Greetings from high atop HSBC Arena as the Sabres meet the Chicago Blackhawks in their third game of the season and the midpoint of their arduous six-games-in-nine-nights run to open the schedule. The Sabres (1-1) talked a pretty good talk this morning in the wake of their home-opening stinker Saturday night against the Rangers while the Blackhawks (0-1-1) are simply trying to get in the win column.
Plenty of South Buffalo folk, all likely related to Patrick Kane, in the house this morning for the Hawks' pregame skate. It's been open all three times Kane has come to Buffalo and that's a nice touch by the Hawks (visitors' skates are almost always closed). Be sure to check out the audio of Kane's in-depth interview with reporters today at our earlier post.
Let's see how the Sabres fare in the effort department tonight. They simply didn't answer the bell Saturday and a stern captain Craig Rivet was pretty adamant about his feelings when I approached him this morning.
"The effort was not there which is probably the most diappointing thing," Rivet said. "That starts upstairs [pointing to his head]. You have to make sure your brain is working and it will tell your body what to do. ... We need to play a lot better hockey."
Lindy Ruff surprised all of us when he admitted his team might have gotten a little full of itself in the wake of a solid preseason that was capped by a 9-3 win over Philadelphia's 'B' team and its opening 40 minutes of domination at Ottawa. Ruff had plenty of words on the ice this morning for Thomas minus-5 Vanek and Drew Stafford, who has been invisible since the first period of the opener.
"The message was it wasn't good enough," Ruff said. "I talked [to Vanek] about the game and about the five or six great opportunities in the Ottawa game and sometimes frustration gets to him. We're by that point. We're an older team now. Frustration can't effect your play. keep your nose to the grindstone."
We'll see if the Sabres get their work ethic in tow tonight. Keep it here for all of your updates and observations. And there better be no "Chelsea Dagger" played in this building tonight.
Kane will be in the starting lineup tonight at right wing, with Brian Bickell on the left side and Patrick Sharp, who would have looked nice in a Sabres jersey as part of the Hawks' salary purge, in the middle. The Sabres are shuffling things from this morning with Derek Roy starting between Drew Stafford and Jochen Hecht.
This one doesn't appear close to a sellout. Lots of empties on the corners five minutes before faceoff.
Here's the MSG feed on the Pominville hit
An announcement was just made here that Pominville is "resting comfortably" in the Sabres locker room.
16:24 left: Too much room for Hossa. Montador keeps backing in and the winger drills one past Miller to make it 4-2. His second of the night.
14:36 left: We have a Tim Connolly sighting. His first of the year is a tap-in as a pinching Montador shoved the puck across the crease. Sabres trail, 4-3. Let's see if that gets the life back in this club.
13:37 left: Kopecky for delay of game gives the Sabres a huge PP chance.
8:50 left: Power play has been a disaster in this game. Where have we heard that before? It's 0 for 4. Morrisonn goes for hooking -- Hawks are 1 for 2.
7:31 left: Roy, who has easily been the best Sabre in three games, outworks Norris Trophy winner Keith in a race and battle for the puck and gets a quick one-handed shot toward Crawford. No. 9 came to play this season. For the most part, No. 19 has not.
5:02 left: The building is oddly dead. Shots are 32-29 for Buffalo, 9-8 in this period. It's a one-goal game but it seems like it's 7-3. Attendance announced at 17,896. That's about 800 shy of a sellout. Seems right.
3:10 left: Super saves by Crawford on Gaustad and Grier keep the Hawks in front. Crawford has 30 saves in his first game of the season and has allowed only one goal since the first three minutes.
2:28 left: Too many men on the ice for the Hawks. The power play MUST come through here.
26.1 left: One shot on the PP -- with Miller out for the final half of it. Terrible job all night.
It's over: A 4-3 loss. Shots were 35-30.
HERE'S THE POMINVILLE HIT, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MISSED IT. Repeating our bulletin: He has a concussion and will not return to the game but remains in the building and has not been taken to a hospital.
Of note: Kane, of course, remains at minus-2 in the game because his goal was on the power play. Three more shots on goal from Vanek in the first 20 minutes, all from in close, but no goals.
18:30 left: We're under way and Miller stops Kane from in front and then pops Brian Bickell with his glove for getting too close. Miller is obviously agitated by the Pominville situation; while his teammates (led by Connolly) correctly went after Hjalmarsson, the goalie was the first one waving to the bench for help.
15:52 left: It's tied at 2-2. Grier can't clear the zone and Nick Leddy's shot banks in off Morrisonn. Toews grabs the puck for first NHL goal.
UPDATE: POMINVILLE HAS A CONCUSSION AND IS STILL IN THE BUILDING. HE HAS NOT BEEN TRANSPORTED TO THE HOSPITAL
14:39 left: McCormick pounds Jake Dowell. The Sabres are obviously agitated. Kaleta, however, also got an interference penalty so Buffalo is short-handed.
9:30 left: We're still tied at 2-2. Shots are 13-2 for Chicago in this period. The Hawks have been all over the Sabres, who seem dispirited by the Pominville situation.
2:04 left: Miller stops Kane streaking through the right circle. He's kept the Sabres in this period.
1:13 left: The Hawks lead 3-2 as Hossa beats Miller on a clear breakaway. Myers and Morrisonn didn't notice Hossa as he snuck off the bench. That can't happen. Just can't.
38.8 left: Sabres go to the power play as Hossa goes for interference.
End-2nd: Hawks lead, 3-2. Shots were 17-10 for Chicago. It's 23-22 for Buffalo.
19:46 left: THAT'S how you start. Roy feeds Stafford for a quick slot in the slot and it's 1-0 after 14 seconds. Remember that power-play layup Stafford missed early Saturday? No mistake this time. Roy and Leopold with the assists.
17:28 left: A little Angola-South Buffalo rivalry perhaps? Kane is stopped by Miller on a routine wrist shot and Kaleta chirps in his ear at the whistle.
17:17 left: Wow. Roy puts home a Stafford rebound to make it 2-0 and the Seabrook-Keith defense pair for the Hawks looks stuck in the mud. Already Roy's fourth of the year. From Hecht and Stafford. Two goals on four shots. Some pretty big talent all minus-2 already for the Hawks: Keith-Seabrook-Sharp-Kane.
15:11 left: Are the Hawks even in the building? They're getting outshot 6-1 and now Dave Bolland is going to the box for hooking.
13:48 left: That PP could have created a stranglehold. Instead, it ends disastrously as Connolly commits a lazy turnover along the wall and then is sent off for tripping Marian Hossa. Hawks go down the ice and Seabrook barely missed potting a rebound.
Here are the lines that have skated: Hecht-Roy-Stafford, Vanek-Connolly-Pominville, Ennis-Niedermayer-Grier, Gaustad-McCormick-Kaleta. On defense, it's Leopold-Montador, Morrisonn-Myers and Sekera-Rivet.
12:16 left: Kane makes that a minus-1, dancing through the Buffalo zone while celebrating the second hometown tally of his career. It was a quick wrist shot that Miller appeared to get a piece of. What a difference that blown PP makes now. Kane's first of the season. Also the first PP goal against Buffalo. Sabres, 2-1.
9:00 left: Some wild action in about a 20-second span. Kaleta nearly pushes the puck across the line (getting smoke from the scoreboard but there's no goal ruled). Keith fires just wide for the Hawks (or it may have grazed the post) and Vanek is stopped on a partial breakaway. Still 2-1 with shots at 9-5 for Buffalo.
5:42 left: Pominville down on the ice. Crushed along the boards by a brutally dirty hit by Niklas Hjalmarsson. He's gone but much more important, Pominville hasn't moved and the stretcher is on the ice. Pominville is strapped to the stretcher and taken off the ice. He moved his right arm and was talking to doctors as he was wheeled off. The game continues after a delay of seven minutes. It's a five-minute boarding major, a game misconduct and it better be about a 10-game suspension too.
4:21 left: The Sabres had two good chances but were stopped by Crawford and Myers crushes Fernando Pisani along the boards to get the crowd going. The building is still stunned by the Pominville situation.
POMINVILLE UPDATE: The Sabres' right winger was taken through the Zamboni entrance and to the arena medical station rather than a local hospital upon exiting the ice. The right winger had his hands crossed on his chest and was followed down the hall by his wife. There is no immediate word on his condition or the next step in the medical process ---John Vogl
End of the 1st: The Sabres lead, 2-1, and have a 13-5 edge in shots. We'll obviously have more on Pominville when it becomes available. Pominville is the team's active leader in consecutive games played -- tonight was his 336th straight since being a healthy scratch against Philadelphia on April 7, 2006.
taggedColleges, minors | Sabres game day