Wednesday, October 1, 2014

More headed to Rochester, plus injury notes

Reprinted with permission from

Chris Ryndak of says that seven players have been sent to Rochester:  Forwards Joel Armia, Matt Ellis, and Tim Schaller; defensemen Drew Bagnall and Nick Petrecki; and goaltenders Nathan Lieuwen and Andrey Makarov.

Lieuwen and Makarov both had starts with Buffalo and both played very well in losses. They'll hit Rochester and battle it out for the #1 goalie spot with the Amerks.

Unlike last season, Armia looks to be starting his second season in North America injury. Last year he suffered an injury in a preseason game and was sidelined for six weeks. He had a decent training camp and is looking for consistency in Rochester.

Schaller and Petrecki are young players who got their taste of the NHL and look to bring it in the AHL while Ellis and Bagnall are seasoned veterans who will need to clear waivers in order to stick with the organization.

Bagnall, it should be noted, played a big part in the development of Rasmus Ristolainen last season. Some youngin, probably Jake McCabe, will end up with Bagnall on the top pair and will be a better player for it.


The word from head coach Ted Nolan is that Patrick Kaleta's injury is not as bad as they thought it was after the forward took a slapshot to his face. Originally they thought Kaleta might be out three months or so, now they're looking at around one month.

Perhaps it a piece of good luck that's eluded him as last season Kaleta was suspended, sent to Rochester upon his return and was felled by an injury after only seven games in Rochester. The Sabres have taken note of Kaleta's approach to everything that happened and they've lauded his efforts to rehab both his body and his game. Said Nolan, “His effort and his commitment and what he did in the offseason to get back to where he is right now were enough for me to see how much character this young man has and how much he wants to be a Buffalo Sabres.

“Right now, it’s tough on him, I imagine, but hopefully he can rest assure that he made a really good impression on us. We’re looking forward to him healing quick and getting back on the ice.”

Johan Larsson who was felled by an elbow in the same game (Toronto) that Kaleta went down has an "upper body" injury that's also not as serious as expected. He's expected to miss 10 games.

And defensemen Mark Pysyk, who suffered an "upper body" injury last week vs. Carolina has not begun skating yet. He's said to be out at least the rest of the week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Buffalo "Amerks" fall in Toronto in the shootout

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The Buffalo Sabres iced a large group of players who will be ticketed for Rochester, at least to start this season. Of the twenty players in the line-up, only three are sure to be on the Sabres--Cody Hodgson, Andrej Meszaros and Chris Stewart--while two other, defensemen Mike Weber and Rasmus Ristolainen will probably be with the team when they open the season October 9th vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Amerks open camp today, and many of those who played in last nights 3-2 SO loss at Toronto will be headed east to Rochester. The Sabres have only two more preseason games--Wednesday vs. the Capitals and Friday at Carolina--to get ready for the opener.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The 2014-15 Sabres Training Camp "Also-rans"

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Also-rans might be a little tough, but the Sabres still need to do some serious trimming down of a roster that began with 59 players to open camp.

The next wave has been sent down. On Friday night before their game vs. Toronto, the Sabres sent 11 players to Rochester. Forward Luke Adam is the only one of the group that will need to clear waivers, the rest are:  forwards William Carrier, Dan Catenacci, Colin Jacobs, Justin Kea, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Kevin Sundher and Phil Varone plus defensemen Brady Austin, Jerome Leduc and Chad Ruhwedel.

The team also returned two forwards to their junior clubs, Justin Bailey (Kitchener) and Brendan Lemieux (Barrie).

There are still plenty to go. Here's a list of players, some more notable than others still with Buffalo who might eventually be considered an "also-ran" this season as they head back to their respective clubs :

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Building the 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres roster--The Reserves

Reprinted with permission from hockeybuzz,com

Before we finish up with the roster, some quick notes, via Bill Hoppe of

--The Sabres sent winger Justin Bailey to his junior team, the Kitchener Rangers.

--Former Sabres' defenseman Henrik Tallinder is slated to hit the ice with Toronto this evening as he is on a tryout basis with the Leafs

--Sabres forward Tim Schaller, who was profiled here, will make his Sabres debut tonight. 'This is a dream come true,' Schaller said, 'I’ll bring my A game, that’s for sure.'

--Schaller, according to Hoppe, skated between Brian Flynn and Cody McCormick on one line

--The other lines were: Tyler Ennis/Matt Moulson/Drew Stafford; Cody Hodgson/Sam Reinhart/Brian Gionta; Marcus Foligno/Torrey Mitchell/Chris Stewart.

--The defensemen are: Jake McCabe, Andrej Meszaros, Tyler Myers, Rasmus Ristolainen, Mike Weber, Nikita Zadorov.

Thank you, Mr. Hoppe.

And onward we go.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Building the 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres roster--The goalies

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Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth made sure he let the coaching staff know that he's ready for the challenge that lies before him. Enroth shut out the Carolina Hurricanes in his first preseason action. He tracked the puck well, moved well and had the puck sticking to him throughout the night. It should also serve notice to Michal Neuvirth, the Sabres other goalie, that he better bring his A-game.

Enroth is a 2006 draft pick, chosen in the second round with the 46th pick overall. He and Mike Weber (57th) are the only two players to make it from that Buffalo draft class.

It's been a long road for Enroth to get to this point. After getting drafted he spent two more years in his native Sweden then began his North American pro career with the Portland Pirates, who were then the AHL affiliate of Buffalo. In 58 games that season he went 26-23-6 with a 2.75 gaa and a .910 sv%. The Pirates made it into the playoffs that year but were bounced in the first round.

The following year he would get better lowering his goals against average to 2.37 and upping his save percentage to .919 while finishing 20-17-2. The Pirates would make the Calder Cup playoffs once again and, once again, get bounced in the first round.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Building the 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres roster--The 4th Line

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On the heels of the Sabres two-goal outburst last night in a shutout win over the Carolina Hurricanes, we'll add three fourth-line players to fill out the starting group of forwards.

The running joke with the Buffalo Sabres over the last few years is that they had too many third and fourth-liners on the team and this year is no different. The top seven players on the team--Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford, Brian Gionta, Zemgus Girgensons, Cody Hodgson, and Chris Stewart--are legitimate top-nine players in the least with all but Girgensons being considered legit top-six.

Barring the inclusion of Sam Reinhart, the rest of the Buffalo Sabres forward roster this season will be populated by bottom-six players, fourth-line players and borderline NHL'ers. The dozen or so players battling it out for bottom-six/reserve roles offer an array of sizes, shapes and styles and two of them--Marcus Foligno and Brian Flynn have already been included.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sabres coach Ted Nolan throws some cold water on analytics

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Ted Nolan reminds me of my father.

As a student in college my father and I would often get into philosophical battles over current events and politics. I'd throw a salvo his way replete with "scholarly" theoretic and he'd counter with a simple, down-to-earth retort that would smack me down.

Although I never gave up, oft-times his life experience would trump my book knowledge.

I'm not sure who asked Nolan about analytics, but the Sabres' old-school bench boss was probably the last one to ask about that subject. Corsi and Fenwick might as well be a millennial-generation comedy team in Nolan's eyes.

Nolan kept it simple when broached with the subject, “If you have a Crosby on your team, they’re going to have a little bit more zone time. If you have a Kopitar on your team, they’re going to have a little bit more zone time," he said yesterday. "You look at all the teams that make the playoffs, they make it for a reason, they’re better teams. What we want to do is become a better team and you do that you get better players and it hasn’t changed since the 50’s and 60’s, you get better players, you have a better chance of winning.”