Friday, December 26, 2008

Tyler and Tyler take on the world

Buffalo Sabres
Starting today is the World Juniors in Ottawa Canada. Playing for the hometown favorites are both of the Sabres first round picks from this draft, Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis. Both of them play in the WHL, but this may be their first real chance to play together, and hopefully will be sign of things to come for when they move up to the Sabres organization.

Myers (who is ridiculously tall) and Ennis (who is relatively short) are both be playing for team Canada. As in most international hockey tournaments the Canadians are favoured to win.

The Buffalo Sabres play the Washington Capitals tonight in their first game since the Christmas break.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

"...and I heard him exclaim as he pulled out of sight, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Buffalo Sabres

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Again Buffalo losses in OT

Buffalo lost their second straight game in overtime in a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was a rather slow game, which was odd, but the Sabres took an early 2-0 lead. While the Penguins tied it up, Buffalo took a 3-2 lead into the third.

However in the third period Buffalo took it first penalty of the game and immediatly gave up a goal. This ended their incredible streak of four on five play at 74 minutes and 48 seconds, and lost them the game. Buffalo did moderatly well on their own powerplay with a go ahead goal from MacArthur, but had many more chances then Pittsburgh.

In overtime the Sabres looked completely overwhelmed and at no time had control of the game. Crosby quickly scored to finish the game off. His stick may have been a bit high, but given how Buffalo was playing at that point, it was bound to happen anyhow.

Despite ending the game with eight shots, Vanek failed to score and ended the game minus three. Kotalik did much better, and besides his breakaway goal, also earned an assist. Malkin did not earn a goal in this game, but contributed with three assists. The best player in the game however was Alex Goligoski who had two goal and one assist for Pittsburgh.

The Buffalo Sabres are now done until Christmas. Their next game is on Boxing day against the Washington Capitals.

Official Three Stars
  • Alex Goligoski
  • Clarke MacArthur
  • Ales Koalik

  • My Three Stars
  • Alex Goligoski (two goals, one assist)
  • Ales Kotalik (one goal, one assist, plus two)
  • Sidney Crosby (game winner in overtime)

  • Monday, December 22, 2008

    Killing off the penalties

    It is almost as if taking a penalty is not a problem for the Sabres anymore. Buffalo has become so good at penalty killing that it almost isn't even an oppertuity for the other team any more. The only real concern for Buffalo shorthanded is that they don't take a second penalty and go down two players. Even in five on three situations Buffalo has been impressive, notably killing of a full two minutes of five on three to win a close game against Pittsuburgh a little over a week ago. Yet when you look at the actual stats the Sabres are doing even better then they seem to be.

    The last time Buffalo allowed a five on four goal against was before Thanksgiving. If they can kill off their penalties tonight then they will have spanned the entire holiday season without allowing a five on four goal. The last time Buffalo gave up a five on four goal was 14 games ago when the Islanders' Mark Streit scored an empty netter with two seconds left in the game.

    Going into tonights game Buffalo has not allowed a goal against in their last 74 minutes and six seconds of five on four play. Nor is this even a new trend as Buffalo was the second last team in the league to give up a powerplay goal of any kind to start the season. Also this streak has involved games against some very good powerplays teams in Pittsuburgh and Montreal.

    Perhaps that is how the Sabres can win this year. The ability to not give up that one more goal is certainly a factor in the close games. Tonight the penalty kill will have a rough time as they have to go up against the combination of Crosby and Malkin. Still if they can hold out, it greatly increases Buffalo oppertunity to win.

    Sunday, December 21, 2008

    An Overtime Loss to Montreal

    The Buffalo Sabres played well for most of the game, but ended up losing 4-3 late into overtime. Buffalo scored a powerplay goal, and did ok killing off their own penalties but were scored on during both a five on three and a four on three opportunity by the Canadians.

    Despite the loss Miller looked good for the second straight game in a row. Afinogenov was called up to take the place of the seriously injured Kaleta. Max spent most of his ice time with Peters and Ellis and didn't really have much of a chance to make a real difference in the game.

    Buffalo was without Patrick Kaleta who is out with what appears to be a serious injury. In his place Afinogenov played, but was with the fourth line and had little help and little ice time.

    As far as losses go this one was not as bad as it could have been, as at least the team earned a point for a tie. Of course last year the Sabres startd a ten game losing streak around this time last year, and the few ties in that didn't end up doing the team any good.

    Buffalo once again has a quick turnaround as they play their third game in four days against Pittsburgh on Monday night.

    Official Three Stars
  • Sergei Kostitsyn
  • Steve Begin
  • Ryan Miller

  • My Three Stars
  • Sergei Kostitsyn (two goals)
  • Alex Kovalev (one goal, one assist, eight shots)
  • Teppo Numminen (two assists, plus two)

  • Saturday, December 20, 2008

    As Easy Win over Los Angeles

    The Sabres got what may have been their easiest win of the year in a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The Sabres scored goal after goal on the luckiest and most random bounces. Meanwhile the Kings were shutout by good play from both the defense, and Ryan Miller.

    Matt Ellis and Chris Butler were brought up from Portland for this game, and both played well. Afinogenov and Paetsch were sat out to make room for them, while Gaustad is out short term with an injury. This was Butler's first NHL game, and got an assist when the rebound from one of his shots bounced right to Adam Mair.

    Bringing up Ellis was an odd choice as Kennedy or Mancari could have been called up instead. Still Ellis played well, and scored his first goal of the season.

    The Sabres are back on the road as they play against Montreal Saturday night.

    Official Three Stars
  • Ryan Miller
  • Derek Roy
  • Adam Mair

  • My Three Stars
  • Ryan Miller (shutout, 40 saves)
  • Derek Roy (one goal, two assists)
  • Chris Butler (one assist, plus two in NHL debut)

  • Friday, December 19, 2008

    A loss to the Devils

    The Sabres lost their game to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night. A loss that came with little explanation beyond not having Gerbe or Rivet ready to play. Still while decent, the Devils are not one of the league's top teams and Buffalo has no excuse for allowing five goals against.

    The Sabres did ok for the most part in this game, but made a few too many big mistakes. Buffalo was also unable to capitalize on any of their powerplay chances.

    Official Three Stars
  • David Clarkson
  • Patrik Elias
  • Patrick Kaleta

  • My Three Stars
  • David Clarkson (one goal, one assist)
  • Jamie Langenbrunner (two assists, four shots)
  • Drew Stafford (one goal, plus one in the loss)

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2008

    Gerbe out as Kaleta returns

    Little Sabre Nathan Gerbe is out for about two weeks with an upper body injury. He played very well during his time up in the NHL, and will be missed. It should be interesting to see if he is sent to the AHL once he gets healthy or if he stays up. Most likely there will be some other factors involved in that decision.

    Patrick Kaleta on the other hand is returning from injury and will be back playing with the Sabres again in their next game on Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils again.

    The Blackhawks had an interesting game last night in a win over the Edmonton Oilers. Chicago won the game 9-2 in which the Blackhawks had 8 different players score and 15 of their 18 skaters had a point. In the beginning of the third period Ducan Keith scored a shorthanded goal to bring Chicago's lead to 8-1, at which point there was really little point to even playing the rest of the game.

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Rivet out for a while

    Buffalo Sabres
    Defenseman Craig Rivet, the Sabres Captain will be out for a minimum of two weeks. This is to deal with a shoulder injury that has been bothering him. While he has been playing injured for a few games he has decided that he is better off sitting out until he can be fully healed.

    This is probably the right decision. The fact that he was playing injured has been noticeable the past few games, and while he still did well, you could tell that he was not at 100%. Hopefully he can come back soon and be better than ever.

    The downside of course is that the Sabres will have to play a number of games without him. Buffalo has done significantly better when they have Rivet in the lineup, so there is a chance that they may struggle a bit for the next few games.

    Monday, December 15, 2008

    A Big win over New Jersey

    The Sabres got a big win over the New Jersey Devils Saturday night, as they won the game 4-2. Thomas Vanek scored two goals, including the 10,000 goal in franchise history.

    Stafford also scored, the shot was very similar to the wide open net he had missed just the night before. This was set up when Nathan Gerbe shot on net, and the puck rebounded right to Stafford. This resulted in Gerbe's first point of his still short NHL career.

    The game was also significant for being a comeback. Buffalo was down 2-1 midway through the game, but were able to score three straight to take a commanding lead.

    The Devils goals came from Elias and Holik.

    Official Three Stars
  • Thomas Vanek
  • Derek Roy
  • Patrik Elias

  • My Three Stars
  • Thomas Vanek (two goals, four shots)
  • Derek Roy (one goal, one assist)
  • Bobby Holik (one goal, six wins one loss on faceoffs)

  • Saturday, December 13, 2008

    A Disappointing Loss

    The Sabres were the better team in this game, and should have found a way to win. Instead they repeatedly failed to hit the back of the net and ended up losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1.

    The Sabres controlled most of the game, but missed many good chances. Stafford had a wide open net that he was unable to hit, Afinogenov had two great opportunities that he put straight into the goalie's pads, and Vanek was unable to even get the puck on net half of the time. Buffalo's lone goal came from Lydman who scored for the first time all season.

    Pominville had six shots on net, and Gerbe, Roy, and Stafford all ended up as plus one on the night. Still they need more offense if they wanted to win. Both of Toronto's goals came on very nice shots, but given the chances that Buffalo had they have nobody to blame for this loss but themselves.

    Official Three Stars
  • Vesa Toskala
  • Mikhail Grabovski
  • Lee Stempniak

  • My Three Stars
  • Lee Stempniak (one assist, plus two)
  • Toni Lydman (one goal, plus one in the loss)
  • Jeremy Williams (one goal, three shots)

  • Thursday, December 11, 2008

    Buffalo beats Tampa Bay again

    While the Sabres just played Tampa Bay last week, they earned yet another win against the Lightning with a 4-2 win. As was seen last time, these teams do not appear to like each other as four fighting majors were given out to four different players in this game.

    Buffalo excelled in the non-even strength areas of this game. They scored two of their goals on the powerplay. The Sabres were also able to kill off all of Tampa Bay's opportunities, and even scored an empty net shorthanded goal.

    Vanek was on fire again this game, scoring two goals to bring his season total up to a lead leading 22 after 28 games. This puts him on pace for an impressive 64 goals on the year.

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

  • My Three Stars
  • Thomas Vanek (two goals)
  • Jason Pominville (one goal, two assists)
  • Jochen Hecht (one assist, three shots, plus two)
  • Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    Sabres play their best game of the year

    Buffalo put on a very good display as they beat the Penguins 4-3 in Pittsburgh. The Penguins got a good amount of help from the refs and took an early 3-1 lead, but Buffalo was able to power back to win the game.

    Buffalo's powerplay was mostly ineffective, but their penalty kill was phenomenal. They were down fairly often in this game, and the penguins were given 3:45 of five on three ice time. Still the Sabres only allowed one goal against during this time, and killed off all of Pittsburgh's four on three opportunities.

    Buffalo then benefited from some sloppy goaltending to come back as Vanek won the game in the third period.

    Gerbe played well in his second straight NHL game, but once again did not earn a point. He was however plus one, and has still not allowed any goals against while he was on the ice.

    Official Three Stars
  • Derek Roy
  • Ruslan Fedotenko
  • Thomas Vanek

  • My Three Stars
  • Derek Roy (one goal, plus one, five shots, 69% on faceoffs)
  • Ruslan Fedotenko (two goals, plus two)
  • Evgeni Malkin (two assists, plus two, eight shots)
  • Sunday, December 7, 2008

    Sabres outscore Tampa Bay

    Buffalo Sabres
    The Buffalo Sabres have finally won a game after holding onto a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was a high scoring game, and despite the many penalties, every goal was scored during five on five play.

    Stafford scored the first goal of the game, off of an assist from Gaustad. St Louis tied it up just a few minutes later. The same thing happened in the second period, with Buffalo twice scoring, and Tampa Bay both times quickly making it up.

    In the third period Derek Roy scored, and the Sabres were able to prevent the Lightning from coming back this time.

    This was an aggressive game with three fights in it. I was unaware of any hostility between these teams, but there appeared to be some in this game. The final fight of the night was the most unlikely between Jochen Hecht and Vincent Lecavalier. This is the first time that either of them got into a fight this season, and only Hecht's third fight in his career.

    This was Nathan Gerbe's first NHL game, and he looked good throughout. While he had no points on the night he was on the ice for the Sabres first goal, and their game winner in the third, while not being on the ice for any goals against. The one penalty that was called against him, was a bad call, so his game was largely mistake free. He showed aggression and tied Stafford for the most shots on net for any of the Sabres in this game. He also won the single faceoff that he took in this game.

    Buffalo next plays on Monday against the Penguins.

    Official Three Stars
  • Derek Roy
  • Drew Stafford
  • Martin St Louis

  • My Three Stars
  • Drew Stafford (one goal, two assists, plus three, four shots)
  • Derek Roy (one goal, one assist, plus two)
  • Martin St Louis (one goal, one assist, plus three)
  • Saturday, December 6, 2008

    Gerbe debuts

    Buffalo Sabres
    Nathan Gerbe will finally be playing in his first NHL game when the Sabres play against Tampa Bay tonight.

    After being drafted in the fifth round in 2005, he played for three years at Boston College, a team that did very well during his tenure there including winning the NCAA championship last spring.

    He is a small player, but very talented and can generate offense all by himself. Hopefully he is the spark that the Sabres need to get their game back on track. While he obviously can't do everything by himself, he should be able to help the team alot simply by being there. To make room for him on the roster Mark Mancari was sent back down to the Portland Pirates.

    Friday, December 5, 2008

    A lack of effort results in the lack of a win

    Buffalo Sabres
    The Sabres lost once again on Thursday night to the Florida Panthers. Buffalo was only able to score with the two man advantage, despite actually putting together a decent first period. Still when Gregory Campbell got the Panthers first goal midway through the second the whole team seemed to give up, which immediately lead to another Florida goal.

    Lydman who almost had to sit out due to injury played hard in this game and so did Gaustad and Kotalik, but the Sabres need to put in an all around effort by everyone. Until that happens the Sabres are going to keep getting more of the same. Buffalo isn't actually a bad team, but unless they are willing to try a little harder nothing is going to come of it.

    Craig Anderson had a good game in goal for Florida. After doing very little for most of his NHL career he is 6-1-3 this season for a rather weak Florida team. He had 45 saves in this game and only allowed a goal against when his team was down two players. He should be getting alot more starts for Florida in the near future.

    Official Three Stars
  • Greg Campbell
  • Craig Anderson
  • Michael Frolik

  • My Three Stars
  • Craig Anderson (45 saves, 1GA)
  • Greg Campbell (one goal, one assist, plus two)
  • Ales Kotalik (one goal, six shots)
  • Thursday, December 4, 2008

    Kane versus Toews

    The competition between Kane and Toews appears to be heating up in Chicago, as both are competing for a spot in the all star game.

    Toews has also released a video of his own.

    Buffalo plays against Florida tonight, who is one of the few teams doing worse then the Sabres. Hopefully they can turn this into a win.

    Wednesday, December 3, 2008

    The Situation in Dallas

    The Dallas Stars have really been a wreck of a team so far this season. Dallas is dead last in the Western Conference with a 9-11-4 record. Things got even more interesting when Sean Avery was suspended this week for an inappropriate comment that he made to the media.

    The Stars won their game without Avery, so perhaps he is a large part of the problem. Team management has since talked about how they intend to hold him accountable, and about how his actions are unacceptable to their organization. They should have thought about that before they signed him. They knew what they were getting, and now they are suddenly paying for their mistake. Avery signed for a four year deal, so the Stars are stuck with him for awhile.

    The thing is the team doesn't even want him around anymore. One of the biggest critics that Avery has in his own locker room is goalie Marty Turco. Turco describes Avery's comments as "ignorant", and this isn't the first time that the goalie has condemned his teammates behavior. The Stars need to realize that Turco's contract is up in 18 months, and there is no reason to believe that he would elect to continue playing on a team with Avery who will still have two years left at that point. Perhaps Turco's problem this season is that he honestly does not care about the success of his team.

    The Stars lack of leadership is what is killing them this season. The loss Stu Barnes is what is killing this team. Mike Modano is still there, but given how the team is doing you have to wonder why. About Avery Modano said that "out of what we expect out of each other" and that "It's gonna be dealt with". Still the team is a mess, and Avery will continue going on doing whatever he wants.

    Even if the team released Avery it looks as if the Star's current season is already a loss. The bigger issue is that in the coming seasons it only looks as if things are going to get worse for Dallas in the coming seasons.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2008

    Falling apart again (this time in Nashville)

    The Sabres have once again lost their touch and have returned to playing subpar hockey. They lost 2-0 to the Nashville Predators. It was a very boring game through the first two periods as neither team had any good chances, and neither team had any speed.

    In the third period the predators scored twice, first by Jason Arnott and then by former Sabre JP Dumont. Buffalo really turned things on for the final five minutes of the game, but it was two late by that point and they were shutout by Pekka Rinne.

    Despite nobody ever hearing of Rinne, who only appeared in three NHL games before this season and had zero starts last year, he played very well. So far he is 4-0 on the season, picking up his first shutout in this game over the Sabres.

    Buffalo mixed up their lines a bit for this game, as Kotalik returned to the lineup. Rivet and Kaleta were both out with injuries, while Mancari and Peters played ahead of Afinogenov. Connolly was placed on injured reserve to get the team under it's roster limit.

    Official Three Stars
  • JP Dumont
  • Pekka Rinne
  • Jason Arnott

  • My Three Stars
  • Pekka Rinne (shutout, 30 saves)
  • JP Dumont (one goal, one assist, plus two)
  • Jason Arnott (one assist, plus two)