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With Stafford banged up, Adam gets another call from Rochester

By Mike Harrington

TORONTO -- In the wake of injuries to Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno, Ted Nolan hinted last night the Sabres would likely need a forward for tonight's game in Detroit and the call has been put out to Rochester for Luke Adam to join the club on an emergency recall.

(An aside: I'm in Toronto to cover tonight's Blue Jays-Yankees game. Amy Moritz is en route to Detroit for the Sabres game. The team's flight was delayed out of St. Louis last night due to the stormy weather and didn't get in until about 3 a.m. ET, so there was no morning skate today.  Nolan will update reporters during his pregame briefing in the 5 p.m. hour).

This is Adam's third recall of the season, with the most recent one being a one-game emergency stint March 7 in Florida. He is the Amerks’ top goal scorer with 27, and has 47 points in 53 AHL games. Adam has one goal in 10 games for Buffalo this year.

Foligno is expected to miss the final six games  of the season with the knee injury he suffered early in last night's game. Nolan said Stafford was "banged up" during Tuesday's shootout win over New Jersey so we'll see if Sunday's game in Philadelphia is realistic for his return.

Henrik Tallinder took the morning skate in St. Louis but left the ice after a few minutes with some sort of leg/groin problem. Chris Stewart was a surprise participant yesterday and you wonder how close he may be getting from his ankle problem.

While the Sabres keep struggling with injuries, the Red Wings are getting healthy. Ace playmaker Pavel Datsyuk returns tonight after missing 16 games with a knee injury. Based on their skate this morning, it looks like Daniel Alfredsson will be in the Detroit lineup as well tonight.

Jimmy Howard will be in goal against the Sabres' Matt Hackett.

So to help me get in baseball mode: "For those scoring at home", I present to you the Sabres' current injury list. 

F-Marcus Foligno (lower body)
F-Drew Stafford (undisclosed)
F-Chris Stewart (ankle)
F-Torrey Mitchell (undisclosed)
F-Zenon Konopka (back)
D-Henrik Tallinder (lower body)
D-Alexander Sulzer (upper body)
D-Tyler Myers (ribs/hip)
G-Michal Neuvirth (lower body)
G-Jhonas Enroth (lower body)

That's pretty incredible right there.

A Saturday gone haywire: MeshGoal in Detroit, line brawl and near hall-brawl in Vancouver

By Mike Harrington

Most of your attention last night was probably focused on Tylers Two getting the Sabres a last-minute point in their shootout loss to Columbus. But the rest of the NHL is buzzing over what took place in the final seconds in Detroit and the first two seconds in Vancouver.

The Red Wings earned a 3-2 shootout win over Los Angeles -- only because their tying goal with 26.1 seconds left clearly soared high into the mesh before plopping into the net off the back of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Incredibly, that's not a reviewable situation! So the goal counts, and we have a likely rule change for when the league's GMs have their next meeting in March.

Seriously, every goal is reviewable and a puck out of play leading to a goal should be also. That said, how did FOUR officials on the ice miss such an obvious thing? That's even more hard to believe. Even the Red Wings admitted it shouldn't have counted.

Best line came from Kings coach Darryl Sutter, referring to the Jan. 25 Kings-Ducks game at Dodger Stadium: "What are they going to do at the outdoor game? What happens if it goes through a cumulus cloud?"

Just as that one finished, choas broke out in Vancouver with a full line brawl after just two seconds of the game against the Flames that the Canucks eventually won in a shootout. Calgary coach Bob Hartley started a tough guy lineup up front with Kevin Westgarth at center and Vancouver's John Tortorella countered. Defenseman Kevin Bieksa took the opening faceoff vs. Westgarth and it was on.

After the first period, things got even more dicey as Tortorella tried to confront Hartley in the hallway leading to the Calgary dressing room, with Flames goalie coach and ex-Sabre netminder Clint Malarchuk having to be restrained too. Not a good scene.

I would think Hartley might be looking at one of those handy-dandy "player selection" fines the league suddenly created for Ron Rolston in the wake of the John Scott-Phil Kessel preseason dustup. (Or was that only a made-for-Toronto rule?). Hartley's postgame assertion that Tortorella had the last lineup decision was silly. Torts sees who the Flames are starting and he's going to throw, say, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler on the ice? Please. 

That said, Tortorella can't go rogue and try to instigate in the dressing room hallway either. That's just not a good look for anybody, unless you're culling videos for places like Deadspin. Tortorella is reportedly going to have a hearing with the league and don't expect Colin Campbell & Co. to look too kindly upon his antics. This could be a multi-game suspension.

Click below to see videos of all the shenanigans, including Torts' pointed postgame comments:

Continue reading "A Saturday gone haywire: MeshGoal in Detroit, line brawl and near hall-brawl in Vancouver" »

Ice chips: Kane named Nov. First Star, Wings clipped by injuries again, Edmonton names arena

Kane
Patrick Kane is third in the NHL with 16 goals (Getty Images).



By Mike Harrington

Here's an afternoon update of news and notes from around the NHL:

---South Buffalo's Patrick Kane was named the NHL's First Star for November after collecting nine goals and 19 points as the Chicago Blackhawks moved into first place overall. They Hawks did it in part by going 6-1 on their annual extended road trip when the circus moves into United Center.  Kane is third in the league with 16 goals and is tied for fifth with 30 points in 28 games this season. The second star was Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and the third star was Minnesota goalie Josh Harding.

---Pavel Datsyuk missed the Red Wings' Nov. 24 win here over the Sabres with an apparent concussion suffered the night before in Ottawa. Now captain Henrik Zetterberg is out of the lineup for at least two weeks with a herniated disc in his back, the team announced today.  He leads the team with 30 points in 19 games. (An aside on Datsyuk: I said the hit by Ottawa's Jared Cowen was worthy of a Shanaban. Now he's been out two weeks and there was no suspension? Terrible).

---The Edmonton Oilers have announced their new arena opening in 2016 will be named Rogers Place. It replaces Rexall Place, the former Northlands Coliseum during the Wayne Gretzky glory days. The building has seen better days and is now well behind its counterparts.

Rogers is just everywhere in Canada, especially with the new TV deal. As friend of the blog and NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen points out, we already have Rogers Arena (in Vancouver), the NHL has its new multi-billion TV deal with Rogers, Rogers owns 37.5 percent of the Toronto Maple Leafs and, of course, the Blue Jays play in Rogers Centre.

Alfie returns to Ottawa with Wings

Sun-AlfieBy Mike Harrington

One of the major curiosity dates on the NHL schedule takes place this evening when longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson returns to Ottawa for the first time as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.

It's the biggest story in town in Canada's capital, as evidenced by today's cover of the Ottawa Sun (left). The game is a 5:30 start and will be shown nationwide in Canada, and on NHL Network in the United States. 

(* -- If you're looking for Sabres news, they're off today and return to the ice tomorrow *)

Alfredsson got to practice in his old rink Saturday and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Alfie will be in the starting lineup as the Senators play a five-minute video tribute to their former captain.

It will certainly be interesting to see the reaction for Alfredsson, who is clearly the greatest Senator of all time but was a bit of a turncoat when he spured Ottawa and signed a one-year deal with Detroit in July. I'm sure there are Senators fans who aren't keen on the idea of a tribute.

An aside here: The Sabres correctly never considered a tribute for Daniel Briere and Chris Drury when they returned in 2008 because fan backlash would have been huge. If you remember, they basically both got booed every time they touched the puck. Alfredsson, on the other hand, is essentially the Gilbert Perreault of Ottawa.

(And, for the record, the Sabres still were dopes for not giving Jason Pominville 30 seconds when he returned in October, although the current belief is Darcy Regier nixed that plan. Still, no current Sabres employee has ever confirmed that point to me and it would have made sense to given how they got shredded in my column and by plenty of fans. But I digress...)

The reaction of the fans to Alfredsson is just about as big a story as the game itself.

"I'm anxious to play the game. What's going to happen will happen," Alfredsson said. "It's very different from anything I've ever gone through before. I don't know what to expect or what's going to happen. I'm hopeful it will be a good night."

Wings lose Datsyuk but regain Alfredsson for today's visit to FNC

PD
Pavel Datsyuk works the puck Saturday against Ottawa. (AP Photo)



By Mike Harrington

The Detroit Red Wings will be without their top goal scorer for today's 5 p.m. meeting with the Sabres in First Niagara Center as Pavel Datsyuk was left home with a possible concussion after taking an elbow to the head late in Saturday's 4-2 loss to Ottawa.

Datsyuk has a team-leading 12 goals and is second on the team in scoring with 23 points. The three-time Selke Award winner and four-time recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy was hit by Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen with 7:48 to play, a clear elbow that television replays caught but neither official did.

Although no penalty was called on the play, Cowen is almost certain to hear from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan about the play. Check it out here (it's near the top of the screen on the live run).

With Datsyuk out, Detroit general manager Ken Holland said early this morning before boarding the team plane to Buffalo that veteran Daniel Alfredsson will now return to the Detroit lineup. Alfredsson has missed the last five games with a groin pull. He has 42 goals and 84 points in 90 games against Buffalo, with the goal total tied with Jaromir Jagr for the most all-time vs. the Sabres and Alfredsson's most against any team.

Forward Todd Bertuzzi (back) also stayed home and will not play today. The Red Wings are also missing young defense star Danny DeKeyser, who suffered a shoulder injury last week.

The Wings have been a big disappointment of late, going just 1-3-5 in their last nine games and 10-7-7 overall. This will be their third game in four nights.

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Red Wings' Alfredsson, Weiss ready get started with new team

By John Vogl

DETROIT -- The Red Wings were busy this offseason, kicking off free agency by signing big-name forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss. The duo is ready to debut tonight against the Sabres.

"I’m a little disappointed the game’s at 8," Weiss said this morning in Joe Louis Arena. "I’ve got a little bit more time to wait than usual. I’m just really excited. Can’t wait to get it going."

The 40-year-old Alfredsson, who's in his 18th season, will play his first game for someone other than the Ottawa Senators.

"It’s just been a process here of getting used to everything, the guys, the room, playing my first exhibition game at home here last week," said the notorious Sabres tormentor, who has 84 points in 89 career games against Buffalo. "I can’t say I’ve felt any different. It feels like you’re part of the team. Obviously, this being a great organization, it’s a lot of fun to be here.

"It’s been pretty much what I expected. They’re very professional, pay attention to details. I think we have very good skill on this team, but the basic message for everybody is if you play within the structure, we have a good foundation, our skill is going to show at the end of the night. That’s kind of the theme."

Red Wings shuffling off to Buffalo's division?


CBC's "Hot Stove" segment on realignment from Saturday night.

By Mike Harrington

I watched the Red Wings-Canucks game Sunday night with a different eye, knowing that it's very possible Joe Louis Arena will be a regular stop for the Sabres come next season. 

That was the word late Saturday night from CBC's Elliotte Friedman, who broke on Hockey Night in Canada that the NHL and NHLPA are well on their way to agreeing on a realignment proposal similar to one the players voted down last season but with some key differences.

It will still be a four-conference arrangement but the difference this time is the two Eastern conferences will have eight teams each while the two Western ones will have seven (last year's proposal had it reversed). It will look like this:

Continue reading "Red Wings shuffling off to Buffalo's division?" »

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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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