A look around the league on a sunny autumn day in the B-Lo:
*The Sabres played back-to-back home games this weekend and barely resembled the team from the first four outings. They didn't play their best Friday yet still left HSBC Arena with a 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders. There was no chance of escape Saturday, and now the Sabres are just like everyone else in the NHL.
The Sabres became the last team in the league to lose in regulation, dropping a 4-2 decision to Atlanta. The Sabres' fiery start to the season ended with an ice-cold start to the game. The Thrashers scored twice in the opening 10 minutes to send Buffalo to 4-1-1.
*Mercurial right wing Maxim Afinogenov made a happy return to HSBC Arena, scoring the insurance goal. He spent the first nine seasons of his career in Buffalo, where, one way or the other, Afinogenov had a way of inspiring passionate feelings.
Speaking of Afinogenov, reader Tom D. e-mailed me to say that, with Afinogenov out of Buffalo, the Rick Martin era has finally come to a close. Here's Tom's take:
"Years ago I had done some research into the trading of Rick Martin to the Los Angeles Kings in 1981. Subsequent trades from his departure back in '81 finally ceased to exist when Maxim Afinogenov moved on to the Atlanta Thrashers this past summer. Let me explain...this is pretty wild...
1. Rick Martin (Sabres 1971-1981), traded to the Los Angeles Kings for a third round pick in 1981 (Colin Chisholm) and a first round pick in 1983 (*2 Tom Barrasso).
2. Tom Barrasso (Sabres 1983-1988), traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for *3 Doug Bodger and *3 Darrin Shannon.
3. Doug Bodger (Sabres 1988-1995), traded to the San Jose Sharks for *4 Vaclav Varada, Martin Spanhel and a first round pick in 1996.
4. 1996 first round pick is sent to Winnipeg for *5 Michal Grosek and Darryl Shannon.
4. Vaclav Varada (Sabres 1995-2003), traded to the Ottawa Senators for *5 Jakub Klepis
5. Michal Grosek (Sabres 1995-2000), traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Doug Gilmour and J.P. Dumont.
5. Jakub Klepis (Sabres 2003-2004), traded to the Washington Capitals for Mike Grier.
3. Darrin Shannon (Sabres 1988-1991), traded as part of a package to the Winnipeg Jets for *4 Gord Donnelly, *4 Dave McIlwain and *4 Yuri Khmylev.
4. Gord Donnelly (Sabres 1991-1993), traded to the Dallas Stars for James Black and Steve Webb.
4. Dave McIlwain (Sabres 1991), traded as part of a package to the NY Islanders for *5 Pat LaFontaine, Randy Wood and Randy Hillier.
4. Yuri Khmylev (Sabres 1992-1996), traded to the St. Louis Blues for Jean Luc Grand-Pierre and two draft picks that eventually became *5 Cory Sarich and Maxim Afinogenov.
5. Pat LaFontaine (Sabres 1991-1997), traded to the NY Rangers for a draft pick (Andrew Peters).
5. Cory Sarich (Sabres 1998-2000), traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for *6 Chris Gratton.
6. Chris Gratton (Sabres 2000-2003), traded to the Phoenix Coyotes for Daniel Briere.
and so it ends... when Max moved to Atlanta this past summer...a string of 38 years of personnel, tied together by a series of trades, came to an end."
*"Bobby Orr is probably the greatest defenseman in the history of the game," Detroit GM Ken Holland told Bucky Gleason. "I think you can make the case that Nick [Lidstrom] is on the list for No. 2."
*The Thrashers didn't head home after the game. They went to Elmira to honor late teammate Dan Snyder.
*Alexander Ovechkin found the net three times but didn't get a hat trick, which was news to the folks in Washington who tossed their caps.
*Alex Kovalev got a mixed reaction from Montreal in his first return to his former city. But when he scored the insurance goal for Ottawa, he was treated to a standing ovation.