goals 53 seconds apart early in the first period as Washington beat Enroth on two of their first three shots to go up 2-0.  Ovechkin leads the NHL with 38 goals.

Christian Ehrhoff cut the lead to 2-1 before intermission with his fourth goal of the year and Cody Hodgson scored the first of his two goals early in the second as Buffalo tied the score.

Hodgson Scores Two But Sabres Fall In OT – continue reading…

Sabres Blanked In Pittsburgh, 3-0

Posted on January 27, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresOn the road and facing one of the elite teams in the NHL the Buffalo Sabres put forth a formidable effort Monday evening.  Unfortunately it didn’t translate well to the scoreboard and on a nationally televised game the Sabres were blanked by the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-0.

Marc-Andre Fluery made 24 saves in net to earn the shutout for Pittsburgh. While he wasn’t in trouble for much of the evening Fluery came up with big saves on Brian Flynn and Matt Moulson late in the third period to preserve shutout No. 27 of his career.

After a scoreless first period Chris Kunitz got the Penguins on the board at 5:44 of the second after banging home a rebound on a shot by Brian Gibbons.

A turnover by Sabres defensemen Jamie McBain led to the second Penguins goal when Deryk Engelland  took a pass from Derek Glass and put the puck past a diving Ryan Miller with 7:55 left.

Glass added an empty netter for the final margin 28 seconds remaining in regulation.  NHL leading scorer Sidney Crosby drew assists on Pittsburgh’s first and last goals.

Sabres Blanked In Pittsburgh, 3-0 – continue reading…

A Review Of #SabresPoetry

Posted on January 25, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresI really respect the Buffalo Sabres media/public relations departments and Craig Kanalley in particular.  These guys work hard, real hard on the team’s social media platform to spread positivity among Sabres fans.  Let us not forget—it’s their job to promote the team, not be critical when they’re playing lousy hockey. You can turn to the Buffalo News, WGR, any mainstream outlet or blog that posts on the internet for Sabre reality checks.  If the Sabres Twitter and Facebook pages don’t perceive a “glass is half full” mentality, then who will?

But man, these guys really set themselves up for ridicule on occasion. I recall a tweet during a recent Sabres game encouraging fans to use the hashtag #MySabresView in posting pics of how and where they were enjoying watching, with the “best ones being retweeted.”  Ultimately the exercise morphed into an invitation for Sabres fans to post photographic views of toilets, television sets with suicide notes on it, and other images I won’t repeat in this blog space.

Such was the case again Thursday night.  With the Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes tied, 2-2 after two periods, the Sabres twitter page encouraged fans to drop some knowledge and rhymes while using the hashtag #SabresPoetry.

Predictably, hilarity ensued.  Since I’m confident the team won’t publish a list of the more engaging responses, I’ll take the liberty of doing it for them.

Without further ado, here’s some of the best #SabresPoetry, courtesy of the Twitterverse.

A Review Of #SabresPoetry – continue reading…

Sabres Stats: Debbie Downer Edition

Posted on January 24, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Feeling good about your Friday? Looking forward to the weekend?  Are you still a  Buffalo Sabres fan?  If your answer to these questions is yes, allow me, Debbie Downer to rain on your parade.

Partially out of boredom and also because I wanted to see just how awful this year’s Sabres have been, I sat down in my office and did some research.

Here are some Sabres statistics this season—Debbie Downer style.  I’d tell you to enjoy your weekend, but it’s much too cold out for that.

Sabres Stats: Debbie Downer Edition – continue reading…

Sekera Puts Dagger In Sabres

Posted on January 23, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresTied 3-3 in the third period, former Buffalo Sabres defensemen Andrej Sekera blasted a shot from the point that found its way past Jhonas Enroth into the net and gave Carolina their first lead of the night and eventual game-winner.

This is Buffalo we’re talking about, so of course it would be Sekera to beat his former team.

A First Niagara Crowd at far less than capacity saw Buffalo blow a lead on three separate occasions as the Hurricanes left the rink 5-3 winners over the Sabres, who have but one regulation win in the month of January.

Only an empty net tally by Jiri Tlusty with 0.8 seconds remaining precluded Buffalo from losing by a score of 4-3 for a fifth consecutive contest.  The Sabres have now scored three goals in each their past five outings—yet have a grand total of two points to show for it.

In total the Sabres have had five one-goal leads in their last two games and lost them both in regulation.

If you’re all about the Sabres remaining in the NHL cellar, that’s fantastic news. Otherwise… not so much.

Sekera Puts Dagger In Sabres – continue reading…

Sabres Promote Phil Varone, Send Down Two

Posted on January 22, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresThe Buffalo Sabres have made roster moves following practice on Wednesday afternoon, promoting forward Phil Varrone from Rochester.

In turn the Sabres will return forward Kevin Porter and defensemen Brayden McNabb to Rochester, according to Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

Varrone has lead Rochester in scoring this season with 33 points, including 25 assists in 38 games.  The former 2009 fifth-round pick of the San Jose Sharks signed a three-year entry level contract with Buffalo in  March of 2012 and has never played in the NHL.  He’s racked up 120 points in 176 games in parts of three seasons with Rochester.

WGR’s Matt Coller had an in-depth write up on Varrone around a year ago.

Porter had been out of the lineup since suffering a lower body injury on December 22.  He’s had one assist in 12 games with the Sabres and carried a minus-five rating.

McNabb’s demotion is largely a numbers game, with the Sabres currently carrying eight defensemen on the roster following Henrik Tallinder’s return to the lineup last night.  McNabb has been pointless in 12 games with Buffalo this season.

Stafford Sharp, Miller Not In Latest Sabres Loss

Posted on January 21, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresFollowing tonight the Buffalo Sabres have now scored three goals in each of their last four games.  Unfortunately, at least if you’re a fan of them being on the winning end of the scoreboard their sudden offensive explosion has netted them a grand total of just two points in the standings.

Look on the bright side—at least the tanking is entertaining to watch nowadays.

17,583 packed the First Niagara Center Tuesday night and among them likely a grand total of none expected to see Drew Stafford be the best Sabres on the ice with Ryan Miller simultaneously the worst.

That’s exactly what happened as Stafford scored two goals and added an assist, but it wasn’t enough as the Sabres lost to the Florida Panthers, 4-3. It’s the fourth straight game Buffalo has lost by the same score.

Miller certainly deserves a pass. It was the first time in 18 starts he’s allowed four goals in a game and to be fair, three of the four Florida goals came on some sort of deflection.  But make no mistake about it—the normally reliable Miller was anything but sharp between the pipes tonight.

Stafford Sharp, Miller Not In Latest Sabres Loss – continue reading…