Archive | July 2011

Guest Post: Sabres ready to trade Miller? If they want a cup, it may be for the better.

This is a guest post written by a good friend of mine named Arun Morace. He is a journalism student at Hofstra and an avid sports fan. An analyst by nature and an antagonist by definition, Arun’s insightful view of sports helps fuel his knack for great sports writing. I received an email from him today that read as follows:

Hey Andy,

I wrote this real quick today; maybe you can take a look at it, or print it out and smack me in the face with it the next time we play hockey if you think it sucks.

– Arun

Here is what Arun sent me… Enjoy!

News of the Sabres’ recent multi-year deal with backup goalie Jhonas Enroth has to have people begging the question: Are the Buffalo Sabres getting ready to deal franchise goaltender Ryan Miller? Enroth was superb in limited action last year, posting a 9-2-2 record, with his first three wins coming in the shootout (an NHL record), and with one of those wins being a 1-0 blanking of the playoff-bound New York Rangers. Maybe the Sabres liked what they saw, and are prepared to lean on him while using Miller a bargaining chip to upgrade the team as a whole.

The Sabres cannot win the Stanley Cup by relying on Miller alone, which is the doomed strategy they’ve employed in the years since losing Chris Drury and Danny Briere. The last line of defense can only win you so many games. The back end has been fortified in recent years, with the emergence of Tyler Myers and the acquisitions of Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff, but the offense remains stagnant, as only Thomas Vanek finished the season ranked amongst the top 20 scorers. Read More…


Ennis vs. Afinogenov: Dispelling The Myth

There is a perception amongst many Sabres fans that comparisons of Tyler Ennis to Maxim Afinogenov are both appropriate and justifiable. While I haven’t been a fan long enough to speak to Afinogenov’s play on the ice, I can speak as to what the statistics from both of their Sabres’ careers show me. Is my suspicion that those comparisons are statistically invalid itself invalid? This is the question that I intend to answer for you. Read More…

Sabres Firefly Superlatives

This is a post I originally posted on my personal blog a few months ago. I thought everyone could use something entertaining that was Sabres related, since there isn’t very much to write about right now. I’m sure you need a palate cleanser after reading my latest blog post. Enjoy one of my rare whimsical Sabres blog posts. So without further ado, I give you my Sabres Firefly Superlatives based on the 2010-2011 roster. I’ll likely update it next season after we see more from the new boys in blue and gold. Enjoy! Read More…

The New Sabres Blueline: Playoff Perspective

We’ve all heard the excuses that some have made regarding the age of the Sabres’ defense and how that bit them in the buttocks during the playoffs this past season. But how do the defensive corps compare to the other playoff teams when you look at the mean (average) age? This question has been bugging me since they lost in Game 6 7 to the Flyers. Be warned, a barrage of numbers in chart form will soon follow. In a future post I will take a look at how the Sabres’ defense corps compares to the other 29 teams in the NHL from the 2010-2011 season. That post will take significantly more time to compile the data for, so I ask you to be patient. Read More…

Can’t We Just Be Happy…

With a new owner, a resurgent GM and money to spend the Buffalo Sabres made their fair share noise this off season. When all the dust had settle from the wildest, fastest, and craziest free agency I’d ever seen in a 24 hour period, I saw Buffalo as winners. I’m sitting there on my lunch break listening to WGR Friday afternoon and encouraged by what I was hearing. Players we’re flying off the market left and right, all the while, the Sabres were waiting to make their next move.

With a new tougher, experience defense core that has to please Ryan Miller, Buffalo looked for another offensive weapon. I think what is over looked was the fact that Drew Stafford was already resigned which is a HUGE boost. Stafford proved that talent may take some time and tallied 31 goals in only 62 games last season. He was on pace to score 40 plus goal this year people! But the front office wanted more and rightfully so. So the Sabres opened their checkbook and shot for the stars (no pun intended), going after Dallas’ Brad Richards.

I can’t even remember the last time the Buffalo Sabres went after a top 10 free agent, let alone the most sought after player on the market. But nonetheless the Sabres took of their gloves and threw their hat in the ring. I wasn’t sure that we would get such a high profile player in the first place but people around the area thought we had a chance. They had a point; we have great young talent in Gerbe, Myers and Ennis. Proven talent with Vanek, Roy, Pominville, and Stafford. Two veteran defenseman to solidify a blue line in front of arguably the best goalie in the world. There’s logic why Richards ‘might’ come here. But, and the biggest but out of them all is, Richards is single bachelor unlike Regehr and Erhoff. You see it all the time in the MLB, NBA and NFL, ‘single’ players want to go where there is nightlife and things to do and Buffalo, in all its glory, has failed at times to draw the big name bachelors. New York, LA, Dallas etc seem to get most of the big free agent signs for whatever reasons.

The Sabres stuck to their guns and went to plan B and pick up a second tier forward in Villie Leino. A fine deal, picking up a young (27 year old player) that in just his first four seasons he has shown a break out year, much like Stafford, and that he can perform in the postseason, where in 2010 had 21 points in 19 games in the playoffs. Sounds like a good player to me AND on top of it we DID NOT resign Tim Connolly so Leino is a HUGE upgrade as he will take Connolly spot as the 2nd line center.  But some Sabres fan just can’t be happy…

Listen to the radio again today all you start to hear is, ‘Well I think we might have over paid for Erhoff and Leino.” ARE YOU SERIOUS? Let me get this straight because blood wants to squirt out my ears. First when we had Golisano and every off season we didn’t make a move or we just resigned the same players over and over again, hence Connolly, Hecht, Pominville etc. nobody was happy.  Fans weren’t happy because, and I quote “we wouldn’t spend the money to bring players in.” Now… we have an owner who is willing to open his pockets and sign players BUT INSTEAD your upset or worried that we overpaid for a guy!? It drives me crazy sometimes.

Please please please Buffalo fans just take a step back and realize where we were last off season or even the one before that… we were signing Mike Grier, Rob Niedermayer, Tim Connolly and largely over paying for Thomas Vanek BECAUSE WE HAD TOO, TO MATCH THE OFFER FROM EDMONTON. That’s all I ask, just be happy and realize that this is a new era and Pegula is sticking to his word of spending money to bring a Stanley Cup to our beloved town.

Dear Darcy, More Tylers Please

Greetings readers! I’m Aaron, the newest member of the staff here at The Ruff Writers. I’ll spend a little time introducing myself before I give you my thoughts on the moves the Sabres should make this summer. I’m an engineer and an experimentalist by training, so I tend to look at things that I can quantify rather than the intangible. If you aren’t familiar with my personal blog, which you likely aren’t, then you aren’t familiar with how my Sabres posts can vary. I’ve done everything from looking at the Sabres UFAs and RFAs from a statistical standpoint, to giving some of the Sabres superlatives from the TV series Firefly. While I haven’t been a hockey fan as long as some, I feel confident enough to draw conclusions from what I see on both the intangible and tangible aspects of the game. Read More…

Pegula Power-Activated

Hello everyone! Hope you’re all having an excellent summer. For those of you living under a rock since April, the Sabres were ousted in game 7 in Philly by a score of 5-2 (The staff was too distraught to write a game recap, which is why this is the first post since April). Lockers were cleaned out, and the team was sent home for the summer disappointed, but excited for the 41st season of Buffalo Sabres hockey.

Prior to Hockey’s Christmas (AKA: The Opening Day of Free Agency), there was the NHL Entry Draft to attend to. Terry Pegula, Ted Black, Lindy Ruff, Drew Stafford and Kevin Devine, head of scouting, all headed to Minnesota. The players that were selected are as follows:

1 16 Joel Armia (RW)
2 STL* —
3 77 Daniel Catenacci (C)
4 107 Colin Jacobs (C)
5 137 Alex Lepkowski (D)
6 167 Nathan Lieuwen (G)
7 197 Brad Navin (C)

*Pick 2 went to the Blues to complete the Brad Boyes deal back before the Trade Deadline.

However, before the draft commenced, news broke that the Pegula, Regier and Ruff had traveled to Calgary to speak to defender Robyn Regehr. The team announced that they had made an offer to Calgary, which was Paul Byron and Chris Butler for Regehr, Ales Kotalik and a 2012 2nd Round pick. The only hitch was that Regehr would have to waive his no-movement clause in order for the trade to be completed. After less than 11 hours of waiting (and several Twitter rumors regarding the specifics of the trade (ie: trading Tyler Ennis and a back of pucks)), Regehr waived it, and now wears number 24.

After making this trade, the Sabres were FAR from complete. They resigned forward Nathan Gerbe for 3 years at $1.43 million per season. After that, they traded a 4th Round pick to the New York Islanders for the rights to defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (who sent a 4th Round pick to Vancouver for his rights initially). On Thursday, the team agreed to a 10 year contract worth $40 million. (This is the largest reported contract in Buffalo sports history). Ehrhoff was one of the biggest free agents this offseason, and continues to excite fans in spite of the contract being finalized.

Friday afternoon, the Sabres went to work on signing a free agent. The top prize in this years class was Brad Richards, center formerly with Dallas. After that, there was a pretty big dropoff. The Sabres were reported to be in talks to sign him, but first resigned forward Cody McCormick to a 3 year deal worth $3.6 million. After that, they set their sights on the free agent class. Their first big move (which turned out to be their only move) was to sign forward Ville Leino. All Sabres fans should remember him for wrecking Easter Sunday with his OT Winner in Game 6 of the Sabres-Flyers series back in April. The contract is worth a reported 6 years and $27 million, proving once again that Darcy Regier’s hands have been untied from behind his back and is now able to make signings as he sees fit. So far, so good. Following the signing of Leino, the team held a conference at which it was announced that the team was out of the Brad Richards Sweepstakes. Richards would eventually reunite with former coach John Tortorella and the New York Rangers.

The news of signings meant that former Sabres would also find homes. The team said goodbye to Mark Mancari, who landed in Vancouver for 1 yr and $525,000. The team failed to resign Tim Connolly, who fled to rival Toronto for 2 yrs and $9.5 million. It’ll be nice to beat him 6 times per year. And finally, before the market opened, the Sabres sent defender Steve Montador to Chicago for a 7th Round pick, where he signed a 4 year contract worth $11 million. And today, Rob Niedermayer signed a deal with Sweedish team Lugano.

At the press conference, Regier said that the team was all but completed, and that no more drastic moves would be made via free agency. Whether or not that statement is true, time will only tell. However, Regier said that the team would turn to trades to improve the team, particularly the depth at center (which is lacking significantly). All that aside, it’s been an excellent start to the summer for the Buffalo Sabres.

The NHL better watch out in 2011.