As my vacation from Fredonia wears down to its last few days, I have begun packing. Of course, packing means procrastinating, and what better way to procrastinate than to go on Twitter. While trolling the Twitters today, I read a very interesting tweet from Ryan Kraus (@TheKrausHouse (OF WHOM YOU SHOULD ALL FOLLOW)). The tweet was as follows:This got me thinking about our position as Buffalo sports fans, and inspired this post. Today, I’m going to try to dissect this question and hopefully provide a solid answer. Hit the jump to continue on the journey. Read More…
Hi all. Happy 2012. My New Years Resolution: to give all of you a post per week. Whether or not I’ll follow through remains to be seen given however much homework I get assigned. But, that’s neither here nor there at this point. Tonight, I write in my first hockey tee shirt: a Born In Buffalo shirt which says “Brett Hull is a Cheater,” with the skate in the crease, a pair of Nike Fredonia navy blue shorts, and my traditional black Nike calf socks. You might be thinking to yourself, “why should I continue, and is he going to ask me to share what I’M wearing?” Well, no, I’m not going to ask you that, because that’s creepy. Instead, I want you to bear with me while I try for the first time ever to write without a plan about our beloved Sabres. Read More…
Hi everyone. I missed you dearly. I hope you missed me too. Let be among the last to wish you Happy Thanksgiving, and first to wish you Happy Holidays. Please follow this motley crew on Twitter at our respective handles (mine is @DaveTRW).
Friday night, our beloved blue and gold played a roadie in Columbus, Ohio, a state where most people go to watch the Browns…er, I mean the Bengals…um, I meant the Cavaliers…oh, and the Blue Jackets are there as well. Hockey isn’t big in Ohio, and the Blue Jackets haven’t done much to improve that line of thinking. But then, one night in November, the Sabres came to town.
As most of you know (if you don’t, shame on you), I am a major sports fan. I bleed Buffalo blue gold and red. The Sabres season starts on Friday with a game against the Anaheim Ducks, dubbed a “home game” even though it’s overseas. We are in an interesting period in Buffalo sports, with the Sabres still exciting fans after Lord Pegula saved us from uncertain departure/disenfranchisement, buying 3 players and locking up Tyler Myers, and the Bills shocking the NFL world as well as the real world with an upset victory over New England, only to lose it’s first game yesterday to the Bengals.
This is a message to all Buffalo sports fans, not just one sect or the other. Ready? Here it is:
Don’t get worked up over one loss.
The way Bills fans have been talking today, it seems like the sky is falling, the world is coming to an end, we’re preparing for a rapture, or something drastic like that. Yes, they lost to a team with a rookie QB, but it’s ONE GAME. And, last time I read a newspaper, turned on the television, radio, or talked to someone with half a brain who watches enough sports, no one expected the Bills, or expects the Sabres, to pull a perfect season out of the hat. In the NHL, it’s never been done. Let that sink in. No one, in the history of the National Hockey League, has ever finished a season without a single loss. I understand this completely. I also understand that no one thinks that the Sabres will have a perfect 82-0 season either. I’m just simply stating a redundant sentence that this year especially, we should heed even more.
So please, Buffalo sports fans. Don’t get worked up over a loss to Cincy. Don’t panic when we drop a game to Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, Philly, New York, or Boston. Don’t fret when we have a minor losing streak to Ottawa, Columbus, Minnesota, or Toronto. It’s a long season in sports, and it’s one minor setback. Pull yourselves together and be patient.
Don’t get worked up over one loss. And if you do, just play Anna Nalick.
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:
RD. PICK PLAYER
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.
Oh the highs and lows of postseason hockey.
Just this morning, the possibility of playing Washington was a mere 60 minutes of hockey away. All the Sabres needed to do was beat the Flyers at home in game 6. At home. In front of fans at HSBC, in the Plaza (where I was), and on national television. And for the second straight game, we would play overtime. However, Ville Leino scored the game winner, and with a 5-4 defeat, the Sabres head back to the City of Brotherly Hate tied at 3 for game 7 on Tuesday. This is it, folks. Win or go golfing. It took 16 wins to get us in the playoffs, and it could only take us one more loss to get out of ’em.
-If you’ve never been to a Party in The Plaza, your mission for whenever the next party takes place is to go. It’s a great atmosphere. There’s a live band up until 15 minutes before puck drop, and you get to see a bunch of celebrities (in my case, Terry Pegula, his daughters, sons and their friends, and Ted Black (who is sporting a Rick Martin moustache)). The buzz in the crowd is amazing, and it’s nothing like you see on television. And after the band leaves, two or three people begin passing out pom-poms. The way to deliver them is to throw them back behind you. It’s like a sea of white. Until you go to one, you’ll half understand this description. It’s not even like being inside, because these are the fans that can’t afford to go to the game, so they go to hang out with a bunch of fans. THAT is what being a Sabres fan…nay, a Buffalo sports fan, is all about.
-Now, onto the game. Ryan Miller made 44 saves in an iffy performance by my estimation. He seemed to be overworked and/or unlucky on some of the goals. This day off tomorrow should help him get more focused, and hopefully he won’t give up 3+ goals for the third straight game.
-Thomas Vanek is FINALLY living up to the $7.1 million price tag. His two goals were anything but pretty, but at least he’s scoring them. It was definitely missed last year and it’s paying off somewhat for us this year.
-I hope Tim Connolly is okay. As much as I dislike him as a player, it’s never good to see someone like that go into the glass face-first. If there’s a consolation, Derek Roy could replace him on Tuesday.
-Nathan Gerbe’s goal was a laser. He’s gonna be a good player for many years to come.
-There was a Matt Ellis sighting in this game, as he was called up for Jason Pominville. I would have preferred to see Mark Mancari, but I’m not Lindy Ruff. Ellis only played a little over 11 minutes and was a virtual non-factor on the scoresheet. Oh well, at least my co-worker Andy Meyer will be happy. Yay.
-I still hate he-who-will-not-be-spoken-of-in-this-blog. His two goals really wrecked my Easter Sunday.
-Marc-Andre Gragnani netted two more points today and finished second with 26:03 time on ice. The man is a beast.
Stat I Liked: Thomas Vanek- 2 goals.
Stat I Disliked: Ville Leino- GW Goal. I wanted to celebrate a clinching at home, not in Philly.
Game Puck: Tyler Myers for 3 assists and being a beast.
Lindy’s Doghouse: Paul Gaustad. This will be temporary, however he whiffed on Kris Versteeg’s initial passing-shot (or whatever you’d call it) to Mike Richards which led to the Leino tip-in goal in OT. He’ll bounce back for sure.
Lastly, GO TO THE PLAZA if/when we have another home playoff game!
Game 7 is Tuesday at 7:30pm on MSG. The future beyond that is unknown.
Don’t stop believing, Sabres fans. LET’S GO BUFFALO!!!!
THAT is what Playoff Hockey is all about.
After blowing a 3 goal first period lead, the boys in blue rallied, and thanks to Ennis the Menace (Tyler Ennis, for those of you new to Buffalo hockey), are going home with a 4-3 OT victory and a 3-2 series lead. Easter Sunday now becomes opportunity number 1 to move onto the second round. Ennis, Thomas Vanek, and Marc-Andre Gragnani scored. Gragnani’s goal makes him the leading scorer on our team in the postseason, with 5 points in 5 games. And let’s not forget about The Man, The Myth, The Miller, who made 36 saves throughout the game and overtime. On the flip side, Brian Boucher got yanked after giving up Gragnani’s goal in favor of former Sabre Michael Leighton (look it up, it’s true!)
-Jason Pominville will most likely miss game 6 with a “lower body injury.” WGR’s Paul Hamilton says that it’s a deep cut on the back of his leg, and Lindy Ruff says “it’s not looking good.”
-Michael Leighton played in 1 game in the regular season, after garnishing a 2 yr deal last offseason. The goaltender roulette in Philly is so amusing to watch.
-I’m never going to judge Chris Butler again. He’s stunned me with his great postseason play. He finished second on the team in time on ice with 26:34. He continues to average at least 19 minutes on the ice. In spite of a couple miscues leading to goals (twice, both leading to goals by he-who-will-not-be-spoken-of-in-this-blog), he’s played well.
-Marc-Andre Gragnani should never play in Portland again. He’s leading the team in points this postseason, and he’s playing great defense alongside whoever he gets paired with (most recently Steve Montador). His goal tonight was beautiful, and his defensive play was outstanding.
Stat I Liked: Tyler Ennis: 2 goals. Ennis the Menace is growing up right before our eyes.
Stat I Disliked: 0 goals in the final 2 periods. I’m nit picking, but it’s true. After the first period, they sat back and were complacent. It wouldn’t have gotten to OT had someone scored sooner.
Game Puck: Tie between Ennis and Tyler Myers, who led the team with 27:48 time on ice, and had an assist. The Two Tylers played amazing.
Lindy’s Doghouse: Brad Boyes. Seriously, score a goal, get an assist, SOMETHING.
Lastly, I wasn’t at game 4, I WILL BE AT GAME 6. The order of events: wake up Easter morning, find basket, laugh, pictures, brunch, Party in the Plaza, dinner. Tweet or text me, and I promise to sign something this time.
Game 6 is Sunday (4/24) at 3pm. It is an NBC game, so “turn down your televisions and turn up Rick and Harry” (WGR would want me to quote it).
One more win, and we’re onto the final 4 in the East. LET’S GO BUFFALO!!!!!
I’ll keep this brief because I’m exhausted: Jason Pominville scored the only goal, and Ryan Miller made 32 saves as the Sabres won 1-0 for the second time in this series and now we head back to the City of Brotherly Love tied at 2. Miller seemed to take the life out of the Flyers when he just stole the puck from Danny Briere who was in front all alone with just under 9 minutes to go. Now for some statistics:
Stat I Liked: The Man, The Myth, The Miller. I’ll be the first to give him credit for making 32 saves, because I was one person who wanted him pulled. I’m glad I was wrong.
Stat I Disliked: Zero goals in the final 2.5 periods. I’m being picky. A win is a win, but it would’ve been nice to not make us as fans sweat it out.
Game Puck: Ryan Miller. Who else? Who else!? Either Pominville or Ennis could also get a nod.
Lindy’s Doghouse: The media (myself included). I’m gonna do my best to stop questioning his methods when it comes to goaltending. He knew Miller would bounce back, and I wasn’t sure. I am now.
Back to Philly on Friday (4/22) at 7:00pm. We’re back in it again.
LET’S GO BUFFALO!!!!
This playoff series was tied entering Game 3 in front of an HSBC Arena crowd (and plaza party partakers). Everyone arrived happy, and everyone left upset/angry/confused/stunned as the Flyers retook home ice advantage with a 4-2 victory good for a 2-1 series lead. Nathan Gerbe and Drew Stafford got the goals for the boys in blue, but it wasn’t enough as Nikolay Zherdev scored on a defensive lapse and Kimmo Timonen. Let’s dive in.
-The first period was OUTSTANDING. The building definitely gave the Sabres an energy boost…until Jeff Carter scored just under 5 minutes into the game. The Sabres need to capitalize on the energy withing the building and turn it into goals, and the sooner the better.
-Another area they need to work on are extended powerplays and 5-on-3 situations…COME ON. They went 1-5 on powerplays. They need to work on it and learn to capitalize on em. And personnel-wise, why is Paul Gaustad on powerplays? What happened to the units from the regular season?
-Welcome to the NHL Playoffs, Nathan Gerbe. You’re playing great right now. Your goal was amazing and your forechecking and hard-nosing the Flyer tough guys does NOT go unnoticed. Keep it up, #42.
-Speaking of forechecking, we looked outworked and bad on our forecheck. Especially one Tim Connolly. COME ON MAN, STEP YOUR GAME UP.
-Did I mention powerplays?
-I still loathe Danny Briere, in spite of his goal which brought back a memory of his time here in Buffalo.
Stat I Liked: Jordan Leopold 14:48 ice time. I was glad to see him back in the lineup for Andrej Sekera. Let Sekera heal up and then jumble the lineup again. And despite his -1, he played extremely well.
Stat I Disliked: 1-5 on the powerplay. Grrr…
Game Puck: Nathan Gerbe for a goal, Marc-Andre Gragnani for 2 assists and 23:51 ice time.
Lindy’s Doghouse: Anyone on the powerplay. I’ll beat the dead horse until something changes.
Game 4 is a must win. There’s no other way to spell it out. The team needs to capitalize on the energy and come out with a quick goal or two. And please, just for me, KEEP BRIERE OFF THE SCORE SHEET.
Game 4 is Wednesday (4/20) at 7:30pm. I will be in attendance at the Party in the Plaza, so if you can find me, I’ll sign something for you (if you want).
LET’S GO SABRES!
The Sabres entered Game 2 with a 1-0 series lead on the Flyers and were looking to leave the City of Brotherly Love with a stranglehold on the series. Thanks to 6 goals in 13 minutes of action, the game was tied at 3 after 20 minutes. However, a parade of blue and gold to the penalty box, the Flyers were able to score two goals and never relinquish the lead again. And despite a Cody McCormick third period goal, this series goes back to the 716 tied at 1. Game 3 is Monday night at the friendly confines of HSBC Arena.
-Teams that take 13 penalties in a game, no matter how many you kill off, will not win playoff games.
-I said in my last game wrap up that if Thomas Vanek gets more than 13:28 of ice time, he’ll be able to perform. Well look at his stats today. 2 goals in 16:48 of ice time. Not a big increase, but an increase nonetheless. It’s now time for Brad Boyes and Nathan Gerbe (12:03 and 6:30 respectively) to get more playing time.
-I’ll make another post out of this later on, but it still angers me to see Danny Briere in an orange jersey. I think it’ll do this until he retires or plays for a team I don’t directly despise.
-The second period was the worst period I’ve seen since the Nashville game in which the team blew a 2 goal lead and lost in overtime. They just paraded to the penalty box. Once they killed one off, another one went back. It meant that our playmakers (Vanek, Ennis, Gerbe) couldn’t get to play a lot at all, and that meant we couldn’t score or set up our offensive attack. The good news is that our PK kept us in it for the majority of the game, as well as Ryan Miller standing on his head again.
-Steve Montador played extremely bad in game 1, and he did a complete 180 in game 2. He won’t show up on the score sheet with any points, but he significantly elevated his play in this game. He was especially helpful on the penalty kill, just lifting the puck down the ice and giving the team time to change up the lines. He’s a big reason we killed off 9 of 10 penalties.
Stat I Liked: The Flyers were 1-10 on the powerplay, and are now 2-15 through two games. That’s disgusting. Give credit to Ryan Miller for standing on his head and the PK units for the Sabres who keep foiling the Flyers’ attempts.
Stat I Disliked: 13 individual penalties. That’s disgusting. That’s wrong. That’s undisciplined. That’s horrible.
Game Puck: Thomas Vanek: 2 goals. That’s how you respond after not playing much in game 1.
Lindy’s Doghouse: Gaustad, Gerbe, Sekera, Kaleta, Myers, Pominville and Montador. All of whom took at least one of the 13 penalties. See the reoccurring theme here?
A final note- all is not lost. It’s one game, and it ensures a 5th game in the series. I didn’t expect a 4 game sweep, and nor should you have. The crowd at home should really help the team out.
Game 3 is Monday (4/18) at 7:00pm on MSG. Let’s see if the boys in blue can get some home cookin’ going to retake the lead in the series.
LET’S GO SABRES!