WAITING AT JFK TERMINAL 5 -- The Sabres will be off today and back on the ice Monday morning before flying to Anaheim. Of course, the trade deadline is at 3 p.m. and it's hard to imagine they'll all be jetting west. Here's some thoughts in the wake of Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers.
The Sabres are 8-3-3 in their last 14 games and got three of four points over the weekend against the top two teams in the East. Still, Saturday's loss stung and that's particularly true for Patrick Kaleta. He got burned by Marion Gaborik on the tying goal and beat by Ryan Callahan on the winner, although that one really started with Andrej Sekera firing wide on a good chance and Kaleta needing to be back to help out.
Kaleta was pretty distraught after the game but coach Lindy Ruff said he's not going to let the Angola native stay down for long. Kaleta and Paul Gaustad have done a great job in recent games, and they were again solid in helping kill off Tyler Ennis' penalty late in the third period that could have cost Buffalo a point.
I love Madison Square Garden. Great history there and now a spectacular first phase of a multi-year renovation. One quibble: The locker room hallway is completely new and the walls that were lined with pictures of Willis Reed, Rod Gilbert, Elton John, Ali-Frazier etc. are now gone and barren. That's a bummer. I LOVED walking down that famous tunnel during morning skates but it's' no more because of new courtside suites. That's not progress. Wish they could have found a way to keep that.
OK, back to hockey, In Bucky Gleason's Inside the NHL, you get the skinny on what every team might be thinking going to the deadline. On the Sabres, he says, "The Sabres need to figure out where they're going, how to get there and who's taking them."
Few other thoughts on Saturday night (that I didn't really get to due to a major laptop meltdown): Ryan Miller had another strong game but everyone in the building knew Carl Hagelin's first-period goal was a softee. Haven't seen basically any of those from Miller the last dozen games or so. ... Callahan has killed the Sabres. A sensational shortie in Buffalo in December, a shootout winner earlier this month and now an OT winner. ... The Rangers seem like they're still in front in the Rick Nash Derby. I still say: Why? They're first in the East and they're going to give up the store for a guy who's never won a single playoff game in his career. I still say Nash has been comfortable making his money out of the limelight in Columbus. We'll see how he goes in New York or Toronto, if he lands in either spot.
If you missed the game Saturday, here's the full NHL.com highlight package:
Meanwhile, the Rochester Amerks had a crazy game Saturday night, posting a 4-3 shootout win over Lake Erie -- in a 15-round shootout! Bless the heart of the Blue Cross Arena fan who posted the second-longest shootout in AHL history to YouTube so you can see it here.