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On an off day, more thoughts on a wild loss to the Caps

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are off today and currently en route to Phoenix for Thursday night's game against the Coyotes. By the way, the boys from the Valley of the Sun have just announced they will be called the "Arizona Coyotes" starting with the 2014-15 season.

Tuesday night's 5-4 overtime loss to Washington was one of the more entertaining Sabres games of the year and left plenty of follow-up thoughts in my mind as I watched parts of the tape today on my DVR.

---Surprised to hear no NHL discipline hearing for Sabres defenseman Mike Weber, especially for the very cheap shot in the final minute against Washington's Nicklas Backstrom. I may have jumped the gun in today's story saying it was a hit to the head. It appears Weber doesn't hit the head just by happenstance, so he may go unpunished. Still, a pretty stupid play overall. Caps coach Adam Oates certainly thought it was a penalty. Take a look for yourself: 

---How cool is it to watch a kid on any team score his first NHL goal? It always is. As Amy Moritz writes, we saw that last night with Phil Varone, who has certainly not looked out of place since he came up from Rochester.

---How cool is it to watch a superstar in action? Alex Ovechkin was a flat-out stud with two goals in the first five minutes and one of his two assists coming on the game-winner. Bucky Gleason's post-game column on the Great Eight includes plenty of thoughts on the Olympics too. I watched Sidney Crosby and Ovi live on back-to-back nights. Sometimes the gig has its privileges.

The Sabres were very loose defensively again, so many people are quick to jump at my thoughts on Jhonas Enroth. I get it. He made plenty of good saves in the second and third period, including two flat-out stone jobs on Ovechkin. That said, there's a reason Enroth has only one win -- when every other backup in the NHL has at least five. 

What goals should he have stopped? He got burned on Mike Green's wraparound in the second period and , frankly, I wouldn't have minded a big save on Ovechkin's first goal or Troy Brouwer's tally either. And on the overtime winner, Enroth himself admitted he cheated to Ovechkin -- can you blame him -- but that left him in no position for the pass. Weber didn't stay home, the pass went to Green and Enroth, as the replay clearly shows, got no push across the crease. He has to be better. He's given up four overtime winners this season. Take a look at last night's winner:

---Let's see what interim coach Ted Nolan does in Phoenix with his defensemen. He was clearly disgusted with Weber after the game. And he pointed out that Tyler Myers was actually better when he wasn't playing with Henrik Tallinder, leading Nolan to play Weber with Myers. Didn't work.

The Sabres are shuffling D-men with Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb in Rochester. I would say both of them should be here come Feb. 25. How much more of Jamie McBain and Alexander Sulzer and Weber should people be subjected to watch?

---The folks from HarborCenter are having a press conference later this afternoon to announce the name and details of the hockey-themed restaurant that's expected to be a big showcase in the facility. I'm thinking along the lines of Real Sports Bar and Grill, the massive place with the huge TVs adjacent to Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Whatever it's called, on frigid days like today I hope they have a lot of soup choices!

tagged

Sabres | Washington Capitals
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John Vogl

John Vogl

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.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. 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.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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