Friday, February 28, 2014

On the Tyler Myers rumors

Sabres GM Tim Murray famously said at his presser that anyone can be traded on a last place team.

While Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Matt Moulson and Hank Tallinder may be looking at their last home game in a Sabres uniform, 24 yr. old defenseman Tyler Myers' name got thrown into the mix.

From TSN's Darren Dreger via the Howard Simon Show this morning, "It's not that Tim Murray has put out the league-wide disclaimer that Tyler Myers is absolutely, 100% on the trade block. That isn't the case. Tyler Myers is a hot commodity, not just to other teams, but to the Buffalo Sabres. But, because [the Sabres] are rebuilding every option needs to be considered. Murray would consider trading Tyler Myers. In saying this, it would take a massive offer for Murray to move Myers."

As is Dreger's M.O., in a lot of words he basically said, "Myers is not being shopped. He's a real good player and will continue to get better. If a team wants him, back up the truck."

So typical.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

With the 2014 trade deadline approaching, Sabres GM Tim Murray may want to focus upon the 2015 draft...

if he's not doing that already.

Kyle Woodlief of the Redline Report was on WGR this morning talking draft and he doesn't think that the 2014 draft has players slated for superstardom.

He said that none of his top-grouping of four players--Sam Bennett, Aaron Ekblad, Leon Draisaitl, and Sam Reinhart--would have been in the top-grouping last draft.

All of them, according to Woodlief, are less than perfect and when it comes to forwards, Draisaitl--the big German center--piques his interest the most.

He thinks it's a good draft, but believes that the 2015 draft will be loaded with NHL'ers through the second round.

We all know about Connor McDavid--consensus #1-overall/Sidney Crosby-like center--and have heard a bit about American Jack Eichel. But, Woodlief thinks that there's a better American-born player than Eichel--defenseman Noah Hanifin.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

From Sochi to the Sabres: some of this and some of that

The Sabres kick off the post-Olympic NHL schedule with a make-up game at home vs. the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, the only game on the NHL schedule.

With the trade deadline a mere eight days away and a number of teams positioning themselves for the stretch run, Buffalo joins the NY Islanders, Edmonton and Florida as definitive sellers at the deadline.

Rumors are beginning to fly, including juxtaposed positions on the fate of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, and trade scenarios are coming out left and right. That's what makes the NHL trade deadline the most interesting and the most fun of all the four major North American sports.

But before we get into that, we'll touch upon one more thing from Sochi.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The 2014 Sochi Olympic Games are finished, back to the business of the NHL

The NHL gets back into the swing of things on tomorrow as the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes play a make-up game. The rest of the league, including the Sabres who will end up playing three games in four nights, will get rolling on Wednesday.

Before we get back to the NHL some thoughts on hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ted Nolan did a remarkable job with Team Latvia...

despite what WGR's Mike Schopp thinks.

Throughout much of yesterday's GR show, Schopp continually downplayed the accomplishment of the Latvian hockey team and their coach, Ted Nolan.

Not all that surprising for a guy who relies upon stats for most his sports knowledge.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Viva Latvia!!!

As a Sabres fan, it's not all that unfathomable that a Ted Nolan coached team will outwork their opponent and pull off an upset as Latvia did against Switzerland today.

Do you believe in miracles?

And as an American who watched the Miracle On Ice in 1980, it's not all that difficult to look at an underdog Latvian team and draw comparisons between the two.

And, when Nolan and 20 yr. old Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons are slated to face off against the mighty Canadian team, it will be awesome routing for Latvia and against Canada.

It's doubtful that a Miracle On Ice-type upset is in the works, and I wouldn't bet the farm on Latvia even adding a spread of two goals or so. But, ya gotta love the way this team is playing.

This might be the hardest working team at the Olympics.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tim Murray catches a 5-4 Rochester comeback win yesterday

Sabres GM Tim Murray caught yesterday's 5-4 OT win by the Rochester Americans in Rochester and spent about 10 minutes with members of the media discussing Buffalo's pro hockey teams.

Matthew Coller, who does an outstanding job covering the Amerks for WGR 550 penned a quick summation and provided some audio as well.

Basically Murray said that not much talk is going on between NHL GM's and he assumed that the veteran ones are using this time to recharge or focus upon other aspects of the organization. For his part, Murray is following a pretty full scouting schedule focusing upon the top-30 picks in the upcoming 2014 draft.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sabres d-prospect Brady Austin is big and mobile

The final segment of our Erie/London trilogy belongs to largely unknown Sabres d-prospect Brady Austin.

He's largely unknown because he was taken in the 7th round of the 2012 draft. Not much is expected of a 193rd pick especially when a site like Hockey's Future has a twitter-length talent analysis that keys on "size and muscle."

To my surprise, Austin is much more mobile than originally thought.

Nikita Zadorov and the London Knights have a tough time vs. Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters

Sabres d-prospect Nikita Zadorov
and his London teammates
had a rough night in Erie
There's no question that the Erie Otters are loaded.

In addition to Connor McDavid the Otters boast the OHL's two top scorers in Connor Brown and Dane Fox plus former first round picks Brendan Gaunce and Andre Burakovsky.

Loaded for bear. And the bear last night was the London Knights.

Defenseman Nikita Zadorov, the Sabres second of two first rounders in the 2013 draft had his hands full last night trying to keep up with the Otters.

An Up-close View Of Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters

Last night I had the opportunity to get an up-close view of phenom Connor McDavid as his Erie Otters hosted the London Knights.
Erie Otters center Connor McDavid
scopes out the situation.
The Knights have two Sabres prospects on the team--defensemen Nikita Zadorov (#16 overall, 2013) and Brady Austin (#173, 2012.)

The Otters boast the second-best record in the OHL (Guelph Storm) and the top two scorers in the OHL--RW Connor Brown (#156, 2012, TOR) 107 pts. and LW Dane Fox (FA, 2013, VAN) 89 pts.

An up-close view of phenom,
Connor McDavid
Fox, btw broke the Otters single season goal scoring record when he netted his 54th goal vs. the Saginaw Spirit the previous night. He added to his league-leading total with a goal last night.

McDavid went into the night with a stat-line of 16 goals and 52 assists in 40 games. During last nights 7-2 trouncing of the Knights he was named the game's first star registering five assists and an equal number of Knights' soiled pants.

After two periods you could see why scouts are enamored with him.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Buffalo Sabres open for business

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

The NHL has two trade deadlines this season, the traditional one that will take place on March 5th and the pre-Olympic break roster freeze which happens on Friday.

"Everyone can be traded" was a quote from Murray at his introductory press conference, and according to TSN there are more than three Buffalo players who will be of interest.

Monday, February 3, 2014

If this report is true, thank you Thomas Vanek

According to the Long Island Newsday, NY Islanders GM Garth Snow reportedly made a substantial offer to former Sabre/present Islander Thomas Vanek which is  "believed to be in the same range as Vanek's current seven-year, $50 million deal."

The report states that Vanek rejected it.

Which is great news for the Buffalo Sabres.