Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sabres development void being filled by self-confidence

Last season, with the team in disarray and in the tank, Sabres fans were venting their frustration at just about everyone in the organization save for Rip Simonick. And if fans knew that he was the long-standing (36 years) equipment manager for the team, they probably would've been blaming him for the dismal on-ice product as well.

From GM Darcy Regier to coach Ron Rolston to owner Terry Pegula, nobody was safe. And that included Head Amateur Scout/Assistant General Manager Kevin Devine.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hockey's anti-fighting crusaders should let real men play "a man's game."

Sabres' captain Steve Ott was on the Howard Simon Show in his weekly slot today and he got into a discussion with Simon and Jeremy White concerning fighting and it's role in the NHL.

In case you hadn't noticed, Ott is old-school. When Simon asked if he'd ever been in a line brawl like the most recent Calgary/Vancouver scrum, Ott said he'd been in many line brawls and that it was common in Junior, "probably five or six a year."

Tipper Gore and her Parents Music Resource Center
did battle with Frank Zappa during the 80's.
The soccer-mom mentality began with
Tipper and her overbearing crusade against music.
The brawl between Calgary and Vancouver--about which much has been written including a snipe from ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons--has once again brought fighting in hockey to the forefront.

And not in a good way either as it would seem that more and more people, including media members, are crusading against it.

Ask anyone who'd followed hockey for the last 40-50 years and they'll tell you that what occurred in Vancouver was commonplace back then. And pretty sure that Ott would feel right at home playing the likes of the Broadstreet Bullies and the Big, Bad Bruins.

So the question posed to Ott is this, with the NHL cracking down on fighting, and less of these tough-guy, line brawls happening does Ott, having gone through junior expecting stuff like that, miss it and take solace in a kinder, gentler NHL?

Monday, January 20, 2014

MLB's Peter Gammons comments on the Calgary/Vancouver "scuffle"

First, the puck-drop:

(thx to SomeHockeyVideos for the vid)

Then, MLB's Peter Gammons and his tweet:  “Calgary and Vancouver last night reiterated why the NHL is a minor sport,”

And, the retort: Gammons is old, limp, slow and boring. Just like the sport he covers.

Respected MLB jounalist Peter Gammons

Nothin' personal.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Nolan has the two Tylers kickin' it in gear

When interim coach Ted Nolan replaced Ron Rolston, his mantra was pretty simple:  just play the game.

Rolston was an "X's and O's" coach who stressed positioning to the point that the whole team was stressed. Any form of expression was to be found within the confines of his strict regiment.

The result was a 4-15-1 record for the 2013-14 season and some of the ugliest hockey Sabres fans have ever witnessed.

Enter Nolan.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Any way you slice it, the Sabres have valuable players that playoff-bound teams would be interested in

Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray will be headed into the Olympic break--and the eventual trade deadline--with a plethora of players that playoff-bound clubs will find attractive.

Goalie Ryan Miller and scoring winger Matt Moulson are obvious candidates to fill high-profile needs like goaltending and scoring while gritty veteran Steve Ott would provide intangibles like sandpaper and leadership to go along with tangibles like faceoffs skills, hits and secodary scoring.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ryan Miller is a great fit in St. Louis. Would energize the fan base

At least one beat writer for the St. Louis Blues is aware of the questionable goaltending in St. Louis.

St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Joe Strauss penned a piece yesterday entitled The Blues are dominant, but goalie questions remain.

Strauss goes through all the stats on the team and adds in that the Blues will have 10 Olympians headed to Sochi, Russia next month. Their defense is as stout as it was last season and the questions about scoring have been answered thus far. Five Blues have 15+ goals and seven have at least 30 points.

But, he still thinks the goaltending situation is an Achilles heel.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan's new culture clashes with Mikhail Grigorenko and his sense of entitlement

Buffalo Sabres' 19 yr. old forward Mikhail Grigorenko was sent to junior yesterday and he was none too happy about it. Or, maybe it's better said that his agent Jay Grossman wasn't too happy about it. It would seem as if he advised Grigorenko not to go to the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

A look on various blogs has the pro-Grigorenko faction blaming everyone from former GM Darcy Regier to interim head coach Ted Nolan, to the CHL, to guys like Matt Ellis and John Scott for his demotion to junior.

But this isn't about the fact that he was sent down nor is it about Grigorenko's facebook post (which was eventually deleted, but can be found at the bottom.)

It's about how, or if, he fits in with the future of the Buffalo Sabres as being constructed now.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sabres GM Tim Murray gives some clues as to the direction of the team

Part of routine of being a new GM hire is making the rounds to the various media outlets.

It would seem to me that new Sabres GM Tim Murray would rather be going over reports from his scouting staff than doing interviews. But it's part of his new job and he knows it. On WGR550 yesterday he confided that after the presser he labored through meeting a thousand people, yet remembering only a few names.

At the conclusion of that whirlwind he wond up with Sabres Assistant GM/Head Amateur Scout Kevin Devine going over scouting reports. And as Murray talked about that, and you got the feeling there was a sense of relief in that meeting.

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray's got it right

"This team's in last place right now, everyone can be traded."
--new Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray

With all due respect to Matt Moulson, Steve Ott, and especially Ryan Miller, the Buffalo Sabres new GM Tim Murray nailed it at his introductory press conference yesterday.

Based upon the game last night vs. the Forida Panthers if any team wants a Buffalo Sabres player, then go right ahead. Make an offer.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

World Junior play of Sabres d-prospects could have an affect on the future of Ryan Miller

Sabres d-prospect Rasmus Ristolainen scored the golden goal in the 2014 World Junior Championship, was named to the All Tournament Team, and was named the best defenseman of the tournament.

Fellow 2013 1st round draft pick Nikita Zadorov joined Ristolainen on the All Tournament Team.

A year earlier, Jake McCabe, Buffalo's 2nd round pick in 2012 (#44,) captained the US team to the Gold Medal in Ufa, Russia. He was named to the 2013 All Tournament Team.

The Buffalo Sabres took three of the four defensive spots on the All Tournament Team the last two years.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sabres prospect Rasmus Ristolainen scores a doozy of a "golden goal," follows in the footsteps of another prospect

The 2014 World Juniors is in the books and once again a Sabres defensive prospect had a huge hand in their team bringing home the gold medal.

Going back to last year's 2013 WJC, Sabres defensive prospect Jake McCabe, a 2012 second round pick (#44 overall,) captained the USA hockey team to gold at the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia. In the semi-final against a favored Canada squad, McCabe had two goals and an assist as the Americans bombed the Canadians 5-1 to send the US to the finals.

Thanks to our good friend Kris Baker of, you can watch those two goals here:

Friday, January 3, 2014

At least Ted Nolan's Sabres are limiting the "suffering" to road games

"The color of the sky as far as I can see is coal grey."

Written by Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs, the Jamestown, NY native certainly knew the effects of the weather on the psyche. Can we fix her song title Like the Weather Sabres?

Not that extremely frigid conditions in the middle of the country had anything to do with the Buffalo Sabres scoring 1 goal in two losses, but it does provide a fitting backdrop.

The Sabres were shutout in Winnipeg 3-0 on New Year's Eve to close out the 2013 calender year, then last night they were 1:12 away from having it happen again in Minnesota. Both cities in the central part of the upper North American continent were/are in a deep chill with single-digit temps and negative double-digit wind chills.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The goal for the Buffalo Sabres in 2014?...More goals

It was fitting that the Buffalo Sabres would get shutout in Winnipeg to end the 2013 calendar year. It was the sixth time they've laid a goose egg this season.

That's the way things have unfolded for the first half of the season. Their 71 goals in 40 games has them at a 1.69 goals/game clip, or about 139 goals for the year. That 1.69 g/gm is still on pace to break the modern NHL record for futility. The Chicago Blackhawks averaged 1.91 g/gm in the 1953-54 season.