February 19, 2008 - 1:24 PM
The trade deadline is only a week away, and we're still talking about whether or not Brian Campbell will be sticking around. He's the one making headlines around here, but there's plenty more good players out there in similar situations. As always, the final week before the deadline will be interesting.
If you think the Sabres are in a tough position, check out Atlanta. GM Don Waddell traded away Dany Heatley to get Marian Hossa and is about to be taken to the cleaners unless he signs the winger before next Tuesday. And there's almost no chance they'll get that completed in time.
OK, so move him.
Fans often have grandiose ideas about what teams can acquire in trades for certain players, but usually they're way out of bounds. The Sabres and Thrashers have lost a good chunk of their leverage, with their two stars and with other teams, because they weren't aggressive enough early in the season. They'll pay a price.
Tampa Bay is terrible and needs to dump D-man Dan Boyle. If the Blue Jackets can get a bag of pucks for Sergei Fedorov, it's one fewer bag of pucks they'll need to buy next season. They can take it or leave it. They might as well take it because Fedorov has become useless to that organization.
Teams aren't going to give away the store for a rental. A good prospect and a high pick should be considered a win at this point because it's better than watching them walk away for nothing. The only reason to keep good players who are about to become an UFA is if a team is a true Stanley Cup contender.
Please, stop with the 2006 Oilers comparisons and how they proved teams finishing eighth in the conference can still play for the Stanley Cup. It's the only time it happened, which makes it a fluke in my book.
Supporting your team is one thing, but facing reality is another. It's time a few teams, including the Sabres, face reality.
-- Bucky Gleason
February 17, 2008 - 10:56 AM
The Sabres have completed an optional morning workout in HSBC Arena in preparation for tonight's game against Pittsburgh so we're going to use this space to move on and forget about Saturday's disaster in New York. Going through our notebook:
1). Darcy Regier is in Naples, Fla., for today's opening of the GM meetings. Think Brian Campbell's name will come up one or two times there? The rumors keep percolating that one final Sabres offer is coming -- Hockey Night in Canada's Hot Stove threw around six years and $40 million last night. But Campbell can't have too many more minus-4 periods like he did Saturday if he wants the Sabres to throw the cash register at him.
2). Lindy Ruff said he talked to Campbell this morning and admitted he's worried about his all-star's focus. Said Ruff: "He can't lose focus at being a defender first. That's important. That pair [Campbell and Jaroslav Spacek] hasn't been very good for us. You defend first and take your options after that. That twosome as defenders hasn't done a very good job."
3). Ruff, on whether the trade rumors are dogging his team: "It's part of the game, part of the rumor mill. It can affect a few players. But you focus on the fact we've lost one of our last 11. If it was bugging us, it should have been bugging us [before]. The rumors will come up and you guys will make up rumors -- which you guys are usually good at. And I've told them not to listen to you guys so they know better." Touche!
4). No idea yet if Tim Connolly is playing tonight. He played 4 1/2 minutes yesterday and Ruff held him out, ostensibly to keep him ready for tonight. But there's still pain in his hip. For the first time, Ruff acknowledged there may be a point where Connolly will just have to be shut down and have surgery if the hip doesn't bounce back enough for him to keep playing. Said Ruff: "It's not the possibility we're looking forward to but we can't rule that out."
5). Talked to Sidney Crosby after his extra work following the Penguins' optional skate. He injured his ankle Jan. 18 and the diagnosis was he'd be out 6-8 weeks He's thinking more like six and he was back for his first full-contact practice Saturday. I asked him if he'd be on the ice when the Sabres go back to Mellon Arena on March 12 and he said, "Oh jeez, I hope by then for sure."
6). The biggest complaint I have about the treatment Richard Zednik got all week in Buffalo was that he wanted wings and we got him Picasso's? An outrage. Anchor Bar, Duff's or Gabriel's Gate, anyone?
February 15, 2008 - 11:27 AM
The Hockey News trade issue this week has an interesting cover (left), featuring Brian Campbell in a San Jose sweater, Mats Sundin in a Vancouver jersey and Marian Hossa back with the Senators.
The magazine thinks the Sabres should trade Campbell and Tim Connolly to the Sharks for Jonathan Cheechoo and Logan Couture. Cheechoo would be a big name in return, which might ease fans' disappointment.
Would you go for that trade?