Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not keeping up with Montreal

Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres lost 3-2 to the Montreal Canadians. However, unlike other losses this season, this one didn't feel so bad, as the team was in it the whole game, and actually played well. As such losing a close game to a very good team is not that huge of a problem.

Vanek played very well, scoring both of Buffalo's goals in this game. Buffalo also did very well on the penalty kill, not allowing Montreal to score on any of their chances, including a full two minutes of five on three play. Lydman earned seven blocked shots for the second game in a row.

Still the Canadians capitalized on the few mistakes that Buffalo did make, and ended up winning the game. Tallinder and Numminen messed up royally in allowing Montreal's first goal. Then in giving up the game winner, Buffalo showed an inability to play four on four, and was solidly outplayed even before giving up the goal.

Montreal was going after Kaleta throughout this game for some reason. Peters sat out for the second straight game.

Official Three Stars
  • Andrei Kostitsyn
  • Thomas Vanek
  • Steve Begin

  • My Three Stars
  • Thomas Vanek (two goals)
  • Andrei Kostitsyn (one goal, one assist, plus two)
  • Maxim LaPierre (one assist, plus two, 58% on faceoffs)
  • Saturday, November 29, 2008

    Gaustad and Stafford both score two

    Buffalo Sabres
    Following their five game loosing streak the Sabres have won two straight games against some of the toughest teams in the East. Players such as Afinogenov and Stafford who have struggled lately both played well in this game helping Buffalo reverse its fortunes. Max Afinogenov played his best game of the year, giving Stafford an easy tip in for the Buffalo's first goal of the game. He created a number of other opportunities and ended the game with three shots, no giveaways and one takeaway.

    Stafford who also has been struggling lately had a great game, with two goals and an assist. These were goals numbers three and four on the year for Stafford, but the primary assist that he contributed was more impressive as he set up the Goose for a powerplay goal.

    After starting the season injured Gaustad scored his first two goals of the season in this game, including the game winner late in the third. Gaustad spent most of the night on the top line with Hecht and Pominville, but was back with Mancari for his powerplay goal.

    Buffalo did some things that they haven't done lately, mainly coming back in the third period to win the game. They never really gave up at any point in the game despite a bad turnover by Spacek that resulted in a goal by Crosby, and a goal by MacArthur midway through the third that didn't count.

    Buffalo Sabres
    Besides not counting MacArthur's goal, the refs were really bad throughout this game, with many boarding calls against Buffalo on what should have been legal hits, while some blatant trips by the Penguins were not called.

    Still this managed not to hurt the Sabres too badly as Pittsburgh's powerplay turned out to be horrible. Crosby did get two goals off of assists by Malkin in this game, but both came at even strength. Buffalo was able to kill off all eight of their penalties including a lengthy five on three. This was lead by Toni Lydman who blocked an impressive seven shots in this game.

    The Sabres finally sat out Peters for this game. Paetsch sat out this game for the defense, but may come back as it was very clear the Rivet was playing injured. The Sabres once again have to play a very good team on Saturday, when they travel to Montreal to play the Canadians. Too bad they don't plan on continuing to wear the classic jerseys.

    Official Three Stars
  • Paul Gaustad
  • Drew Stafford
  • Sidney Crosby

  • My Three Stars
  • Drew Stafford (two goals, one assist, five shots)
  • Paul Gaustad (two goals)
  • Toni Lydman (seven blocked shots, six hits)
  • Thursday, November 27, 2008

    Finally a win (with thanks to Derek Roy)

    Buffalo Sabres
    The Sabres change to the slugless jerseys has appeared to work, as the team finally wins a game. Furthermore this 3-2 win came against the best team in the East after Buffalo failed to beat two of the conferences weaker teams.

    Tallinder and Afinogenov both returned to the lineup for this game as Paetsch and a sick Paille both sat out. Both played well, including Tallinder who never should have really been out anyhow. Mancari, the newest Sabres, didn't have quite as good of a game without being on a line with Gaustad, but won for the first time since he got called up.

    Roy played an excellent game, scoring the first two goals almost all by himself. The other Sabre goal was scored by Jochen Hecht shorthanded, and turned out to be the game winner.

    The game had alot of hits with Kaleta named the third star after getting an astounding 8 hits, but still had less then Boston's Milan Lucic who had nine in the game.

    Hopefully this game is not the exception, as Buffalo has two more games against good opponents in Pittsburgh and Montreal this weekend.

    Official Three Stars
  • Derek Roy
  • Jason Pominville
  • Patrick Kaleta

  • My Three Stars
  • Derek Roy (two goals, plus two)
  • Matt Hunwick (one goal, plus one)
  • Jochen Hecht (shorthanded goal)
  • Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    The new (old) look

    Max Afinogenov
    The Sabres will be wearing their classic jerseys for the first time since the Ice Bowl in their game against the Bruins today. The team will be wearing the alternate jerseys for 16 regular season games this season including one on the road (in Toronto). Hopefully this is enough of a change up that the team actually starts playing well.

    The Sabres desperately need something to change as they have now lost five straight games, and are no longer even in playoff position. Buffalo has gone a poor 3-6-1 in their last ten games, while tonight's opponent the Boston Bruins have posted an impressive 9-0-1 in their last ten. No word yet on who the Sabres will be playing in this game, but personally I like the idea of dressing seven defensemen.

    Bringing up some more talent from the Portland Pirates would still be nice as at least we know they would try. Mancari so far has scored in half of his games, and has more shots on goal then anyone else on the Sabres since he got here. Looking at the AHL points leaders and there are only two rookies within the top twenty. It is time to give Gerbe and Kennedy a shot. Remember how helpful Pominville was when he came up midseason three years ago? That could happen again.

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    Lee Stempniak now in Toronto

    Lee Stempniak
    West Seneca native Lee Stempniak has been traded from the St. Louis Blues to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto gave up Carlo Colaiacovo and Alex Steen in the trade.

    As a result Stempniak will now play against the Sabres far more often. Buffalo already played against him once this season when Buffalo beat the Blues. In the game Lee Stempniak did play well, earning himself a goal and an assist.

    He played well for the Blues, even scoring an overtime game wining goal in his final game with the Blues. He is expected to receive a starting role for the Leafs, playing on the top line and the powerplay, and should see his stats improve as a result.

    Also assuming that he doesn't get injured Stempniak will be in the unique position of playing versus the Sabres for seven games this season.

    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    Yet another loss

    Buffalo Sabres
    The combination of Gaustad and Mancari was the only threat that the Sabres had in this entire game. The two did combine for Buffalo's first goal, and Mancari's first in the NHL, but without any help from the rest of the team it was not enough.

    Lalime played ok in net, maybe should have had the first goal, but had no chance on the rest. Still Lalime has now slipped to a record of 1-3-1 against what are some of the weaker teams in the league. Roy scored a goal in the third, but was also directly responsible for leaving his guy wide open on the previous goal for the Islanders.

    Buffalo needs to do their best to find a way to get Gerbe, Kennedy, and Darche on the team as soon as possible, because the current group of players no longer shows any interest in winning hockey games any more.

    Official Three Stars
  • Joey MacDonald
  • Mark Mancari
  • Mark Streit

  • My Three Stars
  • Andy Hilbert (one goal, one assist, four shots)
  • Mark Mancari (one goal, seven shots)
  • Craig Rivet (one assist)
  • Saturday, November 22, 2008

    Shutout by Philadelphia

    Buffalo Sabres
    The Buffalo Sabres played better in this game, but once again were unable to win. However, while they finally turned their game around defensively they were unable to score at all. Statistically they looked good outshooting the Flyers 40-25, but most of these were low quality shots, or an absolute inability to score with the two man advantage.

    Buffalo had two longish five on three opportunities, but were unable to score one both of them. Had they turned both of these chances into goals then they at least would have made it to overtime. At least the Sabres generated chances and had a good penalty kill.

    The two goals that did not go into an empty net both were the result of careless mistakes by the defense. On the first goal both Numminen and Rivet should have gotten back and had Hartnell covered. The second goal was the result of a failed clearing attempt and Roy and Stafford refusing to play any defense.

    Lindy Ruff mixed up the lines a lot for this game, putting Paetsch in on defense for Tallinder, and benching Afinogenov. Also by putting Kotalik on IR the team was able to bring up Mark Mancari from the AHL. Why Afinogenov was sat out instead of Peters, Roy and Stafford is beyond me. Why Roy keeps getting ice time is beyond me. That should instead go to players that are having a good season like Mair, Kaleta, and MacArthur.

    Mancari played very well in his first NHL game of the season, and drew a large number of penalties and was tied for the highest number of shots in the game. Buffalo had a solid second line whenever Mancari and Gaustad were on the ice together.

    Buffalo has another chance to stage their comeback tonight against the struggling Islanders.

    Official Three Stars
  • Marty Biron
  • Jeff Carter
  • Mark Mancari

  • My Three Stars
  • Marty Biron (shutout, 40 saves)
  • Mark Mancari (five shots, three drawn penalties, no goals against)
  • Jeff Carter (two goals, plus two)
  • Friday, November 21, 2008

    Shadows of last year

    Technically the Sabres are off to an ok start. While they have good a pitiful 3-6-1 in their last ten games they are technically still in position to make the playoffs. In fact they are doing better then they were at this point last season. Now 18 games into the season the team is 9-6-3 with 21 points last year at this time they were 7-10-1 for only 15 points. Given how close the team was last season that difference should be enough to make the playoffs.

    Still Buffalo has to do better then to win only half of their games. Too much they are appearing to be facing the same issues that they faced last year. These prolonged losing streaks are a problem, and really are not resulting in long winning streaks to counteract them. Too many games are also slipping by because the team is not putting forth the effort that it needs to. Even with a capable backup in place Miller has been sloppy at times, and while he isn't expected to win every game for the team, he has to avoid causing the team to lose.

    Buffalo has two (relatively) weak opponents this weekend which starts a stretch of four home games. If ever there was a time to turn things around it would be now.

    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    No effort in third straight game

    I understand that Boston has a decent team this year, and that not every game can be won, but after three straight bad losses, something is just fundementally wrong with this team. After losing to the Bruins 7-4 the team has now allowed 18 goals against in their past three games for an average of six goals against per game. There is no way to win like that. In fact Buffalo has lost five of their last six games, allowing an average of 4.7 goals against per game.

    When you score four goals in the first period you should not lose, especially if you have a two goal lead. Even as Boston caught up, Buffalo should have been able to continue to take advantage of the Bruin's mistakes, but instead they just gave up. As soon as Boston was up 5-4 most of the Sabres stopped skating hard despite there still being half of a game left to play.

    Mair and Peters both hurt the team by taking some bad penalties. Over the last weekend they were two of our best guys, but now they are even hurting us. The refs really were trying to hurt the team as they called a number of rediculous trips that never should have been penalties. Also there was the diving call on Gaustad. Paul Gaustad does not take dives. He simply does not. If it was Roy I'd give it the benefit of the doubt, but to call that a dive on Gaustad is just insane.

    Miller looked really bad this game, and finished the first period with a .571 save percentage. Lalime on the other hand looked good, alowing nothing past him in over 18 minutes of play. He should have gotten in the game much sooner, as some of the goals that Miller had allowed against in this game were really bad, and completly his fault.

    The Hecht, Pominville Vanek line actually played well in this game and finished with a combined for three goals, four assists, and a plus two rating. Rivet also had a good game plus two with an assist for a team that was all around bad. One line can not carry a team though, and the others need to play hard as well.

    Chara had a good game for Boston, putting in two powerplay goals from the blueline. The Sabres should know better than to let his blasts get through. Marc Savard also had a good game getting four assists, including both of Chara's goals and getting himself a goal as well.

    Official Three Stars
  • Marc Savard
  • Zdeno Chara
  • David Krejci

  • My Three Stars
  • Chuck Kobasew (two goals, plus three)
  • Thomas Vanek (two goals, one assist)
  • Marc Savard (one goal, three assists)
  • Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Updates from Portland

    Buffalo Sabres
    The Portland Pirates are leading the AHL with an impressive 11-1-1 record. The team is being lead by Mark Mancari who has 11 goals and 13 assists in just 13 games. The Pirates are undefeated within the month of November, and Mancari has at least one goal in every game so far this month.

    The rest of the team isn't doing bad either. Nathan Gerbe has 12 goals and 7 assists. Tim Kennedy has four goals and 15 assists. Mathieu Darche has six goals and six assists with almost all of his points coming within the past six games.

    Whenever the Sabres need to recall a player from Portland, they will get someone with plenty of talent who can contribute to the team. They will not be bringing up Matt Ellis again, who after two games in Portland, has zero points and a negative two plus minus rating for a team that won both of it's games.

    The Sabres may need to bring up a player soon, as Kotalik is out with a Hamstring issue, and Tim Connolly is also injured once again. Connolly's injury has been described as a "body musculosketal injury", which more or less confirms what we have always known in that he is all around broken and about to completely fall apart at a seconds notice. He is also being listed as week-to-week which indicates that they don't expect his general soreness/concussion/bruised chest/broken vertebra/stretched ligiment/sore groin to get better anytime soon.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Mair and Peters, Buffalo's plus minus leaders

    Buffalo Sabres
    Over the past two games the Buffalo Sabres have played very poorly, getting outscored 11-3. Over these two games only two players avoided going negative in their plus/minus rating, and they are Adam Mair and Andrew Peters.

    Peters only has a combined 10:41 of ice time over the two games, and they contributes somewhat to this statistic, but it doesn't change the fact that he is still doing better then the rest of the team. Perhaps the fact that he doesn't have such offensive expectations helps, but he also has four shots on net over the past two games, the same number of shots that the minus five rated Derek Roy has. Over the past two games at least Peters has been one of Buffalo's best players.

    Patrick Kaleta also has a neutral rating against the Penguins, but only had six minutes of even strength ice time, and did not play the night before.

    Adam Mair is the lone player to be in the positive over the past two games. He is only plus one with slightly less ice time then most players on the team, but that is the best that the Sabres can offer. He earned the assist for the one goal he was on the ice for, and wasn't on the ice for any goals against, not even any powerplay goals.

    Last season the big disappointment that Vanek had was not the fact that his goal scoring slipped a little, but rather his plus minus dropped over 50 points from being the league leader to being in the negative. Vanek (and the whole team), now have to get back to playing two way hockey.

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Sabres fail in Pittsburgh

    Buffalo blew leads going into both the second and third periods to post their second straight loss. While Buffalo started the game well, they were not capable of putting forth that effort for a full three periods, and were not defensively responsible in the third.

    The offense wasn't all together either. While Vanek and Pominville both kept up their game and both scored, Andrew Peters was the Sabres with the next highest number of shots in this game in only a little over five minutes of ice time. Connolly had to sit out with injuries and his presence was missed by the team.

    The Penguins are a good team, but Buffalo had this game in hand and let it get away. They don't play again until next Wednesday.

    Official Three Stars
  • Evgeni Malkin
  • Jordan Staal
  • Alex Goligoski

  • My Three Stars
  • Evgeni Malkin (one goal, three assists)
  • Jordan Staal (two goals, plus two)
  • Petr Sykora (two assists, plus two)
  • Saturday, November 15, 2008

    Sabres get rolled over

    This was not a good game for Buffalo. They got destroyed by the Columbus Blue Jackets in every aspect of the game. Technically the Sabres did outshoot their opponents 37-25, but in no way did they control this game. Time after time the team failed to come back on defense, and put in little effort on their own rushes.

    The RJ Umberger scored two goals in the game. The Blue Jackets also got goals from former Sabres captain Michael Peca, and another goal from Rick Nash.

    Buffalo didn't look well, with the somewhat injured Tim Connolly and Paul Gaustad being the only Sabres giving any effort in this game. Despite the small sample size it is no mistake that Connolly is one of the NHL's top defensive forwards. A few of the goals were directly the result of Roy not having any backcheck at all.

    Patrick Lalime may be in trouble as the teams dependable backup. While the first goal was clearly not his fault, the fourth goal certainly was. Also allowing six goals against in only 45 minutes on ice is never good. Buffalo will be in trouble, if once again they can not trust their backup to take any starts.

    Saturday night's game is against the Penguins, who are pretty good. Buffalo is going to have to turn things around fast.

    Official Three Stars
  • Pascal Leclaire
  • RJ Umberger
  • Manny Malhotra

  • My Three Stars
  • RJ Umberger (two goals)
  • Mike Commodore (two assists, plus three)
  • Pascal Leclaire (36 saves on 37 shots)
  • Friday, November 14, 2008

    The Highs and Lows of Tim Connolly

    Buffalo Sabres
    Tim Connolly is currently injured. He is listed as "day-to-day", which has pretty much been his status for the past three seasons. The team is only calling it an "upper-body injury", but indications are that the issue is with his chest and is not too serious, so any concussion fears at least can be put to rest. Still Connolly has not been the most healthy player. Already this season he is on injury number four.

    When he plays however, he is really good. With two goals and four assists in five games, Connolly has more points per game than any other player on the Sabres. The only other player with at least one point per game is Vanek who has 12 goals and three assists in fifteen games. Connolly has been playing decent defense as well, and unlike some injured players has not been afraid to play all out.

    Yet if there is any time to sit Connolly it is now. Tonight the Sabres are playing the Columbus Blue Jackets who have a mediocre 7-7-2 record. Buffalo also has no injuries and will have to play without someone. For this game I would expect that Connolly sits with Peters. Even though Tim has been far more effective with his ice time then Stafford has been, there is no reason to risk him getting hurt while he have the depth to sit him out with no real loss.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Holding onto win over the Blues

    Buffalo Sabres
    The Sabres beat the St Louis Blues 4-3, but this game should not have ended up nearly as close. Buffalo went up 3-0 early in the first period, and kept on dominating the play throughout the game. However they were unable to score many more. Vanek had some many opportunities on breakaways, but was unable to find the back of the net on any of them. Kotalik also had a large number of chances, and was unable to capitalize on any of them.

    Tim Connolly looked good in this game, scoring the second goal, and getting the primary assist on the third. Connolly did appear to get injured after taking a hit to the head. The game winning goal was scored by Henrik Tallinder, who picked up his first goal of the season. The game's first goal went to Adam Mair, who had a fabulous shot that the goalie really had no chance on.

    Peters played in this game, but only saw 1:26 of ice time, all within the first half of the game and used it to get into two fights. Peters actually did decent in his fights, but did not contribute anything to the actual hockey portion of the game. Kaleta and Stafford sat out this game instead. Paille who sat out last game was also back, and had a good night earning an assist and a team leading plus two. Teppo Numminen lead the Sabres in ice time, which given his age comes as a bit of a surprise.

    Statistically the best players in the game were all for St. Louis. David Perron lead all players in points with three off of a goal and two assists. He was also a plus three, as was Patrik Berglund who earned a goal and an assist. West Seneca native Lee Stempinak also played well earning a goal and an assist in the loss.

    The game had very few penalties besides the fighting majors, and saw very little time that was not even strength. Neither team scored on any of their few powerplays.

    Official Three Stars
  • Henrik Tallinder
  • David Perron
  • Daniel Paille

  • My Three Stars
  • David Perron (one goal, two assists, plus three)
  • Tim Connolly (one goal, one assist)
  • Patrik Berglund (one goal, one assist, plus two)
  • Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    Faces on the St. Louis Blues and removing the slug

    Buffalo faces the St. Louis Blues tonight in a rare game against the Western conference. The Blues have not been too good this year starting with a 5-7-1 record. Still the team has a number of players to watch including Paul Kariya and Andy McDonald, as well as rookie of the year contender TJ Oshie, former Sabre Jay McKee, and the Buffalo born Lee Stempniak.

    Still hopefully the Sabres are able to use this as a rebound game, to set up what should be two more easy wins this weekend. No indication on who will be scratched for the very healthy Sabres, but there are rumors that Peters might be in the lineup for unknown reasons.

    More evidence that the Sabres will no longer have slugs on their jerseys in the near future. After putting the old logo on the ice, introducing a classic third jersey, and using the old logo for the World Juniors announcement this shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Still Larry Quinn has recently announced that "the team is talking about returning to the traditional jerseys and logo permanently". Given the current pacing I would be astounded if this process takes any longer than the next offseason.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Not yet the end of the world

    The Sabres have had two very tough losses, and have lost five of their last seven games. Still, due to the good start the team had, Buffalo is still tied for first in the Northeastern division. In the eastern conference the team is tied for second overall, only behind the Rangers who are already half way done with their season, already playing 50% more games then the Montreal Canadians. Currently the Sabres are actually on pace for a 111 point year, which would be Buffalo's second best ever. So the end is not here, (at least not yet).

    Still Buffalo has to pick up their game and return to their winning ways. With the team healthier then it has ever been, they have no excuses and will sit any player that isn't doing well. Yet no single player stands out as the reason the team has been struggling. I would expect Lalime to get a start sometime this weekend to mix things up in goal, but that is all. Friday against Columbus would appear to be the right time for Lalime to get a turn.

    Tomorrow Wikipedia will be featuring long time Avalanche player Joe Sakic the subject of their featured article.
    Buffalo Sabres

    Sunday, November 9, 2008

    Once again the Sabres fail to perform

    Buffalo Sabres
    While the game against Atlanta was a disaster because of the lack of a backcheck and incompetent goaltending, the game against the Bruins, added a lack of offense to the problem. The Sabres came out flat in every aspect of the game.

    Connolly looked really good in the first period, including the goal he scored along with Pominville, but then was giving no effort on any play by the third.

    While Buffalo did generate 33 shots, most were very poor, and they allowed 40 shots against. The Sabres were unwilling to maintain any pressure whatsoever in this game and that hurt them. The game had only three penalties between both teams before the final two minutes of the game, and all of them were killed off minimizing any effect that special teams had in the game.

    Stafford was back on the ice for this game, as Paille sat out instead.

    Official Three Stars
  • Chuck Kobasew
  • Dennis Wideman
  • Manny Fernandez

  • My Three Stars
  • Chuck Kobasew (one goal, one assist, plus two)
  • Tim Connolly (one goal, plus one)
  • Dennis Wideman (one goal)
  • Saturday, November 8, 2008

    A Second loss to Atlanta

    For the second time this season, the Buffalo Sabres lost to the Atlanta Thrashers in overtime. Buffalo actually looked good for alot of the game, but had a few defensive gaps, and Miller played very poorly.

    Ryan Miller was a wreck almost all night, and probably should have gotten pulled for Lalime after goal number three. Now that Buffalo has a capable backup they may as well use him. Hopefully Lalime gets the start tonight against Boston, so that Miller can be back in form for the next game.

    To get under the roster limit Matt Ellis was waived and Stafford sat out the game. Also despite what everyone had been saying apparently Stafford would have to clear waivers. Ellis probably will not be claimed, but Mancari should still should get called up before him.

    Bryan Little had a real good game for Atlanta with two goals and an assist. Meanwhile Vanek scored for Buffalo, keeping him on top of the league in that category.

    Official Three Stars
  • Thomas Vanek
  • Bryan Little
  • Derek Roy

  • My Three Stars
  • Bryan Little (two goals, one assist, plus two)
  • Jason Williams (two goals)
  • Vyacheslav Kozlov (three assists)
  • Thursday, November 6, 2008

    Hecht returns to health

    Buffalo Sabres
    Jochen Hecht will return to the Sabres lineup after being out a few weeks with an injury to his hand. While this is good news, it is also a problem as Hecht coming off of IR will put the Sabres over the roster limit with 24 players.

    Only three players can be sent to Portland without needing to clear waivers, and they are Clarke MacArthur, Drew Stafford, and Andre Sekera. In preseason MacArthur would have been sent down, but he has played very well for Buffalo so far and is fifth on the team in points and second in goals to only league leader Thomas Vanek. Sekera has been solid as well, so of those players the one most likely to be sent down is Stafford.

    More likely is that one of the team's current scratches will try to clear waivers instead. Paetsch, the team's seventh defenseman is no better then Portland's Mike Weber, but the drop off is a bit steep after that, and the two of them already found themselves both playing already in this early season. Paetsch would almost positively get taken by another team so keeping him is in Buffalo's best interest. Peters may be able to make it through waivers but is clearly better than Matt Ellis. Does anyone really care if the team losses Ellis to waivers? Are we not better off if Gerbe or Kennedy or Mancari get a few occasional starts with Buffalo instead? The obvious solution is to let Ellis go and hope that someone does take him.

    It is also possible that nobody will need to be sent to Portland as guess who is injured? While the injury may not be serious enough to put him on IR, it may as well be done now, as it is just going to have to happen by the end of the weekend otherwise. Two straight games already exceed any expectations that anyone had for him.

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    All star voting

    The NHL has announced the ballets for the All-Star game, and of the 104 players selected there were four Sabres.

    Ryan Miller was selected as a goalie, and given how he has done this season he deserves to be in the game. At this point he leads the league in goals against average at 1.62. In save percentage he is second in the league at .942, just behind the .944 posted by Boston's Tim Thomas. Furthermore he hasn't allowed a single goal against in the last 125 minutes of game time.

    Buffalo Sabres
    The second Sabres all star selection is Thomas Vanek. As the Austrian is currently leading the league in goals with eleven, while he is tenth in the league in total points with 14. Also very deserving and very probable to make the all-star team.

    The other Sabres forward selected was Derek Roy. The selection of Roy is a bit odd, as he is only ninth in points on his own team, falling behind players like Kotalik and Pominville who are beating out Roy in every statistic that there is. It's not that Roy has been doing bad, but he should not be the team's second choice.

    On defense the only Sabre selected for the ballet is Teppo Numminen. A bit of an odd choice, especially given how influenced by last years numbers these selections appear to be. Still I would pick Tallinder or Rivet as the team's top player on the blue line. Even Spacek deserves a mention with the eight assists he has earned so far this season. Probably none of Buffalo's defense will make it in.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    Buffalo beats New Jersey

    Buffalo Sabres
    Going into the game, Martin Brodeur's absence was the story of the game. However backup Kevin Weekes played well behind a disastrous Devils team. Buffalo dominated the first period, outshooting New Jersey 20-3. However they only scored one goal in that span on a nice shot by Jason Pominville.

    In the final two periods the Sabres were outshot 21 to 10 by the Devils, but Miller stayed strong and earned himself a second straight shutout. Kaleta scored when he deflected Sekera's shot through the five hole.

    Rivet was played in this game, returning earlier then expected from his injury. Paetsch sat out the game to make room on the roster for the captain's return. Speaking of injuries, Tim Connolly made it through a second straight game, although he even took a shift without his helmet.

    Buffalo blew some five on three chances in the game, but did finish the game a respectable one for five on the powerplay.

    Official Three Stars
  • Ryan Miller
  • Jason Pominville
  • Kevin Weekes

  • My Three Stars
  • Ryan Miller (shutout, 24 saves)
  • Kevin Weekes (0.933 SVP, 28 saves)
  • Jason Pominville (one goal)
  • Monday, November 3, 2008

    Pre New Jersey injuries

    After playing against a Capitals team without Ovechkin, the Sabres will get the opportunity to play against the Devils without Martin Brodeur. Kevin Weekes is expected to get the start against Buffalo instead.

    This should help Buffalo's chances alot. Still New Jersey is a decent team, and will not be an easy win.

    For the Sabres both captain Rivet, and alternate captain Hecht will still be out with injuries. Hecht should be returning soon, while the Rivet still has awhile to go.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008

    Sabres turn things around against Washington

    Buffalo Sabres
    After two really bad losses, the Sabre came out firing in their last game to win 5-0 over the Washington Capitals.

    Thomas Vanek scored his first goal of the game just 72 seconds in.After receiving the pass on the blueline on a partial breakaway, he single handedly danced around Mike Green who is one of the better defensemen in the league. In the second period Vanek scored another goal on a backhand with only three seconds remaining. These two goals bring Vanek back up to his goal per game pace, as he leads the league with eleven goals in eleven games.

    Buffalo outplayed the Capitals all around in this game, and got a very pretty goal midway through the third from Paille and Kaleta. The Capitals were without Ovechkin, but given how the game went it would not have made a difference.

    Tim Connolly was back from the dead, and posted 19 minutes of injury free ice time, and also earned an assist. Peters sat out to make room for him on the roster.

    Miller earned a shutout for the first time this season, even as the Sabres got slightly outshot in this game. Buffalo also looked very poor on the powerplay only converting one of their many chances.

    Official Three Stars
  • Ryan Miller
  • Thomas Vanek
  • Jason Pominville

  • My Three Stars
  • Thomas Vanek (two goals, plus two)
  • Ryan Miller (shutout, 29 saves)
  • Jason Pominville (one goal, one assist)
  • Saturday, November 1, 2008

    Mike Ryan finds a home

    After months of trying to play hockey everywhere Michael Ryan has finally found a home. Yesterday he signed a contract with the Carolina Hurricanes, but will spend most of this season playing for Albany in the NHL.

    This has been a long and crazy summer for Ryan who first signed with the KHL's HC Dinamo Minsk in Belarus, then signed a tryout contract with the Nashville Predators, before being cut by that team. Now on a two-way contract with Carolina, he looks to be set.

    Still it is a wonder that no other team jumped at the oppertunity to sign him. While not a top level talent, Ryan was pretty good during his time in Buffalo, and played 65 NHL games with the Sabres. There are alot of teams that would have been better off with him on their rosters as opposed to the talent they currently have up front. Even the Sabres could have used him, as a clear improvement over Matt Ellis, who we signed at the last minute, yet is behind Peters on the depth chart.

    Buffalo plays against the Capitals tonight, who are without their star Ovechkin. After three straignt losses, the Sabres really need a win in this one.