Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Ice Bowl Confirmed

Although, leaked and speculated for some time now, the plans for an outdoor game in Buffalo this coming season seem to be final. The event titled the "Ice Bowl" is to be held at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 1st against the Pittsburgh Penguins. NBC plans to televise the game nationally, and maybe this time they won't cut away from it if the games goes into OT as the network seems absolutely obsessed with Sidney Crosby. But with both the Buffalo News and the Pittsburg Tribune Review confirming the details, it seems to be guaranteed to go ahead. Lets hope the Sabres win this one.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New Jerseys (worst case senario)

The Sabres (along with the rest of the NHL) are redoing their jerseys for the coming season. Buffalo hasn't released any details yet, but else where the transition has been towards the cheesy and cartoonish. Now of course things really can't get much worse then the slug, but the islanders managed to mess up what had been a relatively simple colour scheme. Some of the new jerseys have looked decent, such as the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Ottawa Senators, however given the Sabres recent jersey history I wouldn't get my hopes up. You may think that things can't get any worse, but let me explain how they can. First the Sabres take a page from the islanders book and make the sleeves bright florescent yellow. The main section of the jersey is then pinstriped diagnally with varying shades of blue, and the numbers on the front are written mirrored like the front of an ambulance. All instances of the classic logo are removed, the slug stays on the chest, and the B on the shoulder is back to red and black (to go nicely with the yellow sleeves). Of course seeing as this is Buffalo, it may very well be even worse...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hindsight on the Zubrus - Novotny trade

Only half a year after the trade, neither Zubrus nor Novotny are playing with either of the teams involved in the trade, and nobody knows where Timo Helbling is playing this season. As such it seems the only long term asset was the first round draft pick Buffalo gave up to Washington. At this point it looks as if the Sabres got the worse end of the bargain, giving up a good draft pick and Jiri Novotny for a player that they were unable to resign to a long term deal. At the time it didn't look to bad as Zubrus is a great player and looked likely to resign, while Novotny seemed easily replaceable by Stafford of Paille. Even if the Capitals didn't want to resign Novotny (now with Columbus) doesn't mean that the Sabres couldn't use him. He no longer looks so replaceable with either Michael Ryan or Peters likely to take his spot, and while the Sabres still have a great lineup, they are lacking the depth behind their top 20 that they could really use. Funny how a trade can go downhill so much in so short of a time frame...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Anyone left to pick up?

The Sabres have been criticized this off season for doing almost nothing. Seeing the more active the first week would have been nice, but at this point there isn't too much they can do. Despite my earlier speculation it seems unlikely that Peca will sign with Buffalo. This begs the question of who's left? The quick answer is almost nobody.

Given that Peca is unlikely to come back, and that the Sabres have no need for any additional defense, the options are slim. Forsberg is nowhere near worth the money it would take to sign him, and is really too slow to make it with a team like the Sabres. If he will sign a one year contract for under a million great, but thats not going to happen.

The best free agent pick up would be getting Selanne. However, given his age and his expected salery, I don't think that Buffalo would be able to offer him any contract of more then a single year. He would be a useful member of the team, and a leader as well. Interestingly it would also put the two remaining Winnipeg Jets on the same team (along with Numminen).

The only other big name player I can see the Sabres picking up is Esche. The team already has a back up goalie, but not one at the same level that Esche is. He won't be quit the same quality back up that Biron was, but he is a solid player, and at this point could be signed rather cheaply. He is going to want to go somewhere, and most teams are already set on their top two goalies and really aren't looking for any more.

Beyond this I don't see anyone significant left in free agency. The Sabres are likely to pick up one or two unknown players, but I'm really doubting that we will see too much in terms of moves that will actually affect the opening night roster.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Depth's John McGourty has a good article on the prospects within the buffalo system. He seems to think some of them have a chance at making the team, but only about one winger is going to make the opening night line up. I would actually pull for Patrik Kaleta to make it despite not even getting a mention in the article. Good to know the team still has some depth...

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I hate to keep reminding everyone that the Sabres have lost Chris Drury, but last year he was the teams go to guy for faceoffs at 58.8%. This leaves a hole as to what the Sabres will do for faceoffs as this is a quiet, but important part of the game. The next best on the team is Gaustad with a 52.8 win percentage, but it's hard to rely on a player who gets only 13 min of ice time a game and is unlikly to be on the ice for the powerplay or the penalty kill. The next best two were Briere and Zubrus (oops both gone)... Center Derek Roy did decent, and surprisingly so did Stafford. I'm not sure how keen they will be on using a winger to take faceoffs, but he hasn't done too poorly... Tim Connolly did fairly well in the few games he did play, but would need to show that he can do well all season to be helpfull, heres to hopping for no more concussions...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Peca Question

Given the departure of three centers this off season, the Sabres could use some additional depth at the position, and the top unrestricted free agent at the position is Michael Peca. Adding him to the line up would be simple, simply removing Michael Ryan and splitting Mair out to the wing. Also Peca's expected salary wouldn't be too high, especially how late into the offseason it has already gotten without him signing on anywhere. Additionally He already has a house in the area and lives in the Western New York region in the offseason. However despite all this evidence pointing this towards being the most obvious signing ever, there are a few concerns that do come up, mainly how Peca left Buffalo the last time. As the team's captain Peca decided to hold out with 5 years still on his contract, and wound up sitting out a full season before being traded away. Since then neither the GM or the coach in buffalo has changed and the hostility may still exist. At the very least it is highly unlikely that Peca would be offered a long term contract, or that he would be renamed as team captain. It all depends on how desperate both Peca and the Sabres feel that they are...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Comming Season

A large reason for this site in the first place is to combat the growing negativity regarding the coming season. Yes losing a few players does hurt, but the Sabres are still the team to beat in the east. Much has been made regarding the loss of Drury and Briere, and losing Zubrus was almost worse then losing Briere was. Still there is still a good team here. The entire defence is comming back, including Campbell, Tallinder, Lydman, and Paetsch. Additionally the Miller will still be in net. So the entire backend is still there, not bad. And in addition to that the Sabres will have the oppertunity to keep together their top line of Roy, Vanek, and Afinogenov. Also no one should be saying that Gaustad, Stafford, and Pominville arn't that bad either. Connolly might also be healthy this season which is obviously a huge plus, and fills in that center area that is suddenly a bit lacking after being so overfilled last season...

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Blue & Gold

Hey everyone, thanks for reading. This is meant to be a hockey blog committed to following the 2007-08 Sabers season. For some time I've been working on another blog or two, while reading some of the other popular hockey blogs and honestly I think I can do better. This site is most likly to be a bit shakey for the rest of the summer, but I promise it will be up and running by October and the start of the regular season. Once again thank you and enjoy the ride...