Thursday, August 28, 2014

(Relatively) Simple math. 2014-15 Sabres team goal projections

Reprinted with permission from

As our good friend and fellow Sabres fan, dadeadhead, may attest to, tips in the restaurant/bar business eventually balance out.

For instance, as a bartender, he might get stiffed on a $20 tab with a tip of $2, then get $10 on a $50 tab and later on he might get someone plunking down $10 on a $30 tab.

Add it all up and dd, pulls in $22 on $100 in sales. That number comes in at just above 20% which is the benchmark for all good bartenders and servers.

Despite the stiff, in the long-run it all works out.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The nucleus of the Sabres "new core"

Reprinted with permission from

When Connor McDavid came to the First Niagara Center on Thursday, fans and media had a sparkle in their eye.

McDavid and Jack Eichel sit atop a very strong 2015 NHL draft class and the Buffalo Sabres may have a shot at landing one of them (or in certain scenarios, both.)

The Sabres and the OHL's Erie Otters were holding a joint press conference to announce a game on October 22 featuring the Otters vs. the Niagara Ice Dogs at the FNC. Sabres President Ted Black and Sherry Bassin, general manager and managing partner of the Otters, made all the official proclamations, but McDavid was clearly the star of the show.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters to play in Buffalo. Plus other notes

Reprinted with permission from

The Buffalo Sabres and Erie Otters held a joint press conference this afternoon to announce that the Otters will be facing off in an OHL tilt against the Niagara Ice Dogs on Wednesday, October 22 at 7pm at the First Niagara Center.

Tickets for the event are $15.

Sherry Bassin, general manager and managing partner of the Otters called the event "an exciting moment for hockey fans in Buffalo and in Erie. They’ll have the chance to see the hockey stars of tomorrow play in a future NHL home like First Niagara Center. It’s a special opportunity for the Ontario Hockey League, as a hockey town like Buffalo will provide great exposure for the top junior hockey league in the world.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Report: Buffalo to host next two Draft Combines

Reprinted with permission from

When new Sabres owner Terry Pegula was making the trek from the First Niagara Center to the Buffalo News building back in February, 2011, he was walking past years, nay decades, of neglect in downtown Buffalo.

The News building itself had seen better days. The one-time bastion of journalism looked old and worn even before the revitalization of downtown really started to take shape.

With Canalside rockin' and the Courtyard by Marriott shining bright, one would think the owner of the Buffalo News, might join the renaissance and have it's jewel of Queen City journalism leveled for a newer building.

Pegula fulfilled his mission that day which was to call off the dogs. He just purchased a mediocre team and he wanted to give his charges an opportunity to see what they had without financial restraints.

It was a disaster.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Four questions after reading the Sabres preview

Reprinted with permission from

It's hard not to like the NHL's 30-in-30 series as they spend the slowest month in hockey chronicling one team every day.

The dog days of hockey are in August, and writers for have given Sabres fans something to chew on today.

I love what they do. Love how they do it. And appreciate the depth of the articles.

However, while going through all the pieces I was left either curious or confounded in some places. Not that it's any life-altering big deal, but I did come up with a few questions after taking it all in.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tim Schaller: solid choices in tough situations equals a legitimate NHL shot

Reprinted with permission from

For Rochester Americans forward Tim Schaller, making the Buffalo Sabres roster out of training camp just might be the "easiest" part of his hockey journey thus far.

The undrafted free agent who signed with Buffalo out of Providence College last year only has his game to think about as he stands on the precipice of the NHL.

"It's there for me to take if I want it," he said. "From the coaches comments during [development] camp, if you work hard and play hard in camp then it's there for you. If I want it, it's there."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bryan Trottier's bringing a "tried and true" championship philosophy to Buffalo

Reprinted with permission form

With the Buffalo Sabres rebuild now fully engaged in the "build" aspect of the equation, player development is at the fore, and newly named assistant head coach Bryan Trottier will be the focal point at the NHL level.

The seven-time Stanley Cup winner with 1425 points in 1279 NHL games was on WGR' Hockey Hotline yesterday introducing himself to the Buffalo listening audience.

Although I'm sure there's a smile every time he talks about his incredible playing career "at the same time," he said, "the present and future are more important to be talking about right now."

That "present" would be bringing the knowledge of over 40 years in the game of hockey--as a player, in the front office and on the bench--to a large group of young players that constitute the Buffalo Sabres future.

Said Trottier, who fondly remembers his days as a young player full of vim and vigor, "There's a lot of knowledge I want to share with young hockey players. It's a fun time in [their] life, they're playing a game that they absolutely love to death."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The 2012 and 2013 draft classes are looking pretty solid

Reprinted with permission from

For the past two drafts the Buffalo Sabres have been laying a pretty good foundation for the future.

The 2012 draft was a good haul as six of the eight players drafted that year are signed with the club.

Twenty year old Zemgus Girgensons will be heading into his second NHL season and fellow first-rounder Mikhail Grigorenko will be in his third season with the club. After bouncing around, Grigorenko will be settled in to Rochester to continue his development.

Three other 2012 draftees--D, Jake McCabe (44th overall,) F, Justin Kea (73rd) and D, Brady Austin (193rd)--will begin in Rochester this season having signed their entry-level contracts.

Goalie Linus Ullmark (163rd) is on a sliding ELC and will remain in Sweden for another year before coming to North America next season.

And if this off-season is any indication, the 2013 draft class may be even stronger.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Is this the apex of "analytics movement?"

Reprinted with permission from

"There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies and statistics."

American satirist Mark Twain used that phrase, possibly borrowed from British politician and writer Benjamin Disraeli who was said to have coined it.

A few years down the road from now as we sit at the possible apex of the analytics movement, will National Hockey League satirists and writers end up changing "statistics" in that quote to "analytics?"

The advanced stats trend is rolling forward full force to the point where the Edmonton Oilers earlier this week just hired a blogger to help out.

The Oilers have been in a slump since losing the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. (to this point there's been no mention of a curse on the Edmonton franchise for being the first Canadian franchise to lose the Cup to a "non-traditional market" team like Carolina)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Growth of a Hockey Department

Reprinted with permission from

"Starting today, there will be no financial mandates on the Buffalo Sabres hockey department. There is no salary cap in the National Hockey League on scouting budgets and player development budgets. I plan on increasing... increasing our scouting budgets, both with bodies on the ground, and in areas we may not be hitting capably, and also enhancing our video department. Starting today, we will bring in more player development coaches, to help these guys become better hockey players, work on their weaknesses, or whatever the coaches think. We will aspire to be the best in the league at finding, developing, and keeping our players in their new Buffalo Sabre family."

--Terry Pegula, February 22, 2011

With those words, Sabres owner Terry Pegula began a mission to restock a bare-bones hockey department.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Maybe Tyler Myers contract wasn't so foolish afterall

Reprinted with permission from

Montreal Canadiens defenseman PK Subban just got himself one helluva contract extension yesterday.

The deal keeps him in Montreal for 8 years at an extremely high price: $72M.

The $9M average is third on the list behind Alexander Ovechkin ($9.538M) and Evgeni Malkin ($9.5M) and places the 25 yr. old Subban above Sidney Crosby ($8.7M) and Corey Perry ($8.625M.)

Amongst defenseman Subban rose far above Shea Weber ($7.85,) Ryan Suter ($7.5M) and Kris Letang ($7.25M.)

It's some pretty lofty company for Subban.

And it's a pretty strong commitment made by the Canadiens and their GM, Marc Bergevin.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sabres owner puts the hammerlock on other bidders for Bills

Reprinted with permission from

Many years ago, when Terry Pegula was broke trying to get his East Resources company off the ground Pegula told a friend that if he ever had the wherewithal to purchase his favorite hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres, he wouldn't hesitate.

Decades later, after selling East Rescources for $4.3B, he did just that.

Pegula had come across then Sabres owner Tom Golisano in Florida. Both were very wealthy men and both had ties to Western New York.

Golisano had bought the Buffalo Sabres from the NHL for roughly $90M in 2003 and had balked at offers to sell the team, mainly to Jim Balsille, for an huge return.

He knew what the Sabres meant to Western New York and held out until the right person came along.

That person was Pegula.