Tuesday, September 30, 2008
First, Paul Gaustad will 3-4 weeks due to thumb surgery on a torn ligament. Not known yet on when the injury was suffered but just as in the case of Roscoe Parrish from the Bills, it makes sense to have the surgery now instead of playing with it and making the situation worse.
Second, the Sabres have sent 13 players to Portland. The list includes Tyler Bouck and Jimmy Bonneau, who both have to clear waivers, Colton Fretter, Marc Andre Gragnani, Derek Whitmore, Felix Schutz, Colin Murphy, Mike Card, Mike Kostka, and Jhonas Enroth. This means that Gerbe Myers, and Kennedy are probably going to get some more action with the big club before getting sent down to Portland later. This is good news for the team that these new prospects are going to get mroe experience and possibly be able to crack the lineup. It will be hard for them to do so due to the influx of major players in the lineup. Though with the Gaustad injury, it will open up another spot.
Monday, September 29, 2008
“It was an exhibition game – it didn't bother me at all,” Wilson said Sunday. “What bothers me is being asked asinine questions while you're trying to give young players a chance.
“We're not going to win the Stanley Cup this year. There's a news flash for you.”
Second on goaltender Justin Pogge:
"Yeah, he played," Wilson said after his team's 3-2 loss. "But he made mistakes at the end. He allowed what looked like a great effort to dribble right down his chin.
"Obviously you wish he had the last goal back and that's kind of why he's not ready to play in the NHL. You have to be able to play poised all the way."
Coach Wilson is just spitting it out for the Toronto media. Never one to be the media friendly type, Wilson is already showing signs of cracking under the media pressure. Granted the expectations of this season are low for the Leafs, but you don't already proclaim the season done before it starts. In the case of Pogge, I thought he played pretty well except for the last five minutes. Pogge is going to be a good goaltender for the Leafs down the road but I wouldn't hold that start fully against him. The Leafs defense broke down in front of Pogge and allowed some easy feeds in front of the net.
The tides turned on the Sabres in the preseason after losing a close game to the Wild last night at the Bank. After the Sabres score 2 goals in the final two minutes against the Leafs, they allow a goal in the final three minutes to allow the Wild to tie it up and then lose the game 2-1 in the shootout. Hecht scores the lone Sabres goal while Brunette bounces the puck off Spacek on the powerplay to tie the game up. In the shootout, Stafford scored the lone Sabres goal while Owen Nolan and Brunette score the Wild goals.
The Sabres played another physical game last night taking it to the Wild again. Gaustad ended up fighting with Marc Andre Bergeron and all told the Sabres had 18 hits with Gaustad leading the team with 4. Lalime played pretty well in goal only allowing the fluke goal. The defense has played well in this homestand not allowing a even strength goal while the penalty kill has been lacking. All three goals scored against this weekend came on the powerplay.
The next game for the Sabres is Wednesday against the Wild in Minnesota.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The Sabres did not look half bad in the game, with Rivet's debut starting with first period fireworks in a fight with Ryan Holloweg. Rivet pretty much owned through most of the fight as well so Rivet just may fit in very well with this team. This game was more physical than the first two with most of the team starting to throw their weight around. The physicality of the game showed up in the score with the first goal of the game scored in the middle of the third period.
In terms of the prospects that played in the game, both Gogulla and Schutz did not do much to make me say anything. They played a pretty mistake free game but they didnt make many major plays in the game to make them stand out. Myers on the other hand is definitely a not ready for prime time player. He made many, many mistakes with puck possession and also was out of position numerous times. Given that this was Myers first game, those mistakes are going to be made.
The Leafs looked alright in this game as well. Both of their goals also came on the powerplay as well. Justin Pogge looked really good for most of the game until he got rattled and eventually lost the game for them. Many of the shots that Pogge faced were on net and didnt force him to move much. Once Pogge started moving, the holes started opening up and the Sabres found those holes.
Next up for the Sabres are the Wild who come to town tonight at 7. The roster according to the Sabres website is such:
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Now the game moves from the Airport to the Bank and the home crowd gets their first look at this year's Sabres team. The Sabres have looked a little listless on the special teams, allowing the Canadians to score two short handed goals on Tuesday. Their defense has also been a little weak giving up 10 goals in two games. But those were the first two preseason games and the major point of those games are getting players in game shape and being able to start to get back into the swing of things. As the number of preseason games wear on, the team is going to start to take shape and the play of the game will start looking more and more like the team that we will see this season.
Moving on to the Leafs, they have played more games since Monday nights game. The Penguins have taken the last two games from the Leafs winning Wednesday and Friday night. The Leafs have looked alright in their games with new coach Ron Wilson. The Leafs have been scoring more with the new offensive system, but Wilson is definitely a defensive coach. The point of Wilson coming into the system was the fact that they needed a new defensive system and the Leafs so far this preseason have allowed a minimum of 3 goals a game.
According to Sabres Edge the lineup for tonight's game is:
Thomas Vanek-Derek Roy-Maxim Afinogenov
Philip Gogulla-Marek Zagrapan-Drew Stafford
Clarke MacArthur-Paul Gaustad-Ales Kotalik
Andrew Peters-Felix Schutz-Patrick Kaleta
Toni Lydman-Craig Rivet
Mike Weber-Teppo Numminen
Andrej Sekera-Tyler Myers
I'm heading to the game tonight so I should have a better recap of this game as compared to the last two.
The reasonable offer means that depending on the section and the type of package that a person would want to buy, they could get a serious discount on the tickets that they want. This makes sense for a team that has a hard time selling tickets to games. This also comes on the heels of the Blues promotion from the last few years of the all you can eat games in which fans bought tickets to the game and then the concessions were free for most of the game. Anything to bring the fans through the gates.
Obviously this is a major win for the Thrashers due to the fact that they get an established defenseman for what amounts to a bunch of scrubs. The Ducks made this move to get themselves under the salary cap and give themselves some room to sign Teemu Selanne.
The Thrashers needed a veteran defenseman to shore up their blue line which looks to still be very young.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The NLL is going to play a game in South Florida this year, a January 3rd matchup between the NY Titans and the Toronto Rock. The game will be played at the Bank Atlantic Center, the home of the Florida Panthers.
This is being led by an NLL ownership group running a test run for a franchise in South Beach. Led by Kevin Finneran, a former player. This ownership group is trying to get a franchise in Miami for next season and needs to determine whether there is any interest in the league in the area. The fact is that the closest NLL team to Miami is Philadelphia, though. Most people in the area probably have no idea that the league exists and that interest in the game is probably not going to be much. The attendance is all going to depend on the amount of marketing that they do for this game and the amount of handouts that they use. If attendance is over 5,000 I will be shocked.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The final tribute, "Farewell Old Friend," will be held at the Convention Center as well. Admission will be $5 for adults and $3 for students. The festivities that will be surrounding the auction are sports memorabilia dealers as well as some old time Aud players signing autographs as well.
For the auction itself, there will be 700 seats auctioned at the convention center with the minimum bid set likely at $100. Another 100 will be set aside for an online auction for out of towners who could not make it to the convention center.
For the rest of the story, here is the link to the Buffalo News.
In what is probably the freakiest accident I have ever read about, the Blues Erik Johnson is going to be out for the season after tearing two ligaments in his knee. This occured while riding a golf cart during a team sponsored tournament. Apparently, Johnson got his foot stuck between the accelerator and the brake and somehow twisted his knee.
In all my years playing golf myself, I still can't fathom how Johnson did this. Twisting your knee getting out of a golf cart is one of the oddest things ever and for it to happen to basically the face of the Blues means that the Blues are bound to have another disappointing season. Their blue line is not very deep as it is with only Erik Brewer, Jay McKee, and Barret Jackman being the veterans on that blue line.
Starting in goal last night was Patrick Lalime but due to the fact that the game was played in Hockeyville there are no stats to refer back to. Goals in the game were scored by Derek Roy and Nathan Gerbe.
The Sabres next face off again against the Maple Leafs in HSBC Arena on Saturday night. Faceoff is 7pm.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
So I guess we wont see Ennis in action tonight but he should be coming through the system soon.
My hope for tonight is to see Gerbe and Kennedy light it up and the rest of the team to just get back into game shape.
It is the matchup in Hockeyville tonight with the Sabres and the Canadiens. After the loss last night in Toronto the Sabres head north to Roberval, Quebec to take on the Canadiens in front of roughly 1,000 in the arena.
Roberval was selected by Kraft in October as the 2008 Hockeyville and their reward is this game. The Roberval community has been looking forward to this game and do not be surprised to see a fairly heavy French Canadian contingency in this game.
As for the Sabres, they looked like it was their first game last night against the Leafs with fatigue setting in and the Sabres eventually losing the game 7-4. Only five or six players are going to double duty this game, so expect a fresh lineup for this game. Pominville will be in this lineup for PR reasons. Also, expect Rivet to make his first start as a Sabre tonight seeing as he did not play in last nights game.
In terms of prospects playing in the preseason, there were not many new faces to account for in last nights game. With only Tyler Bouck in the lineup last night there should be a influx of rookies playing in the game. I would expect Gerbe's first crack at the lineup tonight as well as the possibility for Tyler Ennis to play tonight as well. In goal, expect Lalime to start tonight with another apperance for Enroth.
The Canadiens played last night as well in Halfax, Nova Scotis losing 8-3 to the Boston Bruins. Jaroslav Halek got the start last night, so Carey Price should get the start tonight. There are a few new faces for the Canadiens including Alex Tanguay. Tanguay from the Flames should provide another scoring threat to this already dangerous team.
The fans in Roberval should get a fairly entertaining game from two teams that generally don't like each other.
The Sabres were worked pretty bad in their first preseason game of the season against the Leafs 7-4 in the Air Canada Center. Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth split the time in this game with Miller allowing three goals on 11 shots and Enroth allowing three goals on 13 shots. With many of the major forwards out for this game, the prospects took over in the scoring department. Zagarapan scored a power play goal 45 seconds into the game. Other scorers include Gogulla, Mancari, and Hecht. The defense also was showing off the prospects as well with only Spacek, Tallinder, Sekera, and Paetsch being the full timers playing in this game. Card and Weber rounded out the blue line.
The major fireworks of the game came from the fourth line of Peters/Hunter/Kaleta. Kaleta rounded himself into a fight with Ondrus while Peters managed a fight with Holloweg. Peters also then managed to get himself ejected from the game while arguing with the refs about a non-call.
Seeing as this is the first preseason game of the season the result is not as much of an issue. Allowing the Sabres to get their feet under them and a semblence of a flow to the game. This is also a time to allow the prospects to get some game experience and be able to experience putting on the jersey and suiting up for an NHL game.
Tonight they make the trek to Roberval, Quebec and play the Montreal Canadians. More on that game later. Here are the fights from the game thanks to hockeyfights.com
Monday, September 22, 2008
Both teams are trying to rebound from missing the playoffs last year and both teams have players that need to adjust to their new teammates. For the Sabres, Craig Rivet will play his first game with the Sabres while for the Leafs have new faces in Mike Van Ryn and Jeff Finger.
The Leafs will be playing with the following roster for tonight:
29 Justin Pogge
31 Curtis Joseph
2 Luke Schenn
4 Jeff Finger
7 Ian White
8 Carlo Colaiacovo
26 Mike Van Ryn
40 Staffan Kronwall
11 Jiri Tlusty
14 Mtt Stajan
19 Cominic Moore
22 Boyd Devereaux
25 Ben Ondrus
28 Mark Bell
39 John Mitchell
41 Nik Kulemin
44 Ryan Hollweg
47 Darryl Boyce
52 Robbie Earl
55 Jason Blake
As far as the Sabres roster for tonight, I cannot seem to find one anywhere. We do know a few things though. Thomas Vanek and Paul Gaustad are going to be out for the first two preseason games. Vanek is out with a pinched nerve in the knee and Gaustad is out with a bruised shoulder. The Sabres are going to take about 35 players to Toronto, only 5 or 6 are going to play both nights.
Buffalo Sabres Owner Tom Golisano announced today the Sabres have signed General Manager Darcy Regier to a two-year contract extension. Regier is now under contract with Buffalo through the 2010-11 season.
Darcy Regier begins his 12th year as General Manager of the Buffalo Sabres. During his tenure the Sabres have posted a record of 397-302-121, ninth best in the NHL since 1997-98.
Regier has some what been the scapegoat for the issues that plagued the Sabres in past free agency periods. But the one thing that Regier has been able to do in the last few years is bring together a competitive team that seems to be perennially in the playoff hunt. Barring a terrible start to last season, that Sabres team could have made the playoffs after a good second half rally. Along with the trade for Rivet, Regier extended probably two of the most important players to the Sabres for a few years in Miller and Pominville. With those extensions, the Sabres have a core group of players that have grown together in Rochester and will be playing together in Buffalo for at least the next three years.
With the trades and extensions that Regier has made this summer warrants this extension. The last extension Regier received was two years ago along with Lindy Ruff. This was after the magical 2005-2006 season where Regier seemed to have the perfect lineup for the new changes in the NHL. Regier has been one of the best GM's in the NHL since the lockout and has seemed to be able to adapt to the rule changes quicker which has led to major improvement in the Sabres in the last few years.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Looking at the deal from the players standpoint, he ends up making out in the end. He gets to play with a core group of players that will be with the Sabres for a few years, this core being the same group that he matured with in Rochester. He also gets paid handsomely with approximately five million a year.
From the Sabres standpoint this is a win as well. The Sabres will find that this contract will be on the cheap for them in the next few years, plus they wrap up their potential captain and make him feel like an integral part of the team.
This team is probably going to be competitive for a few years with most of the core of the team having playoff experience and having the desire to want to bring Buffalo its first Cup ever. The core is there and so is the talent depth coming through the system. With some more experience, this team will be back to the prominance they had in 2005 and 2006.
Monday, September 15, 2008
A few weeks ago I posted a piece on who would be the successor to Rick Jeanneret when he decided to finally hang up the mic. This may not happen though as quickly as I thought.
In a Buffalo News article this weekend, there was this small chunk
In other news, Quinn said that play-by- play man Rick Jeanneret has signed a two-year contract extension. His contract and the contract of analyst Harry Neale now will expire at the end of 2009-2010 season.
This means that the golden lungs of the Sabres will continue to call games for the next two years and Sabres fans can still hear the memorable calls from RJ. Hopefully, he actually gets to call a Sabres Stanley Cup win here soon.
Hat tip to 3rd Man in for the link.
Friday, September 12, 2008
The NLL is considering instant replay for the upcoming 2009 season. Instant replay would only be used to review goals. These three situations would be whether the ball crossed the line, whether the ball entered the net by period's end, or whether the player was in the crease.
Instant replay in any league is a good idea because a call should be called correctly at all times. The replay process will slow the game down in the same way it does during hockey games. The crease reviews could slow the game down more because there are more than a few times where players come close or cross the crease during a shot.
Here is an interesting article in the Mississauga News about John Tavares and his new workout program to keep him in top shape for the NLL.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The jersey looks really sharp in the black and the alternate logo does not make the team look goofy. It doesn't compare the leaked Sabres third found here and here but its not a bad jersey by any means.
The Thrashers seem like the Thrashers of last year, minus of course Marian Hossa. Here's what we see.
Last Years Team
The Thrashers last year finished 14th in the Eastern Conference with a total of 76 points. The season just did not start well, with the firing of coach Bob Hartley six games into the season. From that point, the team was under the lead of GM Don Wadell for the rest of the season. They never really found their groove all season and just underachieved with dynamic scorer Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Thrashers have a cap hit of $38.577 million according to nhlnumbers.com. The Thrashers have decided that they will play on the cheap this season. We may see a move made heading into training camp with teams that need to clear cap space but I would not hold my breath on it.
This Years Team
The Thrashers are always a dangerous team to play against due to Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk could change the dynamic of a game by turning on the afterburners. The rest of the Thrashers lineup is just not as scary. Tobias Enstrom looked good in his rookie season but can that last. The acquisition of Ron Hainsey from the Blue Jackets looks to solidify the defense but the defense was not all that great last season. Hainsey is good but not enough to bring up that team. Plus Zach Bogosian is going to be the wild card on that defense.
The offense is going to be as solid as it was last year. With the absence of Marian Hossa there is no other show than Kovalchuk, but if the supporting cast can play well enough, it may make a difference. The goaltending as always been solid with Kari Lehtonen and Johan Hedberg. The Thrashers should make a little headway in the Southeast division, but they still will not make the playoffs.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The biggest question mark going into this season is how are the Tampa Bay Lightning going to perform. New owners Oren Koules and company have done demolition on the team and completely started from scratch. Here's the preview.
Last Year's Team
The Lightning had 71 points last year, which put them at worst in the Eastern Conference and tied for worst in the league. Led by the big three at the start of the season; Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, and Vincent Lecavalier, the Lightning never really got off the ground due to the cap bind that they had created. The Big three were good but the supporting cast was not all there. Their goaltending let them down led by Mike Smith and Karri Ramo. This led to having the highest goals against in the league.
According to nhlnumbers.com, the Lightning are looking at a cap hit of $54.155 million which puts them near the edge on the cap. With all of the spending that the team has done, there really should be no reason why this team would go out and spend more money.
This Year's Team
Because the Lightning had the first overall pick in the draft, they happened to win the Steve Stamkos lottery. Stamkos leads a number of players that have transferred over to the Lightning. They include Matt Carle, Olie Kolzig, Ryan Malone, Andrej Mezaros, and Gary Roberts among others. They are led by former ESPN broadcaster and former coach Barry Melrose. Melrose has not coached in roughly 15 years and while he has followed the game, his techniques may need to be adjusted and tinkered.
With all the new faces the major question mark is how are they all going to play together. As we have seen before, teams that are basically bought do not seem to fare as well as teams that have grown together. There will definitely be some growing pains especially in the first few months. While I do not see this team as a playoff team due to the slow start that they are inevitably going to face, they will be the team to watch and fear in the second half of the season.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Grant Jr. from the Rochester Knighthawks had emergency surgery on his ACL last week due to an infection that spread from his elbow to his knee. From the press release, the surgery does not sound like a surgery that a player would come back from in full form and in as good shape as he was in before the surgery.
Grant underwent surgery Tuesday of last week on his elbow and knee to remove an infection that was beginning to migrate from his elbow to his knee. Grant went into surgery just two days later on his knee to remove more of the infection after an MRI discovered the first surgery failed to successfully remove it all.
After his second knee scope, Grant was forced into emergency surgery last Friday when doctors discovered the infection was getting worse as it started to attack his left ACL. As a result, the doctors in Peterborough had to remove his entire ACL and the screws, which attached the ligament to the bone.
Grant will be in a knee brace from four to 12 months, at which time he will enter another surgery to re-insert his ACL. The doctors will only operate on Grant once the infection is completely gone. In the meantime, Grant is being treated with various antibiotics to combat the infection.
Having your ACL taken out and then replaced again is definitely a extensive surgery that is going to sideline Grant for this season and possibly his career. All the best to Grant.
The story from NLL Insider.
Here is the start of the season previews with the Los Angeles Kings.
Last Year's Recap
The Kings finished last year as the worst team in the league with a total of 71 points. Their leading scorer was Anze Kopitar who had a total of 77 points. Kopitar has been with the Kings for the past two years and is basically the face of the franchise. Most of the issue with the Kings came in the form of the rotating goaltenders who was led by Jason LaBarbera. LaBarbera played 45 games followed by Aubin who played 19, Ersberg played 14 and Cloutier with 9. Those names dont scare anyone in the Western Conference.
For now, according to nhlnumbers.com, the Kings have a cap hit of $31 million. This puts the team around the salary floor of $40 million which they need to be at before the season starts. There are a few names that are being tossed around in the trade market due to some teams needing to dump cap space.
This Years Team
The Kings have not made any real changes in the roster to make them seem any more competitive this season rather than last. The Kings fired head coach Marc Crawford this summer and replaced him with former NHL head coach Terry Murray. Moves that occured in the roster was the trade of Lubomir Visnovsky to the Oilers for Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene. Along with Stoll and Kopitar, the Kings thrive on youth with Cammillari and Jonathan Bernier in goal.
While this years team probably will not scare the major teams in the Western Conference, they are poised to make a run probably in the future. With the amount of young talent that this team has, there really is no reason to not believe that this team will meld together and play championship winning hockey within the next five years.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
January 3rd - Philadelphia vs. Buffalo
January 10th - Buffalo at Toronto
January 16th - Rochester vs. Buffalo
January 24th - Buffalo at Minnesota
January 31st - Buffalo at Edmonton
February 6th - Buffalo at Philadelphia
February 14th - Toronto vs. Buffalo
February 20th - Buffalo at Toronto
February 28th - Minnesota vs. Buffalo
March 14th - Buffalo at Rochester
March 21st - Portland vs. Buffalo
March 28th - New York vs. Buffalo
April 4th - Buffalo at Boston
April 10th - Rochester vs. Buffalo
April 11th - Buffalo at New York
April 18th - Chicago vs. Buffalo
This has to be one of the most favorable schedules on the history of the planet. Only one back to back weekend and that is a Buffalo to New York trip. Buffalo play Rochester three times, twice in Rochester, and Toronto three times, twice in Toronto. Unfortunately, the Bandits only play Chicago once, thankfully at home, and Boston once in Boston. Also, with the switch to the Western Conference, the Bandits still play Minnesota twice, both home and away. Also there is a Championship game rematch in Buffalo on the 21st.
For ticket holders, there are two Friday games and 6 Saturday games. Also, there are two games each month with the games being spread out instead of the mass of home games that the Bandits have had at the end of the last two seasons.