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Postgame audio/video: Canucks honor Sedin, rally past Sabres

By Mike Harrington

VANCOUVER -- I'm one of the people who likes the Cody Hodgson/Zack Kassian trade for both sides. The Sabres and Canucks each filled a need. And Hodgson has more than doubled Kassian in points (77-37) since the deal. Obviously, Vancouver got the better of the deal Sunday as Kassian assisted on all four goals in the Canucks' 4-2 win.

"I know everybody is going to focus on the four points that he gets but for me there were other things," Canucks coach John Tortorella said after the game. "He dumped the puck at the right times rather than trying to make something happen. He changed up at the right times. You could see the concentration in his game. You see it. You want to see it more."

"We want to be good with the puck down low," Kassian said. "When we come off the wall like that, we want to look to make plays. Tonight was a night where it seemed everything I passed ended up going in the net."

There was certainly the requisite frustration down the hall in the Sabres' room. Good start, not much of a finish. Click below to hear audio from around the Sabres' dressing room:

Ted Nolan

Nathan Lieuwen

Cody Hodgson

Tyler Ennis

Click the file below to see Kassian's postgame interview (nice hat as player of the game)

And click the file below to see video of the Canucks' classy pregame ceremony to honor Henrik Sedin for playing in his 1,000th NHL game earlier this month.

Continue reading "Postgame audio/video: Canucks honor Sedin, rally past Sabres" »

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" »

Gentler Tortorella, at least so far, guiding Canucks

By Mike Harrington

It was a gentler, softer John Tortorella we saw today in advance of tonight's Sabres-Canucks game. During his fiery days with Tampa Bay and the Rangers, you never knew what outburst might come your way. He even had a classic one here in March after a Sabres-Rangers game. Remember?

Tortorella underwent plenty of scrutiny about his media dealings before he got this job and he's been better at it from all accounts. He better be with the scrutiny in a hockey market like Vancouver. The Yankees, Giants and Knicks aren't there to deflect attention.

"You might have 45 minutes of video and he's going to tell you what you've done wrong in a brutally honest way," Henrik Sedin told me today. "But two minutes afterward, you might have done something well in a clip and he'll tell you the same thing. That's all you can ask for as a player."

Added goaltender Roberto Luongo: 'He's a very passionate intense coach and I think we needed that in this locker room. He's bringing a lot to the table and the guys are buying in."

The one thing I wanted to know was Tortorella's view of the Sedin twins now as their coach and not as an opposing coach. He even broke them up Tuesday in Philadelphia, something pretty rare in their careers.

"I have never been more impressed with two athletes," he said. "Watching them from afar, watching them play I was impressed with them. But I'm even more impressed with them as people as I get to be with them every day. And we're not even talking about what they've done for us on the ice. Just how they carry themselves."

Continue reading "Gentler Tortorella, at least so far, guiding Canucks" »

Bizarre 'own goal' foils Canucks

By Mike Harrington

CHICAGO -- You might have missed this one in Vancouver during the Canucks-Montreal game. On a Vancouver power play, Dan Hamhuis butchered his handling of the puck behind the net and it deflected in off the feet of Roberto Luongo. Tough to explain how bizarre it was with mere words. Just watch. Can't wait to hear what John Tortorella had to say.

NHL makes Clarkson's 10-game suspension official, hands five-game ban to ex-Sabre Kassian

By Mike Harrington

Some quick news Monday night from the NHL Department of Player Safety:

---David Clarkson of the Leafs has officially been handed a 10-game suspension for (foolishly) leaving the bench to join Sunday night's Sabres-Leafs scrum. That costs him more than $269,000 and keeps him out of the lineup until Toronto's 11th game, which is Oct. 25 against Columbus.

---There is no word on any penalty yet to Leafs winger Phil Kessel for his stick chops at John Scott. That one is going to require a hearing in the next day or two but Kessel did get a match penalty so should get at least one game.

---Vancouver winger Zack Kassian, the former Sabres No. 1 draft pick, has earned a five-game suspension and will also miss the final three preseason games for the reckless use of his stick. Kassian broke the jaw of Edmonton's Sam Gagner Saturday night in Rexall Place. Here's Brendan Shanahan's video explanation:

Twitter is target of Tortorella's first rant in Vancouver

By Mike Harrington

The word is coming via the Vancouver Province about what John Tortorella said after Canucks practice today and it's spreading all over Twitter. Maybe that was his intent.

The new Vancouver coach isn't banning the social media behemoth from his locker room, which would be rough for folks who love Roberto Luongo's wildly entertaining feed that has nearly 185,000 followers. But he'd like his players to can a lot of it.

"It’s the most narcissistic thing I’ve ever seen,” Tortorella said. “I’m not going to handcuff them and treat them like little kids. There’d better be no information come out of the locker room with that damn Twitter. It’s nothing but trouble to me. ... Our locker room is our locker room, and I believe our guys understand that. I just hope they respect the sanctity of the locker room."

Oddly enough, Tortorella is on Twitter himself and has nearly 37,000 followers.

"I think it is tremendous for charity work. It helped me tremendously with our dog walk out in New York and we raised a ton of money," he said. "But not for, 'Here I am, I’m having a roast beef sandwich, I am saying hello to my fans.’ That is just ridiculous.”

So i guess that means for real narcissicm and hockey talk, you should be sure to follow my Twitter account here and to follow the work of colleague John Vogl here. I may have had roast beef for lunch today, just for the record.

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 |

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 |

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 |