October 30, 2010 - 7:52 PM
DALLAS -- So I guess the Sabres are playing against the Stars tonight. Let me know how it goes. I'll be watching the Giants on the TVs hanging over the press box.
As of now, it's 3-0 Texas after a big homer by Mitch Moreland. You can read all about it on Mike Harrington's live blog over at Inside Pitch. And if for any reason he's checking in on this blog from the baseball game right down the highway -- dude, come on over to American Airlines Center and cover this, and I'll go watch the Giants come back from this early deficit live instead of on TV.
Patrick Lalime is starting in goal for Buffalo. Luke Adam -- recalled because Nathan Gerbe has a fractured jaw that will keep him out indefinitely -- will skate with Paul Gaustad and Patrick Kaleta. Craig Rivet is sitting again.
We've got about 17 minutes till faceoff. Someone text me when the game starts, and call me if the Sabres score or something. Go Giants!
8:08 p.m.: So it sounds like they dropped the puck ...
8:09 p.m.: I predicted last night there'd be about 48 people here, and I just found out why there's about 8,000 -- there are a lot of Sabres fans, and they're already shouting "Let's go, Buffalo." Let's go Giants.
8:12 p.m.: Adam was with Gaustad and Kaleta during the pregame warm-up, but it appears he'll be with Tyler Ennis and Kaleta instead. Gaustad is with Rob Niedermayer and Mike Grier.
8:13 p.m.: Adam's turnover at the Dallas blue line comes as the Sabres were changing defensemen and leads to a too-many-men call with 16:59 to go.
8:17 p.m.: A few skirmishes in the first five minutes, two involving Dallas' Steve Ott, who has gotten tangled with Chris Butler and Steve Montador. Pablo Sandoval only wishes he were hitting as hard as Ott. Do something, Panda.
8:19 p.m.: Patrick Kaleta gives the Stars another a power play with 13:54 left when he takes exception to Brendan Morrow jamming at a covered rebound.
8:20 p.m.: Dallas fans -- like the fans in 28 other NHL arenas -- give a standing ovation as a military member is introduced. The Navy's Michael Strength is the recipient. Buffalo is the only city that doesn't do it.
8:22 p.m.: Shanone Morrisonn goes for interference with 13:09 left, giving Dallas a five-on-three for 1:15.
8:24 p.m.: James Neal scores on the five-on-three with a shot from the right circle with 12:26 left. It's 1-0 Dallas.
8:28 p.m.: Josh Hamilton homers to give Texas a 4-0 lead. Maybe I am at the right game. In this one, Matt Niskanen takes Dallas' first penalty with 9:19 left.
8:32 p.m.: Thomas Vanek cuts the power play 24 seconds short with a cross-check with 7:43 to go.
8:33 p.m.: I kind of like the Rangers this year. My son Ty and I made an 11-day, 4,026-mile journey through the Midwest and one of our six ballgames was at Texas. Cliff Lee pitched a beauty, Hamilton showed why he'll be MVP. Now? I can see them joining the Angels (think 2002), Dodgers and Red Sox on my despised list.
8:38 p.m.: The teams hit the final commercial break with Dallas holding a 1-0 lead with 3:59 to go. Want to know how focused I am on baseball? This is at least the fourth time the Stars Ice Girls have taken the ice and I hadn't noticed till now, and they're normally a big deal since they annually run with Atlanta and Florida in the top three of the NHL. None of them have what it takes to reside in RC Land, though.
8:46 p.m.: The teams hit intermission with Dallas holding a 1-0 lead and 13-7 shot advantage. Still waiting to hear some Foo Fighters over the speakers since one of my top concerts ever was seeing them in this building a few years ago.
9:03 p.m.: And we're off. I wonder if the Sabres had ever allowed five-on-three goals in three straight games before.
9:05 p.m.: And the Giants cut their deficit to 4-1 with a homer!
9:07 p.m.: It's so quiet in here it's almost like being in HSBC Arena.
9:11 p.m.: Well, there is 12:43 left and I haven't written down one note about this period on my notepad. No, it's not because I'm watching baseball (although the Rangers just grounded out to first). It's because nothing has happened except for neutral-zone turnovers. It's still 1-0 Dallas.
9:15 p.m.: Morrow just hit the scoreboard with a clearing attempt. That's noteworthy with 11:07 left.
9:16 p.m.: "Official attendance" is announced at 15,015. My math is terrible, but it certainly ain't that number.
9:22 p.m.: Andres Torres cuts it to 4-2 with a homer! That a boy!
9:27 p.m.: Thanks to Sabres' media information guru Kevin Snow for this: The last time the Sabres allowed five-on-three goals in three straight games was January 19-23, 1977.
9:30 p.m.: Dallas still up, 1-0, with 2:36 to go.
9:31 p.m.: Cody McCormick takes a cross-checking penalty with 2:11 left.
9:33 p.m.: Buster Posey chokes on full count with runner on as the Stars take a 2-0 lead on a power-play goal with 1:40 left. Brad Richards' shot from the point goes in with Morrow and Shaone Morrisonn battling in front. No announcment yet on who scored, Richards or Morrow.
9:35 p.m.: Morrow gets the goal as the teams head to the dressing with Dallas in front, 2-0. Dallas holds a 26-21 shot edge, which seems like a lot but scoring chances have been few.
9:52 p.m.: Well, what fun is a sweep anyway? Let's play five! Yes, you guessed, the stupid Rangers won, 4-2. Puck is set to drop in 29 seconds.
10:01 p.m.: Look for Tyler Myers to be the next player in the press box. He turned the puck over twice on a power play, giving Jamie Benn a breakaway. Lalime stopped him, but Ott swoops in to put the rebound in the empty net with 14:55 to go.
10:11 p.m.: Trevor Daley scores just after a Buffalo penalty ends with 8:25 left. It's 4-0. It's over. Go do something else if you're reading this live.
10:17 p.m.: "The stars at night, are clear and bright, deep in the heart of Texas."
10:18 p.m.: Just had a second to glance at the league standings. It's quite possible the Buffalo Sabres are the worst team in the NHL.
10:23 p.m.: Sent my first-edition story with 6 minutes left, and I'm already regretting throwing a couple of Halloween-related lines in it. But with all the Sabres' giveaways, it was just too easy. There is one minute left, and I'm headed toward the elevator for interviews. There is no comeback coming. Good night from Dallas.
October 30, 2010 - 3:56 PM
DALLAS -- Craig Rivet will watch from the press box for the second straight night as Sabres coach Lindy Ruff has decided to scratch his captain against Dallas tonight.
"I’m going to keep a good attitude," Rivet said today. "I’m not playing tonight, but I wish these guys a good night tonight. I just hope that they go out there and give everything they have. I’m going to try and take the time when I’m not playing to make myself better so I can be a better teammate."
Rivet, of course, is disappointed and angry about the benching by Ruff, who sat Rivet on Friday in Atlanta.
"I think maybe disappointed that he had to feel that he had to scratch me, him feeling that my play wasn’t up to par, knowing that I can play better," Rivet said. "It’s the ultimate wake-up, it’s the last straw, it’s something that when you’re taken out of the lineup, you need to re-evaluate yourself and your game.
"I don’t feel that I was playing up to my capabilities. Do I think I was playing terrible? No.
"Right now is a very difficult time for this team. We’re trying to grasp the style of play that we want to play, which I don’t think we’ve found yet. We want to try and build some momentum as a team, and individual play comes into effect. He wasn’t happy with the way I’ve been playing, and I’m sure you can probably look around the room and can maybe point out a few guys, but me individually I think I need to be better. I need to be better for the team to have success. This is going to be a period where I need to sit back and re-evaluate the things I need to do a lot better on the ice."
October 30, 2010 - 12:51 PM
SOMEWHERE AT 30,000 FEET BETWEEN ATLANTA AND DALLAS -- Luke Adam is back with the Sabres for the second time this week (and for the second time in his career). The center has been summoned from Portland for tonight's game against Dallas.
Adam is likely in for Nathan Gerbe, who took a super-wide slap shot from Tyler Myers in the left side of the jaw Friday. It happened late in the second period and Gerbe did not return. I saw him walking in the trainers' room following the game but since that area is off-limits he was unavailable for comment.
October 30, 2010 - 12:24 PM
SOMEWHERE AT 30,000 FEET BETWEEN ATLANTA AND DALLAS -- Greetings from Delta Flight 2411, where I'm surrounded by idiots in Texas Rangers gear. Y'all are going to be putting that stuff away real soon. Go Giants!
Looking forward to picking up some World Series gear in Arlington before heading to the rink to hear from Craig Rivet. I'm curious as to whether he'll pull a Lindy Ruff and give up the captaincy and get a trade after getting benched Friday, or if he'll use it as motivation. Either way, should be an interesting chat. He was obviously too angry to talk Friday night when I approached him.
That situation is probably the only thing that's keeping me at the Sabres game tonight instead of calling in sick to go watch the Giants. Well, that and my integrity.
Below are the highlight's from Friday's 4-3 overtime loss to Atlanta.
October 29, 2010 - 11:11 PM
ATLANTA -- The biggest story line of the Sabres' 4-3 overtime loss to Atlanta on Friday was the benching of healthy captain Craig Rivet. Here are some thoughts:
Coach Lindy Ruff: "I put a lot of thought into it. I said the guys that are playing the best are going to have to play. Right now we’re 3-6-2. We got a point. If the six [defensemen] that are going are playing well, they’re going to stay in.
"He just hasn’t played well enough, hasn’t played well enough. That’s just the bottom line. He missed training camp, and it just seems like he’s a step behind right now.
"No player understands. He won’t understand."
Center Derek Roy: "Obviously, it sends a message that things are not good enough around here for anybody. We can’t be happy with the way we’re playing. We can’t be happy with losing. I’ve played on teams where losing seems to be a thing and you just kind of get used to it and adapt to it. Not on this team. Nobody wants to lose. Everyone wants to win and play hard, and we’re going to keep battling."
Center Paul Gaustad: "It’s not something that we were talking about in here. Right now it’s pretty obvious that [Ruff] said guys who are working hard are going to play, and guys who aren’t won’t play. That’s for everybody."
Goalie Ryan Miller declined to comment on the situation.
October 29, 2010 - 7:08 PM
ATLANTA -- Hey, weren't we just here?
Indeed, the Sabres will have already completed their season series in Atlanta with just a few weeks off the schedule as soon as tonight's game ends. For a former Georgia resident, that's a bit of a shame. But it's been a quality four days in the South hanging out with some great friends in Columbus, Ga., Auburn, Ala., and Atlanta; my mom stopped in for lunch from her home in South Carolina; and -- to top it all off -- I got to watch the San Francisco Giants move two steps closer to their World Series title.
Unfortunately, I won't get to see much of their next step despite being mere miles away from Game Three. The Sabres visit the Dallas Stars on Saturday, at the same time the soon-to-be-vanquished Texas Rangers host the Giants. So I figure, if you include the 40 players and the eight or so media members, there will probably be about 48 people at the hockey game. And that, of course, assumes that I don't call in sick and go scalp a ticket to watch Jonathan Sanchez pitch a marvel.
I'd given some serious thought to skipping my flight home Sunday and catching Game Four, but I'd be all alone in my Giants cap and Barry Bonds shirt surrounded by angry Texans. Although I'm pretty scrappy, I think I'd end up like Davy Crockett at the Alamo. More importantly, there's no better place than RC Land to watch your favorite sports team finally become a champion.
The Sabres have just taken the ice, and Craig Rivet is scratched for the Sabres. Trying to find out if it's healthy or shoulder-related, so we shall see.
7:16 p.m.: Early word is Rivet is a healthy scratch. That will certainly get the dressing room's attention, eh?
7:38 p.m.: Game on, without the healthy Buffalo captain.
7:41 p.m.: Much bigger crowd than last week. There might be 5,000 people here. To make it look more cozy in Philips Arena, they have curtained-off the upper level.
7:43 p.m.: Shaone Morrisonn welcomes himself back into the lineup with 16:27 left by sending Bryan Little crashing into the boards and off the ice with the help of a trainer. Little went to shoot in the Buffalo zone, and Morrisonn arrived during his backswing. The off-balance forward hit the boards hard.
7:45 p.m.: Cody McCormick and Tim Connolly combine to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead with 15:09 left. McCormick keeps an Atlanta clearing attempt in the zone, sends the puck toward the net, and Connolly stops it, spins and beats Chris Mason low from the top of the crease.
7:53 p.m.: Paul Gaustad misses a point-blank chance with 11:45 left, leaving the score at 1-0. The Sabres have seven of the nine shots.
7:54 p.m.: The Thrashers, who were outshot, 11-2, during the first period last week, call a timeout with 11:07 to go.
8:01 p.m.: The Thrashers have a goal taken off the board with 8:48 to go. Chris Thorburn stole a Sabres clearing attempt and beat Ryan Miller with a shot, but the play was nullified by a boarding penalty by Nik Antropov. An entire section of Sabres fans stands to applaud.
8:04 p.m.: Jordan Leopold gives Buffalo a 2-0 lead with 6:20 left, pinching in from the point and burying a pass from Derek Roy, who was below the goal line.
8:05 p.m.: A very loud "Let's go, Buffalo" chant ensues.
8:13 p.m.: Miller makes his top save of the night so far, getting a blocker on Alexander Burmistrov's slot attempt with 1:50 to go.
8:15 p.m.: The section of Sabres fans cheers as Buffalo ends the period with a 2-0 lead and 14-6 shot advantage.
8:31 p.m: Used the intermission to find Rivet, and the captain declined the interview and said he'd chat with me Saturday in Dallas.
8:34 p.m.: Game on.
8:38 p.m.: The Sabres get a two-man advantage with 17:33 left.
8:40 p.m.: The Sabres still have 43 seconds of power-play time left, but it's a four-on-three as Derek Roy goes off for holding.
8:43 p.m.: Thrashers kill their infractions and go on the power play.
8:44 p.m.: Teams are back at full strength with Sabres still holding a 2-0 lead with 13:46 to go.
8:50 p.m.: Good thing the Sabres spent much of this week practicing their three-on-fives because with penalties to Rob Niedermayer and Morrisonn, Atlanta has a two-man advantage for 1:39.
8:52 p.m.: They need more practice. Antropov scores with 10:07 left to cut Buffalo's lead to 2-1.
8:54 p.m.: The Sabres' penalty-killers get through the remaining 56 seconds of Atlanta's one-man advantage, but they have two more minutes to go now after Drew Stafford takes a tripping penalty with 9:04 remaining.
9 p.m.: The Sabres kill Stafford's infraction.
9:02 p.m.: Burmistrov is smiling like a kid who just scored his first NHL goal -- because he just did with 6:27 left to make the score 2-2. Sabres will get a chance to answer as Zach Bogosian takes a penalty with 5:07 to go after hitting Patrick Kaleta.
9:08 p.m.: Tyler Myers' super-wide slap shot blasts Nathan Gerbe on left side of the jaw, and the forward heads to the dressing room with 3:22 left. The Thrashers head back to even strength with 3:04 left.
9:13 p.m.: The second period ends in a 2-2 tie, with Sabres holding an 18-15 shot advantage.
9:33 p.m.: The Thrashers, on the power play after a penalty to Kaleta at the end of the second, score just 50 seconds in to take a 3-2 lead. Tyler Ennis is headed to the box for hooking with 18:13 left.
9:43 p.m.: Atlanta is still up, 3-2, and going on the power play with 10:38 left.
9:49 p.m.: Still 3-2 with 7:54 to go.
9:55 p.m.: Still 3-2 with 5:05 left. I think I'm deaf with the speaker volume in this place. Dudes, there's nobody here. You can shout from the rafters and people will hear you. No need for the jackhammer.
10:03 p.m.: Mason gets tangled with Paul Gaustad in the crease with 7.3 seconds left, and Derek Roy scores from a tough angle to tie the game.
10:12 p.m.: Dustin Byfuglien scores with 29.0 seconds left in overt time to give Atlanta the win.
October 29, 2010 - 12:24 PM
ATLANTA -- Jason Pominville has failed another neuro-pysch test, meaning the Sabres' right winger still cannot play despite feeling no ill effects from his Oct. 11 concussion. The Sabres, who play tonight in Atlanta and Saturday in Dallas, have sent Pominville back to Buffalo to be examined by doctors.
Pominville has been practicing with the Sabres all week, including power-play work Thursday. He and the team assumed he would be ready to play tonight, so the test results came as a shock.
"The disappointment is everybody really thought after the days of practice and the work he put in that he was going to be playing, and I was one of them, too," coach Lindy Ruff said in Philips Arena. "There’s been no ill effects from practicing. He’s gone full go. He’s gone through battle drills. He had no headaches, stuff like that. There have been no side effects to exercise. Normally, what sets a guy back is he will have headaches or he won’t feel right, or he may feel dizzy or lightheaded, but Jason has had none of that, so it’s a little bit of a different area for us."
Pominville talked earlier this week about the difficulty of the test, which he last took as a rookie before this week's two retries. The first test, taken when healthy, establishes a baseline. Players must then match that baseline in order to be cleared from their concussion.
"It’s one of those that, even without having this concussion, it’s a pretty tough test," Pominville said. "You've got to remember different shapes, different words. It’s all memory stuff. They show you a sheet for maybe 10 seconds, and you’ve got to remember as many things as you can that are on the sheet and draw it exactly the same way.
"It’s stuff that’s pretty interesting, but at the same time if you have a bad day you might not pass it. If the first time you did you had a great day, it might be tough to get back to that level."
Ruff joins Pominville's concern that the winger may have done so well the first time that it could be a difficult struggle to match the score no matter how healthy he feels.
"We talked about that," Ruff said. "That is a real possibility. Maybe it’s one of those tests you got 100 percent, and you’re an 80 percent student."
Lindy Ruff audio
October 28, 2010 - 5:29 PM
ATLANTA -- Alexander Mogilny and Jim Kelley, one of the Sabres' most electric players on the ice and one of the area's most respected voices off it, are joining the Sabres' Hall of Fame.
The team announced today it has elected Mogilny and Kelley as the two members of its 2011 class. They will be enshrined on New Year's Day prior to the Sabres' home game against Boston in HSBC Arena.
Mogilny joined Pat LaFontaine in energizing the fan base during the early 1990s. Mogilny terrorized opposing goalies with his speed and shot, never more so than during the 1992-93 season. With LaFontaine feeding him and Rick Jeanneret shouting "Alexander the Great!" from the broadcast booth, Mogilny scored a team-record 76 goals. He spent the first six of his 16 NHL seasons in Buffalo (1989-95), recording 211 goals and 444 points in 381 games.
Kelley, a longtime reporter and columnist for The Buffalo News, has been covering the Sabres since 1979. He started with The News and stayed at the paper until 2000, a tenure that included the 1999 Stanley Cup finals. Kelley, who has also worked for Fox Sports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Rogers Sportsnet, has covered 26 Cup finals.
In 2004, Kelley earned Hockey Hall of Fame honors by winning the Elmer Ferguson Award, given for sportswriting excellence. The Timon High and Canisius College graduate still lives in Western New York and continues to write about the Sabres and the NHL for several outlets.
October 28, 2010 - 1:00 PM
ATLANTA -- Jason Pominville feels healthy and ready to go. Coach Lindy Ruff is ready to use the right winger. Now all they need is the official OK.
Pominville took a neuro-psych test Wednesday to judge his recovery from an Oct. 11 concussion, and the results are not in. The Sabres had expected to hear from the doctors prior to today's 11 a.m. practice, but two hours later there was still nothing in Philips Arena.
"The waiting around part is never fun, but the good thing about it is I was able to go out there and skate,'' said Pominville, who worked the point during power-play drills. "It's not as if I was waiting for the results to go out and skate. Then it would probably be a little worse. But I got a good skate in, and whatever happens, happens."
If Pominville passes the memory test (he failed part of the first one), he will be in the lineup Friday when the Sabres visit the Atlanta Thrashers.
Shaone Morrisonn will return after missing six games with a groin injury. Fellow defenseman Andrej Sekera is doubtful with a left hand injury. Chris Butler took Sekera's usual spot on the blue line during special teams work.
October 28, 2010 - 11:30 AM
ATLANTA -- The Sabres are back on the ice in Atlanta, and this time it's a full house.
Forwards Tim Connolly and Jochen Hecht are skating after skipping Wednesday's practice with lower-body injuries. Defenseman Andrej Sekera, who was limited Wednesday, is back among the regular defensemen.
No word yet on whether Jason Pominville passed his neuro-pysch test Wednesday. He is skating as the fourth member of a line with left wing Tyler Ennis, center Rob Niedermayer and right wing Mike Grier.
The Sabres return to game action Friday against the Thrashers, and GM Darcy Regier told The News he wants more focus and passion.
And by the way, the San Francisco Giants moved one step closer to their World Series title.
October 27, 2010 - 5:20 PM
ATLANTA -- Sabres right wing Jason Pominville, who has missed seven games with a concussion, is scheduled to take another neuro-psych test today. He failed a portion of his previous exam, which made him ineligible to play Tuesday against Philadelphia. Players take the test when they are healthy (in Pominville’s case, he took it as a rookie), and they must match that baseline in order to be cleared from a concussion.
"It’s one of those that, even without having this concussion, it’s a pretty tough test," Pominville said. "You’ve got to remember different shapes, different words. It’s all memory stuff. They show you a sheet for maybe 10 seconds, and you’ve got to remember as many things as you can that are on the sheet and draw it exactly the same way.
"It’s stuff that’s pretty interesting, but at the same time if you have a bad day you might not pass it. If the first time you did it you had a great day, it might be tough to get back to that level."
October 27, 2010 - 3:59 PM
ATLANTA -- Sabres forwards Tim Connolly and Jochen Hecht suffered lower-body injuries during Tuesday's loss to Philadelphia, and neither was able to practice today in Philips Arena. Coach Lindy Ruff expects both to be back Friday when the Sabres play the Atlanta Thrashers.
"He’s just got a muscle strain that kept him off the ice," Ruff said of Connolly. "Jochen Hecht the same thing. I’m assuming that both of them will play."
Defenseman Andrej Sekera was scratched with an upper-body injury Tuesday and participated in a limited role during today's session. Sekera walked to the team bus with an ice pack on his left hand.
"He left the ice in the morning practice [in Philadelphia], and he tried it in the evening and couldn’t go," Ruff said. "He skated today but didn’t really participate in any of the drills."
If Sekera is ready to return against the Thrashers, it would give Ruff eight healthy defensemen again, meaning two players would be scratched. Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn is expected back from his groin injury.
"It looks like Shaone should be ready for Friday, should shore up our defense a little bit," Ruff said. "With Sekera out last night, it put us in an even tougher place because I thought Andrej was playing pretty close to our best going into the game.
"There will be decisions. We’re at the desperation time, where the guys will have to play their best. Tyler Myers is going to have to play a stronger game. We need our six that are playing, you’ve got to play well because otherwise you’re going to have to go with who’s playing the best."
October 27, 2010 - 12:44 PM
ATLANTA -- Greetings from the rainy South, where the heavy rain is pelting the roof of Philips Arena and ringing through this palace. Tim Connolly is not on the ice to hear it.
The Sabres just began practice for Friday's game against the Thrashers, and Connolly is the only player not skating. We'll have an update on his status following the skate.
One big question surrounding the Sabres' roster is, now that all eight defensemen are healthy, which two head to the bench? It's still two days to game day, but it appears Andrej Sekera and Mike Weber are on the outs. Sekera, scratched for Tuesday's loss in Philadelphia, is the only player wearing a yellow jersey. Weber is skating in green on a forward line with Jason Pominville and Cody McCormick. Those are not exactly ideal lineup spots for the blue-liners.
The pairings are Jordan Leopold-Steve Montador, Chris Butler-Tyler Myers and Shaone Morrisonn-Craig Rivet.
Rob Niedermayer is back after skipping Tuesday's trip for the birth of a daughter, and Luke Adam has been sent back to Portland. The three complete forward lines are Thomas Vanek-Derek Roy-Drew Stafford, Tyler Ennis-Niedermayer-Mike Grier, and Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta.
October 27, 2010 - 11:42 AM
Here's an auction you memorabilia hounds might want to get in on: As part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the "Herd About Buffalo" program, Roswell Park is auctioning off a buffalo statue that is covered in the autographs of every member of the Sabres' roster (it was created and donated by Sabres creative services director Frank Cravotta). Check it out at right.
The auction is being conducted at TheBuffaloHerd.com and is one of 12 designs featured by local artists. Proceeds benefit cancer research and patient care at Roswell Park. The Sabres' buffalo is 12 inches high and 16 1/2 inches long.
The page for the official Sabres Buffalo is here and I note that, as of Wednesday morning, the bidding is already over $700.
Back to the World Series for me. Join me for my pre-Series chat today at 1. The Sabres went directly to Atlanta from Philadelphia for Friday night's game against the Thrashers and John Vogl will have the latest on their front from practice today.
October 26, 2010 - 7:40 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- Sabres prospect Luke Adam is set to make his NHL debut after veteran center Rob Niedermayer stayed behind in Buffalo to be with his wife as they celebrated the birth of their daughter.
Adam had two goals and two assists in his first game this season in the AHL and had five goals and 10 points in eight games overall. He's expected to play on the third line between rookie Tyler Ennis and veteran Mike Grier.
Craig Rivet returned to the lineup after missing the last game with a sore shoulder. Andrek Sekera was scratched to make room for Rivet in a curious decision. Sekera had played better than he did last season and could have an undisclosed injury.
The Flyers honored the late Andy Ashbee before the game, sending his No. 4 to the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center. Philly has been struggling lately with four losses in the last five games. Coach Peter Laviolette unloaded on them after a 2-1 loss to Columbus.
-- Bucky Gleason
19:22: Jeff Carter gives the Flyers a 5-1 lead with a two-man advantage after Daniel Briere sends a cross-ice pass to Mike Richards, who finds Carter just outside the crease. The misery continues for Buffalo. Any chance Ruff pulls Miller out of mercy?
12:54: Andreas Nodl is in the box for hooking.
12:50: Tyler Myers scores on the power play for his third goal in four games after Derek Roy wins a faceoff. Thomas Vanek does a good job screening Bobnosky in front of the net. He had no chance. At least that stops the bleeding, for now.
7:28: Steve Montador fires a wrist shot just inside the post to bring the Sabres to within 5-3. Tim Connolly set up the play with a perfect pass into the high slot. The Sabres are playing much better in the third period while giving the Flyers all they can handle. Too little, too late.
3:20: Ville Leino nearly scores after a spin-o-rama deep in the Buffalo zone before Miller stops his backhander. It was one of few chances for Philly in the third period.
1:10: Thomas Vanek appears to score his second goal, but officials immediately wave off the goal on the grounds it was kicked into the net. It was confirmed by off-ice officials.
0:36: Andreas Nodl scores into an empty net.
0:00: Flyers 6, Sabres 3. Off to Atlanta.
18:30: Jochen Hecht nearly scores off a great pass from Drew Stafford in front of the net, but Bobrovsky makes a great glove save. The play actually started in the other end when Chris Butler raced to a loose puck and sent a perfect pass to the far blue line, allowing the Sabres to get the puck deep.
15:17: The Flyers take a 2-1 lead when Nikolay Zherdev scores with a wrist shot from the right circle while Daniel Briere bumped into Miller from behind. The Sabres had a beef that the goal should have been immediately waved off for goalie interference, but it's not a reviewable play. Briere had more control of the crease than Miller.
8:16: Philly goes ahead, 3-1, when Darrell Powe converts a pass from Claude Giroux for an easy goal after the Sabres were caught on a two-on-one. Tim Connolly coughed up the puck in the Philly zone, and the Flyers took off in transition with Giroux and Powe against Steve Montador. Miller had no chance as Powe tapped a shot into the open side.
7:17: Gerbe goes off for slashing, giving the Flyers another power play and a chance to build more momemtum after three straight goals.
5:24: This is getting ugly. Giroux scores unassisted on the power play to give the Flyers a 4-1 lead after he wins a faceoff against Paul Gaustad, Gaustad falls down and Giroux's pass in front bounces off a skate and lands behind Miller.
2:00: Miller is keeping the score within reason because it could easily be 6-1 or 7-1. He stopped Briere twice, including a great chance outside the crease, and took away another opportunity from Scott Hartnell. The Sabres are scrambling and looking lost in their own zone.
1:20: Butler is sent off for roughing Giroux behind the play. Not a good penalty under the circumstances. The Sabres are getting frustrated.
:02: Craig Rivet takes a cross-checking penalty after a scrum in front of the net. The Flyers will gave a two-man advantage for 40 seconds going into the third period. The period can't end soon enough for Buffalo, which looks like its becoming unglued.
17:30: Adam jumps over the boards with Ennis and Grier for his first shift. The Sabres did a great job of getting the puck out of the zone, leading to Adam recording his first scoring chance. Grier found him in the high slot, but his quick wrist shot was kicked aside by Sergei Bobrovsky.
15:48: Cody McCormick unloaded a slapper near the left circle that never made it through, negating what was developing into a good scoring opportunity. Chris Butler has played much better over the past four or five games. He's been playing with Myers, but if anybody has benefited from the arrangement, it's been Myers.
13:40: The Ennis-Adam-Grier line has been the Sabres' best in the early going. Adam created another chance when he moved between the circles and attempted a backhand. He also went hard to the net looking for a rebound off a shot from the point. Grier missed him wide open in the slot.
12:56: Jody Shelly was sent off for slashing, giving the Sabres their first power play. Philly goes into the game with the ninth-ranked PK.
11:06: The Sabres take a 1-0 lead when Vanek scores while parked outside the crease and deflecting Steve Montador's shot from the point. Chris Pronger looked dumbfounded along with several of his teammates. What's that about Vanek being soft? He has four goals in his past four games, all but one coming about 2 inches from the crease.
10:23: Old friend Danny Briere, who has five goals and no assists, is stopped by Miller after breaking free through the Buffalo zone.
7:24: Adam almost had his first NHL goal, but his attempt to bury a rebound bounced off the post. Moments later, he's in the box for interference.
6:50: Pronger breaks his stick with a slapper from the point, but the shot handcuffs Miller and is sliding toward the goal line before Craig Leopold comes to the rescue. Great play.
5:19 Steve Montador is whistled for hooking Ville Leino in front of the net, giving the Flyers a two-man advantage for seven seconds and forcing the Sabres to kill another penalty.
4:45: Briere scores his sixth of the season after being allowed to walk from behind the Buffalo net, take a wrist shot on Miller and still have time to tap his own rebound out of the air and into the short side to tie the game, 1-1. Briere can't be left along in around the net for that long.
2:19: Darroll Powe is in the box after running into Ryan Miller. Jeff Carter took a swipe at Patrick Kaleta, but the Angola native wasn't biting.
0:50: Tim Connolly made a terrible pass out of the zone in yet another attempt to make the cute play rather than the smart one. It all but killed off the 30 seconds that remained on the PP.
End of period.
Buffalo 1, Philly 1.
October 26, 2010 - 11:44 AM
Luke Adam was recalled from the Portland Pirates and will make his NHL debut tonight against the Flyers in Philadelphia, just as Tyler Ennis did last season.
Adam skated with the team this morning. He will wear No. 72. He is second on the Pirates in scoring with 10 points (five goals and five assists) in eight games. Mark Mancari has 11 points. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was a second-round draft pick of the Sabres in 2008.
He will replace Rob Niedermayer, who stayed in Buffalo to be with his wife, who gave birth to a girl on Monday.
-- Bucky Gleason
October 26, 2010 - 10:14 AM
PHILADELPHIA -- Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn is recovering this morning after undergoing heart surgery in the Cleveland Clinic to repair an aortic aneurysm. The surgery was scheduled in advance before it was performed Monday.
Mike Gilbert, director of public relations, said this morning the operation was similar one former defenseman Teppo Numminen had to repair a heart valve during his career. Quinn is expected to remain in the hospital for the next seven to 10 days. The Sabres had no other details.
"Larry Quinn, managing partner of the Buffalo Sabres, successfully completed surgery to repair an aneurysm of the ascending aorta on Monday afternoon," a statement released by the Sares said this morning. "Mr. Quinn is resting at the Cleveland Clinic and will return to his duties at the Sabres as his physical condition will allow."
The Sabres are playing the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at Wells Fargo Center.
--- Bucky Gleason
October 25, 2010 - 1:36 PM
Jason Pominville was awaiting results from a neurological-psychological examination today before taking the next step toward recovering from a concussion. Craig Rivet had a full workout with the Sabres after aggravating a shoulder injury and Shaone Morrisonn joined him along the blue line while coming back from a groin injury.
The Sabres could have all three veterans back during a three-game road trip that starts tomorrow night in Philadelphia. None of the three is expected to be in the lineup against the Flyers but they could return when the Sabres play Atlanta and Dallas later in the week. Pominville was hoping to be cleared for contact while the other two are waiting to regain full strength.
"I've been skating pretty hard," Pominville said. "It's getting better and better. The tough part I've been able to gauge is that I haven't been able to do any battle drills with the guys. Obviously, it's a big part of the game and being in front of the net, trying to find those spots and being in competition with the guys. Once I'm able to do that, I'll know more about where I'm at."
The question will be which defenseman comes out when Rivet and/or Morrisonn are ready. Chris Butler has played well since being inserted into the lineup. Mike Weber played well in his season debut against the Devils. Andrej Sekera has played much better this year than last.
--- Bucky Gleason
October 24, 2010 - 1:41 PM
Got home from New Jersey and getting ready to pack for the World Series (cheap plug: Follow all things Rangers-Giants this week on the Inside Pitch blog). So I sat down to read a book I got in the mail and I have to say this: Run, don't walk, to your nearest book store or online agent and get The Hockey Book, the latest creation of Sports Illustrated.
There are incredible articles and glimpses into the SI Vault from writers like Michael Farber, E.M. Swift, George Plimpton and even William Faulkner. But this coffee-table suitable tome is all about the photos. Amazing stuff. Both modern day and incredible glimpses back to the Original Six era.
The front cover (above-click for bigger image) includes a pantheon of the game's all-time greats. One of them is Dominik Hasek, resplendent in his black goathead jersey of the 90s (bottom right corner). On Pages 2-3 is a spectacular black-and-white, circa 1998, of a steely-eyed Hasek, tight on his eyes and facemask. Portrait of concentration.
The two-page spread is a key element of the book. There's one of the 2009 KHL All-Star Game outside in Red Square, another of the Team Canada bench bolting on the ice after Sidney Crosby's Olympic winner in Vancouver (great shots of the fans with their arms in the air and Lindy Ruff on the bench hugging a trainer), and there's Patrick Kane, mouthguard askew, heading down ice to celebrate his Stanely Cup-winning goal.
Found plenty of Sabres references too:
--A net cam view of Sabres prospect Luke Adam getting turned away by a Russian goalie during last year's Canada-Russia junior Super Series.
--Crosby battling Jason Pominville and Henrik Tallinder in the snow at the 2008 Winter Classic in the Ralph.
--Crosby beating backup Jocelyn Thibault during a Penguins-Sabres game in 2007 at the Igloo.
--A full-page overhead of a Sabres-Flyers line brawl during the 1978 playoffs (Terry Martin, Gary MacAdam and Bill Stewart are the Sabres you can identify)
There's several "Wish You Were There" graphic boxes recounting great moments of the decades. Here's one mentioned I was there for: An 8-6 Penguins win over the Devils on New Year's Eve, 1988, at the Igloo. The significance was that Mario Lemieux became the first -- and still only -- player to score a goal five ways in the same game. He tallied even-strength, short-handed, power play, penalty shot and empty net. Wild. I still have the VHS tape of that one.
Incredible day. Incredible book. Here's more on the book from AOL Fanhouse.
October 23, 2010 - 10:33 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- What in the world is going on with the Devils? And I'm not talking their 0-4-1 home record or complete no-show in Saturdays' 6-1 loss to the Sabres.
Coach John MacLean must want to see the unemployment line quickly in his first month on the job. I don't care what Ilya Kovalchuk did. When you're a $100 million guy, you can't be a healthy scratch. A rookie head coach, even a popular ex-player like MacLean, won't ever win that battle.
Said MacLean: "It's between him and I. It was my decision. I take responsibility for all my decisions."
I asked MacLean if it was a non-hockey issue (like maybe Kovalchuk showed up late for the game). He wouldn't go there. Simply said it was his decision and that Kovalchuk "knows where I'm going with this."
He wouldn't even say if Kovalchuk would play today against the Rangers. Devils beat writers were told that GM Lou Lamoriello was unavailable. Hmmm. After what this team went through all summer to finally get Kovalchuk, this happens eight games into the season? And how about the fans who paid good money to see this star player and then see him get sit down for no apparent reason with no explanation?
It's not like the Devils didn't know Kovalchuk doesn't play a lick of defense and likes to stay on the ice for a minute or more at a time. But they wanted him to fill seats in this beautiful but often-empty arena in the NHL's newest hinterland. Stay tuned. Things are really heating up here in this tropical paradise.
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John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
About Sabres Edge
Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, is in his sixth season covering the Buffalo Sabres. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.
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