Thursday, July 31, 2008

Patrick Roy's Son Charged with Assault

In the fight that was played across Canada last year, the Quebec Remparts goalie Jonathan Roy pummeled opposing Chicoumati Saguenees goalie Bobby Nadeau. Now he is going to pay the price for it.

Today Roy was charged with one count of assault in Saguenay according to the Associated Press. This makes complete sense when you look at the video because there was no sense of fight in Nadeau and Roy just did this because he could. This isn't what makes hockey fights great, it is what cheapens them. Roy was punished by the league and now is going to be rightfully punished by the law.

If you haven't seen the video, here it is

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blazers send Laverty to the Knighthawks

The Boston Blazers sent Kyle Laverty to the Rochester Knighthawks for defender Jack Reid. Laverty acquired by the Blazers from the Bandits through the dispersal draft will now head to the Thruway rivals in Rochester.

In return for Laverty, the Blazers picked up Jack Reid. Reid last year playing for the Knighthawks had 4 assists in 10 games last season and has played in a total of 16 games in two seasons. This looks definitely like a forced trade by the Blazers who probably had to send Laverty back close to the Western New York area. The Blazers give up experience in Laverty for an All-American in Reid.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Sabres can tap into the Toronto Market Too

The Sabres announced their pricing tiers for this year with a new addition. The Platinum tier includes four games this year where the prices range from $78-223. Those four games are the three Leafs games and one Canadiens game. Basically, the Sabres have priced these tickets out of the fan bases price range. Who did they price them for though?

The Canadians.

With the strength of the Canadian dollar at this point and the fact that most Canadians come down for the games against the Leafs and Canadiens, it makes sense that to maximize the potential of the Canadian dollar is to charge the most for the games against the Canadian teams.

It made sense for the Bills to tap into the Toronto market because of the strength of the Canadian dollar and the purchasing power that the Canadians have over the fans in the States. This same philosophy makes sense for the Sabres as well. As long as the Canadians are going to cross the border and check out those games, why not try and get more money out of them anyways. The only people it hurts is the individual ticket buyer because the season ticket holder pays the Value price for all 41 games.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Zhitnik to try and make the Dynamo

Fanhouse reported on Friday that ex-Sabre Alexei Zhitnik has signed a tryout contract with the Moscow Dynamo. After being bought out by the Atlanta Thrashers a few weeks ago, Zhitnik decided that heading home was probably the best option. Given his play in the last few years, it was probably his only option.

Zhitnik's time with the Sabres was the longest and most productive years in his career. Playing in 712 games for the Sabres from 1995-2005, Zhitnik scored 67 goals and had 289 points.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cunneyworth Leaving the Amerks for Thrashers

The Atlanta Thrashers announced yesterday that they hired Randy Cunneyworth as assistant coach to new head coach John Anderson. Cunneyworth as mentioned here was in negotiations with the Panthers to stay in Rochester with the Amerks. This should come as no shock to Buffalo fans that Cunney was leaving the organization. Who is shocks is the Panthers who now have to find a head coach for the Amerks

Regier told the Buffalo News today that he is looking outside of the organization to hire for the head coaching position of the Pirates. He gave no clue though as to who the candidates were.

Blazers Take Laverty in Expansion Draft

The Boston Blaxers took Kyle Laverty as the Bandits choice in the expansion draft yesterday. Laverty had 9 points last season (2-7) with the Bandits playing in all 16 games and had 2 assists in the playoffs. Laverty was one of 12 players picked by the Blazers yesterday. This will be a loss to the Bandits who have a good group of defenders in Chris White, Billy Dee Smith, and Clay Hill. The Bandits do have last year's rookie Kyle Schmelze who played in 8 games last year and registered 5 points (2-3) to replace Laverty and that seems to be the likely replacement

The Blazers took 12 players total, one from each of the other teams in the league. Besides these players, the Blazers also have Dan Dawson and Peter Veltman from the Sting Dispersal Draft. The other players were:

1. Mike Poulin - G Toronto
2. Mitch Belisle - D New York
3. Matt Lyons - F Rochester
4. Kyle Laverty - D Buffalo
5. John Gallant - D Colorado
6. Jake Bergey - F Philadelphia
7. Devan Wray - D Calgary
8. Kyle Ross - D Minnesota
9. Tom Johnson - F San Jose
10. Matt Holman - F Chicago
11. Michael Kilby - D Portland
12. Cam Bergman - G Edmonton

It seems that the Blazers wanted to establish their defense through the expansion draft and then build their offense through the Entry Draft. For now, Dan Dawson is going to be the centerpiece of the offense, though it seems that Dawson is still going to hold out to be traded most likely out west. The Blazers are definitely in the building stages and will most likely not contend for anything this season but it will be interesting to see where this team goes from here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ryan Miller Press Conference

The Sabres held a press conference today to "announce" the extension of Miller and to answer questions from the press essentially. During those questions, Miller came out with this quote:

"I chose Buffalo. It is a bit of a buy-in. I buy into what they're about," he said. "That's winning hockey games based on caring about the players and individuals. I have a great relationship with everyone in this organization. It made a lot of sense to stay here. I have great friends and teammates. I trust my coaches, I trust my management and that's not a situation you can always step into, especially with free agency."

This quote signifies everything that the Sabres have been working towards in the last few years and everything that signifies this team. Ryan Miller is the face of the Sabres. He will be until kingdom come or until he decides to hang up the skates. It is a refreshing thought that a player actually wants to stay in Buffalo and play with the group of players that are here. This makes the most sense because most of these guys have groomed their play in Rochester together and have grown together in Buffalo. So it makes sense that they would want to play together and win a Cup together.

Most people in Buffalo didn't see this though, including myself. We thought that the team could grow and be as big as they were in 2005 and 2006 with the inclusion of Briere and Drury. We were obviously wrong. With the core group of players now: Vanek, Miller, Pominville, Gaustad, and Paille, these guys are going to react from comments and other play better than they probably would have with Briere and Drury as the captains. It would not shock me if Pominville was the permanent captain of the team heading into training camp and the rotational captain finally ending.

This team will play better than the team that we saw last year. They will be a playoff team because they have grown and learned together enough to know how each other plays and can adjust to the play of each other. The grooming in Rochester and the grooming here have prepared this group to play to their potential.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The NLL Entry Draft

The NLL has officially annouced that the NLL Entry Draft will be September 7th in Boston. This will be the final draft of the offseason after the dispersal and expansion drafts. The Buffalo Bandits will find their first pick in the third round at the 36th position after trading their first and second round picks in former trades.

Normally, the first and possibly second round picks will make the big time in the first couple of years but after the second round many of these players will be on the practice squad and may never see the turf in game action. The Bandits have given up their first and second round players that may make a difference for proven veterans that led them to the championship this year. This is how GM Darris Kilgour has run his team and will probably run for years to come. With Kilgour's penchant for proven veterans over unestablished rookies, the NLL Draft is a good way to compile players on the practice squad.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Sabres Probably Won't Make the Playoffs

At least that's what the schedule tells us. Sorta.

Stealing the idea from Do Thrashers Have Large Talons, why don't we take a look at how the schedule will play into the Sabres hands and which months are going to be the hardest and the easiest. First, lets start with looking at the average opponents points by month. All this data comes from last year which is a decent projection onto this coming season.

October: 89.6
November: 91.7
December: 88.9
January: 90.8
February: 94.2
March: 91.3
April: 93.3

The last three months of the season looks to be the most challenging. This makes more sense because we play the Eastern Conference winning Canadiens three times, the Red Wings twice, the Ducks twice. The immense road trip that happens in January sees a fairly tough series of opponents but can be handled.

After examing the strength of schedule, lets take a look at which months the Sabres are supposed to win and which they are supposed to lose. We can do this by looking at the Pythagorean Winning Percentage which takes into account the goals scored and the goals allowed by a team. In this case, I calculated the opponents total goals for and against for the month and then subtracted by 1 to get the Sabres winning percentage. Therefore,

October: .517
November: .509
December: .511
January: .497
February: .491
March: .495
April: .500

This gives an average winning percentage of .503, good for 82 points taking account for just winning and losing and not taking the overtime point. With the average team losing about 9 of their games in overtime, this gives an overall total of 91 points on the season. One better than last season but probably still not good enough to make the playoffs.

The Sabres definitely have to make up their points in the first half of the season because of how the schedule turns on them in the second half. With the series of harder opponents and the way that the schedule turns on the Sabres as well, the points are definitely going to be more hard pressed in the later months.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stealth make a Coaching Change

The San Jose Stealth have released head coach Walt Christianson and have decided to replace him with Bandits assistant coach Jeff Dowling. Christianson led the Stealth last season to a first place tie for the Western Conference and met an early demise in the playoffs to the Portland Lumberjax.

Dowling has coaching experience in the NLL when he coached 7 games for the Roughnecks in 2007 and is currently the head coach of the Six Nations Chiefs in the MSL. Dowling served as an assistant for the Bandits during the 2008 championship season.
Story from NLL Insider

Have You Heard Ryan Miller Signed an Extension

Apparently news travels quickly around Buffalo when it centers our top goaltender. Ryan Miller signed a 5 year, $31.25 million contract. This keeps him in town until 2014 and can stop having Pierre McGuire speculate that he is going to go to Detroit for the next 6 months.

This puts the team at a great position for this summer. With many moves that really have complemented the team and have not raised the ire of one particular columnist too bad, the Sabres have progressed from their near disaster last summer. There really is only one other accomplishment that the team needs to do this summer and that is extend Pominville past this season. With the speed of the Miller extension though, we will probably see something happen in the Pominville camp before the start of training camp.

Regier has put together a really good summer and is reinforcing why he is one of the better GM's in the league.

Official release from the Sabres

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Free Preseason Game

Yep, the Leafs are offering tickets to their September 22nd game against the Sabres for free. Apparently only 20,000 tickets are going to be given away for the game. Some already have with those going to the lucky people who showed up to the press conference and the rest are going to be given away through promotions with Coke Zero and the Leafs.

Apparently though, the giveaway is only for our Canadian friends. So if you really want to make a trip up there, find a buddy who could win the tickets for you.

Here is the link to the contest

Paille, MacArthur, Mancari all sign

The Sabres announced yesterday that Clarke MacArthur and Mark Mancari have agreed to their qualifying offers and also that Daniel Paille has agree to a two year $2.25 million deal that will see him being paid $900,000 in the first year and $1.35 in the second.

This all means that we will most likely see Mancari start the season down in Portland and MacArthur and Paille most likely back up in Buffalo. MacArthur does not have free range moving ability so for him to be sent to Portland he would have to be waived first. This may not be such an issue but it gives the Sabres 14 forwards. So, either a move would have to be made in the rest of the offseason which could be a good possibility or the Sabres play with the 14 forwards they have and almost make certain who is going to make the team and who is not.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cunneyworth Looking to Stay with Amerks

A look at the Portland Pirates website shows that there is no members in their hockey operations yet. One of those spots is probably not going to be filled by Amerks coach Randy Cunneyworth. According to today's Democrat and Chronicle, the Sabres have granted the Panthers permission to negotiate a new contract with Cunneyworth so he can stay the coach of the Amerks. Cunneyworth has been apart of the Amerks and the Sabres for the last eight years, the last three coaching the dual affiliation team.

Cunneyworth is a great teacher of the game and he will be missed if he does not come along with the Sabres prospects to Portland. The amount of talent that he has been apart of churning out in the last few years shows how valuable he is to the organization and the Sabres in general.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blazer Expansion Draft Protected List

The expansion draft for the Boston Blazers has been officially announced for July 24th at 2pm. Each team can protect a maximum of 14 players, either 10 runners and 2 goalies or 13 runners and 1 goalie. The protected player list is as follows from
Buffalo Protected
Accursi, Mike
Bucktooth, Brett
Dostie, Kevin
Greenhalgh, Sean
Montour, Ken
Powless, Delby
Smith, Billy Dee
Steenhuis, Mark
Tavares, John
Thompson, Mike
Vyse, Roger
White, Chris

This means that players like Cory Bomberry, Clay Hill, Rich Kilgour, Pat McCready could be the Bandit casualty. Only one player can be taken from each team. So who do you think is heading to Boston?
For the rest of the protected players around the league, look here

Monday, July 7, 2008

Back from Vacation

I always decide to pick the wrong week to go on vacation. Free agent week. Thankfully, the phone stayed quieter this summer as compared to last summer. The Sabres made their big move on the fourth by sending Bernier to Vancouver and then turning around and picking up Craig Rivet from the San Jose Sharks. This is the move that we have been waiting for in picking up a solid defensemen for the next few years.

In terms of the Bandits, they were also creating their own fireworks this week in the Sting Dispersal Draft picking up defenseman Greg Hinman in the first round and then subsequently sending him to Edmonton for a third round pick in the 2008 Draft. This is not a bad move for the Bandits because defense is not an issue here and most of the major players from the Sting had already been taken by the time the Bandits picked. The next major draft should be the expansion draft for the Blazers. The Bandits can decide to hold 10 runners and 2 goalies or 13 runners and 1 goalie for this draft and the list of protected players should be coming soon.

Finally, the Bucky Gleason post has been updated so head on over and check it out.