Sunday, September 30, 2007

Buffalo ends pre-season in style

Sabres squeaked by the Penguins again tonight, this time winning 4-3. Derek Roy only had two points (one goal and one assist), but we had to expect him to return to more rational totals.

Miller started as did Flurry at the other end, which may have had some effect on the lower scores in this game than last night. The Power Play though remains a mixed bag. The Sabres scored on half of their five on four opportunities (2 for 4), and only allowed one goal in four chances by the Penguins. On the other side though, the Sabres were unable to score in 2:05 of five on three action and also allowed a short handed goal.

The great captain rotation continued with Tallinder wearing the C and Gaustad and Connolly as the alternatives. This being the final preseason game Lindy Ruff should actually make a choice now. Regular season begins on Friday.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sabres win high scoreing preseason affair

A high scoring game with both the teams starting back up goalies, but still a fun close game.

Vanek, Stafford, and Pominville all played well as they usually do, but the Sabres also benefited from offensive plays from their defencemen as both Campbell and Tallinder picked up points in the game. Roy had an awesome game again. Some may think that it's too early to say this, but Roy is the new Drury. No questions asked. Roy had two goals and two assists, including the game winner in the final minute.

Buffalo rookie Zagrapan picked up a late game tieing goal that proved crucial to setting up the Sabres to win this one.

Thibault actually played well despite the high score as most of the Penguins goals came on the powerplay, and he even stopped a penalty shot by Malkin early in the first period. This of course continues on Buffalo's poor special teams play during this preseason. The Sabres allowed three goals on six penalty kill opportunities, while they failed to score on all of their chances, although Campbell's goal came just as a penalty expired.

Tonights captain was Derek Roy, with Pominville and Mair as the alternates. Lindy Ruff is running out of time to decide. The Sabres and the Penguins have a preseason rematch Saturday night back up in Buffalo.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Regular Season Predictions

I guess this is one last chance to make some predictions before the regular season starts tomorrow in London. Here are my predicted rankings by conference, with playoff teams in italics...

  • Buffalo*
  • Ottawa*
  • Toronto*
  • Montreal
  • Boston

  • Pittsburgh*
  • New Jersey*
  • NY Rangers*
  • Philadelphia
  • NY Islanders

  • Carolina*
  • Washington*
  • Atlanta
  • Tampa Bay
  • Florida

  • Detroit*
  • Nashville*
  • Columbus
  • St. Louis
  • Chicago

  • San Jose*
  • Anaheim*
  • Dallas*
  • Los Angles
  • Phenoix

  • Vancuver*
  • Calgery*
  • Colorado*
  • Minnesota
  • Edmonton
  • Thursday, September 27, 2007

    Roy and the Sabres crush Toronto

    Ok, so it's still preseason, but seeing a 7 - 2 victory is still fun. The final 3 goals of the night all came from Derek Roy, who also had three assists on the earlier goals, not a bad day at all. Vanek also did decent with a goal and three assists.

    The powerplay was a mixed bag. Buffalo scored twice with a two man advantage, and killed all three of their penalties. However, they allowed two shorthanded goals, although Roy would get a short handed goal himself towards the end of the game. Glad to see them successfully kill the penalties, but on the power play they still need some work...

    The role of captain continued to rotate around as Lydman was captain with Tallinder and Hecht as the alternates...

    Next preseason game is Friday down in Pittsburgh...

    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Pointless Pre-season Goalie Fight

    Goalie fights are rare, and in preseason even more so. Why we would see such a brawl in preseason? no clue, but it's still entertaining so here it is...

    The Sabres play a preseason game against Toronto tonight. Peters has been racking up the fights so far so susspect that to continue... I would not however, expect Miller to drop the gloves anytime soon...

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Sabres drop another pre-season game

    The Sabres lost another preseason game last night, losing to the Minnesota Wild 2-1. The game was actually played at the University of North Dakota, which happens to be where Drew Stafford went to college. Miller did not play as Lindy Ruff, continues to limit the time of the teams starters. The next preseason game is wenesday up in Toronto...

    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Sabres win preseason game in a shootout

    The sabres beat the Columbus Blue Jackets this afternoon in a rematch from last Friday. The Sabres accomplished a 3-2 victory in a shootout. Still being preseason the games still don't matter and a number of regulars sat out although Miller did play in the game.

    The Sabres special teams were (a little) better today as they were one for nine on the power play and one for seven on the penalty kill. That's a little improvement but not enough. Although they did kill off 1:23 of 5 on 3 play.

    Pominville had a good game recording a goal and an assist in the game. Afinogenov and Kotalik both scored in the shootout and Miller stoped both of the attempts going the other way.

    The captainship moved around again as Campbell was the captain, with Afinogenov and Spacek were the alternatives. I really hope that Campbell gets to be at least an alternative captain come regular season.

    Saturday, September 22, 2007

    Sabres lose preseason opener

    The Buffalo Sabres lost the their preseason opener to the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1. But it's just a preseason game so who cares really? A few interesting things to note though.

    Special teams still need help. All of the Columbus goals were scored with the man advantage including a five on three goal. The Sabres meanwhile were 0 for 6 on the powerplay. The powerplay was one of the teams weak points last year so it's not good to see this continue, not even in preseason.

    On a more positive note, Kaleta played really well. I still think he has a decent shot at making the final spot on the roster. He wouldn't get too much playing time on a line featuring Peters and Mair, but they would be able to brawl with anyone (Ottawa may remember...), speaking of fights Peters already got in one and had himself tossed from the game...

    Other points of interest... The Sabres were wearing white at home, don't know if there is any reason for this, if it will last, or if it is just a fluke. The game sold out, for a preseason game to get that much attention is kindof cool. Hechet was penciled in as the Captain, with Campbell and Lydman as the alternates. Not sure if that is a set thing or if it may be different as soon as next Sunday's rematch against Columbus.

    Friday, September 21, 2007

    Preseason Starts as Teppo Recovers

    Teppo Numminen's surgery yesterday went well, with the same 6-8 week recovery time as was originally predicted. That would put his return around mid to late November for the sabres. We wish him the best of luck in recovery.

    Reports have come out (of Montreal of all places) that the reason for Afinogenov sitting out a game last playoffs was not due to his poor play but a result of him bounding his head off the floor while attempting to do a flip, while playing soccer. We always knew Afinogenov was a tad bit crazy and this tends to confirm it. Why this wasn't announced right away or how believable this report really is, I'm not sure. Interesting either way.

    Also the Sabres have their first pre-season game of the year today at HSBC arena against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The games don't count yet, but it's good to see hockey coming back into season...

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Outdoor Game Sells Out

    On the day that tickets first became avalible, the game sold out in under an hour (exact time seems uncertain). Either way this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. This is a unique event, that is unlikly to happen again anytime soon, and there is no reason not to go out and get tickets... a large number of regular season games are sold out already as well... For all of those who wern't sure that the game on the first would sell out it has (even the seats designated as "obstructed view"), and will be a monumental event. Lets hope they decide to add some on field seating to increase the crowd size and make even more tickets avalible...

    Monday, September 17, 2007

    Official Announcment of the 2008 NHL Winter Classic

    To day the NHL finally announced the 2008 NHL Winter Classic today at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The long roumered January first game against the Penguins is now confirmed by the NHL, with tickets going on sale Tuesday. The game is sponcered by AMP "the official energy drink of the NHL"... The "Ice Bowl" title seems to have given way to "Winter Classic", but little else in the announcment was any surprise at all. The preliminary artist rendering of the field, lacks any seats on the field, so the World Record for the largest crowd at a hockey game (which Ryan Miller won for Michigan) will not be reached. The game will however have the largest crowd for a NHL game ever...

    Friday, September 14, 2007

    Numminen to have Heart Surgery

    Sabres veteran defencemen Teppo Numminen has been found to have a minor heart problem during his team physical. Teppo has had heart problems ever since he was young, and this is his third surgery on his heart, still this is never good to see. No details yet on the procedure, but there are alot of scenarios that could play out. Some people are speculating the Teppo may retire from the sport, but I find this unlikely. On the other end of things he might have the surgery right away and be ready to go by the Sabres first game, also not too likely. The way this is looking to play out is that he will have the procedure and then be encouraged by the Sabres organization to take his time in his recovery and to return to the team in mid-November. Last year with Tim Connolly the organization proved that they were more then willing to be patient and to keep a roster spot for a player. Also, with Nathan Paetsch filling in for Teppo, it is doubtful that the Sabres would really be out that much as long as no one gets hurt.

    In the long run this is probably going to have a much greater effect on the team through pre-season and the start of the year, than missing either Briere or Drury will have. This hits much closer to home in a player that everyone thought would be there on opening night. Also without Numminen the team loses it's only returning captain. Look for Campbell to wear the A until Teppo returns. Here is to hoping that all goes well...

    Update: Report is that Numminen still hopes to play part of the season, and that surgery/recovery will last at least six weeks, possibly a few more. This would put a possible return date around the end of November...

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Uniforms Revealed

    The Buffalo Sabres have revealed their new jerseys for the comming season, and they are mostly the same as last year. Despite my earlier fears the uniforms arn't that bad, but they keep the slug logo, and they are also keeping the numbers on the front (although not pictured). Actually keeping the slug logo is even worse, but the Sabres will not be able to wear their classic blue and gold jerseys this season, as the NHL is not allowing alternative jerseys this year. Which is really too bad, as most everyone liked the old logo better.

    On another note, the Sabres vetrens reported today, and will begin skating tomorrow. Also more information on the ice bowl early next week. The NHL still refuses to admit anything, but has anounced that they will be at Ralph Wilson Stadium on monday to "make a major announcement concerning a special event"...

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007


    I'm not expected Buffalo to announce their new captains until after the end of the pre-season, but what I do know is that it will be someone new this year. Teppo Numminen will most likely stay on as an alternative captain. Teppo is the most experienced player on the team, yet I get the feeling that he has no interest in wearing the C. Some people may see Vanek as the obvious pick to be Captain, but given his already huge expectations, that may be too much. I'm thinking that Vanek will get to be the other Alternative Captain, this way he is given a leadership role without needing to feel as if he is responsible for everything. As for the Captain, Campbell, Connolly and Miller are the most well qualified. However goalies just don't get to be captain, and Campbell will probably have to wait until Numminen retires before he gets the job. As such Connolly is not only likely to be the teams first line center, but to be it's Captain as well. Lets hope he can stay healthy and get 70+ starts this season...

    Sunday, September 9, 2007

    Traning Camp Starts

    The Buffalo Sabres are set to take the ice for the first time this season at HSBC on friday. The Sabres plan to have 39 players in camp for this year. That said the starting 20 are pretty well set already. The only real question is to take Paetch or Peters, but my thought is that they would rather have Peters on the roster to start with at least. The departures of Drury, Briere, and Zubrus will be replaced by Stafford, Paille, and Connolly. Don't realy expect any surprises in camp this year as everything seems really well set.

    Tuesday, September 4, 2007

    A look at Andrew Peters

    The Sabres have a good interview with Andrew Peters posted on their site now. Although the interview deals mainly with his weight and his fighting role. Peters is in a unique and interesting position on the Buffalo Sabres team, he is almost guaranteed to make the opening night roster, but is probably not going to be playing come playoffs. Last season with 54 games played, it's the most that Peters has ever played in a season, yet nobody really thinks he is going to disappear from the team either... In addition Peters serves as the Sabres representative to the NHLPA, which puts him a bit in between most NHLPA reps who are often the young journeymen type, or the older leader type of person. So where exactly does Peter's fit in on this team?