Get used to a new kind of schedule for the Sabres the rest of the way. They have played just one Sunday game this season but starting today with a 3 p.m. matinee against the Islanders they'll play on six of the next eight Sundays. And they're all deadline-friendly with no start later than 6 p.m. Eastern time (high-five to the schedule makers!).
Don't look for morning skate info on these afternoon games. There won't be any. It's just show up to the rink a couple hours before and play. Kids at the Northtown Center know the drill. Here's a look at some reading material heading into today's game:
---Lindy Ruff is up to third on the list of longest-tenured coaches in the four major sports. I would imagine one of Terry Pegula's first duties would be to work out an extension with Ruff.
---Speaking of Pegula, Bucky Gleason's Inside the NHL offers the incoming owner five important decisions he has to make sooner rather than later. My take to Terry: Every goal Drew Stafford scores pushes the price higher. Get a deal done.
---Good news on the Steve Montador front: He should practice fully Monday and could play Tuesday in Montreal. Included here in the notebook is info on the Islanders' suspensions. (Good job by the sports desk inserting them shortly after midnight as your intrepid beat writer passed out with a laptop on one leg and a pug on the other waiting for the verdict.).
---(From the Cheap Plug Department: Check out my Inside Baseball column from today listing a starting lineup of nine questions heading into spring training. We now return you to your regular hockey programming).
---Penguins tough guy Eric Godard is bummed he got a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench during Friday's melee on Long Island but he'd do it again to protect a teammate.
---Can't show you the Islanders reaction from Newsday because that paper is behind a pay wall. The great dilemma of the Internet: Do stories really exist if no one can see them?
---The Penguins moved on and tried to practice outdoors Saturday in Central Park. One problem: Their bus got hit by a car so the players hopped out and hailed cabs. If you scroll down a little at this piece on the Penguins' web site, you can see the players getting into the cabs. Crazy sight.
---The Penguins play the Rangers today at 3 at MSG in a game the Sabres will certainly be keeping an eye on. The big one for Buffalo is the 5 p.m. Carolina-at-Atlanta tilt. The Hurricanes got a point out of Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss at Tampa Bay, scoring two goals in a 19-second span inside the final minute. After Tuesday's collapse against the Sabres, a loss would have been a disaster for the Lightning.
The Canes and Atlanta are tied with 60 points while the Sabres are at 57. But Buffalo has three games in hand over Carolina and four over Atlanta. The skidding Rangers are five ahead of Buffalo at 62 but the Sabres have four games in hand over them. Buffalo is 11 points behind No. 6 Montreal, also with four games in hand.
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