Sunday, May 24, 2009

Buffalo's post season connections

Sports Illustrated has a story about all the Buffalo connections in the conference finals this year. A story that is actually written by Jim Kelley who himself is a former writer at The Buffalo News.

The one player that stands out on the list is Miroslav Satan who really looked to be on the absolute downswing of his career put has had a rather good postseason. After getting sent down to the minors this season, and almost nobody sorry to see him go after he left Buffalo a few years ago now, suddenly Satan is having a good run of games when it matters most.

What is the deal with Osgood in the playoffs? He struggled all season, but has been playing excellently in the postseason and is being more difficult on the Blackhawks than Luongo even was. If it were not for him Chicago probably would have won game two and be up the series now. Last year he was not the starter for most of the regular season and came in to get sixteen wins in the playoffs, including wins in his first nine games.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why a Hamilton team would be good for Buffalo

There has been a lot of pessimism among Buffalo Sabres fans about a team coming to Hamilton Ontario. The two state senators have even sent a letter to the NHL in opposition (they should be more worried about the Islanders). However putting an NHL team in Hamilton would be good for the Sabres.

First of all giving the Phoenix Coyotes to Jim Balsillie and moving the team to Canada will be good for the league as a whole. It would generate more gate revenue, and higher TV contracts (in Canada) coming to a net profit for the league as a whole (including the Sabres franchise).

The arena in Hamilton is within 50 miles of the one in Buffalo, so Balsillie would have to pay off the Sabres (and the Maple Leafs), giving Buffalo a good amount of money in this deal right off the bat. While this payment wouldn't be too huge it will be significant and would be beneficial to the Sabres organization.

Particular to Buffalo is the fact that an estimated 15% of the Sabres tickets go to Canadians. Many are worried that somehow having another franchise in Hamilton will reduce this flow of Canadians to the arena in Buffalo. The problem with this outlook is that many of these people are not Sabres fans to begin with. Most only come when one of the Canadian teams are playing (usually Toronto and Montreal) and stay away for the rest of the season anyhow. The Sabres have noticed this and raised ticket prices on those games, knowing that it had no effect on their average fan and only took money from the Canadians.

With another team in Canada Buffalo will only have more opportunities to take money from Canada. With an additional three home games a year against a local Canadian opponent, that is three more games to pack HSBC arena full of northerners and continue to make money. Games against teams from Canada will increase from 13% to 16% and gate revenue will most likely go up to match.

Don't worry, hockey in Hamilton is not a threat to the Sabres.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tellqvist to Russia

Buffalo Sabres
Mikael Tellqvist has signed a deal with Ak Bars in Russia and will not be returning to the Buffalo Sabres or any NHL team next season. This isn't really too much of a surprise as all along Tellqvist was only brought in to play with Lalime during Miller's injury. With Lalime under a reasonable contract for one more year there was no place for Tellqvist on the roster anyhow.