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The ButtGoal goes viral

Puck in your pants? GAME OVER. on Twitpic

 An animated GIF of the Sabres' Christmas gift from SBNation

By Mike Harrington

The ButtGoal is everywhere.

The Sabres beat Phoenix last night, 2-1, as Mark Pysyk was credited with an overtime goal after the puck landed in the pants -- and on the butt -- of Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith, who slid back into the net with it in tow. As I wrote in my column for today's paper, it was an early Christmas present (or at least a Festivus Miracle!) and seemingly the start of a reconciliation of a team and its bedraggled fan base.

We covered a wacky hockey game and went home. It snowed. Then I woke up and checked my computer and phone and the crazy finish is the toast of the Internet.

It made SportsCenter and FOXSports1, as you would expect. The Eye on Hockey blog from CBSSports.com has a video from the Coyotes' broadcast. Yahoo's Puck Daddy gives its take too.

But it's gone way bigger than that.

It was on NBC's "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America". It's been in the top 10 stories all morning on CNN.com with the headline "Puck-in-pants goal wins NHL game" and a link to the Turner-affiliated Bleacher Report. It's also on the New Day blog of CNN's morning show, after the serious stuff like Obamacare, South Sudan, the International Space Station spacewalk and Edward Snowden. Those wackos at Deadspin chimed in too. And the Yahoo post I cited above also made it on the Yahoo Eurosport blog for the UK and Ireland.

Here's the MSG video, with some classic byplay between Rick Jeanneret and Rob Ray that included these nuggets as the replay rolled:

Continue reading "The ButtGoal goes viral" »

Ruhwedel, Porter join Sabres; Pysyk, McNabb, Adam headed back to Rochester

By John Vogl

Ted Nolan has taken a look at his defensemen lately, rotating players in and out to get a feel for who belongs where.

It appears Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb belong in Rochester for now.

Pysyk, McNabb and forward Luke Adam will all return to the Amerks, the team announced this morning.

Pysyk is averaging 19:55 of ice time during his rookie year, much of which was spent on the No. 1 pair with Christian Ehrhoff. But Pysyk's role has diminshed under Nolan.

"You could tell he was a special kid, but still he’s just a kid," Nolan said on his radio show on WGR. "We’ve got to really look at his development and how we’re going to move forward here."

Adam had one goal and no assists in nine games with the Sabres after 13 goals and 18 points in 15 games with Rochester. McNabb has an even rating in five appearances with the Sabres.

To take their places, the Sabres have recalled forward Kevin Porter and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel. Porter has no points and a minus-6 rating in nine games with the Sabres this season. He had six goals and 10 points in 13 games with the Amerks

Ruhwedel, who joined the Sabres at the end of last year as a college free agent, has four goals, 10 assists and a plus-2 rating in 26 games with Rochester.

Minute-hogging Pysyk a bright spot for struggling Sabres

By John Vogl

The losses aren't any fun. There's no way around that. But Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk hasn't lost sight of where he is.

"It’s a fun game, obviously, a fun lifestyle, a fun career," the 21-year-old said today in First Niagara Center. "Playing in the NHL is a dream of everybody, and you want to make sure that what you did today makes sure you’re going to be here tomorrow.

"The nature of the game and the business is it could be gone any second. Obviously, a lot of things can happen pretty quickly, so you’ve got to enjoy every game."

There's been a lot to enjoy for Pysyk. He's third on the Sabres in ice time at 20:20 per game, trailing only defense partner Christian Ehrhoff (24:44) and fellow blue-liner Tyler Myers (21:33). More impressively, Pysyk is third among rookies behind Nashville's Seth Jones (24:42) and Winnipeg's Jacob Trouba (21:15).

Continue reading "Minute-hogging Pysyk a bright spot for struggling Sabres" »

Pysyk eager for challenge along Sabres' blue line

By John Vogl

Mark Pysyk has watched with interest as the Sabres made moves along the blue line this offseason. They drafted two defensemen in the first round, added two more in trades and re-signed another who was expected to walk out the door.

It's made things crowded, but Pysyk doesn't mind.

"It’s definitely exciting for the future," the 21-year-old defenseman said today at the Sabres' development camp. "A lot of defensemen, a lot of challenge to make the team, a lot of competition within the team, which will be good. I think it’ll push everybody to be that much better."

In his first year as a pro last season, Pysyk transformed from healthy scratch in Rochester to key player in Buffalo. He played in the 18- to 20-minute range during the Sabres' final seven games to seemingly lock down a spot for next year.

Now he'll have to work for it. Henrik Tallinder and Jamie McBain arrived via trade, No. 8 overall pick Rasmus Ristolainen will compete for an NHL job, and Buffalo re-signed Alexander Sulzer, who is coming off knee surgery. Add in Tyler Myers, Christian Ehrhoff, Mike Weber, Chad Ruhwedel and Brayden McNabb, and it's crowded.

"I’m just going to do the same thing as last year, come in in the best shape I can and be the best player I can be, and see what happens," Pysyk said in First Niagara Center. "I’m looking forward to it. I got a little taste. Once you get that taste, you’ll doing anything to get back there and keep playing there."

Pysyk participated in the first group of prospects this morning. The afternoon session, which will run from 3-4:30 p.m., will feature Mikhail Grigorenko, Justin Bailey, Sean Malone, McNabb, Ruhwedel and goaltender Andrey Makarov.

Myers, Pysyk beneficiaries of Leopold trade

By Jay Skurski

With Jordan Leopold sent to St. Louis on Saturday, the Buffalo Sabres have to replace more than 21 minutes of ice time.

In their first game without the veteran defenseman, the beneficiaries were Tyler Myers and rookie Mark Pysyk.

Myers skated a game-high 28 minutes, 13 seconds in the shootout loss, while Pysyk was on the ice for 13:52 – a game after being a healthy scratch in Florida.

"It felt good," Myers said of the extended work. "It's whatever the coaches are going to decide how to play us. I think all the 'D' has been doing a really good job of adjusting to what has been given to them."

Myers didn't learn of Leopold's trade until arriving at First Niagara Center for the game.

Continue reading "Myers, Pysyk beneficiaries of Leopold trade" »

Pysyk thrilled by surprise callup

By Mike Harrington

WASHINGTON -- Little by little, the future is making its way from Rochester to Buffalo. One of the Sabres' top prospects gets the chance for his NHL debut tonight.

With Andrej Sekera still banged up after Saturday's loss to Ottawa, Mark Pysyk has been recalled by the Sabres and will wear No. 53 tonight in Verizon Center against the Capitals.

Pysyk, 21, was Buffalo's first-round pick in 2010. The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder had four goals, 14 asissts and a plus-8 rating (tied with Kevin Porter for the team high) in 57 games with the Amerks. He was in Toronto and played in Saturday night's loss to the Marlies when he got the word.

"It was a tough game," Pysyk said. "We didn't play the way we wanted to but the night turned around once I got the news. I had no idea, no expectations. You hope for the best but I had really no idea. I was just doing my job, putting all my focus in there."

"Just a real smart defenseman who skates really well,"  said interim coach Ron Rolston. "Good puck mover, good defender, he's got a complete game. He really keeps the game easy on himself. He's real efficient. This will be his third game on three nights here so making sure he controls his anxiety and plays the way he can."

Hear Pysyk's chat today with reporters below.

Mark Pysyk

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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 | [email protected]

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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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